Before the Elizabethan poetry, let’s clear that the Elizabethan Age is commonly thought of as a “golden age” in English history. The Elizabethan Era is the period related to the 45- year reign of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I, from 1558 to 1603.
Several developments characterize the Elizabethan period (1558 to 1603) in poetry. The introduction and adaptation of themes from the Italian poetry, models, and verse forms from different European traditions and classical literature, the emergence of Elizabethan song tradition, the emergence of courtly poetry typically centered across the figure of the monarch, and the expansion of a verse-based drama is among the many most vital of those developments.
The early years of the sixteenth century aren’t significantly notable. Douglas’ Aeneid was accomplished in 1513, and John Skelton wrote poems that marked a transition from the late Medieval and Renaissance styles. The new king, Henry VIII, was something of a poet himself. The most vital English poets of this era have been Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey.
Development of Elizabethan Song
Together with Nicholas Grimald, Thomas Nashe, and Robert Southwell, a variety of Elizabethan poets wrote songs. The best of all of the songwriters was Thomas Campion. The songs have been typically in anthologies resembling Richard Tottel’s “Songs and Sonnets” (1557), which primarily consisted of the sonnets by Wyatt and Surrey; moreover, there have been songbooks that included printed music to enable performance. These performances formed an integral part of each public and private entertainment. By the end of the sixteenth century, a new technology of composers, together with John Dowland, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Weelkes, and Thomas Morley, has been helping to bring the art of Elizabethan song to a particularly excessive musical level. Wyatt was responsible for introducing not solely sonnet but also rondeau, epigrams, and satire.
Prominent Figures in Elizabethan Poetry
The central figures are Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, and William Shakespeare. Spenser, who contributed to all types of poetry, from songs to Epic poetry, was accountable for creating poetic diction for English poetry.
This inspired the emergence of poetry aimed at the idealized version of the courtly world. Among the perfect examples are;
Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queen” (1589-96) is effectively an extended hymn of praise to the queen. “The Faerie Queen” deals with twelve knights representing different virtues. It is a symbolic work with nine layers of meaning. This courtly development may also be seen in Spenser’s “Shepheard’s Calendar” (1579), a poem in twelve books. This poem marks the introduction into English the context of the classical pastoral.
The sonnet form was virtually always used for love poetry at the time. The best for any poet was to jot down a sonnet sequence, a collection of interconnecting poems. William Shakespeare wrote a series of 154 sonnets. The sonnets of Shakespeare have been most likely written between 1593 and 1600. Many of them refer to a young man of a perfect family and could also be addressed to William Herbert or the Earl of Southampton. We must keep in mind that alongside the sonnets, he wrote several lengthy poems such as “Venus and Adonis” and “Lucrece” regarding love. Many of them have been written within the Jacobean period. Spenser wrote 88 sonnets published in 1595 with the Epithalamion, under the title, “Amoretti.” Philip Sidney was a real Elizabethan gentleman of many activities- courtier, statesman, poet, and soldier. Spenser and Sidney adopted the Petrarchan type of the sonnet; however, following The Earl of Surrey, Shakespeare developed a typical English sonnet.
Influence of Classicism on Elizabethan Poetry
Gavin Douglas’s “Aeneid,” Thomas Campion’s metrical experiments, and Spenser’s “Shepheardes Calender,” and plays like Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra are all examples of the effect of classicism on Elizabethan poetry. It remained widespread for poets of the period to write on themes from classical mythology; Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis are examples of this sort of work.
Typically, Elizabethan verse was a smooth type of verse. Poets like Shakespeare, Sidney, and Spenser had accomplished wonders with the English language, changing because it emerged into its modern style. They had managed to make English seem fairly sophisticated, imitating Latin and Greek models of verse. It had a regular meter and rhythm and was typically written in somewhat complicated forms. Spenser’s epic poem, “The Faerie Queene,” is written in a selected stanza type invented for it, which continues to be known as the Spenserian stanza.
The seventeenth century noticed many political changes in addition to social. There was nice dissatisfaction among the many merchants and traders over the Princely wars and taxes to be for it. After the death of Queen Elizabeth, the political environment was rigid, which resulted in the Civil War and the deposition of kingly power. There was a development of new knowledge within the area of science. The metaphysical poetry of John Donne and others marked a break from the old tradition and reflected a new understanding or change of mood of their poetry.
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