Among My Books

Among My Books

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Excerpt: ...I think he sympathized to the last. His rebukes of clerical worldliness are in the Puritan tone, and as severe a one as any is in "Mother Hubberd's Tale," published in 1591.291 There is an iconoclastic relish in his account of Sir Guyon's demolishing the Bower of Bliss that makes us think he would not have regretted the plundered abbeys as perhaps Shakespeare did when he speaks of the winter woods as "bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang";- "But all those pleasant bowers and palace brave Guyon broke down with rigor pitiless, Ne ought their goodly workmanship might save Them from the tempest of his wrathfulness, But that their bliss he turned to balefulness; Their groves he felled, their gardens did deface, Their arbors spoil, their cabinets suppress, Their banquet-houses burn, their buildings rase, And of the fairest late now made the foulest place." But whatever may have been Spenser's religious opinions (which do not nearly concern us here), the bent of his mind was toward a Platonic mysticism, a supramundane sphere where it could shape universal forms out of the primal elements of things, instead of being forced to put up with their fortuitous combinations in the unwilling material of mortal clay. He who, when his singing robes were on, could never be tempted nearer to the real world than under some subterfuge of pastoral or allegory, expatiates joyously in this untrammelled ether: - "Lifting himself out of the lowly dust On golden plumes up to the purest sky." Nowhere does his genius soar and sing with such continuous aspiration, nowhere is his phrase so decorously stately, though rising to an enthusiasm which reaches intensity while it stops short of vehemence, as in his Hymns to Love and Beauty, especially the latter. There is an exulting spurn of earth in it, as of a soul just loosed from its cage. I shall make no extracts from it, for it is one of those intimately coherent more

Product details

  • Paperback | 106 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 6mm | 204g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236688244
  • 9781236688248