Epithalamium in Elizabethan Poetry

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VILNIUS UNIVERSITY
KAUNAS FACULTY OF HUMANITIES

DEPARTMENT OF GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

SIGITA SUBAČIŪTĖ

EPITHALAMIUM IN ENGLISH ELIZABETHAN POETRY: SPENSER AND DONNE

BA THESIS
English Philology (State Code 61204H108)

Scientific adviser __________ Graduate student _____________
(signature) (signature)

_________________________Handing-in date ______________
(Pedagogical and scientific degrees,
name and surname)
Registration No.

KAUNAS 2010

VILNIAUS UNIVERSITETAS
KAUNO HUMANITARINIS FAKULTETAS

GERMANŲ FILOLOGIJOS KATEDRA

SIGITA SUBAČIŪTĖ

EPITALAMA ANGLŲ KARALIENĖS ELŽBIETOS EPOCHOS POEZIJOJE: SPENSERIS IR DONNE’AS

BAKALAURO DARBAS
Anglų filologija (Valstybinis kodas 61204H108)

Darbo vadovas _____________ Bakalauras ________________
(parašas)(parašas)

______________________________ Darbo įteikimo data _____________ (darbo vadovo pedagoginis laipsnis,
mokslo laipsnis, vardas, pavardė)Registracijos Nr. _______________

KAUNAS 2010

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION4
1the HERMENEUTIC theory of interpretation6
2EPITHALAMIUM: FROM FOLK SONG TRADITION TO LITERARY HERITAGE9 2.1Classical epithalamic tradition: Greek and Roman epithalamia10 2.1.1Sapphic epithalamium: the model of epithalamic convention10 2.1.2The blending of Greek epithalamic motifs and Roman wedding tradition: Catullus 61, 62 and 6411 2.1.3Rhetorical Latin epithalamium: the continuation of traditional motifs in a different form13 2.2The Medieval epithalamium: wedding songs in the light of sanctity14 2.3Renaissance epithalamium15

2.3.1Neo-Latin epithalamium16
2.3.2Italian vernacular epithalamium: original poems with Classical elements17 2.3.3French vernacular epithalamium: fusion of conventions and motifs18 3the ELIZABETHAN model of epithalamium19

3.1Spenserian epithalamic patterns20
3.1.1Epithalamion: a hymn to spiritual purity and love21 3.1.1.1The union of modesty and eroticism21
3.1.1.2Reflection of traditional schemes and their modification in Epithalamion33 3.1.2Prothalamion: the novelty of the genre and the motif of marriage in relation to time36 3.2John Donne’s Metaphysical Epithalamia45

3.2.1Epithalamion made at Lincolnes Inne: a “conceitedly dressed” wedding song45 3.2.2An Epithalamion, or Marriage Song on the Lady Elizabeth, and Count Palatine being married on St Valentines Day: the image of two Phoenixes51 3.2.3Ecclogue: the melancholy of pastoral epithalamion57 CONCLUSIONS65

SANTRAUKA67
REFERENCES68
INTERNET SOURCES69
aPPENDIX 1 Edmund Spenser’s epithalamia72
aPPENDIX 2 John Donne’s epithalamia87
aPPENDIX 3 Fragments from Sappho’s epithalamia99
aPPENDIX 4 Catullus’ epithalamia102
aPPENDIX 5 Modern epithalamia107
INTRODUCTION
THE WEDDING SONG HAS A LONG AND IMPRESSIVE HISTORY SINCE THERE IS NO COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE ITS MARRIAGE TRADITIONS. THE EARLIEST REMAINING EXCERPTS FROM EPITHALAMIA ARE THE ONES COMPOSED BY THE GREEK POETESS SAPPHO. THEOCRITUS IS ANOTHER GREEK POET WHO IS CREDITED WITH HAVING WRITTEN AN EPITHALAMIUM. ROMANS TOOK THE TRADITION OF EPITHALAMIUM FROM GREEKS AND APPLIED IT TO THEIR WEDDING CUSTOMS. CATULLUS’ EPITHALAMIA ARE TREATED BY LITERARY SCHOLARS AS THE MOST PROMINENT AND THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WITH REGARD TO THE ENGLISH ELIZABETHAN EPITHALAMIA. THERE WERE SEVERAL ELIZBETHAN POETS WHO COMPOSED EPITHALAMIA IN ENGLAND, THE MOST FAMOUS OF WHOM IS EDMUND SPENSER, THE AUTHOR OF EPITALAMION WHICH IS UNANIMOUSLY CONSIDERED AS THE MOST REMARKABLE EXAMPLE OF THE GENRE. JOHN DONNE WROTE HIS METAPHYSICAL (OR BAROQUE) EPITHALAMIA WITH MOST INTRICATE AND WITTY CONCEITS. IN THE SUCCEEDING DECADES THE NUMBER OF EPITHALAMIA HAD BEEN GRADUALLY DECLINING TILL EVENTUALLY IT ALMOST DISAPPEARED. ALTHOUGH THERE CAN BE FOUND SEVERAL INSTANCES...
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