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English Renaissance Poetry - Essay Example

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The connection between art and nature in English poetry had begun and later flourished during the Romantic Period, especially with poets like Wordsworth, Shelly, Keats, Byron, Blake and Clare.
"According to Ross, the earlier Renaissance, exemplified by the pastoral poets Sidney, Spencer and Breton, tended to see nature as a norm, art as a corruption (Richard Ross' analysis of Herrick, E. in C, XV, 1965, 171-180)1. But Taylor concludes that 'both Nature and Art were necessary to any accurate, complete view of the world'. Nature needs the nurture of man's art. In sixteenth century, word 'art' had a derogatory sense of 'false or counterfeit imitation.' While describing Temple of Venus, Spencer sees art and nature as working partners2:
The synthesis of art and nature is existent throughout, but nowhere it is more apparent than in Book VI. Sidney is another poet/writer who made a great contribution in this direction, as admitted by many scholars over the years.
Sidney celebrates poet's power in reinventing the nature. It was a peaceful period in history when there were no wars, arts were flourishing and natural ecology was untouched by man, people were good and just and literature was just emerging out of age-worn clichs. People in rural areas literally lived supported by Nature, and these poets were in tune with them, which can be seen by the harmonious poem The Garden of Marvell.
The most per


The most perfect way art could imitate nature, is shown by Spencer's works. This English epic poem of Spencer published in 1590 in three books, was an allegorical work praising Queen Elizabeth I. In introducing pastoral kingdom to English literature, Spencer seems to have followed the footsteps of Homer and Virgil (Eclogues). As a matter of fact, all Renaissance humanists followed Virgil's footsteps in their veneration of nature, and combined it in various forms of arts. Sidney said "Pastoral was thought to be the humblest type of poetry" (p.943), and Spencer hoped to be the new pastoral Virgil of Renaissance.

Pastoral poetry presents an idealistic picture of rural life, where Nature and Art combine together to create an Utopia or Shangri-la. These poets showed enormous understanding and compassion towards Nature and Art both. Usually it is the result of a humanist education and love for nature, which later reflected in the poetics of William Wordsworth. It has love, seduction, death, mourning, nature's ever-caressing and soothing presence, and the art that stems out of imitating the nature. Spencer's view of nature is always considered to have contained 'contradiction'. In the 8th canto of the 4th book, Spencer gives reasons for the decay of nature, while saying the world 'has runne quite out of square'..the heavenly bodies rove at random, even the sun it is feared, in time, "will us quite forsake". Spencer later gives a more harmonious picture of the nature:

In sort as they were formed aunciently;
And all things will reduce unto equality.

In later days, pastoral poetry was strengthened by the mighty Shakespeare, while the early Renaissance poets only managed ...Show more


Renaissance took its time to come to England, and the generally accepted date is in the first decade of 16th century and arguably extended till 1660. There is another claim that it was between 1580 and 1660 which was later accepted as earlier and later renaissance periods…
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