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ENGLAND in the 17th Century


Epigram: short witty poem that compresses wit and insight ... Themes of love and honor, loyalty and friendship. Carpe diem a frequent theme ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: ENGLAND in the 17th Century

ENGLAND in the 17th Century
The Early 17th Century 1603-1660 Absolutism,
Civil Wars and Interregnum
The Stuarts
Mary, Queen of Scotland
Lord Darnley and Mary
James VI of Scotland James I of England 1603-1612
James I 1603-25
  • Profound cultural shift from Elizabethan style
  • James I styled himself as absolute monarch and
    Gods appointed deputy
  • Roman style new Augustus
  • Rising religious conflict

Church of England vs. Puritans
  • Doctrine predestination
  • Worship emphasis on preaching and simple rituals
  • Structure Presbyterian synods and ministers
  • Sabbath strict observance of holy day
  • Rituals reformed or low church Puritans saw
    liturgy, altars, religious icons as idolatrous
  • Doctrine free will
  • Worship Book of Common Prayer
  • Structure Episcopalian bishops and priests
  • Sabbath folk customs and games
  • Rituals high church liturgy, ceremony, art
    works, robes

Jacobean Religious Prose
  • 1611 King James Version of the Bible
  • Graceful, highly influential rendering
  • Translation supported ceremony and hierarchy
  • Meant to be understood and read by commoners, so
    the style was simple and direct the common
  • Sermons varied styles from highly rhetorical to
    plain spoken
  • Guides to devotion and meditation
  • Tracts cases of conscience

Jacobean Secular Prose
  • Essays
  • Invented by French writer Montaigne
  • First English essays by Francis Bacon
  • Scientific treatises
  • Speculative and imaginative literature
  • Robert Burton Anatomy of Melancholy
  • Izaak Walton The Compleat Angler
  • Francis Bacon The New Atlantis (scientific
  • Lady Mary Wroth Urania (prose romance)

Izaak Walton
Robert Burton
Francis Bacon
Lady Mary Wroth
Jacobean Poetic Modes
  • Classical Modes
  • Epigram short witty poem that compresses wit and
  • Ode lyric poem addressed to a person, natural
    force or abstraction written in elevated style
    often a poem of praise
  • Satire Complaint on the ills of society
  • Love Elegy Meditation on trials of erotic desire
    written in couplets (aabbcc, etc)
  • Country House Poem compliment to a wealthy
    patron or friend through a description of his
    country house
  • Verse Epistle Letter written in poetic verse
  • Meditative Religious Lyric
  • Occasional Poem poem written to commemorate a
    particular occasion or event.

Aemilia Lanyer 1569-1645
  • First Englishwoman to publish a book of poetry
    Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, 1611
  • Feminist bent --Eves Apology in Defense of
  • First published country house poem The
    Description of Cookham

Ben Jonson 1572-1637
  • Poet and Playwright
  • Englands first Poet Laureate (Kings pension)
  • 1616 Works
  • Classicist influenced by Roman genres and ideals
  • Epigrams
  • Odes
  • Satire
  • Tribe of Ben younger poets who emulated
    Jonson and are often classified as Cavalier poets
    Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, Edmund Waller,
    Sir John Suckling

Ben Jonson by Abraham Blyenberch, ca 1617
John Donne 1572-1631
  • Poet and Preacher
  • Startling images that range from the exquisite to
    the grotesque
  • Wit and allusion
  • Satires
  • Elegies
  • Occasional poems
  • Songs and Sonnets
  • Holy Sonnet
  • Critics describe Donne as the foremost
    Metaphysical poet influencing Herbert, Vaughan,
    Crashaw, Marvell, Traherne and Crowley

Dr. Donne Dean of St. Pauls
Jack Donne the Rake
Lady Mary Wroth 1587-1651?
  • Niece of Sir Philip Sidney and Countess Mary
    Sidney Herbert
  • Lived and educated at Penshurst
  • 1621 published
  • The Countess of Montgomerys Urania prose
    romance with poems
  • Pamphilia and Amphilanthus poem sequence with
    103 sonnets and songs female voice and
  • Loves Victory pastoral drama
  • Patroness to poets, including Ben Jonson

Charles I 1625-49
  • Insisted on his absolute prerogatives as a
    monarch and governed without Parliament for
    eleven years.
  • Patron of the Arts
  • invited Van Dyck and Rubens to work in England
    and bought a great collection of paintings by
    Raphael and Titian
  • Expenditures on his court and his art collection
    greatly increased the crown's debts.
  • Married to French Catholic sister of Louis XIV

Civil Wars
  • 1637 Revolt in Edinburgh over imposition of High
    Church liturgy and prayer book throughout
  • 1640 Short Parliament refused to grant Charles
    request for funds to make war against the Scots
  • 1640 Long Parliament
  • Impeached Charles main advisors
  • Abolished the Kings Council (Star Chamber)
  • The King agreed that Parliament could not be
    dissolved without its own consent and that no
    more than three years could elapse between

  • 1641 Irish uprising resulted in a Militia Bill
    allowing troops to be raised only by Parliaments
  • 1642 Charles raised the Royal Standard calling
    for loyal subjects to support him and set up
    court and an alternative government in Oxford
  • 1643 Parliament entered an armed alliance with
    the predominant Scottish Presbyterian group under
    the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643
  • 1646-47 Charles negotiated with Scotland and
    Parliament while in captivity at Hampton Court
    and the Isle of Wight
  • 1648 Second Civil War ended with Oliver
    Cromwells victory at Preston

The New Model Army
  • The first mass, democratic army to fight the
    king, Parliament needed its own army
  • A break in tradition of linking the English crown
    with the army.
  • Men who fought not for money but for service and
    belief "We were not a mercenary Army, hired to
    serve any Arbitrary power of a state, but called
    forth and conjured by the several Declarations of
    Parliament, to the defense of our own land and
    the people's just rights and liberties."
  • Divided on the question of what form of
    government England should have.
  • Cromwell and the officers government for the
    people but not by the people
  • The common soldiersmanhood suffrage, equal
    electoral divisions, biennial Parliaments, and
    freedom of religion and equality before the law

  • The Army, concluding that permanent peace was
    impossible while Charles lived, decided that the
    King must be put on trial and executed.
  • 1649 A purged Rump Parliament (no Royalists or
    Presbyterians)established a High Court of
    Justice. Charles was charged with high treason
    'against the realm of England. '
  • Charles refused to plead, saying that he did not
    recognize the legality of the High Court

From John Nalson, A True Copy of the Journal of
the High Court of Justice for the Tryal of K.
Charles I (London, 1684).
  • The King was sentenced to death on 27 January.
  • Three days later, Charles was beheaded on a
    scaffold outside the Banqueting House in
    Whitehall, London.
  • His last words, printed and sold on that very
    day, were "I have delivered my conscience I
    pray God you do take those courses that are best
    for the good of the kingdom and your own
  • To avoid the automatic succession of Charles I's
    son Prince Charles, an Act was passed on 30
    January forbidding the proclaiming of another
  • On 7 February 1649, the office of King was
    formally abolished.

  • John Milton defended the regicide in The Tenure
    of Kings and Magistrates (February 1649)
  • A Commonwealth "without King or House of Lords"
  • He set forth a radical contract theory of
    government sovereignty always resides in the
    people, who merely delegate power to, and can
    always revoke it from, any ruler or any
    government system.
  • Thomas Hobbes condemned the regicide in Leviathan
  • He advocated a theory of absolutism based on
    irreversible compact the people give over all
    their power and right to a sovereign, whether a
    king or some other ruling entity, who
    incorporates and acts for them all.

Interregnum 1649-1660
  • 1649-53 Republic/Commonwealth
  • 1653 Parliament dissolved
  • 1653-58 Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell
  • When the Scots and Irish proclaimed Prince
    Charles as king Cromwell suppressed rebellions
    in Scotland and Ireland
  • 1658-60 Protectorate under Richard Cromwell

Culture Wars
  • Royalists
  • Loyal to king and Anglican Church
  • Fled into exile
  • Disruption of manuscript circulation led to
    printed volumes of poetry
  • Valued pleasure as the social cement uniting all
    elements of society carpe diem theme
  • Cultivated ease of expression and
  • 1660 Re-opened the theatres
  • Puritans
  • 1642 closed the theatres
  • 1643 Toleration Controversy
  • Rump Parliament proclaimed a republic without
    king or house of lords
  • Disagreement over suffrage
  • Emphasis on inner light as truth
  • Flourishing debates in journals and tracts
    freedom of the press

Metaphysical Poetry Metaphysics the branch of
philosophy that systematically investigates the
nature of first principles and the problems of
ultimate reality
  • Startling rhythm and diction
  • Variety of tone
  • Poets speak in their own persona or create
    dramatically different characters
    self-dramatization more than self-expression,
    internal dramatic conflict
  • Meter and stanzas are used to enact emotion --
    emphasis on action, tension, conflict
  • Use of argumentation, logic, dialectical
  • Original and startling metaphors and similes,
    often extended into metaphysical conceits
  • Content is often religious
  • Sensuousness, directness, immediacy

Metaphysical Poets from Luminarium
Cavalier Poetry Cavalier courtly, off-hand,
loyal to the monarchy
  • Graceful, melodious, polished diction and meter
  • Elegant display of Latin classical influences
  • Themes of love and honor, loyalty and friendship
  • Carpe diem a frequent theme
  • Sometimes licentious and cynical
  • Often epigrammatic and witty 
  • Persona often in guise of military swashbuckler
    or aristocratic courtier
  • Poems are often occasional -- i.e. written for a
    particular occasion

Cavalier Poets from Luminarium
The Restoration
  • 1660 Elections held for a full and free
  • Recalled Prince Charles from exile and proclaimed
    him King on May 8, 1660
  • Parliament retained legislative supremacy,
    control over taxation and some control over court
  • Open press flourished
  • Development of modern political parties
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