Early English Lyric Poetry As A Medium Of The Poet Expressing Himself.

1883 words - 8 pages

Poets have used their gifts to many ends. To explore emotions, to celebrate nature, to praise God, to celebrate in rhyme, to argue and judge, to seduce, to attack, and as a means of self-presentation in the hierarchical structure of the court in sixteenth century England, by the use of witty lyrics and twofold meanings. Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Philip Sidney were two poets who spanned the Henry VIII and Elizabethan era. They used their poetry with the hope of bringing attention to themselves in their society.Before undertaking a discussion on the poetry of the poets themselves, we should first familiarize ourselves with the conditions of the society at that time, so that we may comprehend the relation of the poetry to the hidden interplay of power that structured the society in the time of the courtier poets. The poetry of the sixteenth century was almost entirely the produce of the aristocracy. Aspiring members of the middle class, who had chances of upward mobility, pursued a career of writing.The court was a major institution that dominated the poetry of this era. It exhibited ideas that were often contradictory or confusing. Its somewhat concrete existence brought about a passion that reflected the concentration of power and cultural dominance. As a matter of fact, throughout the Renaissance, European courts attempted to use the arts as a means of controlling and creating the tastes, beliefs, habits and allegiances of their subjects. This can be seen in the various poetry of unrequited love. In the Renaissance, some poets used their poetry to complain, as in the case of Sir Thomas Wyatt. He had a strong opinion on the use of words, spoken lightly and without care. As can be seen from this excerpt from "Throughout the World"Throughout the world, if it were soughtFair words enough a man shall findThey be good cheap; they cost right naught,Their substance is but only wind,But well to say and so to mean--That sweet accord is seldom seen.From this extract, the poet seeks to show the reader that words tend to pliable and accommodating. They are generally used for the benefit of the speaker and the listener. That is why some poetry was composed to impress the monarchs. The courtly lover is normally seen as someone who subjects himself to the whim and fancy of his beloved. When the love is unrequited there is great suffering, but he still remains devoted to the object of his affections. "Whoso List to Hunt" can be considered as a poem of Wyatt's latent unrequited love of the court. As like most poets common to his time he used his poetry as a means of self-expression of his frustrations. He satirically writes about the court as if it were a mistress that was constantly rebuffing his love and advances.Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,But as for me, alas, I may no more:The vain travail hath wearied me sore.This is the poet's underlying way of stating that there are many hunters after the deer, with the deer being the court, and the hunters...

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