"Carew's 'A Rapture': The Dynamics of Fantasy,"

Critic: Paula Johnson
Source: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. XVI, No. 1, Winter, 1976, pp. 145-55.
Criticism about: Thomas Carew (1595?-1640)

[(essay date 1976) In the following essay, Johnson analyzes Carew's erotic poem "A Rapture."]

"A Rapture" was in its day a very shocking poem. Not only did it provoke rebuttals from poets as small as Habington and as great as Marvell, but it even drew upon Carew a reproof in Parliament.1 Its reputation has persisted to our own times: until recently it has been regularly omitted from anthologies of seventeenth-century verse, and as regularly included in collections of erotica.2 Carew's editors have been reticent or disapproving in their annotations, and literary historians have usually shied away with the briefest of ambivalent remarks. "A Rapture" is "the most daring and poetically the happiest of the imitations of Donne's clever if outrageous elegies"; it "has great interest as a libertine version of the Golden Age theme," but is Carew's "longest, best, and least printable poem," his "most notoriously licentious verses."3 Edward Selig, author of the only full-length critical study of Carew's work, ignores "A Rapture" altogether. The only more extended comments I know of are buried in studies that few are likely to consult.4

Gradually and recently, however, a few critics have begun, if not to discuss the poem, at least to acknowledge its existence less coyly. Howarth, to be sure, felt bound to allude to it obliquely by calling Carew "a moral theorist occupied with the problem of abstract sanctions and restraints upon human conduct";5 but this appeal to a justifying high seriousness has come to seem less necessary. Skelton's honest delight in Carew's "high spirits and witty use of sexual imagery" puffs away the moralistic haze, but he simplifies too much, I think, when he goes on to classify the poem as a "witty exercise," one of those jeux d'esprit that do no more than "amuse us as accurate portrayals of masculine sexuality."6 Martz, in a graver vein, judges that "A Rapture" "achieves success and even a sense of purity, through Carew's delicate use of traditional pastoral images, all imbued with a sense of nature's deep vitality."7 And Parfitt, in a finely perceptive essay on Carew, brings the re-evaluation a step farther along: in "A Rapture" Carew "not only acknowledges a conflict between Christianity and the erotic but suggests that such a clash is inevitable, while his embodiment of the erotic has such force and beauty that it makes the erotic-moral opposition a real factor in the poem, makes the poem a disturbing phenomenon, puzzling and extending our experience as poetry should do."8 In view of the change in cultural climate that these successive comments reflect, I believe it is now possible to give this chef d'oeuvre of a considerable minor poet the attention it deserves and demands. Deserves, for its position in literary history; demands, because it is puzzling and disturbing, and because like all good erotica, it's fun. It's too late in the day of this world not to admit, with Eric Partridge, that "a dirty mind is a constant joy."

Though Dunlap properly refers the reader to Tasso, Marino, Ovid, and Donne, he does not suggest any single poem of which "A Rapture" is translation or imitation; nor can I. Probably it is better to think in terms of analogues rather than sources for poems like this one so thoroughly inmeshed with poetic traditions, conventions, and fashions; but even a list of analogues tends to infinity. One might add to Dunlap's list Saint-Amant's La Jouyssance; Venus' garden in Fletcher's Venus and Anchises and the garden of touch in Marino's L'Adone; voyages to a pleasure-isle in the latter poem, the Gerusalemme Liberata, and the second book of The Faerie Queene;9 the influence of the blason, perhaps via Sidney's "What tongue can her perfections tell," but also from innumerable other poets; the dilemma of the classical lovers in Elysium that Donne suggests in "Loves Deitie" and Suckling makes explicit in "Oh for some honest lover's ghost"; the far-off but also very near context of the Song of Songs, the Amores and Ars Amatoria, and the Greek Anthology. The catalogue is limited only by one's reading experience and one's patience, and tells us in the end only what we knew already: that Carew is not, in the modern sense, very "original." But let us turn to the poem.

Any poem is, in the reader's experience, both a simultaneous system and a patterned series of events. In neither of these aspects is "A Rapture" wholly consistent; whether we begin at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop, or we bring together parts of the poem that temporal sequence separates, there are frustrations as well as satisfactions. Though I cannot always offer a way out of these difficulties, there are a couple of small guideposts that will direct us into them.

The first indicator is the word there: "There, shall the Queene of Love" (25); "there I'le behold" (27), "No curtaine there" (31), "There, a bed" (35); and then the word becomes unnecessary until 99: "There, no rude sounds," "All things are lawful there" (111), "The Roman Lucrece there" (115)--this is as close to an exhaustive listing as we need. Most of the time, "there" is clearly Love's Elysium (in line 31 it may also be the woman's body); but why should its there-ness need to be underlined in just these passages, and what enables the poet to dispense with it in others? As soon as the lovers are comfortably settled in the happy garden, we need no longer be reminded that this is far, far away; in fact, to remind us would be to rupture the illusion. But after the moment of ultimate bliss, the reminders come back, and with doubled force, because at the same time appears our second indicator. Carew shifts from the future tense, which has governed the entire poem until this point, and (with a brief respite in 147-150) remains until the end in the grammatical present. The first corollary of this change is an exorcism: "no affright ... no jealous cares ... no envious eyes"--don't let the practical difficulties of a real assignation tarnish the elysian joys. There must be contrasted as strongly as possible with the here that one dare not mention as such. And the indicators take us still further: Celia never exists in the present; she belongs entirely to the mode of "I will enjoy thee." The intentional force of that initial "will" does not, however, persist; "there, a bed / Of Roses, and fresh Myrtles shall be spread" is obviously not a statement of intent or command; rather, it is a use of non-present as a means of creating the sense of distance. Children playing make-believe sometimes use past tense to similar purpose ("Pretend I was a robber and you came walking by not noticing anything"), to clarify to each other that this is make-believe. In Carew's poem, since the poem is itself an imaginative construction, this use of the non-present produces a fantasy within a fantasy, at a safe distance from the self that ordinary life demands we maintain. Only when the poet turns his attention away from Celia to the procession of the repentant chaste, where the legendary or literary nature of the characters removes them automatically into the fantastic realm, can he afford present verbs. The tenses also draw our attention to the first and last sections of the poem, the arguments against honor. In the beginning honor "is but a Masquer" that the "wise" lovers can in fancy elude--"mounted on the wings of love / Wee'le cut the flitting ayre." But at the end, honor becomes a tyrant and usurper, who "Bids me fight and kill." It no longer merely "is" a pageant that one can scorn, but it acts, fetters, dispenses, commands, makes. The general meaning, then, of there and shall is that of any-time-but-now-any-place-but-here, the realm of fantasy, untrammeled by problems or probabilities, by repressions or restraints, a land freer even than our dreams.

And the dream-poem is one obvious kind of analogue with "A Rapture." From the Roman de la Rose to Petrarch to Sidney to Herrick, one of the accepted ways for a poet to describe the yielding of his mistress is to say that "it was only a dream," thus to disimplicate her and excuse himself, while saying nevertheless what he most desires to say. The crucial difference between the analogues and Carew's poem is that in the latter the poet neither goes to sleep nor wakes up. Cleveland begins "The Senses Festival" by confessing unreality ("I saw a Vision yesternight"), and Suckling ends His Dream with the broken line, "and then--I awak'd"; not so Carew. One is not always sure whether this poet knows he is dreaming. Nor would it be accurate to explain this peculiarity by saying that Carew dramatizes an ego-ideal in a wished-for situation, like Donne in "Going to Bed." Donne's hypothetical mistress is actualized, as everyone knows, by the imperatives that relate the speaker to her while they indirectly describe her movements; Carew abandons imperatives after the first paragraph, where, except perhaps for "draw neere" they indicate no action at all; and in the broad center of the poem he attributes to the lady not so much as a gesture. The bedtime partners of Ovid, Donne, and Marino are always present, making signs to the lover, stepping into bed, scolding, resisting, acquiescing. Celia must be the most completely passive female in erotic literature--what other lady was ever compared to a "sea of milke"? "The consequence," as Skelton puts it, "is that we feel Carew is greatly enjoying his poem and kicking over the moral traces; but we are not convinced that a real Celia is in question."10 Skelton, it is fair to say, attributes this consequence to Carew's "fanciful dexterity"; but there's more to it than that. In order to understand what's really going on, we'll need a play-by-play account (for clarity, leaving all the arguments about honor to the end of the discussion).

Carew's Celia is doubtless from Volpone--"Come my Celia, let us prove / While we may, the sports of love"--but for Carew, "I will enjoy" is the first thought, and the command "come" is its incidental result. The immediacy of "now" does not outlast the opening line, though the mutuality implied by "with me" does, as in line 14 the poet adroitly places himself with the lady, sharing her scruples but relegating them to the past. But the concomitant singular "thou" further implies that the poet is a little more sophisticated than the lady; he has learned the truth about honor and is eager to share his discovery. "Come then," he invites for the second time, and the lovers are on their way to where Venus is queen not only of love and beauty but also of nature and innocence. "Our close Ivy twines" refers to later action; first, the subject changes from "we" to "I" and Celia only remains as the possessive pronoun before metaphorized parts of a female body bared, unbraided, naked, exposed. The lover's first act is to "behold"; even his "enfranchiz'd hand" merely "slides" without response over an ivory figurine. The poet may be using a flexible version of the five-senses scheme of Chapman and Marino, with some rearrangement and redistribution of emphasis. In any case this section is chiefly visual and primarily distinguished for its artistry. The stock epithets snowy and golden become nouns, on the mannerist assumption that we already know the conventions and expect the poet to show how skillfully he can manipulate them: "Thy bared snow and thy unbraided gold." Unlike these witty metaphorizings, "ivory" takes us definitely away from the human body, a movement which is consonant with the intent of the poem. Carew draws aside the curtain that hides the picture, to show that although honor is manmade and delusive, art, also manmade, is the revelation of invention and craft. This snow-gold-ivory figure, the virginity of whose treasure multiplies its price, is the product of the poet's ars amatoria, which thus obliquely confirms the high value of body and art and of the poet's experience of both. But unfortunately (from one viewpoint) this success of ingenium makes for a human failure, since in transforming the woman's body into precious artifice, Carew denies to it any possibility of response, any interior. It slips paradoxically into the same category as the "vast Idoll," having no value and no life in itself, but only the value the poet imputes to it, which rests in turn only on his own enjoying and beholding.

At the end of this section, unexpected aptness refreshes the hackneyed conceit of coining. The poet admits that the sexual act is reproductive, but plays down this reality, as one must in a poem of fruition. The lovers--Celia has temporarily been recalled in "we"--will produce not offspring but Cupids, cupiditates, ever-renewed desires. Their "faint respites" suggest that consummation has already taken place; "may" in line 42 is future by implication, and in relation to that future the lovers dream of "past pleasures." Their dreams and waking experience merge, just as fantasy and reality have done in the poem. The natural surroundings--the "enamoured chirping Wood-quire," the "trembling leaves," and the "dancing shade"--engage in active play while the humans are quiescent. So thorough is the merging that the "soft murmure" in line 51 may come either from within or outside the lovers; all is "entranc'd in amourous languishment." A closed couplet of beautifully paired lines rounds off the paragraph: the promised heats appear like lightning--"Rowze us, and shoot into our veins fresh fire." The sudden shock exhilarates us the more for following a lull, and the forceful succession of monosyllables electrifies the senses "Till wee, in their sweet extasie expire," as the repeated prefix and downward-turning inflection breathe out, linger, and relax. Though the actual consummation can only be described once without risk of redundancy, the poem's movement represents multiple climaxes and releases of tension. The transparent image of "the empty Bee, that lately bore / Into the common treasure, all her store" gives us, if we need it, confirmation that the poet has just treated us to orgasm-by-analogy.

When after the formal simile the "I" returns to "rifle all the sweets" after the bee's "Deflowering the fresh virgins of the spring," we may well wonder just how "common" the treasure really is. Even the woman's body becomes for the lover "my delicious Paradise"; as a person she has vanished again, leaving the poet alone with his amorous imagery. Not the couple now, but only the mistress merges with the painted fields. This is not a place to which "we" will fly, but which "I will enjoy"--Celia is love's Elysium. Carew's autocentricity here is, to the best of my knowledge, rivalled only by Lovelace, who at the end of "To Chloris: Love made in the first age" roundly declares. "Enjoying of myself I lie." But where Lovelace is crude, the poet of "A Rapture," by the loving care he expends on the work of nimble fancy, reminds one of Mozart's Cherubino: "Ogni donna mi fa palpitar ... E se non ho chi m'oda, Parlo d'amor con me." It is the wish-fulfiling dream of an adolescent, graceful, charming, and utterly self-absorbed.

And this helps to account for one of the poem's difficulties. Carew alters the poem's mode without warning, and the reader may have an uneasy feeling that the ground under his feet isn't quite steady. Perhaps we can discover why this is so. The poet addresses his first argument to his mistress in the time-honored fictive way. We are not given any reason, at that point, for believing that Celia's manner of being is different from Laura's, Stella's, Delia's, or that of Spenser's inamorata. Any of the poems written "to" these more or less illusive ladies could in fact be sent to a real woman. They are socially plausible, as indeed are Marino's "La Pastorella" and "Trastulli estivi," and Donne's "Going to Bed," despite the difference in implied social effect. This interpersonal aspect is important, because any real reader has to be able to imagine a fairly definite implied reader, so as to know what stance toward the poem he should adopt. Among the poet's subtlest and most crucial masteries is the art of putting the reader where he would have him. Love poets, as Empson remarked, "are wooing the reader even if they are not trying to seduce a mistress";11 thus the model for the reader's transaction with a love-poem can only be the projected inter-personal relation of the fictive lovers. But in what socially--or indeed humanly--credible attitude can one imagine Celia?

Through line 28 the poet is making a standard libertine plea, and it is always assumed in such cases that the lady's refusal precedes, succeeds, and is concurrent with the poet's address. But once we have moved into the middle of the poem, Carew must imply the lady's consent, and that implication belongs only to certain genres other than the suasoria--the epithalamium for instance (which is why Grierson was able to read "Going to Bed" as a nuptial poem). Consent is also decorous if the poet has not attributed to the lady any present scruples: thus parts of the Amores, Catullus' "Vivamus mea Lesbia," and a few of Donne's Songs and Sonets. Carew, whose social sensitivity is elsewhere exquisite--in, for example, "To A. D., unreasonable distrustfull of her owne beauty", and in the green-sickness poems12--has here misjudged the effect of combined conventions. The poet's shift from one set of implications about the lady to a quite different set, without transition, warning, or even recognition of the shift, leaves the reader wondering just where he is. Nor is one's puzzlement much mended by Celia's penchant for melting into the landscape. There is no a priori reason why she shouldn't do this; only before we interpret her as Spenserian fecundity, we need to be given some clue as to the relation between the actualized shy social creature of lines 13-16 and the metamorphosed body of 63-90.

Carew's symbols, Selig says, have "a power to suggest connaturality between mind and matter, between inner and outer atmospheres which are wholly transparent, and through which rays of pure sunlight shine down upon a precious world."13 But when the lover, following the bee, carries out his oral exploration of the garden that Celia's body has become, the symbolism is by no means wholly transparent. One can visualize the metaphoric vehicles, and one can visualize the woman's alluring nakedness, but the relation between them is problematical. In his excitement the lover calls up one delicious metaphor after another, regardless of whether a less heated imagination can combine them intelligibly or not. With the "ripned Cherry" he evidently begins a love's progress downward along the route of the blason, but seems to lose and recover his way in phantasmagoria of flowers, geography, and partial glimpses of female anatomy. Although the code in this passage seems oddly vague and inconsistent, Carew is subtle and precise about the consummation, which makes it the more strange that he should be imprecise here. The alchemical conceit that follows is clearer. "Then bring the great Elixar to thy hive" surely represents yet another analogical consummation (this would be the third), but it occurs, I believe, by analogy and not actually. Though most of the body-symbols are decipherable anatomically, they are interesting and enriching because they are more than mere anatomy. Thus "Elixar" is best taken as the potency that intimate contact with his mistress' body awakens in the lover. He, then, is the source of highest good; it is he who, poet-like, transforms the material. But because the poet has completely replaced the mistress by his art, he can as lover offer the "one soveraigne Balme" only, in effect, to his own imagination. Similarly, in lines 79-80, he can identify only his own limbs, and only he can act; the landscaped lady is deactualized to a mere "thine." Even the lover's Jovian tempest evokes no response from the "smooth, calme Ocean," but by now this radical split between passive and active is no longer surprising. The dreamer's godlike omnipotence is characteristic of fantasy, and Carew throughout the poem underlines this absolute power by terms of seemingly unnecessary violence: "rifle," "seize," "ravisht," "storme," "unrip." And we remember that the poem's title can mean rape as well as ecstasy. Fantasy's obverse characteristic is isolation: though in this realm one can do everything, there is no testing actuality to bump against. In fantasy, one is omnipotent, invulnerable, and all, all alone.

The lady does at last begin to fade back into the picture; and although her disappearance taints Carew's lushness with hints of frustration, her reappearance and the return to considerations of the real world are managed with--forgive me--consummate skill.

Carew obscures the action a little by using three different phallic symbols, and by the proleptic "Ride safe at Anchor." Again, as in lines 63-74, the speaker in his excitement abandons realistic sequence and consistent imagery. But this time intercourse not foreplay is in question and the mistress's actuality can no longer be forgotten. The lover needs the help of her "bold hand" and the evidence of his prowess in the "bounding waves" of her response.14 That response is irrelevant to sensations of the lover's own body only until he can feel her involuntary movement. Then she once again becomes real and active, with an embrace and kisses. But when her presence, however hypothetical, forces itself on the dreamer, it wedges open the closed world of fantasy, evoking a remembrance of all the sordid and uncomfortable circumstances of an assignation in the real world, a remembrance that the change to present verbs dramatizes. The ship that was to convey the lovers safely between Honor's giant legs may have come to port, but the mental voyage does not end peacefully. The poet reacts to his unwelcome recollection by denial: "There, no rude sounds shake us with sudden starts." Elysium continues to exist, but precariously, as a negation, "there."

Ears and eyes, so fully rejoiced in Elysium, are in the real world "jealous" and "envious." The luscious garden of the body is reduced to "midnight Arbors and darke groves," furtively sought. The names "Of husband, wife, lust, modest, chaste, or shame" are hated as much in Elysium as they are respected in the world. Elysium, we suddenly realize, has inverted all values; there, "We only sinne when Loves rites are not done." In Elysium "Aretine" rhymes with "divine," the traditional opposites Lucrece and Lais merge, and the mighty voyages of Ulysses are merely "dull dreames of the lost Traveller." Though the poet insists that "All things are lawfull there," what he really means is that laws are turned around; one is under command to do exactly what the world forbids. Thus those who lived in chastity must when they reach Elysium "Pay into Loves Exchequer double rent." But the inversion contains ambiguity, too, since the line "Like, and enjoy, to will, and act, is one," which could be a motto for the whole poem, is susceptible of opposite readings: every impulse is immediately translated into act, and there are no acts, only private impulses. This ambiguity is connected with the difficulties in Carew's argument against honor.

When the lover, in lines 1-20, first exhorts Celia to disregard honor, he does not try very hard to develop a logical case. Honor is a chimera; the best people aren't fooled by it; to respect it is a kind of false religion--such are his grounds of persuasion. Of these only the last merits any allusion in the interior of the poem: "Th' enamoured chirping Wood-quire shall adore / In varied tunes the Deitie of Love"; and the perfume of Celia's kisses

Like a religious incense shall consume,
And send up holy vapours, to those powers
That blesse our loves, and crowne our sportfull houres.

Such is the true faith. At the end of the poem, however, Carew symbolizes honor, as we have seen, in political terms--the tyrant, usurper, false impostor, whose commands run counter to religion. But the religion is now Christianity, which although it "bids from bloodshed flye," is on honor's side in supporting chastity. Despite this incongruence, the poet's argument in lines 151-164 is effective. He asks, in summary, how one can do what is right when one's culture insists with equal vehemence on two incompatible kinds of behavior.

It is not so easy, though, to argue in favor of an inversion of values, because the conventional values are embedded in the language; his very words often betray the libertine. So do they our poet. He cannot have religion both for and against him, nor can he have it both ways in the language. We may recall that among the names hated in Elysium was "lust," which unlike the other terms is hated in the real world too. And it was not possible to turn impulse into act without turning act into impulse. Now at the poem's end, the betrayal is yet more damaging--in fact, completely destructive. Honor makes men "Atheists"--despisers of religion, bad people; so, asks the poet, why shouldn't it make women bad people too? The inversion has failed. For the analogy to work, one would have to find a term for unchaste women that would carry positive overtones. As the last line stands, the word "whores" suddenly re-inverts the whole moral world that the poet has been so carefully setting upside-down. However wryly, we must admit that honor wins in the end, that all the lovely sensations were delusive, that there is no way to withdraw finally from the ungracious demands of the hypocritical world.15 We understand at last the full meaning of the verb tenses: so far from establishing a still point of the turning world, they confessedly distinguish between what is, what may be postulated as fiction, and what, though we can wish it and dream it, is not and can never be.


1A. F. Allison, "Some Influences in Crashaw's Poem, 'On a Prayer Book sent to Mrs. M. R.,'" RES, 33 (1947), 34-42; James E. Ruoff, "Thomas Carew's Early Reputation," N & Q, 202 (1957), 61-62; Douglas Bush, Mythology and the Renaissance Tradition in English Poetry, rev. ed. (New York, 1963); Paulina Palmer, "Lovelace: Some Unnoticed Allusions to Carew," N & Q, 212 (March, 1967), 96-98; Paul Delany, "Attacks on Carew in William Habington's Poems," SCN, 24 (1968), 36; cf. also David Foxon, Libertine Literature in England, 1660-1745 (New Hyde Park, N.Y., 1965).

2"A Rapture" is included in Seventeenth Century Poetry, ed. Hugh Kenner (New York, 1964); The Anchor Anthology of Seventeenth Century Verse, 2, ed. Richard S. Sylvester (New York, 1969); The Cavalier Poets, ed. Robin Skelton (London, 1970); Literature of the English Renaissance, ed. Frank Kermode and John Hollander (New York, 1973); and, most recently, in Ben Jonson and the Cavalier Poets, ed. Hugh Maclean (New York, 1974); Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse, ed. T. R. Smith (New York, 1921); A Treasury of Ribaldry, ed. Louis Untermeyer (Garden City, N. Y., 1956); and Erotic Poetry: The Lyrics, Ballads, Idyls and Epics of Love--Classical to Contemporary, ed. William Cole (New York, 1963). Smith and Cole use Ebsworth's text (see below); Untermeyer omits the first and last sections of the poem.

3Editors: J. W. Ebsworth, The Poems and Masque of Thomas Carew (London, 1893); Arthur Vincent, The Poems of Thomas Carew (New York, 1899); Rhodes Dunlap, The Poems of Thomas Carew (Oxford, 1949). My quotations from Carew conform to Dunlap's text. Literary historians: H. J. C. Grierson, ed., Metaphysical Lyrics and Poems of the Seventeenth Century (1921; rpt. New York, 1959), p. xxvi; Frank Kermode, ed., English Pastoral Poetry, from the Beginnings to Marvell (London, 1952), p. 251; Rufus A. Blanshard, "Thomas Carew and the Cavalier Poets," Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, 43 (1954), 98; and Allison's article cited in note 1.

4Edward Selig, The Flourishing Wreath: A Study of Thomas Carew's Poetry (New Haven, 1958); Werner P. Friederich, Spiritualismus und Sensualismus in der Englischen Barocklyrik (Vienna, 1932), pp. 51-54. Friederich argues that erotic poems, of which he uses "A Rapture" as chief instance, are artistically negligible because they do not result from an inner struggle; he cites a comparative discussion of "A Rapture" and Donne's "The Extasie" in B. C. Clough's "The Metaphysical Poets," diss. Harvard, 1920, pp. 138ff. Friederich's general attitude is also that of J. B. Broadbent, Poetic Love (New York, 1965); my dissent will be apparent. See also Earl Miner, The Cavalier Mode (Princeton, 1971), pp. 80-82, 251-252.

5R. G. Howarth, ed., Minor Poets of the Seventeenth Century: Suckling, Lovelace, Carew, and Herbert (London, 1931), p. xiv.

6Robin Skelton, Cavalier Poets, Writers and their Work, 117 (London, 1960), pp. 11-12; cf. p. 18.

7Louis L. Martz, The Wit of Love (London and Notre Dame, 1969), p. 104.

8G. A. E. Parfitt, "The Poetry of Thomas Carew," RMS, 12 (1968), 56-67.

9On possible influences see David O. Frantz, "Leud Priapians' and Renaissance Pornography," SEL, 12 (1972), 157-172. For a comprehensive review of the garden topos, see A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic (Princeton, N. J., 1966); also, and more particularly, Frank Kermode, "The Argument in Marvell's 'Garden,'" EC, 2 (1952), 225-241.

10Skelton, Cavalier Poets, p. 12.

11William Empson, Some Versions of Pastoral (1935; rpt. Norfolk, Conn., 1960), p 132.

12Cf. Selig, pp. 87-90. An even more glaring example of incompatible conventions is Carew's "An Elegie" (Dunlap, p. 19).

13Selig, p. 82.

14It is possible that the lovers are practicing a primitive method of contraception similar to coitus interruptus. If so, the chronological sequence of entry after ejaculation may be literal. Poetic couplings, however, tend to be straightforward, no matter how elaborately they may be allegorized. Cf. Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians (New York, 1964), pp. 271-273, 280.

15Ebsworth's rewriting of the couplet: "This goblin 'Honour', whom the world enshrined, / Should make men Atheists, and not women kind?" has therefore the curious effect of eliminating not only an offensive word, but the clearest indication that the poet does, after all, know where he is.

Source: Paula Johnson, "Carew's 'A Rapture': The Dynamics of Fantasy," in Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. XVI, No. 1, Winter, 1976, pp. 145-55.