Cowley and Crashaw

  • David Trotter


In the previous chapter I examined The Mistress as a relatively autonomous work of literature, trying to offer an ‘inside view’ of the failure of certain codes. But because the love-lyric was a privileged form, the subject it made a place for—‘I am not I, pitie the tale of me’—was always already the subject required by the operation of locutionary truth, the ‘person propounding’ whose every message reinvents a code we recognise and credit. If The Mistress appears morbid, it is because its ceaseless reproduction in a damaged state of that lyric subject must automatically be a comment on the increasing difficulty of sustaining a locutionary truth. The demise it meditates so extensively is obscurely felt to be that of a whole manner of speaking.


Propositional Content Propositional Truth Sacred Place Paradise Lost Lyric Poet 
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  1. 1.
    Themis (1963) p. 328.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Complete Poetry, p. 494.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. Trevor-Roper, Archbishop Laud, pp. 357–8.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Warren, Richard Crashaw, p. 89; M. E. Rickey, Rhyme and Meaning in Richard Crashaw (Lexington, 1961).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
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  10. 10.
    Quoted by Allen Pritchard, ‘Puritan Charges Against Crashaw and’Beaumont’, p. 578. Crashaw translated two hymns by Aquinas.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
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  14. 13.
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    On the order of stanzas in this poem, see Clarence Miller, ‘The Order of Stanzas in Cowley and Crashaw’s “On Hope”’, SP, 61 (1964) pp. 64–73; and, more convincingly, G. W. Williams, ‘The Order of Stanzas in Cowley and Crashaw’s “On Hope”’, SB, 22 (1969) pp. 207–10. I shall quote from the text printed in Crashaw’s Complete Poetry.Google Scholar
  26. 24.
    and, more convincingly, G. W. Williams, ‘The Order of Stanzas in Cowley and Crashaw’s “On Hope”’, SB, 22 (1969) pp. 207–10. I shall quote from the text printed in Crashaw’s Complete Poetry.Google Scholar
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    It was a popular theme in seventeenth-century funeral orations. See, for example, Simon Patrick’s sermon preached at the funeral of John Smith, printed in Smith’s Select Discourses (1660).Google Scholar

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© David Trotter 1979

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  • David Trotter

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