"'Wee, of th'adult'rate mixture not complaine': Thomas Carew and Poetic Hybridity,"

Critic: Reid Barbour
Source: John Donne Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1988, pp. 91-113.
Criticism about: Thomas Carew (1595?-1640)


[(essay date 1988) In the following essay, Barbour assesses Carew's relationship to the poetic values of the Caroline era.]

This essay explores three related constituents of Thomas Carew's poetry. The first is the poet's uncertainty about the value of what he proclaimed his favorite poetic activity--lyric love poetry. Carew's pronounced ambivalence about this vein emerged from general Renaissance debates about the place of lyric in the literary hierarchy, but it has also influenced the conflicting assessments of his career. He is labelled, on the one hand, a poet of ease, a natural, a "privileged scoffer," and, on the other, a critical poet of "trouble and pain," a poet who almost wrote important verse and only inexactly qualifies for any school or tribe of poetry.1 Thus, Carew's readers seem to choose between two positions: a satisfaction with his polished lyrics; and a suspicion that Carew's wit does not rest so easily on such a severely limited place in the history of seventeenth-century verse. Rather than take sides, I shall argue that Carew's aesthetic stems in part from this very conflict in his appraisal of the lyric.

Second, Carew represents his unstable valuations of poetry--be it love lyric, verse panegyric, or even prose--as a dialogue between fixity and dispersion. For Carew and his coterie, fixity entails on the "good" side an ideational or truth-telling poetry, a socially conservative poetry, a rhetorically ordered and generically regimented poetry. On the "bad" side it spells "fixation": the poet's own limitations and redundancies, the monotony or obsession which Carew sometimes associates with his beloved "lyric feet." Accordingly, Carew sometimes wonders--and leads critics to ask--about what he might have written. Dispersion on the "bad" side indulges in the dissolute pleasure and empty rhetoric of those same lyric feet, constitutes the punishment which God (in the Psalms translated by Carew) metes out for such dissolution, and unleashes the flux threatening all centers of order--social, religious, and literary. But on the "good" side, Renaissance justifications of dispersion allow pleasure, mixed genres, and playful rhetoric, yield the exhilaration of the multiplex self (Montaigne), and facilitate the saving work of the Reformation.2 In Carew's poetry, seventeenth-century motives of fixity and dispersion interact in many guises. Further, they find an important measure of value in the poet's adoption of those metaphors for poetic "covers" so traditional in the medieval and exegetical inheritances of the seventeenth century, namely, the so-called integuments or veils under which truth--fixed or dispersed--is putatively secure.3 In essence, Carew's elegies and lyrics provide a site at which Caroline culture can display, yet also revaluate its reliance on ornamental surfaces.

Finally, and this is third, Carew's unstable literary values provoke him to seek a utopian or privileged discourse that will reconcile, in one hybrid genre, the grandeur of a socially committed poetry, the pleasure of lyric, and the plain fidelity sometimes associated with prose in the early seventeenth century. As the poet explores his media, especially in the masque, he becomes, in A. J. Smith's words, a "superior artist because he admits contrary impulses to his poems and holds them in tense balance, when his associates are happy to fall back upon cliches of sentiment or party loyalties."4 As in Marvell's poetry, however, "style will not resolve a real clash of interests."5 Thus, Smith's "balance" resembles the elusive ideals of hybrid discourse and concordia discors which Carew proposes but must always refashion.

I

Carew's unstable valuation of the love lyric may readily be placed in context. In De Sapientia Veterum, Francis Bacon epitomizes the Renaissance indecision about love's fixity and dispersion. In his interpretation of "Pan," Bacon reads the battle between Pan and Cupid as that between nature's "certain inclination and appetite to dissolve the world and fall back into ancient chaos" and the "overswaying concord of things [which] restrains its will and effort in that direction and reduces it to order."6 But if Cupid controls the atomistic flux of nature, he also allegorizes that very flux; in his essay on Cupid, Bacon calls the blind archer the "natural motion" of the atom; though the atoms "come together," they also undo everything "fixed and immovable."7 Both sides of Cupid are imperilled in what Bacon feels to be the obvious interpretation of the dangerous Sirens--the pleasure whose obsession (fixation) leads to dissolution.8

In his short lyric, "A Fancy," Carew suggests the ambivalent value of lyric pleasure in terms of the poetic surface and its coterie readers.

Marke how this polisht Easterne sheet
Doth with our Northerne tincture meet,
For though the paper seeme to sinke,
Yet it receives, and bears the Inke;
And on her smooth soft brow these spots
Seeme rather ornaments then blots;
Like those you Ladies use to place
Mysteriously about your face:
Not only to set off and breake
Shaddowes and Eye beames, but to speake
To the skild Lover, and relate
Vnheard, his sad or happy Fate:
Nor doe their Characters delight,
As carelesse workes of black and white:
But 'cause you underneath may find
A sence that can enforme the mind;
Divine, or moral rules impart
Or Raptures of Poetick Art:
So what at first was only fit
To fold up silkes, may wrap up wit.9

Majorie Donker and George M. Dulbrow have summarized the problems faced by Renaissance theorists who sought to place lyric on the literary hierarchy. Although "lyric" refers, for the most part, to "expressions of praise and persuasion," it ranges from the highest (lauding God, truth, virtue, honor) to the "middle" (according to Puttenham), to the "ignoble" (indulging in human love and pleasure).10 The same goes for the value of the love lyric in Carew's "A Fancy." Although the convening of ink and paper11 can depict any occasion of writing or printing which in some cases may be channelled into "Raptures of Poetick Art," the first twelve lines also figure the specific vein of silken wit, the smooth and amorous lyrics so persistently issued from Carew's pen, and proclaimed by Carew and his contemporaries as his typical activity--his fixation. As a result, the location (above, "underneath") and agenda ("delight," "impart") of "Raptures" are more elusive than the clear divisions of the poem lead us to believe.

Robert S. Kinsman has argued that qualities akin to fixity and dispersion are mutually associated with Renaissance "fancy." This faculty "is conceived of as an analytical and combinative power," and in music, the "fantasia" thrives on an improvisatory energy which, nonetheless, serves religiously to captivate the auditor: "[i]t is surely of interest that a form acknowledging the force of fancy, that skittery inward sense so frequently rebellious to reason, should have ultimately tamed unruly affections as it added its own entrancing 'free' vigor to the restraints of a musical ratio."12 "A Fancy," the first few images underscore orthodox assets of determinacy in writing. The opening two couplets offer a clever tribute to form-giving powers; the moment when the pen touches paper is both the literal occasion and the metaphorical explanation of ordered expression. Sinking, or excessive absorption of ink so as to produce indefinite shapes,13 is only a superficial, though pleasing, illusion: the paper surprisingly "bears the Inke"; the contrary qualities of North and East seem resolved; and vague "blots" appear clarified for the "marking" spectator.

"Polisht" and "smooth" are, however, epithets frequently associated by Carew with his typical poetry, his amorous "Lyrique feet, that of the smooth soft way / Of Love, and Beautie, onely know the tread" (Dunlap, 74.6-7). Couched in terms of praise for writing in general, the series of figures beginning "and on her smooth soft brow" gestures toward the amorous conventions that Carew and his contemporaries, even Parliament,14 agreed to be his type (though they disagreed at times on its merits). The connection between poetic ornament and female adornment has a long history and finds important Elizabethan expression in Puttenham.15 So too Carew's contemporaries, especially dramatists, compare women's faces to the purity of blank paper, so that writing in schemes and tropes ranges in association from the signs of courtship to the expense of contamination and domination.16 In Carew's lyric, the indefinite spots secretly appeal to a coterie audience in a fashion at once mysterious and clear. The inky ornaments connecting writing and amours are fancied as a lover's language which must function under the duress of social rules and fickle privilege. Thus figures on the face (paper) inflect, deflect, and reflect at the surface, addressing their special audience, "the skild Lover" (reader), so that the words are "unheard" and yet articulate. Only the initiated reader can decipher such signs.

But the poem does not stop here; rather, it commits itself, though tentatively, to the truth-value of these ornaments. Throughout the first twelve lines, the status of the spots, poetic or otherwise, is elusive. Prior to their becoming witty "characters" in the latter part of the poem (and with that change the authorized vehicles for significant poetry), they waver on a threshold between non-language and ornamented language. The facial ornaments are both fixed in their meaning (they "relate") and dispersive in their activities (they "set off and breake / Shaddowes and Eye beames"): they are at once secure and indirect, powerful and pleasurable.

Yet the alternatives of the final eight lines focus on the validity of these "spots," and raise a central issue for Carew's career; that is, the poet's full participation in the lyrics of courtly fantasy intensifies his recurring criticism of the same in poems, say, to "La: Pen," Donne, and Sandys. In the final eight lines, we move from "spots" to "characters," from figurative indirection to statement "underneath" the traditional shell of poetry, and from the analogy of love-games and writing to the potential morality and truth securing language--a movement qualified by "can" and "may." Officially, all worthy poetry has something beneath its surface, and so, in line with traditional hierarchies, the "Raptures of Poetick Art"--potentially, though not necessarily didactic--come almost as an afterthought. They are also, as we have seen, a forethought. In Horatian terms of delight and instruction, then, such "Raptures" are situated somewhere between "carelesse" delights and imparted truth, between amours and morality. Delight itself is tentatively defined; either all delights are careless (including the "spots"), or some, the "Raptures," are "careful" in their alignment with "sence." In sum, Carew's valuation of lyric poetry wavers where one dichotomy (non-poetic and poetic) collides with another within poetry itself (smooth, amorous lyric and serious wit).17

The final couplet epitomizes this uncertainty about love lyrics, even as it completes the marshalling activity of logic ("so") and parallelism ("may wrap up wit" matching "underneath may find"). Either the paper was fit to fold silk (or fish) before it received any kind of fancy, or one kind of fancy, silken love poetry, compromises language in its dissolute pleasure.18 If Carew's poetry is consistent about the terms in which he characterizes his "prophaner" verse ("smooth," "soft," "polisht"), it explores, in turn, the inconsistencies in the linguistic status and value of profaneness--alternately full and empty, fixed and dispersed, useful and fruitless, and sometimes all these qualities at once.

II

In Carew's "Ingratefull beauty threatned", the speaker's anger at his arrogant mistress disturbs the skill which he has acquired in reading the integuments of love. Unlike Donne's confident elitist in "To his Mistris Going to Bed,"19 Carew's speaker, having "fixt" the woman in his realm, finds only a troubled analogy with the priestly poets who wrap truth in veils and yet continue to see it:

Let fooles thy mystique formes adore,
          I'le know thee in thy mortall state:
Wise Poets that wrap't Truth in tales,
Knew her themselves, through all her vailes. (18.15-18)

The truth which the love poet sees beneath his own fiction is now flawed and common; he has flattered his mistress in order to manipulate her, and now struggles with the discrepancies between the shells of "Wise Poets" and his own.

But the most brilliantly disturbing analogy between writing and rapture is "A Rapture."20 Its main strategy is parodic, displacing and mixing resources to upset any systematic or pure poetics. As the speaker evades "[t]he huge Collosses legs," pities Penelope's "dull dreames," and calls for a total revision of love's elegiac and otherwise lyric traditions, he creates a proximity between supposedly serious and dissolute kinds of poetry. That Carew learned much from Donne in this poem ("more subtle wreathes") yet provided resources for Crashaw's ecstasy over the prayerbook21 concurs with this strategy. So do its title ("Rapture")--the ambivalence of which we saw in "A Fancy"--and genre (elegy)--the Renaissance range of which spans from the exalted praise of dead aristocrats to the erotic seduction of a mistress. Throughout the poem, Carew figures the analogy between writing and sex in images of fixing and unfixing.

The speaker of "A Rapture" calls for a freedom from traditional values--shams, he says, akin to economic abuse. Yet attempting to obtain his own mastery over the silent mistress--one which coins, rifles, and collects double rent--he makes the sexual writerly ("wearing as I goe / A tract for lovers on the printed snow" [51.71-72]) and the literary grotesquely sexual: the raped Lucrece proves to enjoy pornographic lectures, and so imitates art along the lines of those mangled orgies fancied by "Loves great master, Aretine" (52.116). Thus, "to quench the burning Ravisher, she hurles / Her limbs into a thousand winding curles, / And studies artfull postures, such as be / Caru'd on the barke of every neighbouring tree / By learned hands" (52.119-23). Both "plyant" and "caru'd," Lucrece's dissolution is somehow controlled by the obsessions of love's master: fixation and dispersion interlock. Indeed, several images in the poem depict unfixing: for example, Ovid's "Daphne hath broke her barke, and that swift foot, / which th'angry Gods had fastned with a root / To the fixt earth, doth now unfetter'd run" (52.131-33). But Daphne's release--and the speaker's release from the tyranny of tradition and honor--become fixed in an alternative tradition, with its own "fixt earth," isolated paradise, and abuses. Of course, her status has literary relevance: Daphne, secured again in the "embraces of the youthfull Sun," is comparable to the god's poetic instrument, "his Delphique Lyre" (52.135).

Along with the sexual merger of fixity and dispersion, social and literary codes converge in "A Rapture." Social codes of revenge dictate writerly requirements "to carve out ... revenge, upon that word" and brand "[w]ith markes of infamie," both subsumed at last in a Donnean paradox about "[t]his Goblin Honour" (53.160-66). Sex and "sweet" poetry coincide in a single gesture: "Laura lyes / In Petrarchs learned armes, drying those eyes / That did in such sweet smooth-pac'd numbers flow" (52.139-41). And it is the same for the inspired poet: Daphne, "[f]ull of her God ... sings inspired Layes, / Sweet Odes of love, such as deserve the Bayes, / Which she her selfe was" (52.137-39). Thus, the poem recalls the analogy between amorous and rhetorical schemes in "A Fancy." Also, in "A Rapture," love's discourse is unheard by "jealous eares," and the phallic bark, having sailed the "sea of Milke" and "smooth, calme Ocean," plays upon the sinking and "bounding" waves that give way to "Halcion calmnesse" wherein the gods "fix our soules" (51.85-98). Such sexual "fancies" subvert the Jonsonian tradition in which only poetasters "deformed their mistress" (poetry) while true poets steer souls by their rudder, the moral pen.22 With the enraptured "Rudder" steering "into Loves channell," Carew's conjunction of eroticism and poetry establishes new standards for his typical poetry, yet leaves them as questionable as the old "cancell'd lawes."

III

If the convergence of poetic resources can subvert traditional values, their reconciliation in one mixed genre offers an idealized revision of these values. Carew's search for the ideal mixture--the goal always deferred--is most extensive in his masque, but it operates in several of his other poems. The construction of what Terence Cave calls a Utopian text23--one which generates, yet circumscribes every resource imaginable--is analogous to Carew's enterprise of locating a hybrid genre which resolves the conflicts of fixity and dispersion. Yet Carew's "resources of kind," as Rosalie Colie might call them,24 must be interpreted in terms of the poet's typical assumptions and critical questions about poetry, found especially in his social panegyrics and versified literary criticism.

That seventeenth-century poets organized verse by types or "veins" directs any such search for an ideal mixture of resources. Whereas our anthologies tend to use Carew as a case study of a poet who eludes any simple "tribe," Carew and his contemporaries were more reductive with his poetry. Shirely declared Carew to be the headmaster, before Stanley's arrival, of love's poetic school, "the Oracle of Love" whose "numerous language" would "steer every genial soul." Another poet considered Carew ever sweet, never satirical, though this is patently untrue. Parliament reduced his poems to pornography.25

Carew's own typifications sometimes work in his favor. In "To My Rivall," his "smooth soft language" (41.10) is also full and powerful, in contrast to the rival's dissolute "empty words" (41.5). With something presumably "underneath" their soft textures, Carew's words can even allow dispersion in pleasure: "Such pearlie drops, as youthfull May / Scatters before the rising day" (41.8-9). The rival is a "vaine intruder" whose "unhallowed brine" is excluded from the speaker's rituals of love.

Yet Carew's address to Sandys "on his translation of the Psalmes" finds his own "smooth" words "unhallowed," "unwasht," and outside the temple (93.1-4). Carew's Muse, with her "Lyrick feet," is "restlesse" and empty, though obsessed and "cloy'd" with secular love (94.23-28). Carew fears that his advertisement for Sandys's Psalms will contaminate their purity, yet he dwells on his own poetic possibilities--on what his verse "may" be, either as a secular handmaid to, or as the equivalent of, Sandys's Muse.26 Unfixing his poetry from its dissolute obsessions "may"--and the modal recalls "A Fancy"--be a first step in transforming it into something securely meaningful. As in "A Fancy" or his verse letter to Townsend, Carew considers "higher" verse in the subjunctive mood; he expresses loyalty to Sandys in terms of what he himself might write. We shall see that Carew's contrast between his lyric obsessions and unfulfilled potential recurs in the more persuasive elegies to "La: Pen," Townsend, and Donne.

When Carew does translate Psalms, he dutifully conveys the stark dichotomy between the righteous with "Soe fixt a state" and the sinful, "like the light dust / That vpp and downe the Emptie Ayre / The wilde wynd driues, with various Gust" (135.16-19). Sandys's own translation of this passage includes a metaphor which, applied to poetry, resembles that of the veil--"dispers'd like chaff." In poems like the one to Sandys, Carew makes it clear that chaffy poetry--however pleasurable--can become a tiresome fixation. In turn, the religious "tractes" written by God's "Law giueing finger" (135.6-7) provide an alternative to the sexual "tracts" of "A Rapture". But Carew's poetry dwells less on a new (spiritual) "fixt ... state," and more on possibility; consequently, his application at the "Alters" of Psalm 51--where the unlikely conversion might occur--is more permissive and urgent than Sandys's.27

But rival claims for his loyalty give Carew the occasion to parody the instability of poetic values. Consider the rivalry between the lover and the funeral elegist in that strange "Elegie on the La: Pen: sent to my Mistresse out of France." Put simply, the poet would write on either side of the titular colon--of the dead patron or of the quick mistress--if he had a longer attention span. Writing love poetry on a regular basis, he admits, invites monotony: "My Muse must back to her old exercise, / To tell the story of my martyrdome" (21.70-71). More than in the Sandys poem, Carew suggests the mechanical procedures by which the courtly poet can versify love's conventions. Yet the distracted poet is also dispersed, "as ghosts flye away," by the "minions of the Muses" who come with the single purpose of praising the dead patron with tears of manna (21.75-78). Suddenly, the lover faces the possibility that his attentions are at once too fixed and not fixed enough.

With this divided purpose, the speaker's private obsessions and public obligations confront one another. He finds himself apologizing to the mistress:

Though you are only soveraigne of this Land,
Yet universall losses may command
A subsidie from every private eye,
And presse each pen to write; so to supply,
And feed the common griefe; if this excuse
Prevaile not, take these teares to your owne use,
As shed for you; for when I saw her dye,
I then did thinke on your mortalitie. (20.25-32)

As in some of Donne's verse letters,28 the strategy and aim of the elegy are fractured--its tears have uncertain application and value. In fact, the "praise" for the dead Lady virtually desires her death as well as a return from funeral elegy to love lyric: "[I] began to feare lest Death, their [the gods'] Officer, / Might have mistooke, and taken thee [the mistress] for her" (20.41-42). Having attempted to negotiate between his two "subjects," the speaker eventually stops weighing the "losse i'th' change 'twixt heav'n and earth," and settles for the security his customary "chanell": "But I must weepe no more over this urne, / My teares to their owne chanell must returne; / And having ended these sad obsequies, / My Muse must back to her old exercise" (21.67-70). In the end, he chooses "ignoble" regularity over the fullness of virtue.

The choice, however, is not so clear. The assumption of virtue beneath the elegiac veil is threatened by the potential scandal of the dead "subject." Lady Peniston, one candidate, was reputedly an adulteress whose epitaph roughly resembles Donne's holy sonnet on the church: Lady Peniston, "love'd / By the most worthy of her time," may in heaven "love all that love hir, and not sinne" (Dunlap, 223). As Howard Bloch has shown about other texts,29 sexual scandal figures a scandal for poetry itself--presumed to be a garment that, fitting true, cohesive nature without tear or excess, never achieves such a match, and never really has such a subject to cover. So too the elegiac confusion of purpose thrives in a coterie which generates tension between one gesture (praise) and another (desire). "La: Pen" is a flawed subject, not just because society deemed her disreputable, but because Stuart poetry reappraises the value of poetic surfaces, and intensifies the struggle between constraint and license in its coterie verse. Carew's "chanell," then, flows in what one critic calls "the difficult channels of Jacobean society."30

Even "proper" subjects for mournful elegy--the Countess of Anglesie and her deceased husband--engage Carew's wit in the paradoxes of fixity and dispersion. Again, love lyric and funeral elegy become rivals in their claims for fullness. To begin with, the elegy admires the marvelous ways in which the couple wards off atomism, not unlike the Lady in "Song: Aske me no more":

You, that behold how yond' sad Lady blends
Those ashes with her teares, lest, as she spends
Her tributarie sighes, the frequent gust
Might scatter up and downe the noble dust,
Know when that heape of Atomes, was with bloud
Kneaded to solid flesh, and firmely stood
On stately Pillars, the rare forme might move
The froward Juno's, or chast Cinthia's love.

(69-70.27-34)

The widow's tears and the husband's "kneaded" body perform the same task of preventing the otherwise unrestrained dispersion of the husband's ashes and charms. In turn, the poet follows convention in asking the Countess to unfix her obsession with the dead; in suggesting new loves for her, the poet declares all mournful utterance to be "hollow Echoes." By implication, amorous poetry is full, and the poet offers to make her loves his regular subject--"the Trophies of your conquering eye" (71.86). The husband's solidity, after all, was constituted by the fancies of scattered women: "He was compos'd of all / The wishes of ripe Virgins, when they call / For Hymens rites, and in their fancies wed / A shape of studied beauties to their bed" (70.37-40). Ironically, the Countess's new loves will coincide with her redemption from the dust of her husband: "Seeke him no more in dust, but call agen / Your scatterd beauties home" (71.83-84). In allowing the Countess new desires, the poet opts to return to his "old exercise."

IV

The realization that Carew's "typical" lyrics of desire and praise involve a troubled dialogue between fixity and dispersion, fullness and emptiness, is only a first step. This dialogue, to repeat, situates Carew's lyric career in the context of seventeenth-century reconsideration of many guarantors of order--in the self, in political rule, in worship, in the book of nature, and in language. But we must also reconstruct Carew's proposals for a stable textual concourse or hybrid genre from his query of literary possibilities. Such a concordia discors would presumably transform the separate resources--lyric and prose, for example--into an ideal text ensuring the order and purity of "the Caroline autocracy."31 Poetry in general, whether epideictic or amorous, becomes questionable in regard to its truth-value. That prose might play a role in the posing of ideal texts gains reinforcement from Carew's success with prose in his masque. Yet his inclination toward the "kneaded" discourse appears in several poems, where prose is cited as firm, linear, and plainly true. Its quotidian plainness spells, however, its limits, so that prose must appropriate the grandeur of an idealizing poetry and the pleasures of the love lyric.32

In "Obsequies to the Lady Anne Hay", Carew associates "the sleeke / And polisht Courtier" with the monotony of his own lyric activities:

I that ne're more of private sorrow knew
Then from my Pen some froward Mistresse drew,
And for the publike woe, had my dull sense
So sear'd with ever adverse influence,
As the invaders sword might have, unfelt,
Pierc'd my dead bosome, yet began to melt. (67.7-12)

Not only is the poet's customary "channell" (cf. 67.2) irresponsibly private and empty--his are no "reall teares"--but it is "artlesse," for all its sophistication. Art requires, therefore, some access to truth; but it needs guidance, because the subject is unseen as well as unheard: "But who shall guide my artlesse Pen, to draw / Those blooming beauties, which I never saw?" (67.19-20). And simply following the lyric conventions of fulsome praise and "learned" conceits ("rifling so whole Nature / Of all the sweets a learned eye can see" [67.26-27]) will earn the poet little credit from "posterities."

The poet has recourse from the "dull wayes" of ornamentation in his resolve that Lady Anne Hay is "the Theame of Truth, not Poetrie" (68.46). This creed of linguistic fidelity to the truth echoes Daniel's Civil Wars which, as Jonson bluntly put it, contributed to the emerging prosaics of poetry.33 Yet the poet, having suggested that Anne Hay cannot be measured by the "Exactest lawes" of saints, must not simply write as if her life were dull fact for chronicle or annals. He cannot simply oppose the fact of her existence against the polish of tropes and figures. Thus, although there is something recurringly attractive for Carew in the plain fidelity and linearity of prose, he makes it one facet of a hybrid genre which is also exalted and full in its poetic grandeur. This is subtly figured in Anne Hay's peers, who will continue her noble line as the "glorious journall of [her] thrifty dayes, / Like a bright starre, shot from his spheare, whose race / In a continued line of flames, we trace" (68.64-66). In such a living elegy, the prose chronicle of everyday life or of a journey merges with the glorious force (energia) of exalted poetry. But, as Carew has remarked, the courtier's amorous "lyric feet" usually lack force as well--Sidney would agree--and must be strengthened as part of the hybrid. For the mixture of exalted elegy, honest prose, and smooth, amorous lyric prevails as Carew's ideal poem.

So Carew completes his hybrid when he includes the staples of Petrarchan lyric, presumably refined beyond desire, in his praise for Anne Hay:

One shall enspheare thine eyes, another shall
Impearle thy teeth; a third, thy white and small
Hand, shall besnow; a fourth, incarnadine
Thy rosie cheeke, untill each beauteous line,
Drawne by her hand, in whom that part excells,
Meet in one Center, where all beautie dwells.

(68.51-56)

It is such a resourceful "Center" that the poet would find, and yet it is distant from him, in his poems as it is in Anne Hay's noble survivors. The poet's own status is ambivalent, caught between dull courtly poets and those poets who see in Anne Hay's death "just cause" for grief.

Carew's hybrid ideal is most clearly articulated in his critical praise of other poets (Townsend, Donne, Jonson, and Davenant). These poems are defined by loyalty on the one hand, and by analysis on the other; as such, they clarify Carew's position in his culture's heightened confrontation with fixity and dispersion--in politics and religion, in psychology and science, and in literature.34 In his fashioning of ideals, however, Carew is notoriously critical or "honest."35 He refuses to posit a final escape from the conflicts and impurities which disturb his mixture of resources.

Carew's manifesto for the national segregation of English verse--"In answer of an Elegiacall Letter upon the death of the King of Sweden from Aurelian Townsend"--dictates that the English poets dwell on careless pleasure--"the smooth soft way / Of Love, and Beautie" (74.6-7). What results is a conservative reversal of poetic hierarchies--all to ensure the poet's total disengagement from European politics. Amid the complexities of this "answer," the poet offers his hybrid text of exalted elegy, prose chronicle, and lyric.36 Lyric is the primary consideration. Despite his performance of a funeral elegy, Carew suggests that venturing thus "beyond the pale" of his customary lyrics will imbroil him, as it would English society, in contaminating political issues. The "smooth soft way" of his "Lyrique feet" secures Carew in a social and textual domain, so that his reluctance about amorous verse in "A Fancy" converts into a halcyon satisfaction "In answer."

But a secure lyric vein is one face of a Janus whose other face is dull complacence, a "drowsiness" which recalls the "dullness" of courtly lyric in "Anne Hay," and anticipates the "lazie seeds" of the Donne elegy. Although love poetry is exalted to the status of national epic, the poet's ambition to write "glorious journalls" still intrudes. These "Journals" (75.27) would stretch impressively, yet unsafely out of the light of English calm and into the "Heroique shade," improper yet transcendent "[a]bove the reach of our faint flagging ryme" (77.92-93). In showing loyalty to Townsend's poetic "wing," Carew's Muse hovers between the inside and outside of the prescribed circle. But the inside--lyric pleasure--entails a legislated fixity while the outside--the "loftier pitch"--spells dispersion into the political and literary beyond.

Carew answers these ironies with a literary hybrid of heroic elegy, "faithful" prose, and silken lyric. There are two reasons why prose is required: poets from Virgil to Donne cannot invent "a just Poem to this subject fit" (75.14), and their poems in any event would be superfluous, unable to elevate the King any "higher." The prose "Journal" should be "modest faithfull"--the work of some "grave Chronicler"--yet its quotidian nature is transformed "to Poems" by the romantic text of the King's heroic life. The results of this mix are paradoxical: as the prose finds its fulfillment in the poem of the King's life, this poem resembles an outrageous fiction, "things rather feign'd then done / Like our Romances of the Knight o'th' Sun" (75.23-24). Both historical prose and romantic poetry divide in their status between emptiness and fullness, so that the projected fruits of the hybrid are at once apt and incredible. This mixture includes the poem's basic commitment to smooth, amorous lyric which itself vacillates between an apt, yet "flagging" revelry and the national "plenty" on which such "prophane" or "low" verse is based (74-77.10, 47, 93).

This confluence of literary channels asserts an ideal concordia discors against what seems the inevitability of textual and political impurity. Renaissance poets often expose the problematics of mixed genre, the complex criteria of historical writing, and the impossibility of literary segregation from the "world."37 Yet in a poem to Davenant, Carew affirms the validity of his hybrid in the very terms of contamination which seem so threatening to it:

                                        What though Romances lye
Thus blended with more faithfull Historie?
Wee, of th'adult'rate mixture not complaine,
But thence more Characters of Vertue gaine;
More pregnant Patterns, of transcendent Worth,
Than barren and insipid Truth brings forth:
So, oft the Bastard nobler fortune meets,
Than the dull Issue of the lawfull sheets. (98.13-20)

Suddenly Carew enters the domain of Sidney's Apology and of Greville's biography of Sidney with their claim that "Characters of Vertue" and "pregnant Patterns, of transcendent Worth" are superior to mere fact. Like Sidney, who sometimes chafes at the contamination of literary mixtures (for example, tragicomedy), Carew assumes that sprezzatura, if not morality, legitimates the bastard. At least, the social consensus is said to permit the "adult'rate mixture." "Faithfull Historie" is still a partner, but incurs the charge of infidelity in admitting a glorious romantic presence. Indeed, Carew is clearer about the status of these sheets--paper and bedclothing--than he is about the face / paper of "A Fancy"; but he must also admit that the purity and lawfulness of poetry are undone. The "pregnant Patterns"--however true and full--have no ultimate control over the strange "Issue" emerging from underneath poetry's "sheets."

V

Eventually, the masque offers Carew's most comprehensive forum in which to propose a reconciliation between glory, fidelity, and pleasure. In the poem to Townsend, Carew refashions one of Townsend's masques, using both description and typification to suggest the masque's hybrid nature and its avoidance of the contextual problems surrounding all masques.38 This reconstructed masque, to which I will return, is clarified in its hybridity by Carew's other poems of critical allegiance.

"An Elegie upon the death of the Deane of Pauls, Dr. Iohn Donne" attempts to resolve the exalted, lyrical, and prosaic constituents of Donne's works. As usual, Carew scolds bad poets and prose writers on two counts: they "force" or attempt what is beyond their abilities (that is, they are limited to a single poetic vein), and their rhetoric is insipid, "lazie" (72.26), "dry" (71.7), and "fading" (71.6). As he begins to examine Donne's resources, Carew treats Donne's prose as a faithful premise, an anchor. Yet the sermons are not merely records of faith and doctrine; rather they are fired with glorious significance, a "journal of deep mysteries" as Vaughan says in another context.39 Other prose lacks both the passion and depth of Donne's prose: such unworthy stuff is incomplete, "dowe-bak't" (71.4). By contrast, Donne's prose is transformed by the poet's soul into the kind of complete amalgam that the King of Sweden's life makes from a chronicle of events.

If glory and pregnancy expand the "kneaded" material of prose, Donne's poetry, with its "rich and pregnant phansie" or "Giant phansie," becomes the scene of a necessary struggle with linguistic restraints. The "tough-thick-rib'd hoopes" are distinguished from the "soft melting Phrases" of much lyric poetry (73.51-53); as "hoopes," Donne's inventive language is somehow tougher, more colloquial than "the jugling feat / Of two-edg'd words" (72.34-35). The credibility of poetry resides in its "line / Of masculine expression," in qualities which redeem language from emptiness, duplicity, and remoteness. After all, Donne's "Giant phansie" might prove as insubstantial as the Donnean masquer in "A Rapture" and the romantic heroes of "An Answer." Grounding fancy in linguistic fact, Donne offers the best prosaic poetry, just as he bequeaths the best poetic prose.

Although such hybridity already accounts in part for Donne's lyric revolution, Carew addresses directly what amounts to Donne's failure to cure the deficiencies of lyric in any lasting way. Such failure serves to celebrate Donne's achievement, but it also affirms the degeneration of the lyric tradition into plagiaristic monotony--the typical "soft melting Phrases" mindlessly imitative of Anacreon. Donne's work in "the Muses garden" has "throwne away" the "lazie seeds" of lyric monotony and "servile imitation," but these seeds are disseminated, if fruitless (72.25-27). Above all, they are empty: "with these / The silenc'd tales o'th' Metamorphoses / [the poets] shall stuff their lines, and swell the windy Page" (73.66-67). For all Donne's efforts, inauthenticity prevails, while the justification of lyric still eludes.

In his ode to Ben Jonson, whose utmost toil "sleekes ... terser Poems," Carew edges closer toward what justifies an obsession with lyric. It is the very labor--the "trouble and pain"--with which one creates, yet also questions and challenges, the lyric. Lazy versifiers feel no guilt about their "hired" conventions; but Jonson, says Carew, grows "pale with guilt" about the derivative nature of his poems (65.36). If amorous lyrics in particular expose a troublesome proximity between fixity and dispersion in Stuart literary values, they also reveal what is imperfect, yet productive about the hybrid, the concordia discors, or the resolution of materials. Indeed, "resolve," in the seventeenth century, ranges in meaning from utmost fixity to utter dispersion; but, as Owen Feltham defined it in the 1620s, to resolve is above all to revise.40 Accordingly, Carew's elegy for Donne situates the living poet between the "panting numbers" or "gasping short winded Accents" of an easy, courtly lyric unaccustomed to labor, and the dis-eased sense of inadequacy with which painstaking poets like Jonson "dispense / Through all our language, both the words and sense" (71.9-10). Although Donne--his influence flagging--must "spit disdaine" on Carew's efforts (74.85), these very efforts confirm the significance of Donne's hybridity.

In his criticism of plays, particularly Davenant's, Carew finds ideal texts in special need of protection from impurity. In the case of drama, however, contamination derives from the "marking" spectator, so that Carew elevates the objective constituents of the text over the tastes of the audience. With the masque, the protected audience of King and court offers no such threat to the mixed virtues of the masque's own text, architecture, and performance. We see the hybrid constituents of a masque in Carew's recreation of what may be Townsend's Tempe Restord. In his "answer" to Townsend, Carew reports some facets of the plot, devices, and characters of Tempe Restord, yet calls it the Shepherds Paradise.41 Carew's conflation signals what the passage itself suggests, that he is offering an idealized type as well as a report. Thus, the "glorious night" of the masque (76.59) is both historical and utopian--as surely as is Anne Hay's "glorious journal." The agenda of the masque, as stated by Carew, redacts the familiar Spenserian / Jonsonian metaphor for controlling virtue, given new meaning in "A Rapture": "to guide / Our steerelesse barkes in passions swelling tide / By vertues Carde" (76.61-63). But this purpose, resembling the autocratic aims of the Caroline masque in general,42 also offers to rectify the now familiar facets of Carew's favorite hybrid. Thus, "sweetly-flowing numbers" interact with a "Masculine stile" and "ravishing sounds" (76.58, 71, 75). The story, both complex and profound, and the spectacle, both "celestiall" and mythological, represent to all faculties the stable fusion of "Knowledge and pleasure ... [and] amazement" (76.76-77). Carew's tribute echoes his elegy to Donne, insofar as Townsend is said to transcend the "darke sullen precepts" of other writers, and to "dispense / Knowledge and pleasure, to the soule, and sense" (76.65, 75-76). Furthermore, Townsend confirms the interaction of prose and poetry found in Donne's works: Townsend's "loose discourse is farre / More neate and polisht then our Poems are" (76.55-56). For lesser poets, whose texts fail to achieve concordia discors, Carew resorts to the national legislation limiting their activity in the "answer" to Townsend. His own status, we already know, is uncertain.

In Townsend's masque, Carew claims, dispersion is simply wonderful. With the advancement of the night, the pleasure of "dance ... and revel" and other "harmlesse pastimes" dissipate the ethereal mysteries of the masque in the very act of filling the elite audience with them, and of riveting that audience to them:

It fill'd us with amazement to behold
Love made all spirit, his corporeall mold
Dissected into Atomes melt away
To empty ayre, and from the grosse allay
Of mixtures, and compounding Accidents
Refin'd to immateriall Elements. (76.77-82)

As the ornaments of "A Fancy" are unstable in their linguistic status, so too the pure refinement of "mixtures" does not clearly separate ideality from dispersion into "empty ayre." In both works, the ornaments and staging are deceptive, with so much unseen and unheard. The ideal literary concourse, as Carew defines it, seems necessarily constituted by the impure channels that feed it: in the materials of his texts, Carew promotes Caroline ideals of ethereal virtue in terms of their "grosse allay / Of mixtures."

VI

The masque, like the lyric, elicited radically different valuations from its seventeenth-century creators and audiences--from royal excess and empty spectacle to "more removed mysteries."43 Above all, masques attempted to reconcile pleasure and virtue, text and architecture, disorder and order. But the status of the masque was questioned, and the artists themselves located their creations somewhere between the contingencies of occasion and the permanence of Forms.44 As Jennifer Chibnall has explained, the Caroline masque staged such negotiations in "continual attempts to deal with uncertainties and social realities";45 in other words, resolution and reform were problematic for the aristocracy:

[w]here Jonson sought to reconcile the elements, to reorder the disorder and vitality of the anti-masque, the Caroline masque attempts only to contain it. Spectacle more readily both encompasses the flux of creative revel and transcends it. To attempt resolution is to risk failure.46

Still, in Coelum Britannicum, Carew tries to "argue a resolution of the contradictory ideologies" of aristocratic stasis--their superior place given to them--and aristocratic reform--their places compromised by social change and by personal vice. As Chibnall says of the aristocracy, their "place cannot be static yet must be stable."47

Carew's masque proposes, then, to reconcile the values conflicting at all Caroline thresholds--at the surface of the love lyric, at the revelry joining masquers and audience, at the fruition of hybrid ideals. Not surprisingly, Coelum Britannicum offers a powerful amalgam of blank verse, plain-speaking prose, and lyric. Moreover, in representing political reform, it reiterates the ultimate fixity of the Caroline rulers--they are "ever-fixed"--yet not at the expense of their graceful movements and gracious dispensations on earth. With the unfettered Hedone banished from Caroline heavens, Carew's lyrics pray for an aristocratic security transcending the toilsome activities of the lower ranks:

Eternitie:

Brave Spirits, whose adventrous feet
          Have to the Mountaines top aspir'd,
Where faire Desert, and Honour meet,
          Here, from the toyling Presse retir'd,
Secure from all disturbing Evill,
For ever in my Temple revell. (184.1115-20)

But much insecurity remains for Carew's Muse to charm away. Beneath the temple of "Apollos quire," where the aristocracy are circumscribed in space, the ascending "Rout" resist "the resistlesse influence" of their superiors (184.1125). In Carew's heretical source, Bruno's Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfante, the Truth and Virtue of celestial reform must reckon with Bruno's contention that there are infinite worlds, and that Jupiter is irreducibly protean.48 For all its obsession with the centrality of Charles and Maria, Carew's masque is itself a complex symbolic act which has no ultimate control over the values of dispersion in seventeenth-century culture. Nevertheless, the ornaments of Carew's poetry, like much drama of his time, offer critical allegiance to a status quo seeking, though in halcyon days, for acceptable terms in which to revise itself.49

If there is truth in John Suckling's parody, invention did not come easily for Thomas Carew. But even if Suckling's accusation of "trouble and pain" has no basis in fact, it clinches Carew's importance for our understanding of Caroline aesthetics. Michael P. Parker has shown that Suckling's charge locates Carew outside the privileged circle of natural and, therefore, careless wits, whose sprezzatura carried the day over the fever and fret of studied composition.50 It is safe, I think, to reverse Suckling's defensive claims and to suppose that Carew's pursuit of the hybrid genre gives us a glimpse at the motives of Caroline ethereality and carelessness. Other glimpses are available, say, in the dreams recorded in Laud's diary, or in the "resolve" with which John Ford's protagonists vainly attempt to change themselves. In each case, we see the toil of legitimation in Caroline discourse, for all its feckless calm and abundant glory. Not unlike Milton's pastoral garden, Carew's hybridity--which one critic likens to pastoral51--reckons the value of the labor itself.

Notes

1The paradoxes invading Carew's status and potential as a poet of many slight, though skillful, lyrics and a few great elegies may be found in appraisals by the poet himself, by the poet's contemporaries, and by twentieth-century critics. For the Carew whose poetic "preference" for smooth lyrics was "determined by the nature of his poetic gift," see Leah Jonas, The Divine Science (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1940), p. 245. For the poet of "trouble and pain" who could not quite escape his self-claimed limitations, see Joseph H. Summers, The Heirs of Donne and Jonson (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1970), pp. 62-64, 72-75; Michael P. Parker, "'All are not born (Sir) to the Bay': 'Jack' Suckling, 'Tom' Carew, and the Making of a Poet," English Literary Renaissance 12 (1982), 362-63. For Carew as the "privileged scoffer," see Annabel Patterson, Censorship and Interpretation (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1984). Other studies of Carew's reputation include James E. Ruoff, "Thomas Carew's Early Reputation," Notes and Queries 202 (1957), 61-62; Lynn Sadler, Thomas Carew (Boston: Twayne, 1979), ch. 7; and Rhodes Dunlap, ed., The Poems of Thomas Carew with his Masque "Coelum Britannicum" (Oxford: Clarendon, 1970), pp. xlvi-li.

2According to John Jewel (1562), the "majesty and Godhead of Christ be everywhere abundantly dispersed," thanks to the Reformation. Against the fragmentation of the Church, however, Jewel insists that Christ is "in one place." See Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae, ed. J. Ayre (Parker Society), p. 59.

3For allegory whose truth is dispersed beneath the veil, see Henry Vaughan, "Monsieur Gombauld" (ed. Alan Rudrum [New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1976], 81,41-44): "Nor are they mere inventions, for we / In the same piece find scattered philosophy / And hidden, dispersed truths that folded lie / In the dark shades of deep allegory." Gombauld's romance is also called a "commended mixture" of "Fables with truth, fancy with history," for which see the discussion of Carew's mixed genres below.

4A. J. Smith, The Metaphysics of Love (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985), p. 238.

5Smith, p. 238.

6Francis Bacon, De Sapientia Veterum, in The Works, ed. by James Spedding et. al., vol. 13 (Boston: Brown and Taggard, 1860), 99. Another good place to look for the Renaissance struggle to contain the very desires which it permits are the epithalamia of the period, for example, Spenser's lyric and also Jonson's in Hymenaei.

7Bacon, pp. 122-25.

8Bacon, pp. 169-72.

9Dunlap, p. 117. Carew's poems are quoted in this edition by page and line numbers.

10See their Dictionary of Literary-Rhetorical Conventions of the English Renaissance (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1982), pp. 134-38.

11The "Eastern" quality of the paper seems generic, though one auditor has suggested that this refers to "rice paper."

12The Darker Vision of the Renaissance: Beyond the Fields of Reason, ed. with an introduction by Robert S. Kinsman (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1974), pp. 7-8.

13Thus the OED defines "sink."

14See Ruoff's article, cited above.

15See Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (Kent, OH: Kent State Univ. Press, 1970), pp. 149-50.

16See, for example, Dekker, Satiromastix (in The Dramatic Works, ed. Bowers [Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1953], I, ii, 225-27): "Say that you have not sworne unto your Paper, / To blot her white cheekes with the dregs and bottome / Of your friends private vices"; and Congreve, Love for Love (in The Complete Plays, ed. Davis [Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1967], IV, i, 634-39): "You're a Woman ... [y]ou are all white, a sheet of lovely spotless Paper, when you first are Born; but you are to be scrawl'd and blotted by every Goose's Quill."

17With its heightened analysis and criticism of nature and of language, the seventeenth century is especially interesting in its views toward integuments. A scene in Townsend's Albion's Triumph resolves the problems surrounding allegorical "veils" and the hieroglyph of nature into comedy, with Platonicus speaking for Caroline ideals:

Platonicus: ... For I will goe with thee [to the amphitheater], if it be but to teach thee to Reade in thy owne Booke. Outsides have Insides, Shells have Kernells in them. And under every Fable, nay (almost) under every thing, lyes a Morall. What art thou doing Publius?

Publius stumbles at a stone, and stoops to take it up.

Publius: Lifting up the stone I stumbled at.

Platonicus: To what ende?

Publius: To see what lyes under it.

Platonicus: What should lye under a stone, but a Worme, or a Hoglouse?

Publius: If there lye not a Morall under it, then have you taught me false Doctrine.

Platonicus: Such thankes have they that teach such Schollers.

(The Poems and Masques, ed. Brown [Reading: Whiteknights Press, 1983], 82)

Lynn Sadler (74-75) has commented on "A Fancy" that this "slight, rather strange little poem ... also makes a strong case for the worthwhileness of poetry beneath its mere surface texture," and that it implies an elite, "fit" audience. Yet Sadler does not pursue the poem's strangeness.

18Puttenham compares poetic ornaments to "silkes or tyssewes and costly embroderies" (150). Cf. Berowne's rejection of the lover's "Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise" in Love's Labour's Lost, V, ii, 406 (in the Arden edition, ed. Richard David [Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1966], p. 160). Carew refers to a "Ribband" as the "silken wreath" which is "an Emblem of that mystique charm" of his mistress's beauty (29.1-2).

19

Like pictures, or like bookes gay coverings made

For layment, are all women thus arraid;

Themselves are mystique bookes, which only wee

Whom their imputed grace will dignify

Must see reveal'd.

(ed. Gardner [Oxford: Clarendon, 1965], 16.39-43).

20For a less sophisticated version of the relationship between "vaine" rapture and poetic rape, see "A Divine Love" (in Dunlap's Appendix A, "Poems of Uncertain Authorship," pp. 188-90).

21A. F. Allison, "Some Influences in Crashaw's Poem, 'On a Prayer Booke Sent to Mrs. M. R.,'" The Review of English Studies 23 (1947), 41-42.

22Cited by Jonas (23) from Jonson's preface to Volpone and prologue to The Staple of News.

23See Terence Cave, The Cornucopian Text (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979), passim.

24Rosalie L. Colie, The Resources of Kind: Genre-Theory in the Renaissance (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1973).

25For Shirley's remarks, see G. M. Crump's introduction (p. xxxiv) to his edition of Stanley's works (Oxford Univ. Press, 1962). Townsend separates Carew from satire in a verse letter to him; yet Carew is satirical in several poems: for example, "To my worthy Friend, M. D'avenant, Upon his Excellent Play, 'The Just Italian,'" and the Donne elegy. For the charge of pornography, see Ruoff's article, cited above.

26For the secular Muse as a handmaid to the religious Muse, cf. "Mr Robert Hericke his farwell vnto Poetrie" (ed. L. C. Martin [New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1965], 412.99-102): "Knowe yet (rare soule) when my diuiner Muse / Shall want a Hand-mayde, (as she ofte will vse) / Bee readye, then In mee, to wayte vppon her / Though as a seruant, yet a Mayde of Honor."

27In Psalm 51, Carew has the altar "prest / With many a sacrificed beast," while Sandys (The Poetical Works [London, 1872]) has "lay" for "prest." Sandys will not let sinners "approach th'assemblies of the pure," where Carew would not let them "stay." Carew's thresholds are often dynamic, just as his mood is often subjunctive--dwelling in possibility. Joseph Summers, who pauses to consider what kind of poet Carew might have been, underscores the poet's limitations by remarking on the unlikelihood of Carew's becoming a religious poet (Heirs of Donne and Jonson, pp. 72-74).

28In an epistle to the Countess of Salisbury, Donne must justify those epistles written for other ladies: "And if things like these, have been said by mee / Of others; call not that Idolatrie" (The Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters, ed. W. Milgate [Oxford: Clarendon, 1967], 108.37-38).

29R. Howard Bloch, The Scandal of the Fabliaux (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1986).

30Graham Parry, Seventeenth-Century Poetry: The Social Context (London: Hutchinson, 1985), p. 11. For further discussion of this shifty elegy, see James Fitzmaurice, "Carew's Funerary Poetry and the Paradox of Sincerity," Studies in English Literature 25 (1985), 136-39.

31Stephen Orgel, The Illusion of Power (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1975), p. 83: "Thomas Carew's and Inigo Jones's Coelum Britannicum was the greatest theatrical expression of the Caroline autocracy. Carew's allegory is about the radical reformation of society, the purifying of the mind and passions, the power of language and apparitions to exorcise the rebellious spirit; it even undertakes to create a new body of poetic symbolism, as if to redeem through its imagery the imperfect nature that art imitates."

32Cf. the classification of two kinds of bad poetry in Dryden's An Essay of Dramatick Poesie, in The Works (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1971), 16, 11; one kind of bad poet "affects plainness, to cover his want of imagination."

33"I versifie the troth; not Poetize" (The Civil Wars, ed. L. Michel [New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1958], I, vi, 8). "Poetizing" intermixes "fictions, fantasies" with the historical truth. Daniel eventually left the poem unfinished and turned to writing prose history.

34A few well-known examples may suffice. In politics and religion, so-called Parliamentarians and Puritans were held responsible for dissolving the traditional unities of State and Church, yet they held fast to precedent (legal, scriptural) and the monarch; the King, on the other hand, was accused of excess, dissolution, and innovation (for which, see Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 1632-1642 [New York Cambridge Univ. Press, 1984]). In anatomizing melancholy, Burton resists the atomistic implications of his project and pseudonym, yet has Democritus Jr. admit his multiform self. Indeed, the word most commonly associated with the formation of the self--"resolve"--can mean anything from utter fixity to careful revision to utter dispersion. In science, William Harvey announced the circulation of the blood in terms of the system of correspondences, while Bacon worried over the status of the Forms to be discovered by induction. For literature, Carew's elegy for Donne illustrates the heightened conflict between entrenched convention and outright experimentation; this must be considered next to the fear, expressed by Waller, Sprat, and others, that the English language was utterly un-fixed and dispersive (and, therefore, in need of reform).

35Beyond the evidence of the poetry, Carew's honesty is recorded in anecdotes (Howell's report about Carew's criticism of Jonson) and in modern assessments of his political status as a "privileged scoffer" (Patterson).

36Michael P. Parker has demonstrated the political strategies of the poem with reference to Virgilian pastoral. Parker expands upon Martz's suggestion of the irony directed toward the fallen King of Sweden, who in the poem compares unfavorably with Charles. I find especially suggestive Parker's treatment of pastoral: as a favorite genre for the Caroline status quo, it not only eludes any set position on the generic hierarchy (hence epic is preceded by and precedes it), but also represents an inclusive hybrid: for pastoral "incorporates heroic and lyric strains and integrates them into a pleasing, harmonious whole" (101). The pastoral has "elasticity and capaciousness." Parker notes the culturally specific function of pastoral, and argues that Carew too anticipates its demise. See Michael P. Parker, "Carew's Politic Pastoral: Virgilian Pretexts in the 'Answer to Aurelian Townsend,'" John Donne Journal 1 (1982), 101-16.

37Sidney's Apology illustrates the problems of mixed genre; Daniel's The Civil Wars and Drayton's Poly-Olbion with Selden's commentary suggest a turning point in historical poetry; and Nashe's Lenten Stuff dramatizes one writer's vexed attempt to segregate his inventions from political responsibility.

38For contextual problems confronting masque creators, see Stephen Orgel, The Jonsonian Masque (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1981); and David Lindley, ed., The Court Masque (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1984).

39"Monsieur Gombauld" (ed. Rudrum, 80.7).

40"Resolutions may often change, sometimes for the better; and the last ever stands firmest ... I will resolve oft, before I vow once." See John L. Lievsay, ed., The Seventeenth-Century Resolve (Lexington: Univ. of Kentucky Press, 1980), p. 105.

41See Dunlap's annotations, p. 252. Louis L. Martz has commented at length on Carew's recreation of Townsend's masque. Martz believes that Carew's description fits Tempe Restord to some degree, yet diverges from that masque in two respects: Carew's emphasis on the Platonized transformation of love into ethereality and on the Queen's triumphant singing suggests the ending of Shepherd's Paradise. Martz argues that an actor's text, housed at the Folger, and a lyric found in Townsend's collected works support the possibility that Carew is recounting an adaptation of Shepherd's Paradise, one enhanced by features from the other masque. For the evidence, see Martz's The Wit of Love (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1969), pp. 84-89. Whether this is so, or Carew has simply confused the masques, the point remains that the masque is Carew's best repository for mixed resources.

42See Orgel, The Illusion of Power and The Jonsonian Masque, passim; and Jennifer Chibnall, "'To that secure fix'd state': the function of the Caroline masque," in Lindley, pp. 78-93.

43See Jonson's preface to Hymenaei in Stephen Orgel, ed., Ben Jonson: Selected Masques (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1970), p. 48; and Orgel's commentary on this in The Jonsonian Masque, pp. 103-09.

44This relates to the conflict between masque as glorious type or truth and masque as a nocturnal occasion. Even in the description of the spectacle of Hymenaei, there is a lament "that is lasted not still, or, now it is past, cannot by imagination, much less description, be recovered to a part of that spirit it had in the gliding by" (Jonson's Selected Masques, p. 66).

45Chibnall, p. 79.

46Chibnall, p. 81.

47Chibnall, p. 87. Cf. my "John Ford and Resolve," "John Ford and Resolve," SP 86 (1989), 341-66.

48Bruno's text contains the core of Carew's masque--the reform plot--but Carew deflects the crisis of authority by making Charles and Henrietta Maria the models for reform in a Ptolemaic cosmos. Cf. Bruno's emphasis on crisis and on infinite worlds, and his explanation of Jove as "something variable, subject to the Fate of Mutation ... in one infinite entity and substance there are infinite and innumerable particular natures" (The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, trans. and ed. by Arthur D. Imerti [New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1964], p. 75). The gods themselves "take delight in the multiform representation of all things and in the multiform fruit of all minds" (p. 160). Nonetheless, Bruno's text connects Jove's many shapes with his former lusts; sees reform as a way to reconvene the "undeservedly dispersed" virtues in heaven; and grounds its pantheistic disseminations in "the one material principle, which is the true substance of things, eternal, ingenerable, and incorruptible" (75). Douglas Brooks-Davie sees Bruno's text as crucial for the Renaissance conception of the "mercurian monarch"--priest, magus, and ruler--which the Stuarts continue. This notion affects Carew's masque in its "obsession with purgation," in the presence of British heroes, and obviously in Bruno's Mercury. See The Mercurian Monarch: Magical Politics from Spenser to Pope (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1983), pp. 1-3, 99-106.

49See Martin Butler's Theatre and Crisis, 1632-42, passim.

50See the Parker article cited in note 1 above.

51See note 36 above.

Source: Reid Barbour, "'Wee, of th'adult'rate mixture not complaine': Thomas Carew and Poetic Hybridity," in John Donne Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1988, pp. 91-113.


   
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