Literature is a tool. It is used to convey a large range of feeling and emotion. Literature and writing are perhaps some of the oldest communication methods used. There are four major literary time periods, the values of each of these, and their authors will be discussed. The first time period is authors who rejoiced in the basic joys of life. The next period saw authors realizing that life is short and must be enjoyed to the fullest. The third period influenced authors to begin taking new roads and creating literature that had never before existed. The fourth and final period in the discussion, men began to realize the destructive power of love and its capabilities for great evil, or great good. Each of these time frames have something different to offer a reader. If a reader can turn and look introspectively, he can pull a new meaning from the work with each reading.
The first period of literature to be examined is one in which the authors encouraged that living and loving the earth are simple pleasures to be enjoyed by all. This idea is exemplified by Christopher Marlowe in his poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" when he says "Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields." (Marlowe 1-4). This time of literature saw poets and writers becoming very aware of the natural beauty surrounding them. Marlowe became known as a ladies man and would often be found drinking. Even the more uncultured writers became able to put on paper the beauty of the world. Another poet and explorer at the time by the name of Sir Walter Raleigh penned a reply to Marlowe titled "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd". The response comes in the form of a maiden declining the shepherds entreaties, she says "The flowers do fade, and wanton fields to wayward winter reckoning yields: A honey tongue, a heart of gall, Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall." (Raleigh 9-12). Raleigh's response contrasts Marlowe's in two areas: love and nature. The nymph replies negatively to thee shepherd's feelings towards her, but also paints a picture of the fading beauty of nature. She compares the fleeting beauty of youth to a season of nature. Time will not stand still, and the beauty of nature will only last for a season. These authors all wrote on the theme of nature as compared to love. The final work from this period comes from Edmund Spenser's "Sonnet 75": "One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey." (Spenser 1-4). Spenser's verses addressed to his wife show that nature and love are not always compatible. Raleigh, Spenser, and Marlowe each teach that love can be found in nature, decaying or flourishing, they are inseparably linked.
The second literature lesson to be learnt is that time should be an individual's most valuable asset....