From Astrophil and Stella Sonnet 1
I find that I have much in common with this sonnet. I too find that “Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show/That the dear She might take some pleasure of my pain,/Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,/ Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain”. I often wish that I could write poetic verse to give speech to my feelings and thought “But words come halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay;/ Invention, Nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows”. Too often I don’t listen to my “Muse” which quietly cries “Fool, look in thy heart and write”.
This poem speaks of forced love and how it is not true love. Love that is forced is like a Muscovite slave as Sidney puts it. As I read the poem, I could feel the bitterness and sorrow seep forth. Sidney is quite right in writing how men will fool themselves in the mind and “…believe that all is well,/ While with a feeling skill I paint my hell.” It seems to me that the poet could not get himself to love because of the wound “which while I breathe will bleed”. It just occurred to me that Muscovite doesn’t rhyme with wit in sound, unless one makes it do so.
This poem about the Moon is yet another bluesy poem which mourns the sorrows of lost love. This poet, if he could, would become like a lone wolf (or perhaps metaphorically he is already) and howl up at the moon. The phrase “how wan a face!” is rather interesting. The word wan may have ambiguous meaning here; wan could mean pale or white or it could be referring to how the moon wanes in its phases. However, this being said, I think he is referring to the former meaning. It is so interesting how the poet asks these questions about the moon as if it were another planet. Of course they hadn’t gone to the moon yet and found how desolate and lifeless it is. Yet that fact does raise an interesting point; the moon is just as lonely as he is, poor soul.
This is another poem that I can relate to, particularly when he says “But soon as thought of thee breeds my delight,/ And my young soul flutters to thee, his nest,/ Most rude Despair, my daily unbidden guest,/ Clips straight my wings,” . When the thought of someone I love comes in my mind, it gives me a brief fleeting joy which is quickly drowned in despair which does indeed clip the wings of my joy. The influence of the classical Greek mythology is present in this poem in the form of Phoebus which, in this case, makes the poem to my eyes not make much sense, but only that line.
Christopher Marlowe “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
This poem reminds me very much of some of Robert Burns’ poems, particularly “Higland Mary” and “Ca’d the Yowes to The Knowes”. There is also a small pastoral imagery that is akin to much of the Song of Solomon. I found line 9 very interesting where he said “And I will make thee beds of roses”. I think that image is very ironic since “beds of roses” tends to mean something is not as pleasant as it seems and there are unpleasantries attached to the term. This line seems to destroy the whole poem if one understands that line in that manner.
“Faustus” Scene 1
There is a lot of classical imagery and ideas in the play. There is the mention of Muses, Aristotle’s works, Galen, Delphian oracle, as well as numerous devils which come from Hebrew or Greek texts. Furthermore, there are a lot of Latin sentences in the dialogue which make it very difficult to read unless you know a sufficient amount of Latin. Having never read this play before, it took me by surprise that Faustus is so determined to sell himself to the devil. I’ve never read anything like this before. I also thought it was rather comical when the good spirit and the evil spirit show up and begin giving him advice. I thought that was only a modern idea.
I thought the discourse between Wagner and the two scholars very interesting especially if one understands the status connotations that are in the footnotes. These scholars who are labeled as graduate students deal rather haughtily with Wagner since he is assumed to be Faustus’ “boy” or poor student; I think I can sympathize with that. While the other scholars may be very frank and abrupt, Wagner is quite poetic and does a good job of avoiding the question. I found it interesting that the idea of “The Humors” is used in this play; I thought it had died out by the time of the Renaissance.
I found quite a bit of humor in this scene especially when Faustus gives his soul over to the devil and a demon shows up and Faustus says oh no, go back and bring a prettier devil up here. What does he think devils are, pretty nymphs? It is also funny that Mephastophilis comes up from the underworld and explains that he is under the leadership of Lucifer and therefore cannot follow Faustus without his permission, yet he does it anyway. I think this shows the anarchy under Satan, every demon is a god unto himself. The fact that Faustus thinks that Hell is like that of the classical vision of Elysium is quite hilarious too; he should have read Dante before selling his soul to the devil.
The clown is yet another comical character in this play. I can imagine that when this play was performed, this scene was perhaps the funniest due to the way in which the clown keeps misusing Wagner’s words. For instance, when Wagner asks him to take some French money called guilders, the clown replies, “Gridirons, what be they?” He does this continually through the whole discourse: knavesacre for stavescare, and Banio for Baliol. In fact the whole part where Wagner is trying to give him the money and the clown is giving it back to him would be absolutely hilarious to watch.
Throughout this play I noticed that whenever Faustus is alone he talks to himself almost in the same way as Gollum does. Once more the good and evil spirits emerge to advise him; methinks Faustus’ heart is indeed too far gone to listen to the good spirit. Once more Faustus doubts the real nature of Hell saying “it’s a fable”. When Lucifer enters, he deals with Faustus the same way he does with every man, he tries to show how bad we are and how Christ cannot help us (but Christ can help us). The parade of the seven deadly sins is quite hilarious and Faustus’ reply to them, especially Gluttony and Lechery are hilarious.