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Romance in Shakespeare, Dryden, and Donne's Poems

This posting addresses this scenario:

As you analyze this work, choose a poem by each of these poets. Then put together a journal entry that carefully evaluates the writing, based on a your 'Reader Response' reading of one (or more) of the poems. Focus on the element described as "romance." Describe the qualities of the poet's voice as you imagine.

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As you analyze these works, I have chosen three sample poems by each of these poets as models for you.

First, I chose Shakespeare's "Sonnet 14." Here is the text of the poem for you:

SONNET 14
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.

Poem found at http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/14detail.html

As you create your reader response journal to this piece, please suggest that this poem uses cosmic and natural imagery to show romance and love. I like how Shakespeare talks about "not from the stars do I my judgment pluck" to compare flower picking to star picking. His suggestion is romantic because it seems to say that he uses the stars to guide his love. He seems to consult the stars as one would confide in a friend about a love interest. It is romantic that he makes this type of comparison.

It makes me wonder about the role of astronomy and science back in Shakespeare's time. He sort of makes astronomy seem like a religion to the speaker in the poem, especially when he says,
"But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell..."

Besides astronomy and science, you might look at Shakespeare's romantic voice. He personifies romance as he proclaims,
"as truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate..."

He ties in truth and beauty to show the validity of romance. He uses formal words that we do not tend to use in everyday speech currently. By doing so, he seems to praise or even exalt his loved one. Although the poem has romantic flair in its coverage, its ending confused me a bit since it seemed a bit fatal, almost like the end of Romeo and Juliet. Please note how he ends the poem,
"Thy end is truths and ...

Solution Summary

One poem by each artist is examined in terms of reader response.

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