Poetic Movements from the 1500s.
- Elizabethan Poetry refers to poetry written during the 16th century, reign of Elizabeth I. Poetry was not only written in the courts but also in the taverns of England. Poets such as Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, Ben Johnson and Christopher Marlow head the list. The poetry was predominately romantic but did have a range from idealism to realism and all that flows between. The English poetic forms were influenced by mostly Italian literature but also drew on Spanish and French writings. Drama in verse emerged as a popular vehicle through the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare which was respected across the continent. It was a time of experimentation when verse was used to treat subjects such as theology and science with the same affectations as romance. Poetry was popular with noblemen and peasants alike.
I Must Have Wanton Poets by Christopher Marlow
I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,
Musicians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant king which way I please:
Music and poetry is his delight;
Therefore I'll have Italian masks by night,
Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows;
And in the day, when he shall walk abroad,
Like sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad;
My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawns,
Shall with their goat-feet dance the antic hay;
Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,
And in his sportful hands an olive-tree,
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring; and there, hard by,
One like Actæon, peeping through the grove,
Shall by the angry goddess be transform'd,
And running in the likeness of an hart,
By yelping hounds pull'd down, shall seem to die:
Such things as these best please his majesty.
- Scottish Chaucerians were a group of 16th century Scottish poets influenced by the writings of Chaucer. It was a time when poets tried to create something new from what had gone before. The works of Chaucer were not their only influence. The poetry also reflected a distinct Scottish flavor, using the traditions and history of the Scots. Names of poets included King James I, Robert Henryson, William Dunbar and Gawin Douglas.
To a Lady by William Dunbar
SWEET rois of vertew and of gentilness,
Delytsum lily of everie lustynes,
Richest in bontie and in bewtie clear,
And everie vertew that is wenit dear,
Except onlie that ye are mercyless
Into your garth this day I did persew;
There saw I flowris that fresche were of hew;
Baith quhyte and reid most lusty were to seyne,
And halesome herbis upon stalkis greene;
Yet leaf nor flowr find could I nane of rew.
I doubt that Merche, with his cauld blastis keyne,
Has slain this gentil herb, that I of mene;
Quhois piteous death dois to my heart sic paine
That I would make to plant his root againe,--
So confortand his levis unto me bene.