Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread: The Spiritual Consummatory Appetite and the Death Wish in the Poetry of Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread: The Spiritual Consummatory Appetite and the Death Wish in the Poetry of Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell
SMITH, RANDI MARIE ( Author, Primary )
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Hunger ( jstor )
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Soul ( jstor )
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Copyright 2005 by Randi Marie Smith


This document is dedicated to the all the te achers who showed me what I could do with my life, especially Mrs. Augustin e Moore and Dr. Jeff Hendricks.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my parents, Catherine Bryant and Randy B. Smith, and my grandparents for all their support over the past two years. I would also like to thank my friends, especially Kadesh Minter, Lauren Ermel, and Melissa Mellon, for their prayers, encouragement, and proofreading. I would also like to thank God for the inspiration and strength that He sent me. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Ira Clark and Dr. James J. Paxson for all their time and help. I could not have completed this project without them. iv


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iv ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1 ‘TIS A CONSUMMATION TO BE DEVOUTLY WISHED ............................................7 ‘TIL WE BE ROTTEN ......................................................................................................33 THAT IN MY GARDEN GREWE ...................................................................................56 CONCLUDING REMARKS .............................................................................................81 WORKS CITED ................................................................................................................83 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................................................................89 v


Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD: THE SPIRITUAL CONSUMMATORY APPETITE AND THE DEATH WISH IN THE POETRY OF FRANCIS AND ROBERT SOUTHWELL By Randi Marie Smith May 2005 Chair: Ira Clark Major Department: English Through an in depth study of the poetry of Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell, I examine and define the usage of the spiritual consummatory appetite, the death wish, and the employment of nature as a sympathetic force. In order to achieve this examination, I employ both psychoanalytic and emblem theory as well as Biblical exegesis. By associating melancholia and its current descendant clinical depression, I link the use of food imagery with the Christian ideas of damnation and salvation by examining the abstract nature applied to both. These ideas show up throughout English literature, but are foregrounded in the poetry of Quarles and Southwell. This movement to the foreground is demonstrated through brief looks at works by William Langland, Edmund Spenser, and George Herbert and through Biblical correspondents to the idea of sacred versus profane food. The Biblical correspondents include the fruits of the spirit, manna, and the ceremony of Communion and the Eucharist. The effects of both types of food are shown vi


through the pleas for death and the descriptions of the natural world found in many of the poems I looked at. vii


INTRODUCTION Let us suppose, then, that all the organic instincts are conservative, are acquired historically and tend toward the restoration of an earlier state of things—Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Thus he cast out man, and at the Eastside of the garden of Eden, he set the Cherubims, and the blade of a sword shaken, to kepe the way of the tre of life—Genesis 2: 24 Over the course of this study, I found that there was a paucity of research on Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell. 1 They wrote extensively on feelings of mourning, melancholia, and sin. Using a variety of tropological styles, Quarles and Southwell illustrate spiritual decay and death through the juxtaposition of rotten food and spiritual food and the corruption of the flesh. Each man produced poems that define death as either spiritual or physical, beg for a physical death and the release of the spirit, and look closely at the flesh/spirit dichotomy that was a remnant of the medieval period. Because Quarles and Southwell look closely at the relationship between actions and food, they often employ Biblical tropes concerning the Fall of man and its consequences of the expulsion from Eden on both humans and the earth itself. Though Freud may or may not have been specifically familiar with the last verse of the second chapter of Genesis where the expulsion is outlined, his conception of the instinctive tendency of people to desire a return to an earlier state is reflected in the attitude of Christians that 1 At most they rated a chapter in books on meditative poetry or the use of emblems or were the subject of influence studies on other poets. However, little has been written on the substance of their poetry despite its supposed influence on other, later authors. An element exists in the work of both poets that I believe has a significant place in the study of Reformation literature. 1


2 progresses from the moment of expulsion from Paradise until today (45). One of the main precepts of Christianity is that through salvation in Jesus Christ, a person can return to the full communion with God that Adam and Eve presumably experienced before their disobedience with the apple. Curiously, the act which caused mankind’s expulsion from this early state involved the physical consumption of a forbidden object. While Freud does not specifically associate the act of consumption with the drives of the pleasure principle, Norman Doige clarifies the connection between a physical appetitive state and the ingestion of certain drugs. He defines this connection as the “consummatory pleasure [that] underlies the pleasurable enjoyment of food, sex, and other interests” 2 (Doige 146). The pleasure is achieved through the satiation of the appetite. Similarly, the Christian desire to be reunited in the fullness of God is a desire of the spiritual appetite that must be sated through a divine consummation and thereby return to the earlier state of paradisal communion. Though Freud and Doige produce their studies long after the early modern period, the trope of spiritual hunger versus earthly consumption can be traced back to such works as William Langland’s The Vision of Piers Ploughman. Langland’s protagonist is confronted with the personification of Hunger. Hunger quotes the Bible and makes a case for beggars who do not work for their bread, either literal or figurative (Langland 6.231-250). This personified feeling further notes that he can “sende thee of his sauce to savore with thi lippes” and therefore make earthly consumption more pleasurable (Langland 6.262). However, he has to demand that “lat noght Sire Surfet sitten at thi borde,” because a surfeit, or fulfillment, of any type will banish both spiritual and physical 2 Following the ethnology of Donald Klein.


3 hunger (Langland 6.265). Since The Vision of Piers Ploughman works on both a concrete and an allegorical level, the idea of Hunger as both physical and spiritual can be applied. According to the theory of consummation, the consumption of earthly bread can quench the former briefly and consumption the sacred bread of the ceremony of the Mass/Communion can provide surfeit for the latter. The reclassification of food as either sacred or profane is an important step to understanding its role in the poetry of Quarles and Southwell. As we will see in “Chapter 2: ‘Til We Be Rotten,” only sacred foods can assuage the consummatory appetite of the spirit while a focus on the foods of the flesh (whether actual or sexual) causes corruption, dissatisfaction, and potential damnation. 3 During many of the poems, the speakers of Quarles and Southwell appear to lack a solution to spiritual hunger and a fear of the damnation of the world. Both poets produce poems that express a death wish on behalf of the speaker. Freud would base these wishes on his conjecture that “it is easier to submit to a remorseless law of nature, to the sublime [Necessity], than to a chance that might perhaps have been escaped” (53). While the speakers within the poems do not advocate self-inflicted death, a “chance” that could be escaped, they urge God to hasten this “remorseless” inevitability in order that they may escape the world of sin and be spiritually satiated in the divine presence. For all the poetic speakers, the world becomes a site of mourning and melancholia as well as despair because of its corruption. According to Paul Emmett, melancholia is the end result of a failure to complete the mourning process through an “incorporation [or 3 This state is akin to what Walter Benjamin would define as “the threefold material affinity between baroque and medieval Christianity. The struggle against pagan gods, the triumph of allegory, the torment of the flesh, are equally essential to both” (The Origin of German Tragic Drama 220). While Benjamin focuses on the first two parts, this text will examine primarily the struggle, torment, and release of the flesh within the poetry of Quarles and Southwell.


4 consumption] of the lost object.” This lack of incorporation can be applied to the failure of Christians to incorporate the loss of the paradisal state and, therefore, explains the melancholia that both poets express as they contemplate their lack of satiation from earthly foods. While Emmett makes no attempt to relate the melancholia of Robert Burton to the clinical depression of modern psychology, 4 these connections are traced by James Paxson in The Poetics of Personification. Using the works of Siegfried Wenzel and Martin Bloomfield on acedia as well as critiques of John Bowers and Michael Zink, 5 Paxson traces the emotion from the concept of acedia (or sloth) through melancholia to twentieth century notions of clinical depression (93-94.) Having performed a philological exegesis of the concept of acedia-dorveille, Paxson conjectures that “like the clinical depressive, the person suffering from acedia sleeps too much, is listless, uninterested in everything, uncommunicative, and above all, silent” and can make speech “the signature of the vital, sentient mind” (96). Paxson utilizes this symptomatic connection between acedia-dorveille, depression, and melancholia to argue that with the decline of speech through one of these disorders the character must turn to prosopopeia to express his or her thoughts. Fulling this connective series, Quarles’ and Southwell’s speakers do turn to prosopopoetic enablers to express their melancholia; they also use condemnations of the sinful nature of earth and its inhabitants and the lack of spiritual fulfillment to classify this type of religious depression. Both poets also use some outside vehicle to help their audience identify with earthbound melancholia in a sense that is beyond the verbal 4 Emmett prefers to examine the connections between the mourning rituals of cannibalistic tribes, literary works, and serial killers. 5 Wenzel’s The Sin of Sloth: Acedia in Medieval Thought and Literature (1967); Bloomfield’s The Seven Deadly Sins (1952); Bowers’ The Crisis of Will in Piers Ploughman (1986); Zink’s “The Allegorical Poem as Interior Memoir” Images of Power: Medieval History/ Discourse/ Literature (1986).


5 expression of the poets. Quarles provides concrete visual pictures in the form of the accompanying emblems while Southwell relies on his audience’s presumed knowledge of and ability to visualize the ceremonies of the Mass. These non-verbal expressions represent the work of the negative emotional state and allow the anachronistic term depression to be used interchangeably with the contemporary melancholia/ melancholy. Another aspect of these non-verbal expressions is to help both poets fit into the category of meditative poetry. Meditation is characterized by Louis Martz as the “intense, imaginative meditation that brings together the senses, the emotions, and the intellectual faculties of man; brings them together in a moment of dramatic, creative experience” (1). Quarles and Southwell 6 employ a combination of these characteristics within the poems I will be looking at. They call upon the gustatory, auditory, and visual senses of their readers to bring certain emotions like melancholy and spiritual hunger into sensory vividness as well as relying on the intellectual capabilities of the audience to recognize common doctrine, Biblical topoi, allegorical and symbolic figurae, 7 and the elements of the Mass. 8 By enabling these faculties and senses, the poets share with their audience the ability to change “diligent thinking” into “thinking deliberately directed toward the development of certain specific emotions,” which include the emotions that lead through the hunger for spiritual fulfillment to the depression of the death wish and culminate in the realization that satiation cannot be achieved through earthly means but must be received from God through certain media (Martz 14). Therefore, the poetry contained in 6 For a discussion of Southwell as an influential meditative poet and an in depth look at the qualities of meditative poetry within his work, see Martz’s The Poetry of Meditation (1962). 7 These figurae appear in the emblems of Quarles. 8 The elements of the Mass are used primarily in Southwell.


6 the Emblemes (1635) of Quarles and the works of Southwell produce meditations on the corruption of earth and the redemptive possibilities of the divine by utilizing the emotions of depression, melancholy, hunger, and eventual release. Through a close study of several of the meditations, I will demonstrate the presence of the death wish, the spiritual consummatory appetite, and the reflections of both in nature. I will also look briefly at the poets’ alternatives for experiencing the first and for sating the second.


‘TIS A CONSUMMATION TO BE DEVOUTLY WISHED The World’s a Torment; he that would endeaver/ to find the way to Rest, must seek the way to leave her.—Francis Quarles, “Emblem IX—Book I” Death was the meane my kyrnell to renewe, / by loppinge shott I upp to heavenly rest.—Robert Southwell, “Decease Release” The speakers of the poetry of Robert Southwell and Francis Quarles fail to incorporate anything that that can bring them out of a state of mourning. Paul Emmett and Nouri Ghana associate melancholia with an inability to complete the mourning process and begin the process of recovery through an incorporation of the mourned object. While neither Quarles nor Southwell creates a speaker that actively contemplates suicide, both write poetry wherein the earthly mourning process fails to peak with any type of spiritual incorporation and the speaker makes a supplication to God entreating his removal from the world through death. Often the poems build a picture of a sinful, darkling population that can no longer be tolerated by the godly speaker. The weight of the earth’s sin oppresses the speaker and he grieves without cessation. The lack of cessation imbues the poetry with a sense of futility culminating in a death wish. When Burton defines the symptoms of religious melancholia, he touches on the tendency of this type of melancholic to “seek to offer violence to themselves,” or to commit suicide (406). However the death wish as it is presented through this poetry can only be fulfilled by God; thus, the poets avoid accusations of being proponents of suicide. Two types of death are invoked within the poems. The first is the spiritual death that the speakers experience while trapped on earth. The second death is the death of the 7


8 physical body and the release of the soul, theoretically to Paradise. It is the second type that the speakers would enjoy having inflicted upon them. While Southwell specifically defines and examines both the types of death and the abstract reasons behind the death wish, Quarles explores the sins of the world that lead to the need for death. In the poem “A Phansie turned to a Sinners Complaint,” Robert Southwell examines the spirit of a man whose “death is of the mind” and clearly suffers from the symptoms of melancholia because that mind “always yields to extreamest pangues, / yet threatens worse behinde” (22-24). Southwell chooses to begin this poem with a double description of death. These descriptions, which are set up as binaries within the first stanzas of the poem, describe the two types of death: the death that the speaker desires ardently and the living death that he feels that he is experiencing. The terms that Southwell chooses to describe both his present living/death and the death he wants God to send him are eerily similar to those that Burton uses to describe the mindset of a melancholic, a person of “despair, terrors of the mind, [and] intolerable pains” (325). By setting up the two types of death in a binary system, Southwell can define one by how it is not like the other as well as dodging the stigma of a flirtation with suicide—after all, if he is already “ metaphysically/ spiritually dead,” it is not suicidal to wish for physical death. During the first stanza, the speaker wishes for the companionship of a fellow melancholic. He asks that Hee that his mirth hath lost, Whose comfort is to rue Whose hope is fallen, whose faith is cras’de, Whose trust is found untrue. (“Phansie Turned to a Sinner’s Complaint” lns. 1-4)


9 The speaker asks that this type of person join him so that “he shall not rue alone” (ln. 8). These criteria fit the symptoms of melancholy as well as reflecting for the meditative audience what their state of mind should be as they read the poem, because for them to fully understand the speaker, they must understand “lost mirth,” “rue” in place of “comfort,” “fallen hope,” “cras’de faith,” and “trustlessness.” The speaker is no longer secure in his faith because it has cracked like a “cras’d” mirror due to the lack of trust and mirth in the wicked world. The idea of faith as a broken window or mirror is not unique to Southwell. In “The Windows,” 1 George Herbert writes of man as a “brittle crazie glass” and asks how such a being “Lord, can preach thy eternal word?” (1-2). Like Southwell, Herbert clearly thinks that man as he is on earth is unworthy because of his insecure faith. However, where Herbert’s speaker ends with awe for the works of God who “mak [es] thy life to shine within/ the holy Preachers,” the speaker of “A Phansie Turned to a Sinner’s Complaint” laments the transformation of his reflective glass into “cras’de faith” (“The Windows” 7-8, “Phansie” 3). By clarifying this concept of broken faith, Southwell can begin to separate the death-on-earth—a type of spiritual death—from the true, physical death that he wants God to send him, i.e. the wished death, That feeles no plaint or lack: That making free the better part, Is only Nature’s wrack. (“A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint 17-26) 1 From his long, meditative work The Temple.


10 The “better part” that would be freed by true death is the soul. If not corrupted by the earthly pleasures of wealth, gluttony, etc, then the soul is the best part, since the body is inevitably tied to earth and its corruptions in order to exist because “thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return” (GEN 3:19). This dichotomy between the material body and the soul is reflective of medieval thinking. Medieval church thought denounced the body as the site of sin encasing the repentant soul. It is this materialism that connects the rot of earthly food to the damage of the soul and to unavoidable death. Both Michel de Montaigne and Gordon Teskey have advanced theories concerning the corruption of mankind. Christian tradition states that since the body of man was created from the dust of the earth, man’s corruption distorted the fruits of the earth and through those fruits, and this corruption can spread to the body. However, the soul of man was inspired by God 2 and can take sustenance from the fruits of the spirit and be separated during the earthly, physicality of the corrupt, decaying body. In his essay “That We Taste Nothing Pure,” Montaigne claims that “that there is design, consent, and complacency in giving a man's self up to melancholy” (620). If compared to the Christian theory of earthly corruption, 3 you can see that man consents to the corruption of the earth through the indulgence of the appetites and is often complacent about this corruption. Even though the Southwell’s speaker protests the corruption of the earth, he makes no proactive move to change his mood. He remains melancholy. Montaigne would classify this speaker as a soul who answers his question “are there not some constitutions that feed upon it [melancholia]”? He says that “of the pleasure and goods that we enjoy, there is not one exempt from some mixture of ill and 2 See later discussion of “Emblem XIV—Book I” by Francis Quarles.


11 inconvenience,” a position that agrees with the Christian assertion that all earthly things are corrupt (619). On the other hand, Teskey builds the corruptive idea into a theory of allegory that he uses to explain the corruption of the fruits of the earth. He claims that “the archaic, negative other marks the point at which instrumental meaning exerts force on what is meaning to that chaos” (6). Therefore, he sees the condition of corruption that Christians find in the world to be an attempt to make the world a “sign of vice” (25). Like Montaigne and Southwell, for whom the world displays both corruption and potential redemption, Teskey defines the Christian reading as “the world thus became a text, fixed in one state at its creation, from which the presence of the divine has been removed” due to the sin of man (37). However, the archaic negative that defines the mourning of Southwell’s speaker comes from what Teskey would term the “mutual devouring—or as I shall call it allelophagy—that is the corporeal expression of the symmetrical otherness we have seen in the word allegory” (8). 4 At odds in Southwell’s poem are the body and the spirit. One must devour the other because it no longer has a “corporeal expression” in the world. In turn, the body is corrupted by the world that man corrupted. Only the soul is left. It must either be devoured in a spiritual death so that it can be balanced and expressed by the body—each being a reflection of the other—or the body must, as Southwell’s speaker will request, die an earthly death so that the soul may fly to a Paradise better suited to its reflection. The speaker of “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” has not achieved this physical death. Instead he suffers the spiritual death that “always yields extreamest 4 Teskey sets forth his combined theory of allelophagy and allegory in Violence and Allegory, Cornell University Press, 1996.


12 pangues” and makes his “phansies like thornes/ in which I go by night” (Southwell 23, 33-34). Burton notes that people afflicted with religious melancholy often suffer from the effects of “superstitious rites, blind zeal, vain fears, blind obedience, needless works, incredibilities, impossibilities, monstrous rites and ceremonies, willfulness, blindness, obstinancy, etc” (348). Since a fancy can be an unreal imagining, most often with a positive connotation but here with a negative, the terms superstitious, vain, incredible—i.e. not credible or truthful—and impossible can be applied to the speaker’s “phansies” (OED). Therefore, the result of this spiritual death is religious melancholy. Unlike those of other poems we have looked at, this speaker tells his audience how he came to be spiritually malnourished and unfulfilled in his consummatory appetite. Though he sow’d the soyle of peace, my bliss was in the spring; And day by day the fruite I eate, That Vertues tree did bring, (“A Phansie” lns. 49-52) he no longer consumes such spiritual fruit because he believes that he “doth fear revenge” from God for an unspecified sin that draws his soul away from Heaven and toward the corrupting earth (ln. 31). The “fruite” from “Vertues tree” could be interpreted as another name for the Tree of Life, and therefore, he knew peace and bliss because his spiritual consummatory appetite was being sated by sacred food rather than the fleshly portion of the earth. However, “Vertues Tree” could also be a re-envisioning of the tree of the Church found in Passus 15 of William Langland’s The Vision of Piers Plowman. The tree consists of


13 Right so out of Holy Chirche alle yveles spredeth There inparfit preesthode is, prechours and techeris. And se it by ensaumple in somer tyme on trowes: Ther some bowes ben leved and some bereth none, Ther is a meschief in the more of swiche manere bowes (Langland 15: 94-98). The “bowes” of the tree of the Church are its “prechours and techeris,” and the fruit that “inparfit preesthood” produces is the fruit of the Church, the means for the salvation of its members. Though the speaker of Piers Plowman tells us that “out of the Holy Chirche alle yveles spredeth,” he also notes that some “bowes ben leved and some bereth non.” Therefore, not all the fruit of the church is evil, because some “bowes” are leaved with the green, fair fruit of spiritual reason where “the roote of the right feith to rule the peple”, but the “ac ther the roote is roten, reson woot the sothe,/ shal nevere fiour ne fruyt, ne fair leef be grene (Langland 15: 100, 101-102). The tree of the Church is the corrupted tree of virtue on a corrupt earth. If Southwell’s speaker had been eating from one of the “roten” branches, then his current corruption is explainable. In order to both remain in the world and be spiritually sated again, the speaker must pluck only the fruit from the healthy branches of the Tree. However, “whom grace and virtue once advaunc’d / now sinne hath caste away” and the speaker is left depressed and full of “woe” (lns. 43-44, 66). Though the “sinne” is not specified, the conjecture can be made that it was a sin of the flesh because the speaker invokes the frail inconstant flesh, soone trapt in every ginne; soone wrought thus to betray thy soule, and plunge thyself in sinne. (lns. 93-96) The notion of the weakness of the flesh, here described as “frail” and “inconstant,” was a common concept during the seventeenth century. Something that is frail rather than


14 strong cannot constantly and consistently guard against “sinne” (OED). Upon succumbing to earthly pleasures, the frail body can prevent the soul from assuaging its appetite for spiritual foods and can, therefore, cause the spiritual death that afflicts the speakers in the poems of both Southwell and Quarles. As many of the other speakers created by Southwell and Quarles will, this speaker wishes for a physical death so that he can become nothing but spirit by leaving the corrupted flesh “frail [and] inconstant.” As long as this prayer goes unanswered, the speakers exercise remorse, and dolefull sinners layes, My booke remembrance of my crimes, and faults of former dayes (Southwell “A Phansie Turned into a Sinners Complaint” lns. 137-140) In short, they will live in a melancholy that leads to a spiritual starvation and a constant longing for true death. This living, spiritual death is one that Spenser associates with a melancholic, empty personality as well. In The Faerie Queene, the character of Malbecco, or “Jealousy,” is enthralled with his lover Hellenore. Like Southwell’s speaker, Malbecco is claims that he is spiritually dead, or dead and alive, without her. However his passions are dead too because if she leaves him, Then his false engines fast he plyde, And all the slights unbosomed in his hart; He sigh’d, he sobd, he swownd, he perdy dyde, And cast himself on ground her fast besyd. (Faerie Queene 3: 10: 8-11) Though Malbecco’s reactions seem to mirror the “dolefull sinners layes” that Southwell’s speaker mentions with his sighing, sobbing, and swooning, he “perdy dyde” (Southwell Phansie 138). “Perdy” is an obsolete form of the word “pardie,” which is “a form of oath: = ‘By God!’; hence as an assertation: Verily, certainly, assuredly, indeed” (OED).


15 Therefore, his protestations that he has “dyde” are nothing more than protestations, or “false engines” designed to manipulate Hellenore. However, the difference between Malbecco’s living death and the living death of Southwell’s speaker is that he continues his spiritual death because of whom he “prays” to for release. Rather than relying on the hope of heaven and physical death, Malbecco begs that Hellenore’s “mercie would him give/ that he mote algates dye, yet did his death forgive” (Faerie Queene 3: 10: 14-15). He will forgive her his “false death” if she can grant him “mercie” and enthrall herself again. Since this salvation is of the earthly flesh, Malbecco “yet can never dye, but dying lives/ and doth himself with sorrow new sustaine” and “there dwels he ever” (Spenser 3:10: 60-61, 64). This permanent death of the spirit that cannot be redeemed and released by a physical death is what Southwell’s speaker fears. The desire for true death is further developed in Southwell’s “What Joy to Live.” Unlike the speaker in a “Phansie,” the speaker of “What Joy to Live” does not perceive a spiritual death in himself. Rather the bitterness of the world around him makes him—and through him the reader—question why he would want to go on living in a world where love is lent for loane of filthy gaine, most frends befriend themselves with friendships shew, here plentie peril, want doth breed disdaine, Cares common are, joyes faultie, short, and few. (lns. 13-16) As we will see in Quarles’ “Emblem XIV—Book I,” this speaker cannot bear the corruption of the world. People are in danger of this corruption if they have “plentie” of the world’s goods, but are disdained by the flesh lovers if they lack material goods. Rather than forming friendships out of love or faith, this speaker says that they are for “shew.” Presumably he is referring to the practice of befriending or ingratiating oneself to a more wealthy or powerful person in order to increase one’s worldly goods or status. If


16 the concerns of the mind are worldly, they can be interpreted in both the senses of the word common, both lower in stature and widespread (OED). Since the “joyes” of earth cannot adequately fulfill the spiritual void, they are short and few and are “faultie” because they do not raise the level of spirituality but anchor it to the flesh. The speaker notes that while “men present hap, I future hopes do crave” and “all worldly fraights” (lns. 9, 10). This speaker is out of step with the desire for earthly “fraights,” i.e. gain and sinful lusts. Because he does not long for earthly pleasures, but for a more advanced state, the speaker tells us that “life is loath’d, where love may not prevail” and “peace I none enjoy” as long as he dwells in the sinful, flesh-oriented world (“What Joy to Live” lns. 6, 1). This loathing of a lack of peace leads to a plea for death. Where other “loving where they live, long life require, / to live where best I love, death I desire” (lns. 11-12). Again, the death wish, or desire, that the speaker feels is for the physical death defined in “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint.” However, death is inevitable for all living creatures, because Adam’s fall mandated that “all go to one place, and all was of the dust, and all shall return to the dust”; therefore, the speaker is asking for the inevitable to speed up rather than speeding it up himself (Ecc. 3:20). This speaker reassures himself and his readers that unlike those who seek the earth’s “balefull bliss that damnes where it delights” and “treasure sought still to the owners harmes,” he will die soon rather than “live so many deaths to try” and “pleasure upshot is to die accurst”; he will forsake this world and be raised to the bliss of paradise (lns. 24, 20, 25, 30). Both “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” and “What Joy to Live” are sacred parodies of poems about profane love. The parodic aspects of the two poems give a resonance to their assertions that sacred love has redemptive powers. As we saw in the


17 discussion of the plight of Spenser’s Malbecco, his reliance on profane love for redemption left him languishing in a spiritual death. While both the poems that are parodied mourn the loss of the speakers’ secular love interest, Southwell uses the knowledge that his audience would have had of them to demonstrate the need to turn from profane love and the things of the earth toward sacred love, which could ultimately satisfy the spiritual appetite and release the soul. “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” provides a “line by line parody” of Sir Edward Dyer’s poem entitled “A Fancy” (McDonald and Brown 135). Dyer’s poem is a lament that makes a “hart the aulter” whose “mystris is a woeman” rather than the heart that is beloved of God (“A Fancy” lns. 29, 96). Throughout Dyer’s poem, the focus is on the travails that an earthly lover mourns in “that love wrought in her name” (ln. 109). Rather than the grief of a spiritual death from the corruption of earth, Dyer’s speaker is mourning the transience of profane love. Since he has been spurned by his “mystris,” he wants to “hide/ and never come to light” while Southwell’s speaker spurns earthly love and seeks fulfillment in the realm of the spirit. The speaker of “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” was “forsaken first by grace, / by pleasure now forgotten” and mourns the “graces wage” that “have others from me gotten” more than the “sparks of bliss”(lns. 77-78, 79, 80, 86). Dyer’s speaker is a “spark” of the seventeenth century, one concerned with pleasure and courtship. 5 However, Southwell uses many of the same metaphors for melancholia that Dyer does to turn his speaker into a sacred lover, mourning the rejection of grace that leads him to plead for physical death. 5 See “Emblem IX—Book I” on page 40 for a longer discussion about the term “spark” in the seventeenth century.


18 Just as Southwell uses many of Dyer’s ecstatic terms to prove the superiority of sacred over profane love, he chooses to parody the popular sonnet “Pace Non Trovo e Non Ho Da Far Guerra” by Petrarch in “What Joy to Live” in order to reinforce that superiority. 6 The Petrarchan sonnet is a short one that lauds the “love that sometimes seems a God, sometimes a boy,” in other words, profane love, which is frequently represented by the boy/god Cupid. This profane love causes the speaker of the sonnet to “wish for death, yet after help I gape; / I hate my self, but love another wight” (10-11). A “wight” was “any living creature” in the 1500s, though it later came to have supernatural connotations (OED). This speaker is placing his trust in another mortal being. This type of dependency is the type that Southwell and Quarles berate in their poems because it is an earthly attachment. Though Petrarch’s speaker is in love, he hates himself and wishes for death. He is not spiritually fulfilled by this “wight.” However, the speaker of “What Joy to Live” has the hope of eventual spiritual fulfillment because he does not worship Cupid’s secular passions, but finds that “all worldly fraights to me are deadly wracke,” and so “they loving where they live, long life require, / to live where best I love, death I desire” (Southwell 9, 11-12). Unlike the speaker of Petrarch’s sonnet, Southwell’s speaker will reject the “deere Dame” that afflicts his counterpart (“XL” 18). Through the formal rejection of the secular love that she represents because she cannot “live where [he] loves best,” the speaker of “What Joy to Live” can deny the worldly corruptions and call for spiritual fulfillment through death. 6 In their commentary on “What Joy to Live, Nancy Pollard Brown and James H. McDonald note that “a translation made by Thomas Watson, ‘Passion XL’ in Hekatompathia, or the Passionate Centurie of Love (1582), bears the closest linguistic resemblance to Southwell’s sacred parody” (145). Therefore, that is the translation of the Petrarch that I will be using for comparison.


19 If Southwell defines what death is in “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” and describes the corruption of the world in “What Joy to Live,” the prayer for death is most strongly invoked in “I Die Alive.” The whole poem is an plea for death, because on earth the speaker live[s], but such a life as ever dies, I die but such a death, as never ends, My death to end my dying life denies, And life my living death no whit amends. (lns. 5-8) This stanza combines the spiritual death outlined in “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” and the inability to actually die. Nothing about the life he leads on earth can console him or make “amends” for his depression. The speaker’s life “ever dies” and that spiritual death “never ends” because he cannot be spiritually satiated on earth but also cannot commit suicide to end his earthly existence without being damned. In order to prevent that damnation, the melancholic speaker prays that God will answer his “grace,” or prayer, and as “death come take away” (ln. 4). The use of the word “grace” rather than prayer sets up an interesting pun that complicates the meaning of the poem. Not only can “grace” refer to a prayer, but it can also refer to “mercy,” specifically divine mercy (OED). If the speaker receives his wish for death, he will be granted “grace,” or mercy. Another, more obscure connotation is the idea of giving a “coup de grace,” or death, to someone who is grievously wounded rather than letting them die in pain (OED). Since this speaker feels that life on earth is like a mortal wound, he asks that God would give him “grace,” or death. Finally, the word “grace” can also imply the will of God that empowers the world (OED). By addressing “grace,” the speaker is addressing the only thing that could take him out of the world without the commission of a mortal sin. Consequently, the dimensions of this one word demonstrate that fulfillment can come


20 from turning to God or grace, and rejecting the earth and death. Since the consummatory appetite cannot be fulfilled on earth where “the deathes I feele, in present dangers lie,” the speaker here seeks a “graceful”—perhaps blessed—physical death and heaven in order to find the grace to assuage his spiritual emptiness(ln. 16). Though Francis Quarles’ “Emblem XIV” from Emblemes (1635) appears to be a straightforward Christian appeal for the light of God based on Psalm 13 which asks “hear me, O Lord my God, lighten mine eyes, that I slepe not in death,” examined more carefully for both structure and word choice and when viewed in conjunction with “Epigram 14,” the poem becomes a death wish (13.3). The complexity of the poem makes a reading that focuses solely on the call for God’s light inadequate to the implications it carries about death and suicide. Besides rhetorical styling, Quarles uses allegorical metaphors, puns, and prosopopoeia to outline his wish to be returned to his creator. The darkness of “Emblem XIV” and “Epigram 14” is more than physical; it represents the metaphysical darkness of the speaker and the poems present the only answer that the speaker has to defeat its pervasiveness. Quarles shows in great detail the causes of spiritual death by examining the prevalence of darkness in the world and its contrast to the pure light of God. In this poem, Quarles expands upon Psalm 13. In this Psalm, the speaker is torn by question of his importance to God. The Psalmist is terrified that God has forgotten him and questions how long the pain of this fear will last, and Quarles imitates this same questing fear to add character to his speaker. While the Psalm was written by Jews for a Jewish audience, Quarles—like all typologically taught Christian readers—interpreted it from the perspective of a Christian. By using these same emotions within his poem,


21 Quarles offers his audience the same fear. He uses panicked questions about how and when light, physical and metaphysical, will return to the world (1-2). Quarles also repeats the invocation of “Sweet Phosphor, bring the day” to echo the author of Psalm 13’s apostrophe to “O Lord My God” (Quarles 3, Ps. 13:3). Unlike the Psalmist, who does not repeat his invocation, Quarles uses his apostrophe and the repetition thereof to give his poem shape and cohesion. The exalting enemies of the Psalmist are reflected in Quarles’ poem when he discusses “those [sinners] have night who love night” (Psalm 13:4, Quarles 24). Towards the end of Psalm 13, the speaker grows more confident in God and writes “but I have trust in thy mercie: my heart shal rejoice in thy salvacion” (13:5). Just as Psalmist 13 knows that God will defeat his “enemies” and bring him salvation, Quarles’ speaker grows convinced enough in God’s light to state that “light will repay the wrongs of night” (13:4, Quarles 39). While Quarles’ poem reflects many of the emotions that the Psalmist invokes, he ends it in a much different mood. He will not “sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me” and rejoice that God loves him as he is, on earth. Instead, he gives into despair and melancholy and begins to wish for death so that he may rejoin God. This disjunctive conclusion demonstrates the severed connection of the speaker with the world around him. Through an invocation of apostrophe to “Sweet Phosphor”—a refrain for the poem—the speaker addresses something greater than him in order to form a connection, and also provides an interesting twist to its interpretation. This twist comes from the fact that historically Phosphor is the appellation of the Morning Star, not the Sun, which was called Sol. Therefore, the theory that Phosphor invokes the Sun which can then be read as


22 the “Son” of God must be discarded. In its place, a close look at the Bible is needed in order to determine what meaning Phosphor gives to the poem. Lucifer is referred to as the “angel of the morning star” and his Latin name translates as “Light bearer.” Quarles is unlikely to be invoking the fallen angel of the stories to bring light to his darkness. But, one of the most prominent metaphors for Jesus the Son of God is the Light, a being that Quarles would have invoked. By determining that Jesus is the higher power that Quarles meant to invoke, the reader moves toward an understanding of Phosphor’s place in the poem. Since the morning star is the one which precedes the sun, the identification of Phosphor with Jesus offers a viable connection because knowledge, or discovery, of the light of Jesus is the Christian prerequisite for salvation. Discovery of Jesus’ light must precede admission into heavenly realms. By calling on “Sweet Phosphor,” the speaker is acknowledging the light of Christ and can therefore be confident that when his “poor mortal blaze” is “puffed out,” he will truly see the light of heaven and be spiritually fulfilled as Communion fulfilled his spiritual appetite on earth (“Emblem” 1, 30, 44, “Epigram 4). Looking closely at stanza one, we see the introduction of the light metaphor. This “promised light” is both the light of the sun of Earth and of the Son of God. By setting up this parallel, Quarles can remind the believers in his audience that God is responsible for both types of light. Every language has a word for light, because it is such a prominent part of human experience. The ideas for light that Quarles uses in his poem derive from several languages, specifically the Greek leukotom and the Latin lux, lumina. Each derivation carries a slightly different definition that Quarles employs.


23 These derivations allow Quarles to increase the complexity of his poem. Leukotom means “naked” (OED). This meaning reflects the revelatory nature of light feared by those people “who love night” and who “blush to let men know/ the baseness they ne’er blush to do” (“Emblem” 24, 19-20). These “people who love the night” are the sinners who surround the speaker. He uses their fear of revelation to set himself apart from them. Since he does not “love the night,” he is not afraid of light’s revelatory nature; the speaker has nothing to hide. He wishes to achieve total revelation—and thereby a cessation of melancholy—through the light of God. The Latin words lux, lumina mean the light of day, the sunlight that is the reality of what the speaker desires, and which helps things grow (OED). The craving for the return of daylight is reflected in both “Emblem XIV” and “Epigram 14” with the speaker’s cries of “promised light ne’er break, and clear those clouds of night” and the desired light that “thy windows will discover” (“Emblem” ln.1, “Epigram” ln. 4). However, the sinners of stanza three do not fear this simple, growth-empowered daylight. The spiritual daylight that the speaker truly calls for could bring his sin-laden world to grace, because the spiritual daylight feeds the hunger of the world’s people that was previously filled by sin. Furthermore, the eyes that would see this spiritual light are the windows to the soul specifically addressed in “Epigram 14,” and unnamed but present throughout “Emblem XIV” (OED). However, it is with this address to the eyes of the soul that the speaker most overtly expresses his desire to join God through death. Only when his “windowsdiscover [the] break o’day” will the soul of the speaker be happy, and this statement determines what will happen “if Ignorance puff out this light” (Quarles “Epigram” ln. 1). In this line, light refers back to the “mortal blaze” of “Emblem XIV”


24 (ln. 30). However, like the window/eyes in “Epigram 14,” the candle is more than just a physical, light-giving object. Beyond the physical function of a candle to provide light, the flame of Quarles’ candle represents the passionate soul of the speaker. While that passion is still referred to as a blaze within the poem, it is qualified with the word “mortal” and is described as “dull” and “melancholy” (“Emblem” 32-33). The mortality of the flame and its present dullness imply that it will not long be able to withstand the spiritual and physical darkness pressing upon it. The speaker realizes this dilemma and knows that his problem will not be resolved by the rising of the physical sun when he asks “what comfort’s here” (“Emblem” 35). This intimation concerning the lack of comfort on earth will lead to his eventual conclusion in “Epigram 14” that to be happy again this “mortal blaze” will need to be “puff[ed] out,’ enabling him to escape the darkness for the “break o’day” (“Emblem” 30, “Epigram” 1, 4). When the speaker voices his desire for death, the tension that has been mounting in the preceding poem is realized. He has fully grasped that he cannot survive on sinful earth, waiting patiently for the return of God’s Light and fearing that Ignorance has blown out the light permanently. Since the speaker does not know “if e’er the breath-exiled flame [will] return” he, in the end, sees certainty only in a heaven-sent death. He knows that what is beginning is a spiritual death like that of the speakers in Southwell’s poems, and like them, prefers a physical death to the anguish of a spiritual one. Throughout the work, the poet uses another shopworn dichotomy: light set up in opposition to darkness. On the surface level, the poem describes the natural cycle between the light of day and the dark of night. This daylight, which pours from the sun,


25 reflects the overall idea of light in stanza 2. The implication is that since “darkness soil[s] / the face of the earth, and thus beguile [s] / our souls of rightful action,” if light were present, the souls will be able to complete whatever the rightful actions are (8-10). Created by God, light is capable of inspiring righteous action and therefore fulfilling the spiritual desire, or appetite, to commune with God. Darkness and night manifest themselves as both physical darkness and as a spiritual shadow that signifies the spiritual death that surrounds the speaker. Both of these definitions are historical. Found in Old English as deorc and Old High German as darknjan, the other Teutonic languages lack an adjective that implies, as these two roots do, something that is “hidden, not visible” (OED). However, this sense of hidden can be found in the dark of Quarles’ poem. The darkness enables those “that slyly love to immure/ their cloistered crimes and sin secure” to hide all thought of eventual punishment (Quarles 17-18). In addition to the slight against cloistered Catholicism, this hiding place that darkness offers to sin is what corrupts the night and makes the light, which “repay the wrongs of night” more desirable (Quarles 48-49). Though the word dark appears only once, it “soils/ the face of earth” (“Emblem” 9-10). In other words, the soil, or dirt, of earth is being stained by darkness rather than cleaned and brightened by light. This pun on “soiled” was further developed by descriptions of night, mists, and fog and their effects on the world. And as the speaker begins to consider what will happen when “Sweet Phosphor, bring[s] the day,” he longs for the “new-born ray” that will “gild the weather cocks of our devotion” and make the earth clean again (“Emblem” 11, 12). Unless the earth can be made clean again, those


26 people living on its “soiled”—i.e. corrupted—fruits will not be able to find spiritual satisfaction. Quarles uses two sets of puns to illustrate his death wish and to show that only God can provide spiritual satisfaction. The most involved of the sets is a pun involving exhale, exile, and expire. The other set involves the verb discover and verb/adjective divine. The triumvirate of exhale, exile, and expire is created in the last stanza of “Emblem XIV.” This stanza, which begins with an invocation to Ignorance, asks that it blow, blow thy spite; Since thou hast puffed out our greater taper, do Puff on, and out the lesser too. If e’er that breath-exiled flame return, Thou hast not blown as it will burn. (lns. 42-46) The idea of blowing, or puffing out is the same as exhaling a breath (OED). When someone or something is exiled, it is cast out of its world (OED). If the “breath-exiled flame,” or soul, is cast out of its world, the body of the speaker, then the speaker will expire, or die (OED, ln. 45). In the stanza, the “greater taper” is the sun that has not risen. The “lesser” taper is the life of the speaker. If he cannot have life, if he must be “exiled” from light, he wants to blow out, or exhale, his last ignorant breath and expire, or die. This invocation for expiration is the most evident plea for death in the poem. However, the pun is continued in “Epigram 14” with the speaker explaining to his “soul,” or “lesser taper,” what will happen “if Ignorance puff out this light” (“Emblem” ln. 44, “Epigram” ln.1). Since God “inspired” man with the breath of life, only he can inspire with the means to keep the “lesser taper” fueled. 7 7 In The Language of Allegory: Defining the Genre, Maureen Quilligan noted that the action of the puns occurring in Book I of The Faerie Queene was “show that words mean exactly what they say they mean, and to use as part of the informing principle of the narrative what their own histories as words say about them” (35). Like her example of the


27 During the discussion of the power of Ignorance, the second set of puns occurs. Throughout the poem, the desired light has been both physical and spiritual. The speaker says that if the spiritual puffing out that he has requested occurs, his soul will “discover break o’day” (“Epigram 4). At this point, the meaning of discover is that the light of God will be revealed (OED). Since the light discovered will be the light of God, it will be divine or holy and can satiate his spiritual appetite. However, divine can also be used as a verb that means to “uncover something supernatural” such as the light of God that will be discovered after the speaker is exhaled and expires (OED). Divination and discovery are what the speaker longs for throughout poem and has now established can only come from the exile of death. The pictura that accompanies “Emblem XIV” attempts to visualize the oppressive nature of the darkness that surrounds the speaker. A lone figura is seated in the foreground surrounded by darkness. Rather than leave the darkness in a totally amorphous shape, the artist chose to define part of it as a disk, a large anti-halo that appears to be condensing around the figura as if to smother him. The only light present in the pictura comes from a single candle—emblematic of the “lesser” taper (ln. 44). The candle and its holder are engulfed in darkness and their outline can hardly be seen. The flame only illuminates the face, hands, and upper legs of the figura. The parts illumined give weight to the idea that the speaker of the poem is a Godly man because the hands and face are drawn in an attitude of prayer with the face upturned and the hands folded beneath the chin. The sense of the pictura is that at any minute, the light could be engulfed by sin/darkness as the circle behind it narrows further. If the “lesser” taper is phrase “the rightest way,” Quarles’ puns depend on knowing the history—particularly the Biblical connotations—of the words being punned.


28 overwhelmed by the corruption of the earth, then total spiritual death will occur and the speaker may turn to the fruits of the flesh for fleeting satisfaction of that emptiness. Though Quarles’ speaker devotes only one stanza to “those who love the night” in “Emblem XIV,” he describes them and mocks their relationship to the Light within “Emblem IX.” The first two stanzas of this emblem poem describe the “dunghill worldlings” that Drawe neare, brave sparks, whose spirits scorne to light your hallow’d Tapours, but at Honours flame; You, whose heroic Actions take delight To varnish over a new painted name. (Quarles “Emblem IX—Book I” lns. 17, 14) A possible reading of “sparks” is as a metaphor for the soul. However, the association between the idea of light/fire and the human soul is complicated by a contemporary meaning of the word “sparks.” Not only can it stand for the bits of fire thrown out from a blaze or an unhardened soul, but in the seventeenth century, “spark” was the slang term for a young roustabout or a light-hearted fop (OED).While these “sparks” are thrown off be the “hallow’d”—or blessed—“Tapours” that represent the souls, they are not ignited by the Light of the spirit like the candle 8 in “Emblem XIV.” Instead, the speaker avers that they are lit at the flame of “Honour” and are therefore too focused on the world. Rather than delighting in the fruits of the spirit and mourning the sinfulness of the world, these “sparks,”—metonyms for themselves—are focused on achieving worldly victory by gaining “painted names,” potentially coats of arms, and by wiping out, or “varnishing” over, the deeds of others. However, the speaker quickly points out the folly of such worldly focus by describing these actions as chasing the “Icarian wings of babbling Fame, /behold, how 8 See previous discussion of “Emblem XIV” candle on p. 33.


29 tottring are your high-built ftories/ of earth, whereon you truft the groundwork of your Glories” (“Emblem IX—Book I” lns. 6-8). The use of the adjective “Icarian” allows the speaker to mock the priorities of the “sparks.” Like Icarus, who disobeyed his father and flew too close to the sun in order to demonstrate his own Glory, these swains “trust” the Fame of earth whose glory is “tottring” and whose memory is forgetful. These sinners are resting their eyes on the earthly joys of “a wanton fmile before eternall Ioyes; / that know no heav’n but in your Miftreffe eyes” and that “can, like crowne-diftemper’d fooles, defpife/ True riches, and like Babies, whine for Toyes” (“Emblem XI—Book I” lns. 10-11, 13-14). While warning them against the vain and momentary “toyes” of earth, the speaker laments for those who are rejecting the “eternall Ioyes” and “True riches,” which he would define as the fruits of the spirit and eternal life with God in Heaven. They are still attempting to satisfy a spiritual appetite with the consummatory products of lust and greed. However, the speaker calls them to leave off their spite and revelry and cast up golden Trenches, where ye come, whose only pleasure is to undermine, and view the secrets of your mothers wombe; Come bring your Saint, pouch’d in his leather Shrine. (“Emblem XIV—Book I” lns. 18-21) On the surface this admonition is rather light and seems to ask them to give up their worldly goods, represented by the trenches of gold. Nonetheless, it has a much more provocative meaning when alternate ways of looking at the words “Saint” and “Shrine” are employed. Formally, saint “implies that the persons so designated may be lawfully addressed in prayer for their intercession with God, and that miracles have been wrought through their aid after death” and each has his or her own shrine (OED). Though they may seem to be an indictment of Catholicism, the fact that the two previous lines are


30 referencing sexual pleasures inherent in the “Trenches,” or female genitalia, where they “come” or find sexual release, and how they seek, through sex, to “view the secrets of [their] mothers wombe”(Emmett). 9 Since the speaker has already noted that these “sparks” are interested only in “wanton smiles,” then the “Saint” they worship can be interpreted as their penis and its “leather shrine” would have been their fashionable codpiece or breeches (“Emblem IX—Book I” ln. 10). They do not worship at either the shrines of the saints of the Church or at the alter of God, but seek sexual consummation and the satiation of physical wants rather than the true fulfillment found in the spiritual consummation and fulfillment that is desired by Quarles’ speaker. As in many of the other poems that mourn the sinfulness of the world, the speaker of “Emblem IX” cannot offer a viable way to navigate the “feeble, faithlesse, fickle world, wherein/ each motion proves a vice, and ev’ry Act, a Sin” (Quarles lns. 31-32). Because of this inability, the speaker presents his own death wish as the only viable way to end his mourning and their sinning for “what’s our onely griefe’s our onely Cure:/ the World’s a Torment; he that would endeavor/ to find a way to Rest, must seek the way to leave her” (“Emblem IX—Book I” lns. 46-48). In other words, he who wants to cure his grief and end his mourning must find a way to die. Burton tells us that those people who are in the melancholy of despair “are in great pain and horrors of mind, distraction of soul, restless, full of continual fears, cares, torments, anxieties; they can neither eat, drink, nor sleep for them” and that many in this state lay desperate hands upon themselves” (405, 408). While the speaker, as in “Emblem XIV,” is not openly 9 As Paul Emmett discusses in his article “ The Incorporative Identifications of Mourning and Melancholia” with reference to the need for melancholics to incorporate the thing that they mourn.


31 advocating suicide, he does not discuss how to “leave” the world by any means other than death. Therefore, the sinners and the speaker—and presumably the reader—should ask God to remove them from it so that they may have relief from their “griefes” and “rest” from their “continual fears, cares, torments, and anxieties”. This reading of the poem is reflected, though not expanded upon, in the pictura that accompanies it. The round orb with the crossed top that represents both England and the world is falling to the right and an older man is tumbling off of it onto a pile of coins while a Father Time/Death figure puts one foot on the side of the orb. The Father Time/Death figure is examining his hour glass and readying his scythe, both representations of the fleeting nature of time and the fact that all time ends in death. By showing a cupid figura with his bow and arrows tumbling off the orb as well, Quarles can show that even lust is subject to eventual death. However, the male figura does not seem to be seeking death—though he seems to have found it. Therefore, the pictura more clearly illustrates the inscripta that accompanies it (“the world passeth away, and all the lusts thereof”) than the seeking of the poem. Consequently, it exemplifies the instability of the world, a theme that runs throughout the poem. Because their depression and desire for death are connected with the corruption of the earth and its people, the spiritual consummatory appetite of these speakers cannot be fulfilled. Having accepted the degradation of the body inherent in the idea of its materialistic corruption, the poets can only see a positive movement in its total rejection through death. As we have seen, they do not offer a method through which to satisfy that appetite outside of death. However, they do explore both earthly and heavenly methods for ending their mourning through the fulfillment of a spiritual appetite. This exploration


32 demonstrates for their readers the instability of the world and the necessity of the fulfillment of the consummatory appetite. By defining fruit as rotten and rejecting the possibilities of profane love, the poets can display the benefits of sacred food over sinful and show why death can provide better spiritual gratification than either of the more earthly pursuits of eating and having sex. The imagery within the death poems that we have looked at also sets up the thematic connections between food, mourning, and nature that attach significance to the requisite spiritual satiation for earthly happiness. Only by full incorporation of spiritual food can mourning cease and the corruption of the soul and nature be transformed.


‘TIL WE BE ROTTEN 1 What never fill’d? Be thy lips skrew’d so fast seize these/ to the earths full breast? —Quarles, Emblem XII, Book I My teares my drink, my famisht thoughts my bread; / Day full of dumps, Nurse of night unrest.—Southwell, “Davids Peccavi” Within the poetry of both Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell, a common appetite, or lack thereof, exists. In many of the melancholic poems, feeding, food, and fertility play a role in the problem of and the solution to mourning. Just as Christians consume their Savior through the ceremony of Communion, Quarles and Southwell look from the rotten food of earth to the spiritual food in heaven. Images of sucking, feeding, gorging, gluttony and atonement are tied together to illustrate the obsessive nature of mourning that each poem projects. Southwell relies solely on words, concepts and the rituals of the Church to show these relationships while Quarles supports his verbal images with emblems that occupy the same pictorial space. Within their poetry, food occupies two distinct positions based on the symbolic meaning attributed to it. When it is earthly food, both authors have their speakers reject it as unwholesome, unfulfilling, and ultimately destructive because of its relationship to the sinful earth. Placing food in this position allows them to mourn the sinful, willful nature of their fellow man as well as of themselves. This melancholy obsession can be satisfied only by rejection of the earthly 1 Geoffrey Chaucer. “The Reeve’s Prologue.” The Canterbury Tales: Nine Tales and the General Prologue. Eds. V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1989.93-95. Line 21. 33


34 food which in turn leads to a rejection of the earth and a wish to be subsumed by death. 2 While current psychoanalytic trends address an attachment between mourning and the physical consummatory appetite as well as the idea of incorporation, the poems of Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell address the consummatory or incorporative drive of the spirit. Food and its consumption become more than a desire to either incorporate something that is lost or to fulfill a primeval want (Emmett, Doige 139). By establishing a relationship between the appetite of the spirit and food, the poetry can comment on both the state of the earth and the state of the reader/participant. As the poems follow a specific pattern of meditation, the consumption of food grants redemption if it is reclassified as a sacramental or sacred food, i.e. the elements of the Communion/Eucharist ritual or the blessed fruits of Eden. Sacred food can aid in an acceptance of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, and by metaphorically consuming His flesh, the speakers can achieve an end other than immediate death from physical and spiritual starvation. Quarles begins to create a relationship between a deep melancholy over the world and the ingestion of, and search for, food within “Emblem IIIBook I” of Emblemes (1635). In the manner of a teacher, which suits the previously discussed meditative nature of the poems, “Emblem III” opens with a tri-line rhetorical question, “alas 3 Fond Child,/ how are thy thoughts beguil’d,/ to hope for Hony in a nest of wasps?” (Quarles ln.1-3). In this question, Quarles denotes precisely what he wants to talk about in the poem: the 2 For a more detailed discussion about the pleasures derived from a consummation action see Norman Doige’s “Appetitive Pleasure States: A Biopsychoanalitic Model of the Pleasure Threshold, Mental Representation, and Defense” in Pleasures Beyond the Pleasure Principle edited by Robert A. Glick and Stanley Bone. 3 All emphasis mine.


35 mourning that he feels towards the world (alas) because of the way the world leads the unsuspecting astray (beguil’d) as well as the perfidy of his fellow man (wasps). The poem begins with the interjection “alas,” which is associated with grief, mourning, and absence (Quarles ln.1). This desolate interjection sets the tone for the whole poem while the ambiguity of the “fond Child” may give the reader the ability to place him/herself as the addressed and provides, as many of Quarles’ poems do, an invitation to meditate on the thoughts about to be produced. As Louis Martz tells us, “meditation, then is not simply diligent thinking, but thinking deliberately directed toward the development of a certain set of emotions” (14). By addressing the reader with an invitation into the poem, Quarles enables him or her to engage in the feelings the poem concentrates on. The address also separates both the speaker and the reader from the world of “wasps” that surrounds them. Besides referring to the common insect, the term “wasp” was also applied figuratively to “persons characterized by irascibility and persistent petty malignity, esp. to a multitude of contemptible but irritating assailants” (OED). The description of a world inhabited by people who irritate and are more than capable of malignance and contempt for others is a theme that wends its way through both Quarles’ and Southwell’s poetry. 4 Since this poem is not written as a dialogue, 5 the speaker can begin to answer his own question in a way that emphasizes the negative aspects of earthly food by comparing a quest to retrieve “hony from a nest of wasps” with a quest to “seek for ease in Hell/ or sprightly Nectar from the mouthes of Asps” (Quarles “Emblem III-Book I” lns. 3, 5-6). 4 See “That in My Garden Grewe.” 5 Others are. See “Emblem XIV-Book III.”


36 Furthermore, unlike other stinging creatures, specifically bees, neither asps nor wasps produce any type of wholesome food viable for human consumption. The irritating people that can be described using these terms produce, like the wasp and asp, only toxic poisons, i.e. deadly sins. The comparison of the words and actions of the wicked with the poisons emitted by serpents and insects is found in several places in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 32:33, the speaker says that “their wine is the poyson of dragons, and the cruel gall of asps.” The wine of the wicked is their speech, because “thei have sharpened their tongues like a serpent: adders poyson is under their lippes” (Psa. 140:3). This equation between wine, speech, and poison supports the conjecture that to seek “sprightly nectar from the mouthes of Asps” is futile as well as defining the corrupt nature of earthly “food”—whether speech, wine, or bread—and its connection with sin. The idea of toxic food and its corruption of the flesh stems from the material tradition that Gordon Teskey outlines in Allegory and Violence. Teskey defines allegory as a “mutual devouring—or, as I shall call it, allelophagy—is the corporeal expression of the symmetrical otherness” (8). The idea of mutual devouring is introduced into the Christian worldview as early as the Biblical last supper when Christ instructs his followers to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of Him and those followers imbue the new Sacrament of communion with a cannibalistic symbolism of fully partaking of their Lord. However, the ultimate act of toxic mutual consumption for Christians occurred when Eve and Adam ate the apple for the Tree of Knowledge and were consumed by sin and shame. This act of consumption sundered humans from their Creator and caused them to be “devoured” by death. Therefore, the unwholesome material consumption can be represented by animals and insects like the wasps and the


37 asps that do not produce sacred food like the Bread of Life, or wholesome food like bee honey. The dichotomy or “othering” between consumption and the spirit is further explored in Sigmund Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Freud notes that a “compulsion to repeat” permeates and causes the fulfillment of the pleasure drive (24). Later Freudian psychologists such as Norman Doige will define this compulsion as the consummatory appetite. Both Freud and Doige are referring primarily to a physical set of compulsions that are repeated to bring the subject to a satiated state. But within the poetry of Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell, the consummatory state that the speakers want fulfilled is not a physical one, but a spiritual appetite. This appetite is at odds with the material because, as both poets demonstrate, it cannot be sated with earthly activities such as physical consumption or sexual consummation. Both images reflect an emblematic quality associated with the audience’s ability to associate verba, words, with the res, or thing, that they signify (Daly 28). Quarles’ audience would have been able to visualize the futility of Hell and of the quest for nectar, “the drink of the gods in classical mythology,” from the mouth of a serpent, which in this case is emblematic of the Ancient Enemy, i.e. Satan (OED). 6 Both of these things emphasize the futility of fulfilling a desire for spiritual hunger, or pleasure, with the fruits of the earth. Having answered his original question and set up a dimension of futility, Quarles can now begin to fully illustrate the Biblical superscription of his text/emblem “even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heavinesse” from Proverbs 15:13 (Emblem III-Book I). 6 For more specific and elaborate discussion of the use of word-emblems in poetry, see Peter Daly’s book Literature in the Light of the Emblem (1988).


38 By placing the biblical inscription above the text rather than above its accompanying emblem, Quarles emphasizes the primacy of the text rather than the pictura. Though Michael Camille and Peter Daly assert that the pictura usually expanded the text, Quarles’ poetry reverses that trend (Camille 22, Daly 48). The emblem for this poem does not develop the same richness as the text that it accompanies, as the placement of the inscriptio bears out. The negativity of the inscriptio, which conveys the feelings of “protracted state of” hopelessness that are attributed to melancholics, is not stressed in the clean environs of the emblem (Burton 325, Doige 142). Instead, the emblem illustrates the first stanza of the poem by showing two figura, which resemble cherubs or cupids and represent the two participants of the dialogue. One is reaching into the Orb of England, that is part of the Coronation regalia, and pulling out an empty comb while insects, presumably wasps, swarm around him. By showing the Orb of England filled with wasps rather than a globe, the emblem asserts that England is the world and the it is the corrupt “Hive” from which the “fond child” cannot extract proper, satisfying nourishment (Quarles “Emblem IIBook I” lns. 1, 7). The first figura carries what appears to be a small tablet as well as a bow and quiver of arrows while around his head glows the aura or nimbus used to represent the presence of God in a person in traditional art. However, the two figurae are not seen in discourse and the foulness of the “foules vexation” cannot be seen on either’s face (Quarles “Emblem IIBook I” ln. 9). It is within the text itself that Quarles chooses to expand on why the Earth is a hive where “the heart is sorrowfull and the end of mirth is heavinesse” 7 and so on. Rather than a world of plenty or light, Quarles insists that his readers consider the 7 “Emblem III-Book I” inscriptio from Prov 15:3.


39 world a Hive, From whence thou canst derive No good, but what thy foules vexation brings: Put case thou meet Some peti-peti-sweet, Each drop is guarded with a thousand stings. (“Emblem III-Book I” lns. 7-12) Firmly reinforcing the extended metaphor of the world as a wasp’s nest, Quarles does not leave his audience with any hope of accruing sweet food on earth. By specifying that this impossibility is only an earthly one, Quarles prevents his speaker from falling into the deadly sin of despair, “the state of mind in which there is entire want of hope” (OED). Instead, the melancholic speaker can still be saved through his hope of heaven. Though the speaker acknowledges that they may find some small, or “peti-peti-sweet,” “each drop” will still be guarded by the “thousand stings” of angry wasps (or people). Therefore, the audience, like the speaker, will be infected with a “foules vexation” from the lack of satisfaction for their consummatory impulses. They cannot be satisfied by the “empty combes” and will spend themselves on “trash and Toyes, / griefe-ingendering Joyes” (Quarles “Emblem II-Book I” lns 18-20). With the move from concrete objects like “combes” (honey combes) to questions of “griefe-ingendering Joyes,” Quarles moves his concern from concrete nourishment to the consummatory appetite of the spirit. Because “grief-ingendering” is used as a descriptor for the “joyes” that occupy earthly minds, two things are accomplished. First, the select words create a sense of verbal tension between the words grief and joy, which imply opposite states of mind (OED). Second, the fact that these transitory joys produce, or engender, grief also suggests the food motif. Like a person presented with rotten food, a person who is only briefly spiritually satisfied with earthly food will become ill or grief-stricken due to the lack of wholesome nourishment. Because of this obsessive need for spiritual


40 consummatory satiation and the inability of the “waxen Homes” to supply this, a vacuum is created. This poem admonishes the fond youth, give ore, / and vexe thy soule no more, in seeking, what were better far unfound; Alas thy gaines are only present paines To gather Scorpions for a future wound. (Quarles Emblem II-Book I lns. 31-36) The youth cannot find the satiation that he seeks in the earthly orb, and therefore, will gain “present paines” from the wasp/people while gathering “Scorpions,” or sins, that will lead to the “future wound” of a death that does not culminate in eternal spiritual satisfaction through contact with God (lns. 35-36). This poem does not culminate in a satisfactory delineation of how or where the addressee might find spiritual satisfaction. Instead, Quarles completes it with a series of rhetorical questions that continue to cast doubt on the ability of the earth to fulfill the needs of its inhabitants because “what’s earth? or in it, / that longer than a minit/ can lend a free delight, that can endure?” (Emblem II-Book I lns. 37-39). According to both Robert Burton and Norman Doige, melancholia can only be cured by finding something that can endure, or consistently satiate the consummatory appetite, be it spiritual or physical (410, 157). At this point in his meditations, Quarles cannot offer his readers an answer to “who would droyle, / or delve in such a soyle, / where gaines uncertaine, and the paine is sure,” because he and his readers must do so until offered a superior type of earth or food that does not bring pain (Emblem II-Book I lns. 40-42). Quarles becomes more specific about the inability of the earth to provide satisfaction in the twelfth Emblem of Book I of the Emblemes (1635). Within this emblem, he becomes less oblique about the rottenness of earthly sustenance and the sinfulness of those who depend solely on it for their nourishment. They will “never [be]


41 fill’d” no matter how “thy lips be skrew’d so fast seize these/ to th’ earths full breast,” because “thou swallow’st at one breath/ both food and poyson down; / Thou drawst both milk & death” (Quarles Emblem XIIBook I lns. 1-2, 4-5). Rather than an oblique reference to the stings of wasps or their empty hives as he made in Emblem II—Book I, the speaker addresses the problem of taking spiritual nourishment from the breasts of the earth immediately. Although he does acknowledge that both “food and poyson” are swallowed, the latter negates the impact of the former and leads the speaker to a concrete death. This set of images invokes a tangible picture, or word-emblem, 8 that the more metaphysical wasps did not. As usual, Quarles begins his poem with a set of questions during which the latter question builds upon the former “What never fill’d? Be thy lips skrew’d so fast seize thees / to th’ earths full breast” (Emblem XII—Book I lns 1-2). Like the addressee in “Emblem III—Book I,” the owner of these two lips is on an unconquerable quest, he will not get “hony from a nest of wasps” “or sprightly Nectar from the mouthes of Asps,” but will find poison in the breasts of earth like the poison from wasps and asps (Quarles “Emblem III-Book I” lns. 3, 5-6). This pattern of expansion is reflected in the words of the poem and in the reality of the emblem’s pictura. Unlike the clear, straightforward pictura of Emblem II—Book I, the Twelfth pictura does not consist of readily identifiable objects like the Orb of England and wasps. Instead, it exists in what both Michael Camille and Peter M. Daly would term a “gap” between the poem and the meaning of it (Camille 20-21, Daly 39). The center image of the emblem is a massive fertility figure, a large round globe with huge breasts protruding 8 For a longer discussion of word-emblems, consult Peter Daly’s Literature in the Light of the Emblem (1988).


42 from it that seems to literalize the earth with “full breasts” (Emblem XII—Book I ln. 2). The extreme fertility of this globe is further emphasized by a cornucopia floating above and slightly in front of it. The cornucopia is an ancient symbol for “plenty” or “fertility” (OED). Two figurae kneel or squat in front of the fertile orb. The leftmost figura appears plump and is clad in rich jester’s garb. His lips “seize” the breast above him and, clasping it, seem to be sucking as much and as hard as he can. Unlike his gluttonous companion, the rightmost figura, dressed in simpler clothes, kneels by a table and is milking only a cupful of liquid from the bounty in front of him. Since the pictura enables the opening questions of the poems, the reader can examine the two figurae and relate them to the speaker of the poem and his addressee, i.e. themselves. The first figura is the glutton who tries to overcompensate for his spiritual emptiness by “unwholesome gulps compos’d of wind and blood;” rather than choosing “a moderate use [that] does both repast and please” as the thinner, less gaudily dressed second speaker/figure does (“Emblem XII-Book I” lns. 9-10). The representation of the addressee/figure’s empty sucking reflects the much more concrete image offered by the inscriptio for the poem and picture. While the inscriptio for the melancholic poem earlier in the cycle automatically addressed the abstract notions of mirth, depression, and death, 9 the twelfth inscriptio states that “yee may suck, ‘ut not be satisfied with the brest of her Consolation,” which is taken from Isaiah 66:11. The negativity implicit in the phrase “ ’ut not” leads to a recognition, prior even to a reading of the poem, that attempt to ease spiritual woes through earthly joys will be fruitless. “Consolation” alerts the reader to the fact that the 9 See earlier discussion of “Emblem II-Book I.”


43 hunger being assuaged (or not) is a spiritual mourning or appetite, rather than a physical one. However according to both the pictura and the text, the false diminishment that the addressee may feel is reflected in a swelling body that Paul Emmett claims is a necessity for the successful incorporation of mourning ritual. Though the addressee is represented by a plump figura and has a “Paunch that burlyes out [his] Coate,” he has not found the incorporation that would release him from the cycle of mourning, and is therefore still trapped in the unsuccessful cycle of melancholia (“Emblem XII-Book I” ln. 18). Rather than being swollen with a “pregnancy of relief,” the addressee’s Paunch is dropsied, and thy Cheekes are bloat; Thy lips are white and thy complexion, tawny; Thy skin is a bladder blowne with watry humors; Thy flesh a trembling Bogge, a Quagmire full of humors. (“Emblem XIIBook I lns. 20-23) His body is not healthy because it has been “poisoned” by the “milk and death” the figura has imbibed from earth: “milk’s a ripned Core/ that drops from her desease, that matters from her Sore” (“Emblem XII-Book I” lns. 5, 16-17). The disease of the earth’s breasts is sin and therefore causes the sickly dropsy and the nasty humors that have invaded the addressee’s body. Even the kinds of land that the speaker chooses to equate with the Body are worthless like the wasps’ Hive of “Emblem II—Book I.” Neither a bog nor a quagmire can be cultivated, and both are capable of sucking an unwary person down to death (OED). By noting that the body is under the influence of “watry humors,’ a seventeenth century audience could have speculated that the addressee is inflicted with an overabundance of water, and is therefore phlegmatic of personality (Burton 147-148). Though the humor associated with a melancholic personality is black bile, any unbalance


44 of humors can lead to emotional problems such as an inability to satisfy the spiritual consummatory appetite and end the mourning process through a healthy swelling of the spirit rather than a bogging of the body. This waterlogged inability is represented in the poem by the bogs and quagmires that infest the addressee. The speaker also addresses the fact that the nourishment taken from the earth cannot be held in. Instead, the addressee is “never fill’d” (ln. 1). As the quagmires and the bogs cannot support the growth of nourishing foods, the poisoned sustenance provided by the earth’s breasts cannot be retained except in the form of illness. The failure to hold onto the nourishment provided reflects back to the failure of Adam and Eve to hold onto the bounty of Paradise they had been freely given (Gen. 1:29-30). After they sinned, mankind was cursed with the inability to find satisfaction through earthly provisions through God’s order that “cursed is the earth for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the dayes of thy life” (Gen. 3:17). This curse of the earth is reflected in the quagmire of the soul. As in “Emblem II—Book I,” the meditation offered by the poem does not conclude by solving the problem for the “foole” that depends on earth for his spiritual sustenance. However, it does offer a choice. Either the audience must “choose a Substance, foole, that will remain/ within the limits of thy leaking measure” or “if they stay, they furrow thoughts the deeper, / and being kep with care, they loose their carefull keeper” (“Emblem XII—Book I” lns. 30-31, 40-41). In other words, the audience must choose to find a “Substance” that will sustain their bodies by satisfying their spiritual consummatory appetite, or “leaking measure,” or they will lose their connection with God, their “carefull keeper” and die. The substance must be one that can give the


45 “Consolation” denied by the superscript and cannot therefore be the earthly food that contains “nothing wholesome, where the whole’s infected” (“Emblem XII—Book I” Superscript, ln. 15). Since the whole earth is infected with sin and therefore as rotten as the food it produces, consolation for earthly grief and appetite must come from Heaven’s otherworldly source. Like Quarles, Robert Southwell also acknowledges the presence of a spiritual consummatory appetite and its need for resolution through some type of incorporation in order to prevent or alleviate grief. Though not as graphically as in Quarles, food in Southwell still exacerbates the mourning process into melancholy in at least two of his poems: “St. Peter’s Complaynt” and “Davids Peccavi” (McDonald and Brown 29, 35). While other poems 10 by Southwell briefly employ the language of hunger, these two make the connection between grief and spiritual hunger explicit. Also unlike Quarles, Southwell’s poems are not accompanied by illustrative picturae. Still, they present an emblematic quality through the descriptive language that enables the audience to picture—and therefore meditate on—the necessary image for processing the ideas presented. Like many of Quarles’ poems, “St. Peter’s Complaynt” begins with a series of questions that invite the audience to enter into a meditation with the speaker. These questions create “speaking pictures” suitable for meditation by introducing the topic for introspection (Bath 53). In this case, the speaker, using the persona of St. Peter, questions why he should be allowed to keep on living, 10 See “Saint Peters Afflicted Mind” for a brief example.


46 How can I live, that have my life deny’de? What can I hope, that lost my hope in feare? What trust to one that trewth it self defyde? What good in him that did his god forsweare? (Southwell lns. 1-4) A destabilization of the components being questioned—life, hope, and truth—take their place among the symptoms of melancholy that Robert Burton describes in Anatomy of Melancholy (161, 350). The address to himself that the speaker makes after the questions does not answer them, but fully releases the melancholic notes of the poem. He is guilty of the “synne of synnes, of evells of the very worste [a] synnful wretch, of synners most accurste” (Southwell “Saint Peter’s Complaynte” lns. 5-6). The life that he has denied is Peter’s life in Christ. This denial or forswearing of God is what awakens a consummatory appetite in a spirit by a willful severance of the connection with the “Food” that puts that appetite to rest. The provision of a cause for spiritual hunger and melancholy is a point at which Southwell’s poem diverges from Quarles’ poetry. While Quarles fully develops the theme of unsatisfying food, he does not offer a cause for the spiritual consummatory appetite. Mourning and cursing his actions, the speaker/St. Peter examines the self-accusations with which the spirit could be filled. Though Peter had been called “a Chosen rocke” who would be a “pastour” to feed God’s “faithfull flocke,” he now sees himself as “a pastour, not to feede but to betray” (Southwell “Saint Peter’s Complaynte” lns. 19, 21, 24). Since Peter will not be feeding the flock of believers with the food of faith because he has lost his, many more will be spiritually hungry. The first solution offered to this spiritual hunger is death, because in death all hunger is cut off. With another self


47 command, Peter orders himself to “dye: dye: disloyall wretch, thy life detest” and characterizes his spiritual appetite with questions that he cannot answer about what might cause a cessation such as “were all the Jewes tyrannyes too fewe/ to glutt thy hungry looks” and “what Jewish rage, yea infernall sprite, / could have disgorg’d against him greater spite” (lns. 28, 49-50, 65-66). Though he asks several other questions that outline his growing journey from mourning to melancholy, these two show how thoughts of hunger and death are related. Each question makes the rotten earthly fruit that Quarles would later use into the more concrete earthly action that will not “glutt” the appetite of the spirit, nor allow it to incorporate rather than “disgorg’” peace and finish the grieving process through the integration of more wholesome food. Instead of offering a solution to the meditator involving a food/action, this poem stresses that perhaps the grief process itself can Lett deepe remorse thy due revenge abate: Lett teares appeace when trespass doth incence: Lett myldnes temper thy deserved hate. Lett grace forgive, lett love forgett my fall: With feare I crave, with hope I humbly call. (Southwell “Saint Peter’s Complaynt” lns. 68-72) However, this final supplication for relief of the spiritual appetite does not guarantee that relief will be given. Though the speaker “crave[s]” relief the way a starving man wants food, the fact that he “feare [s]” maintains the feeling that it may not be given. Like Quarles’ speaker and audience, this speaker knows that earthly acts cannot bring spiritual wholeness, but hopes that his grief—and by extension, the audience’s grief—can. Like the speaker of “Saint Peter’s Complaynte,” the speaker of “Davids Peccavi” equates his spiritual grief with unassuaged hunger by noting that


48 feared are now my Pheares, grief my delight, my teares my drink, my famisht thoughts my bread Day full of dumps, Nurse of unrest night My garments gyves, a bloody field my bed My sleep is rather death, than deaths allie. (Southwell lns. 7-10) Again, Southwell does not concretize the hunger after the manner of Quarles, but makes it an explicitly abstract, spiritual one. Rather than drinking the wine and eating the bread/wafer of the Communion ritual, David sips “teares my drink” and “famisht thoughts my bread.” By associating the tears and thoughts with the ritual of the Mass Communion, Southwell provides a touchstone for his audience who would be familiar with that type of symbolic spiritual nourishment. However, this stanza also demonstrates that as Burton writes throughout The Anatomy of Melancholy, melancholy pervades every aspect of life from the “day of dumps” to the “unrest of night” and death appears to be the only answer though this speaker wishes that his “teares” and “thoughts” could ease the hunger he feels and with its ease permit joyful days and nights. However, by describing the “famisht thoughts,” Southwell creates a tension between the idea of feeding and famishing. Something that is well fed is not famished, and therefore, if this speaker’s thoughts are not wholesomely nourished, they cannot relieve the need to consume that fills his spirit. Like the speaker of Psalm 69.9, this speaker is consumed by the “zeal of thy house” and not fed by it. Since he cannot diminish or gratify his hunger through “teares” and “famisht thoughts,” the speaker needs to seek another type of abstract spiritual food that is not earthbound like his current remedy. However, no such cure is offered by the poem. At this point during the meditation process, the solution still appears to be death, but the speaker says that what “now sith fansie did with folly end, / wit bought with losse, will taught by wit, will mend” (lns. 29-30). Therefore, the reader and the speaker can assume that an alternative


49 to death will be offered that the “wit” and “will” together can discover and use to satiate the spiritual appetite. While many consider that melancholia defines the “impossibility of mourning” (Haverkamp) 11 and an impossibility of any fulfillment, Quarles and Southwell find two possibilities to complete it: death or pure redemption. These two possibilities are attached to food and grief because food may either contain the hope of redemption or may work as a threat of eventual death. Biblically, wine and grapes are associated in the same two ways. For sinners, “their vine is the vine of Sodom, and of the vines of Gomorah: their grapes are bitter, their clusters gall,” but to Christians, the same wine may be the wine of the Eucharist or the Mass, blessed at the Last Supper of Jesus (Det. 32:32). The bitter and the gall of the sinners are a reflection of the death inherent in their lack of spiritual fulfillment, since “bitter” means “expressing or betokening intense grief, misery, or affliction of spirit” and “gall” expresses a “bitterness of spirit, asperity, rancour” (OED). Images of these types of food are related to mourning imagery of the falsity of the world, spiritual deprivation, and to spiritual redemption and salvation. Though the first types of imagery seem to predominate, both authors have poems wherein food (often mythical or spiritual) provides an alleviation of mourning/melancholy. Quarles uses food to alleviate the melancholia of love within “Emblem II—Book V.” This poem falls towards the end of the meditations within the Emblems and Hyrogylphikes collection and opens with questions in the way of the heavily melancholic poems do. To begin, the speaker invokes the “Tyrant love” and makes an emphatic 11 Anselm Haverkamp provides a detailed look at an allegorical theory of mourning and melancholy that he finds basis for in Burton, Freud, and some other theorists. While he explicates only Keats’ “Ode on Melancholy,” some of his definitions are applicable to Southwell and Quarles.


50 statement “how does thy fo’raigne pow’r/ subject poore foules to thy impervious thrall!” (Emblem II—Book V lns. 1-2). The “fo’raigne power” of love is immediately attached to the idea of food by the somewhat accusatory questions that follow the initial invocation. The say, thy Cup’s compos’d of sweet and sowre; The say, thy diet’s Honey, mixt with Gall; How comes it then to passe, these lips of our Still trade in bitter; taste no sweet at all? (lns. 3-6) The word “Cup” invokes the cup of the ceremony of Communion. However, this cup is not composed of the Blood of a Savior, but of bitter gall and false sweet. Therefore, it will not quench the appetite of the spirit that makes the speaker “faint and spent” symptoms that Burton includes in his sections on both love melancholy and its subgenre religious melancholy (“Emblem II—Book V” ln. 14, Burton 405). Because the cup of love cannot slake his thirst, the speaker must find some type of food or drink that can satiate the consummatory appetite rather than leaving “dry, my wafted pow’rs, / will sweeten my unsav’ry houres” (lns. 16-17). At this point is where the inscriptio that Quarles has chosen comes in, “stay me with Flowers, and comfort me with Apples, for I am sicke with love” comes from the Canticle of Canticles 2: 5. Besides the lovely irony of using the fifth verse of the second chapter to develop the second emblem of the fifth book, it details what the speaker knows will satisfy his appetite and ease his melancholy, tis not the lasting Deuzan I require, nor yet the red-cheek’d Queening I request; nor that which, first beshrewd the name of wife; No, no, bring me an Apple from the Tree of life. (“Emblem II—Book V” lns. 23-27) The first types of apples named are common, earthly varieties, the Deuzan which is considered to be “long-lasting” and the Queening which is a type of sweet apple; because


51 they belong to the earth, these apples cannot slake fire except with death since they contain the poison of sin that, as we have seen, spoils earthly food (OED). Third apple is the apple from the Tree of Knowledge with which disobedient Eve “first beshrewd the name of wife,” and is therefore, the apple that led to man’s downfall, the poisoning of the earth, and the inability of either the earth or man to fully sate the consummatory spirit. In order for the spirit to be revived and satiated, the speaker must incorporate the “Apple of the Tree of Life,” which he can only do through the redemptive powers of Communion and Christ (REV 22:19). 12 Rather than heavily symbolic globes, orbs, wasps, or figurae of previous emblems, pictura XII illustrates the concrete images that the poem invokes, which would perhaps have been the easiest images for the audience to picture without help. However, where both of them served in some way to extend the meaning of the text they were paired with, this pictura serves only to illustrate its mate. The reason that the figurae are women is because the speaker for this portion of the Canticle of Canticles is the “Bride” in the colloquy that makes up this book of the Bible. The illustration shows two older women, the “blessed Maids of Honour” that the speaker asks for assistance,” cradle a younger woman (the speaker) and offer he flowers and apples. They are reclining in a small orchard dell surrounded by tall trees laden with apples and little flowers growing from the earth. The spring like image looks revivifying for all thereof the women, who appear to be as fertile as the garden, which is strongly reminiscent of Eden, that they rest in. Therefore, the garden is the location for the “Tree” and “Bower” that will make the 12 Rev 22: 19—“In the middle of the strete of it, and of either side of the river, was the tre of life bare twelve maner of frtes, and gave frute every moneth: and the leaves of the tre femed to heal nations with.”


52 speaker (and through her the audience) “blesse that happy houre, / that brings to me such fruit, that brings me such a Flow’r” (“Emblem II—Book V” lns. 42, 43-44). This blessing is the satiation of the consummatory appetite without the foregoing death. While Quarles looks to the Tree of Life as a redemptory food source, Southwell evokes the more common symbol that combines redemption and food, the ceremony of the Eucharist, or as he calls it, “Of the Blessed Sacrament of the Aulter.” In this poem, the connection between sacred, or wholesome, food and spiritual satisfaction is made explicit. For Southwell’s Catholic audience, the connection would have been immediate because the ceremony of the Mass—repeated at least every Sunday, but potentially daily—would have had the same soothing impact for the meditator as the pictura of an orchard would have for the Quarles’ readers. The ceremony is intimately tied with the ideas of consummation, redemption, and reaffirmation, and therefore, immediately evokes the ties between food and grief/sin. Southwell’s speaker reaffirms this connection be referring to the paschall feast the end of auncient rite An entraunce was to never endinge grace Tipes to the truth, dymn glymses to the light, Performing Deede presageing signes did chase, Christs Final meale was fountayne of our good: For mortal meate he gave immortall foode. (lns. 1-6) The “paschal feast” refers to the “paschal lamb, the lamb slain and eaten at the Passover; applied to Christ, hence also to various symbolic representations of Christ” and begins the feast with a reference to a sacred food as well as an abstract food, Christ (OED). Though Christ’s final meal was a concrete one commonly known as The Last Supper, it becomes the source for images of “immortal foode” that can sate the spiritual consummatory appetite (Luke 22). The speaker notes that “[earthly] thinges bredd to


53 blisse do make them most acurste” (ln. 48). He, like the speaker of “Emblem II—Book V,” knows that no earthly delight can please his spiritual hunger because all of them are rotten or “acurste.” As an alternative, the speaker offers himself and his audience the spiritual food wherein Whole may be his body in smallest bredd, Whole in the whole, yea whole in every crumme, With which be one or be Tenn thowsand fedd All to ech one, to all but one dothe cumme, And though ech one as much as all receive, Not one too much, nor all too little have. (lns. 67-72) Therefore, the spiritual hunger that could not be fed by the “ pastour, not to feede but to betray” can be assuaged through transubstantiation, a process which makes each of the “crummes” used in the Eucharist ceremony into the “whole” of Christ’s body (Southwell “Saint Peter’s Complaynte” ln. 21). Therefore, the bread and wine employed in the ceremony become a source of spiritual solace because “twelve did he [Jesus] feede, twelve did their feeder eat,” and so “the grace, the joy, the treasure here is such/ No witt can wishe nor will embrace so much” (lns. 11, 23-24). As well as referencing the Mass, the poem calls forth a picture of the heavenly manna provided for the Israelites in the desert when they were in need of physical sustenance and spiritual proof that they were under the protection of a god (Ex. 16:31). By providing manna for the people when they needed it, none of them “had [any] lack: so every man gathered to his eating”—both spiritually and physically (Ex. 16: 18). Thus sacred food—whether made sacred through ceremony or through God’s providence—allays the consummatory appetite and relieves feelings of grief and melancholy, and “in forme of bredd and wyne our nurture is” (Southwell “Of the Blessed Sacrament of the Aulter” ln. 66). The idea that this meal can satiate the entire flock of believers reflects the


54 feeding of the five thousand by the divine multiplication of “five barlie loaves, and two fishes” during the Sermon on the Mount when “Jesus toke the bread, and gave thanks, and gave it to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set downe: & likewise of the fishes as muche as they wolde” eat (John 6:9, 11). Just as the bread and fishes were multiplied to feed that crowd, the blessings of the Mass multiplies to satiate the believers. Finally, the meditator and the speaker can experience a total cessation of the consummatory appetite with the allaying picture of the Mass as well as having the reassurance that they will continue to be fulfilled upon their arrival in heaven because of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, for he “shal drink it newe with you in my Fathers kingdome” (Mtt. 26:29). This movement through the sacred foods to total fulfillment allows for the successful completion of mourning. The need to assuage melancholy was a serious concern during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and had to be addressed within the meditations presented by both Southwell and Quarles. Just as philosophers recommended “sunlight, air, and wholesome food,” as the major set of remedies for religious melancholia, both poets looked into what effect food might have on the consummatory spirit (Burton 409). As we have seen, they did not conclude, as Burton and others did, that earthly food was the solution. Rather it was part of the problem. In order for food to offer true sustenance to the melancholic, it had to be the food of the spiritof God. This type of food could ease melancholy and stave off death. Both Quarles and Southwell used familiar images and symbols to ground their readers in the sense of both melancholy and redemption. However, Southwell was able to assume that his audience was familiar with the Mass and its attendant rituals. References


55 and invocations to the saints would bring to mind statues of those saints and their attendant emblems. On the other hand, Quarles was speaking from a tradition that had discarded much of the ritual formulations of the Catholic Church. While the Church of England was still heavily ritualized, Quarles’ audience probably included Separatists as well. Since neither a fully standardized order of worship nor the ceremony of Communion could be invoked, Quarles used existing emblematic devices to direct his readers’ thoughts. Whether the direction was achieved through the use of almost innate knowledge or the employment of common symbols, Quarles and Southwell were both able to demonstrate a similar melancholic and offer solutions to it, either through the sacraments or the acceptance of the Fruit of Life.


THAT IN MY GARDEN GREWE 1 A Vale there is enwrapt with dreadfull shades, Which thicke of mourning pines shrouds from the sunne, Where hangling cliffs yeld short and dumpish glades,And snowie floud with broken streams doth runne—Robert Southwell, “A Vale of Tears.” No need to sweat for gold; wherewith; to buy Estates of high-priz’d land; no need to tie Earth to their heires, were they but clog’d with earth as I—Francis Quarles, “Emblen IX—Book V” While many of Southwell’s and Quarles’ poems examine the death wish, others demonstrate the corrupt nature of earth that makes earth’s fruits unlikely to ease spiritual appetites. These poems examine the potential physical and spiritual parallels between the world of nature and the speakers of the poems. They may treat nature as a partner in melancholy, as a tool of condemnation, as the structure for a lament, or as a celebration of the culmination of mourning. These facets are presented in Southwell’s “A Vale of Teares,” “The Prodigall Childes Soule Wracke,” “Loves Gardens Grief,” and in Quarles’ “Emblem II—Book I” and “Emblem III—Book V.” The parallels created strengthen the ties between spiritual appetite, mourning, and the earth that have been alluded to in the poems of food in “Chapter 2: ‘Til We Be Rotten” and the death wishes of “Chapter 1: A Consummation to be Devoutly Wished.” Robert Southwell’s poem “A Vale of Teares” delineates the way that nature reflects the grief, terror, and sin of the speaker of the poem in a manner that allows readers to 1 Edmund Spenser, 1552-1599: “gloga Duodecima. December.” 56


57 connect the sin of man (i.e. Adam’s Fall) with the intense melancholy that tenure on earth produces. Because mankind and earth are intimately connected, man’s melancholy, like his corruption, is reflected in the tempestuousness of Nature. Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, one of the goals of many writers was to define Nature. 2 Members of every discipline from artists and poets to “scientists” sought to show Nature as “God’s book.” This fascination with Nature did not start with Southwell. The melancholic nature of the poem “Vale of Teares” looks back to the wandering wood of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1.1). Like the mourning vale, Spenser’s wood was both treacherous and sympathetic. It was a delight to Una and the Redcrosse Knight upon their entrance, but devolved into a place of twists and turns and misery. Perhaps the sympathetic nature of the Vale also gives a glimpse of the work of the Romantics, such as the melancholic trees of William Wordsworth’s “Yew Trees.” In the “Yew Trees,” Wordsworth creates living trees of “vast circumference and gloom profound” where the shades and shadows play (ln.9). Like Spenser and Wordsworth, the definition that Southwell uses in “Vale of Teares” is that of a Nature that is reflective of the state of the human spirit and its place in that setting. The “Vale of Teares” a gloomy place enwrapt with dreadfull shades, Which thicke of mourning pines shrouds from the sunne, Where hangling cliffs yeld short and dumpish glades, And snowie floud with broken streams doth runne. (lns. 1-4) This vale is not a fertile, happy place. The “dreadfull shades” of the “mourning pines” keep the light of the sun from reaching the earth, just as the clouds of sin metaphorically 2 See attempts like those made in Allan of Lille’s De Planctu Naturae and Hugh of St. Victor’s Didascalicon.


58 prevent the speaker from drawing life and sustenance from the Son of God. The implied pun within the first two lines requires a working knowledge of the interior of a pine forest where a “dumpish glade” might exist with the “mourning” of a “shroud,” which is a symbol for death as well as shadows. No crystal streams that might represent the refreshing spirit of Christ exist within this “thicke of mourning pines [that] shrouds from the sunne.” Since the bodies of water here cannot reflect the light of God, they run “broken” from the “snowie floud.” The idea of the “broken streams” recalls the “cras’d faith” of “A Phansie Turned to a Sinners Complaint” 3 (“Phansie” ln. 3). In this is a valley, the face of nature is broken like the faith of the speaker. Besides blocking out the nourishment of God’s Light, the earth—within the poem represented by a single valley—also contains a host of noises that prevent the sinner from hearing the sounds of heaven or listening to his soul’s needs. These additional auditory and visual distractions extend the sensory corruption of earth from the simple gustatory and sexual consumption that we have seen in the other poems. The distractions prevent any type of sensory satiation because the speaker tells us that in the horror of this fearfull quier, consists the music of this dolefull: all pleasant birds from thence retire, where none but heavy notes have but any grace. (“A Vale of Teares” lns. 17-20) The words “fearfull” and “dolefull” evoke the melancholic nature of the music of earth. While theoretically within the music of the spheres, this corrupt music is cacophonous and “fraught with sorrow, distressful, gloomy, dreary, dismal,” or to sum it up as the poet 3 See discussion of Southwell and Herbert in Chapter 1: “A Consummation Devoutly to be Wish’d” p. 3.


59 does—“dolefull” (OED). 4 While the same passage might be cast in more solid language simply as: “fraught of sorrow;” “distressful;” “gloomy;” etc, the combined string of adjectives gives the line the same sense of cacophony that the music of the spheres is expressing within the vale. Like the flood of adjectives, the music itself is indistinct and vague rather than clear and solid. The lack of definition gives an unreality to the vale that would be synonymous with the depression plaguing the speaker and would help to demarcate the wordlessness of that state. However, the speaker describing this distressing landscape does not refer to himself at first. The birds he speaks of may have a doubled nature and describe other mourners with “heavy notes.” They also stand for the alien and frightening nature that “is of arte untoucht, / so strait indeed, so vast unto the eie” that it can contain the extreme mourning of this “quier” and cause the “earth [to] lie forlorne, the cloudie skie doth lower, / the wind here weepes, here sighes, here cries aloude” (lns. 25-26, 35-36). The auditory nature of the winds reflects the physical noises made by a person who is melancholy and has been unsuccessful in mourning. The action of mourning carries certain behavioral implications. As the wind in this vale weeps, sighs, and cries, a mourner frequently wails and moans to express his grief and sorrow over the loss of something—in the case of earth, the satiation that was lost with the Fall of Man (OED). 4 Though George Orwell and his adherents might object to Southwell’s use of a string of adjectives as being vague and unclear, they actually heighten the emotive effect of the poem by giving the reader many types of emotions to identify with.


60 The speaker of “Vale of Teares” is creating a landscape where All pangs and heavie passions here may find A thousand motives suitly to their griefes, To feed the sorrows of their troubled minde, And chase away dame pleasures vaine reliefes. (lns. 53-56) If the “minde” is heavy with grief, then it is mourning something or someone. The first and last lines of this stanza imply that what the speaker is mourning are the “pangs and heavie passions” and the “vaine reliefes” of earth’s pleasures, i.e. lust, gluttony, greed, etc. As we have seen in both Quarles and Southwell, 5 the foods/sins of earth cannot feed the consummatory appetite of a melancholic Christian. Instead, the speaker of this poem posits that the reflections of nature in the “Vale of Teares” will feed the sorrow and “to plaining thoughts this vaile a rest may bee” (ln. 57). “Plaining thoughts” are thoughts that are an “utterance[s] of grief and dissatisfaction” (OED). Because the vale is a place “where sorrow springs from water, stone and tree, / where everie thing with mourners doth conspire,” it is a place that further enables their mourning without the hindrance of “dame pleasures vaine reliefes” (lns. 59-60, 56). The speaker of the “Vale of Teares” implies that because he has found nature to reflect his melancholy and conspire to deepen it through “the verie stones thy sinnes bewray, / and now accuse thee with their sad replies,” he will Let teares to tunes, and paines to plaints be prest, And let this be the burden of thy song, Come deepe remorse, possess my sinfull brest; Delights adue, I harbourd you too long. (lns. 66-67, 73-76) The melancholy that the speaker sees around him leads him to this prayer in the last stanza of the poem. Rather than seek something that will feed his spirit and end his mourning, the speaker prays that he might begin to take pleasure in the “tunes” and 5 See “ ‘Til We Be Rotten.”


61 “plaints” of remorse. By importuning “deepe remorse,” the speaker is asking to sing of “deep regret and repentance” through which he may be able to purge the “delights” of earth and thereby complete his mourning. Though the speaker of “Vale of Teares” finds a place on the earth that reflects and grants safe harbor to his grief, even if it does not fulfill his spiritual appetite, the speaker of “The Prodigall Childs Soule Wracke” does not find a sympathetic nature. Instead, he has been disankerd from a blisfull shore, and lancht into the maine of cares, Grown rich in vice, in vertue poore, From freedom faln in fatal snares. (lns. 1-4) This speaker turned to the fruits of the earth to attempt to assuage his appetite and now “grown rich in vice,” he has nothing, neither land nor faith, to anchor his “disankerd” self to. He is assaulted by both sea and land; both heaven and hell are attacking him. The earthly hell of sin has cast him into the sea of heaven’s wrath. The “blisfull shore” from which he has been separated could be read in two ways. While the adjective “blisfull” implies a place filled with “delight and joy,” it can also be read as a term meaning “blessed and holy” (OED). Both these meanings apply in the case of the prodigall phild. For Christians, the idea of a “prodigal child” immediately recalls the parable told in Luke 15: 11-32. Within this parable, Jesus tells the story of a second son who runs away from home and wastes all his inheritance on wine, women, and song. After gambling it away, he is forced to tend pigs in order to live. Eventually, he returns home and is welcomed back to his father with open arms. The young man experiences two forms of bliss. The first is the transient joy that he felt while he spent his birthright on the corrupt fruits of the earth. His second form of bliss is his father’s blessing upon his


62 return home. The speaker of “A Prodigall Childes Soule Wracke” has definitely experienced the first, transient bliss of his namesake and is therefore, “rich in vice.” Because he is aware that he has grown “in vertue poore,” he has also known about the bliss of blessings. As a result of his willful decision to sin, he is “lancht into a maine of cares” and is “enwrapped in the waves of wo, / and tossed with a toilsome tide, / could to no port for refuge go” (lns. 6-8). Since he has been cast away from all bliss, the speaker mourns and nature echoes his “maine of cares” (ln. 2). The sea that he describes allows the speaker to demonstrate the connections between man and nature. Rather than the melancholy vale of “Vale of Teares,” this speaker is surrounded by nature rampant in the form of “wrastling winds with raging blastsbroke my anchors, sailes, and masts, / permitting no reposing place” (lns. 9, 11-12). Since he has no place to rest, the speaker cannot refresh himself with food or sleep. The winds reflect the torment of a spiritual appetite unfulfilled by the pleasures of vice. He cannot find fulfillment in the buffeting of his own storms and so he is Plunged in this heavie plight, Found in my faults just cause of feares: By darkness taught to know my light, The losse thereof enforced teares. (lns. 25-28) He “plunged in” without help and now, as he examines his “faults” the speaker can see justification for his “feares.” He has wantonly soaked himself in things that go against his faith and now sheds “enforced teares” of mourning over his “heavie plight.” According to the speaker, this “plight” that he has fallen into is the “just revenge of scourging hand, / witness Gods deserved ire” (lns. 23-24). The idea that he must be scourged for his sins is not an uncommon aspect of medieval and early modern Christianity. Though twentieth century Christians tend to support salvation through confession of Christ, confession of


63 Christ alone did not guarantee salvation for early modern Christians. “Scourging” references the act of being whipped. Often ascetics would scourge themselves in order to atone for their sins and be purified (OED). The speaker feels that nature is reflecting his need to purify himself and enacting God’s will for him. After describing the “boisterous seas with [their] swelling flouds” and “the wrastling winds with raging blasts,” the speaker begins to lament, or mourn, those things that placed him in this position (lns. 9, 13). He is not, as in other poems, lamenting the loss of faith and grace in others, but is mourning his own vices. The speaker tells his audience that Death and deceit had pitcht their snares And put their wicked proofes in ure To sink me with despairing cares, Or make me stoupe to pleasures lure. (lns 37-40) Death and deceit have placed before him a choice of two equally damaging options. The first is to despair. According to the Catholic Church, despair is a mortal sin because to feel it implies not simply a lack of faith in God, but specifically a lack of hope. This lack of hope is the beginning of despair. In his annotations to the “Cave of Despaire” in Book I—Canto IX of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Thomas P. Roche tells us that despair “is one of the principle sins in Christian theology, for it denies the possibility of God’s mercy”(1100). 6 Therefore, an acceptance of “despairing cares” leads to damnation on earth through extreme depression and after death, continued tortures in hell. If the speaker chooses to “stoupe to pleasures lure,” he becomes a mewed hawk encaged by sin. Hunting birds were flown at lures to train them to hunt at their masters’ will. They were taught to make the “descent of the falcon to the lure” (OED). Besides 6 Roche also notes that this sin is the one that damns Faustus in Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and is the subject of Chaucer’s ‘Parson’s Tale.’ London: Penguin Books, 1978.


64 demonstrating his enslavement to sin as a hawk, the words “lure” and “stoupe” also imply that the speaker is bowing down, or “stouping,” to something other than God. Pleasure has presented him with a potential alternative “a lure” for fulfilling his spiritual appetite. However, the context of the stanza shows us that this lure is a "snare” that will not satiate his needs, but will culminate with him “ chained in sinne” lie “in thrall, / next to the dungeon of despaire” (OED, Southwell lns. -58.”). The idea of the speaker’s enslavement by despair and pleasure echoes the Biblical parable that it is based on, but amplifies it. While the original prodigal had to sleep with the pigs and “wolde faine have filled his bellie with y huskes that the swine ate: but no man gave them him,” this prodigal is in danger of giving into despaire, which leads to death without eternal satisfaction of the spiritual appetite (Luke 15:16). While the prodigal child is literally “wracked” by elements both physical and metaphorical, the word wracke works on several levels. Not only does it function as the “retributive punishment” of “God’s deserved ire” that the speaker sees as his just desert, but the fact that the speaker classifies it as “deserved,” or “rightfully earned,” adds a St. Peter-like dimension to the poem. At the end of The Tempest, Prospero prophesies that “the great globe itself, /yea, all which inherit it, shall dissolve; / and like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind” (Shakespeare 4:1: 154-156). Prospero’s “rack” is not only the ruin of the wrecked earth, but also, the barren rocks that shall not be left behind. The apostle Peter was the “rocke upon [which] I wil byulde my Church; and the gates of hel shal not overcome it” (Mtt. 16:18). Though the prodigal child has been wrecked upon the ocean, his soul, like Peter’s, is a rock that cannot be overcome by the sin that he has lived through. Just as Peter denied his inheritance through Christ, the


65 prodigal child of the story denied his from his father. But because both Peter and the prodigal child felt remorse and repented, they will not be wracked into non-existence like ships upon a stormy sea. Though the speaker is surrounded by a metaphysical nature that reflects his “despaire” through “waves of wo,” “toilsome tides,” and “wrastling blasts of raging winds,” he does not embed himself in their wrath and mourning. While the speaker of a “Vale of Teares” has found the perfect environment in which to embrace his melancholia, the “prodigal child” finds a separation from melancholic nature at the very end of the poem. Rather than praying that “teares to tunes, and paines to plaints be prest,” the speaker of “The Prodigal Childs Soule Wracke” finds that “mercy raisde me from my fall, / and grace my ruins did repaire” (“Vale of Teares” ln. 73, “The Prodigal Childs Soule Wracke” lns. 59-60). The poem allows him to lament his “maine of cares” and “erring sense” while “witness[ing] Gods deserved ire” and, therefore, completing his mourning with the satiation of grace and mercy (lns. 2, 24, 42). Grace and mercy are listed as those attributes of God that ready the recipient for the “frute of the spirit love, joye, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith,” because the mercy of Christ forgives sins and the “grace” of God provides the sinner with spiritual food (Gal 5: 4, 22). While these Pauline themes of the fulfillment of faith through the fruit of God are a common premise within Christianity, their presence at the conclusion of this poem lend it a hopefulness that was lacking in the relentless melancholia of both Nature and the speaker in “Vale of Teares.” In “Loves Gardens Griefs,” Southwell’s speaker turns to a different aspect of human nature than has been dealt with in either “Vale of Teares” or “The Prodigal Childs


66 Soule Wracke.” Instead of dealing with the wild Nature untamed and reflective, the speaker of this poem provides an indictment against earthly love/lust by describing it as an unnatural garden made up of poisonous weeds. This shift in focus demonstrates Southwell’s need to indict something that is in opposition to his beliefs as a Catholic. Profane “vaine love” was “infamous [in its] pleasure” because it is a thing of the earth, not of God (ln. 1). Since the poems have successfully demonstrated the corruption and personification of the earth and Nature, the poet can choose to use a corrupted garden, which is a manmade earthly construct, to represent “vaine love.” In choosing to indict profane love through the description of a corrupt garden, Southwell is drawing on a rich literary and biblical tradition. Not only are gardens used to represent types of love within Jean De Meun and Gillaume de Lorris’s Roman de La Rose, they are also found in several places within Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and other literary works as well as the Bible, most notably in the love story/ parable of the Canticle of Canticles. In the Roman de La Rose, the Garden of Love is a place where the light lusts of earth are celebrated. However, the presence of the awe-inspiring bas-reliefs of the Virtues and the Fount of Narcissus demonstrate the extended nonfulfillment that the pilgrim finds in that garden. This light love is not one that brings spiritual fulfillment and reduces spiritual hunger. Instead, it spurs the pilgrim to complete his pilgrimage, which ends in a rose garden that is both Paradisal and sexual, and ultimately fulfilling (de Meun and de Lorris 334). Sir Edmund Spenser also used gardens to associate good and bad types of love in The Faerie Queene. The Bower of Bliss in Book II-Canto XII is outwardly “the most daintie Paradise on ground,” but underneath “made the fowlest place” because for


67 Spenser’s purpose, it houses the traps of earthly lust (lns. 58, 91). However, Spenser also provides a positively focused garden in form of the Garden of Adonis in Book III. Unlike the lust-focused Bower of Bliss, this garden has “all the goodly flowers/ wherewith Dame Nature doth her beautifie” and “all other pleasant places doth excel” and in it, is “faithfull love” and “goodly womanhood” (FQ 3:6: 29, 30, 51, 53). These gardens demonstrate D.W. Robertson’s conjecture that “the direction of man’s journey is thus dependent on the kind of love that moves his will,” and thereby, explains the polarization of gardens of cupidity and gardens of Charity/ Godly love (27). 7 Therefore Southwell’s use of a garden in his poem to vilify lustful love and to obliquely celebrate the love of God is an extension of a long literary tradition. Adding to the tradition of using garden metaphors to describe love and love terms are the horticultural metaphors that imbue the Canticle of Canticles. Rather than using simple adjectives like beautiful and lovely, the two major speakers in this biblical dialogue speak of themselves in natural terms. The woman is described as the “rose of the field, and the lily of the valley” and “a lily among the thornes” while the man is “like unto the roe, or the young hart upon the mountaines of spices” (Canticle of Canticles 2: 1-2, 8:14). These images are not of uncontrolled cultivation, but of natural beauty and love. Taking this type of description, Southwell combines the dissatisfaction of the Garden of Love and the natural cultivation of the Canticle of Canticles and uses them to describe and indict the frustration of earthly love. 8 7 In “Charity in Literary Gardens,” Robertson defines both cupidity and charity and traces their connections to both scriptural trees and gardens and literary ones. 8 For a discussion on the distinctions between profane and sacred love, see Chapter 1 pp. 11-12.


68 The Garden of Love that Southwell’s poetic speaker describes in “Loves Garden Grief” is Hedg’d in thornes of envie, And stakes of strife: Your Allyes errour graveled with Jelosie, And cares of life. Your bankes are seates enwrapt in shades of sadnes, Your arbours breed rough fittes of raging madnes. (lns. 7-12) The garden described in this stanza is one that is permeated with the symptoms and causes of melancholy. Robert Burton lists anger, envy, and strife among the causes of melancholy while “sadnes” and “care” are symptoms of it (“First Partition” 265, 269, “Third Partition” 133). By describing earthly or “vaine” love in this manner, the speaker is revealing the effect that it has on those who worship it. Rather than sustaining them, it hedges them around with “envie” and “jelosie.” By definition, these three major descriptors “vaine,” “envie,” and “jelosie” are closely related. According to the Oxford English dictionary, “envy” and “jealousy” are states that consist of the “malignant or hostile feeling; ill-will, malice, enmity” and a “state of mind arising from the suspicion, apprehension, or knowledge of rivalry” while “vain” people are “devoid of sense or wisdom; foolish, silly, thoughtless; of an idle or futile nature or disposition.” The feelings of enmity and jealousy inspired by profane love are “foolish and silly” because they do not produce any kind of “flower” or “fruit” that can ease the spiritual hunger of the mind. Instead of granting its adherents “love, joye, peace, long suffering, gentlenes, goodnes, faith, mekenes, and temperancie,” (Gal 5:22), the blooms produced in this metaphorical garden of the spirit dedicated to profane love are


69 sowne with seeds of all iniquitie, and poys’ning weeds, whose stalkes evill thoughts, whose leaves words full of vanity, whose fruite misdeedes. (lns. 13-16) The corruption of this type of love is evident in the parts of the plant described here. Rather than being composed of any of the sacred fruits, the plants spring from “iniquitie,” or sin, and become “poys’ning weeds” made up of the “evill thoughts” of “envie” and “jelosie” and the emptiness of “vanity” that structure what Paul calls the “works of the flesh” in his letter to the Galatians (5:19). Paul says that these acts include “adulterie, fornicacio, unclenes, wantonnes, idolatrie, witchcraft, hatred, debate, emulacions, wrath, contentions, sedicions, heresies, envie, murthers, dronkennes, glottonie, and such like” (Gal 5: 1921). Some of these acts fit under the “seeds of all inequitie,” which is the “quality of being unrighteous, or (more often) unrighteous action or conduct; unrighteousness, wickedness, sin” as well as “the name of a comic character or buffoon in the old morality plays, also called the Vice, representing some particular vice, or vice in general” (OED). Like Inequitie the character, these “poys’ning weeds” are meant as a warning to those people who would stroll down the “allyes [of] errour graveled with Jelosie” (ln. 9). The speaker of “Loves Garden Grief” does not offer the audience any hope for spiritual fulfillment from this iniquitous and frightening garden where the “coolest summer gales are scalding sighings, / your shores are teares, / your sweetest smell the stench of sinfull livying” (lns. 25-27). Rather than recreate this despoiled Eden, he says that its “force and operation [is to]/ banish grace, worke the soules damnation” through the “fruite [of its] misdeedes” (lns. 17-18, 16). Unlike the originary Eden, this garden was not cultivated by God and from its “gardener Sathan, all you reape is misery: Your gaine


70 remorse and losse of all felicitie” (lns. 29-30). In this case, to lose “felicitie” is to lose the “intense happiness, bliss” that is fulfilled in God (OED). The speaker makes this place seem not only uncomfortable in the “dismall plantes of pyning corrosives, / whose roots ruth” but also a place of spiritual starvation where the “guiltie conscience screeching note affrighteth” (lns. 19-20, 24). While the original lovers Adam and Eve were nourished in Eden in God’s presence, 9 these modern adherents of love are unnourished in sin because they celebrate the corrupt love represented in the Garden of Love’s Grief that Southwell’s speaker creates. If Robert Southwell employs Nature and its forces to support the melancholia of his speakers in a straightforward, easily read, and historically precedented manner, then Francis Quarles does not. Rather than creating natural landscapes that reflect the melancholia that imbues his speakers, Quarles invokes specific personifications of Nature that serve as the addressees for invocations and as “people” that perform some of the same actions that appear in Southwell’s poetry. Though he does give some vague descriptions of the world, these personification of the facets of Nature are Quarles’ tool in “Emblem II—Book I” and “Emblem III—Book V.” If many of the other poems we have looked at have been evocations of mourning for a sinful world, then “Emblem II—Book I” is a lament indeed. Like the old mourning cries, it begins with the words “lament, lament” and carries on apace until its termination on an earth “that in one hour didst marre, what heav’n six days was making” (lns. 1, 45). Instead of being a lament for current sinful conditions or for the perfidy of man, this lamentation centers on the original corruption of earth by the sin of Adam and Eve. This 9 Gen 3:8.


71 type of lament is typically called a jeremiad after the lamentations of Jeremiah. While a lamentation is a “the passionate or demonstrative expression of grief” and purges those who practice, this particular lament identifies the sin and describes its effects on beings of Nature taken from Greek mythology. It calls for the speaker to Lament, lament; looke, looke what thou hast done; Lament the worlds, lament thy owne Estate; Looke, looke, by doing how thou art undone; Thy faith is broken, and thy Freedome gone. (lns. 1-5) By pointing out that by his own actions, “doing,” the speaker/Adam is “undone” or fallen. This fall affects not only him—though it does reflect a “broken” faith and the freedom to roam and be fed in Eden that he has lost—but also touches the very earth that has celebrated his presence, which is why he must “lament the worlds” as well as his “own Estate.” Because of “uxorious Adam,” the earth is no longer pristine, no longer capable of producing the sacred fruit like that of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The world (whose chast and pregnant wombe, of late, conceiv’d, and brought forth nothing ill) is now degenerated, and become a base Adultresse, whose false Births do fill the Earth about with Monsters. (lns. 19-23) This new degeneration is what makes it impossible for man’s spiritual appetite to be fulfilled on earth. While the earth was once “chast and pregnant”—as the Virgin Mary would later be—it is now adulterous and its offspring, including mankind are considered corrupt. The earth and mankind were “married” to God and his purpose before the fall, which was a deliberately adulterous action. Therefore, in this substitution of sex for disobedience, the offspring of the affair between Satan/sin and Adam/Eve/earth are


72 adulterated. Though this position on the innate corruption of man was a common one, frequently referred to as Original Sin, the “false Births” are the sins that Southwell says make up the “seeds of all iniquitie” also known as the Seven Deadly Sins of the old morality plays (“Loves Gardens Grief” ln. 13). These representations of sin include gluttony, lust, wrath, avarice, envy, pride, and sloth and represent the disobedience of humanity in all its facets. While each of these reflects a type of fleshly appetite, the speaker of “Emblem II—Book I” is also interested in what man’s sin has done to the formerly “chast” Earth. While the climate used to be peaceful and healthy, it now mirrors the avaricious and wrathful countenance of its inhabitants. Where The Ayre, that whisper’d, now begins to roare, And blustering Boreas blowes the boyling Tide; The white-mouth’d Water now usurpes the Shore, And scornes her trydentall Guide. (lns. 28-31) Like the speaker of a “Prodigall Childs Soule Wracke,” the world finds itself pulled from a peaceful shore and in possession of a restless sea that “roares.” Though the “ayre, that whisper’d” may have been a light breeze from the south or the soft passage of God’s breath over the world, man’s sin has brought the harsh north wind “Boreas” that “blowes the boyling Tide.” The invocation of “Boreas,” as the north wind, indicates the onset of winter when no crops grow and people must strive for food. Though Adam had once been given command over all the earth, because of this sin that brought winter upon the land, “water now usurpes the Shore, / and scornes her trydentall Guide.” Though “Fire, Water, Earth, and Ayrewere made/ to be subdu’d, see, how they now invade; / they rule whom once they serv’d; comand, where once obaid” (lns. 34-36). Because of the rebellion of the humans, the primal elements are now rebelling and this elemental upheaval will cause the


73 earth to cease producing wholesome food and “those Trees whose various Fruits were made / for food, now turned a Shade to shrowd thee under” (lns. 39-40). What had produced life will now produce death and man will need a “shrowed” rather than spiritual fruit in order to walk on earth. As in many other poems, the speaker offers no hope that man’s spiritual appetite will ever be satiated on earth again. The pictura that accompanies this emblem supports a hopeless reading while clearly demonstrating certain elements of the poem. Centered in the foreground of the pictura is the Orb of England 10 that we have seen represented in other picturae. As before, it seems to occupy the space of Britain and the world as a whole, which reflects the developing sense of nationhood that many countries were accruing at this time. However, the Orb is not filled with wasps this time, nor is it smooth on the outside. Instead, animal heads are poking out of it as if they are being birthed. The heads that are most easily recognized are a fox, a goat, a peacock, a dog, a boar, and an ape. Each head is from an animal associated with certain negative qualities. The fox was associated with cunning; the goat with licentiousness and foolery; the peacock with “ostentatious display and vainglory;” the dog with “[when]applied to a person; a. reproach, abuse, or contempt: a worthless, despicable, surly, or cowardly fellow;” the boar is a reference to the threat of divine wrath and death when associated with the story of Venus and Adonis; and the ape is again associated with “foolishness” (OED). As you can see, each of these animals has metaphorical traits that could be associated with the “monsters that do rome” since man’s fall; these “monsters” are the Seven Deadly sins. The implication of the animal heads 10 Part of the Coronation Regalia and a symbol of England/Earth


74 coming out of the Orb is that these traits are now present in England and, therefore, in the world as a whole. Standing just behind and hovering over it is a figura that could represent Adam. He is not a particularly chastened Adam. Though he has been placed behind the Orb in order to hide his penis, he looks at the globe with its animal heads perplexedly, as if he cannot understand what has happened. If that is the case, then the poem is functioning as a device to explain to both this figure and to other readers of the pictura—who would have known the allegorical meaning of the animals—why the world is corrupt. The Adamic figura holds a conch shell. The conch shell was used as an instrument of calling in many ancient religions and, in Greek mythology, was an attribute of the sea god Triton. By giving the Adamic figura a conch shell, the artist imbues him with a religious authority over the sea. This authority is referred to when the speaker of the poem notes that “Water now usurpes the Shore, / and scornes the power of her trydentall Guide” (ln. 30-31). The “trydentall Guide” was Adam and like the conch shell, the trident was another sign of sea mastery. However, the scene behind the figura and the Orb depicts the loss of that mastery over nature. Behind Adam, a small ship is tossed on a very stormy, frothy sea and a wind-figura in the clouds blows at it to make the storm worse. The wind-figura is shown as a puff-cheeked face among the clouds with streams of some substance projecting out from its mouth. The reasonable explanation for this streaming substance is that it is air rather than sunlight, which was represented in a similar manner, because the cheeks of the wind-figura are pumped up as if filled with air. A common metaphor for wind was that as


75 representation of the “breath of God,” because God “inspired,” 11 or breathed, life into Adam and Eve (OED). The clay bodies of Adam and Eve where given “spiritus”—wind—when God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen. 2:7). The idea of the spiritus sanctus of medieval Christian-Latinate thought can be traced back to the Hebrew concept of ruah. Transference of this aura, or “a subtle emanation or exhalation from any substance,” occurs at this point in Genesis; therefore, a figure with its cheeks puffed out could be assumed to be blowing the divine air that imbues creation (OED). As we saw in our discussion of “Emblem XIV—Book I,” Quarles was aware of this comparison and used it to illustrate his death wish. Mankind’s new lack of dominion is finally symbolized through a burning hut behind the figura to the right of the pictura. Since the fall, man no longer controls the fundamental elements—water, air, earth, and fire—because of his disobedience. Because of that disobedience, man was cast out of the sheltering “hut” of Paradise, which now burns behind him, and the fire that had once been a friendly component used for warmth and food, “now burnes, that did but warme before” (ln. 32). The uncontrolled fire also represents the out-of-control passions that have been awakened through Original Sin. These unguarded passions lead to the downward spiral of sin that causes the speakers of both Southwell’s and Quarles’ poems to grief. If the natural world is a reflection of the corruption and of mourning over the fallen earth, it can also prophesy the redeemed earth. As Quarles and Southwell acknowledge the possibility of sustenance from God on earth in “Emblem II—Book V” and in “Of the 11 For a fuller discussion of the implications of the life-giving word “inspire” in conjunction with Quarles “Emblem XIV—Book I” in “ ‘Tis a Consummation to Be Devoutly Wish’d.”


76 Blessed Sacrament of the Aulter,” 12 Quarles shows that the earth itself can be redeemed with mankind in “Emblem III—Book V.” By presenting a comparison associating nature with the speaker of the third emblem of Book V, Quarles reemphasizes the relationship between humans and earth. This relationship is set up at the beginning of the poem by a comparison between the Two little bank-dividing brookes, That wash the pebbles with their wanton streames, And having rang’d and fearch’d a thousand nooks, Meet both at length, in silver-brested Thames; Where, in a greater Current, they conjoyne: So I my Best-Beloveds am; so He is mine. (lns. 1-6) The concept of two souls coming together in love as these two “brookes” do is related to reproductive theories and to love as the combination of two souls. 13 The banks that are divided by the “brookes” would be the bodies of the lovers, in this case God and the repentant sinner. However, their souls can flow together to be “conjoyned” as the waters can come together and form the Thames. The jointure of two souls could be a metaphor for both physical joining through sex as well as a spiritual joining after death. Since this emblem is based on a quote from the Canticle of Canticles, both a wholly spiritual and a wholly sexual interpretation exist. The whole Canticle has been interpreted as both a directive concerning the marriage between Israel/ Christianity and God and as an instruction booklet for marriage as can be seen in the earliest available biblical 12 See Discussion of these two poems in “ ‘Til We Be Rotten.” 13 The imagery of persons or nations joined by water was a very popular on. Thomas Roche tell us in his annotation to Spenser’s The Faerie Queene Book IV—Canto xi ln. 84 in reference to the joining of the Medway and the Thames that occurs in that book that “the device of writing poetry about the union of two rivers had precedents in John Leland’s Cygnea Cantio (1545) and in William Camden’s fragmentary De Connubia Tamae et IsisSpenser [himself] writes of river marriages in Shepheardes Calender, ‘July’ 79-84, Colin Clouts Come Home Again, 88-155, and in VII.6.38-55” (1180).


77 commentaries. 14 While this poem opens with the sexualized image of the two lovers as “brookes” joining to create a “greater Current,” the rejection of physical and poetic “diviner treasure” that removes the sexual interpretation and leaves the poem as a celebration of the nature of divine love (ln. 5, 20). After the speaker, potentially a poet, rejects the “sacred wealth of all the Nine” muses, he sets up a series of binary phrases that describe the relationship between himself and his “Best-Beloved,” several of which are either food pairs or nature pairs. He says that I am his Guest; and he, my Living Food; I’m his, by Poenitence; He, mine by Grace; I’m his, by Purchace; He is mine, by Blood; Hee’s my supporting Elme; and I, his Vine: Thus I my Best-Beloveds am. Thus He is mine. (lns. 32-36) This stanza address all dimensions that speakers of the other poems have felt were lacking as well as being a doctrinally accurate description of the relationship between the worshipper and Christ. The corrupt food of earth is replaced by the “Living Food” of Christ, which references the symbolic meaning of the Communion meal at which the speaker—along with the fellowship of Christians—is a “Guest.” The allusion to Communion is continued with the ideas implied by “Purchace” and “Blood.” Since the Communion meal is associated with the Crucifixion of Christ which “purchased” the forgiveness of God through Blood, represented by the Communion wine, this line signifies the metaphysical reflection of imbibing the “Living Food.” 14 For an example see Giovanni Diodati, 1576-1649. Pious and Learned Annotations upon the Holy Bible, Plainly Expounding the Most Difficult Places Thereof. 3d ed. London, Printed by J. Flesher, 1651.


78 This “Best-Beloved” is also the answer to the corruption of the world’s nature that both Southwell and Quarles have demonstrated. For the speaker, their relationship is a partnership between a “supporting Elme” and a “Vine.” Rather than the melancholic relationship between Nature and Man that we have observed in the other poems, especially “Vale of Teares, this positive partnership implies total linkage and dependency between of “vine” to the tree that gives it nourishment. Unlike the spoilt nature that provided only rotten food in the form of sexual gratification and other sins, the relationship between the elm and the vine is “supporting.” By using a tree to support this vine instead of a man-made structure, the speaker shows a living, growing relationship instead of a static one. Through this living rapport between the speaker and the sacred, mourning is finally completed and spiritual satiation can occur. Potentially the most illustrative of all the emblems thus far, the pictura for “Emblem III—Book V” shows two lovers sitting in a manicured garden in front of a large mansion. The elements of the garden are not wild, but are sculpted with low hedges and geometric pathways. The two figurae in the foreground of the pictura are surrounded by lilies which connect them to the superscript “My beloved is mine, and I am his; He feedth among the Lillies” from Canticle 2: 16. This association demonstrates the purity of their love as well as the nature of their relationship. While the lily flower represents purity, it also calls to mind a passage in Matthew that instruct listeners to See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6: 28-30). Jesus uses the lily to indicate that mankind should not worry about the necessities of earthly living because God will provide them. This ideal is fulfilled by the “supporting


79 elme” of “Emblem III—Book V” which gives sustenance and “living food” to the “Guest” (lns. 35, 32). Since the lily is also used as a figure of rebirth at Easter, the lily also represents the risen Christ who is the “Living Food” of the Communion. One of the figurae is evidently marked as holy by the wings on his back and the halo of light around his head while the other, though female as is one of the speakers of the Canticle of Canticles, represents the “Guest.” They are crowning each other with laurel and holding hands as if pledging their love. Their eyes are not focused beyond the pictura. Instead, they gaze directly at each other and keep the focus of the viewer on them. This meeting of eyes is physically representative of the meeting of souls that provides the introduction of the poem and the refrain of “So I my Best-Beloveds am; so He is mine.” Since the structures around them are detailed and orderly, they could symbolize the orderliness of heavenly love and nature rather than the rampant, overblown earth shown in the pictura of “Emblem XII—Book I.” 15 Some of the inclusions within the pictura denote like the lilies, purity, specifically, the two lambs that graze behind the figurae. This purification of Earth is necessary for the fulfillment of the spiritual appetite through Holy, rather than carnal love. Because “Emblem III—Book V” ties the aspects of physicality and spirituality together in a positive way, it stands as the fulfillment of successful mourning. The speaker of this poem has rejected earth without mourning it and seeking death; he does not examine the rotten fruits of sin, nor does he comment on them. The speaker simply notes that “the world’s but theirs; but my Beloved’s mine” (ln. 18). Having found 15 See “ ‘Til We Be Rotten” for a detailed discussion of this emblem.


80 spiritual satiation, the speaker can move beyond mourning. Successful mourning must involve a successful incorporation of the mourned object (Emmett). By “conjoin[ing]” with his beloved, the speaker has incorporated that love and successfully completed the mourning process. The speakers of the other poems in this chapter do not achieve successful incorporation and therefore, can only identify with nature in melancholia as in “Vale of Teares” or the “Prodigal Childs Soule Wracke”, lament it as in “Emblem II—Book I,” or use it as a condemnatory tool as in “Loves Gardens Grief.” Therefore, “Emblem III—Book V” is a rare proof among these poems of the possibility that mourning can be completed and that nature can provide positive rapport as well as negative.


CONCLUDING REMARKS As we have seen, the common threads that run through the works of Robert Southwell and Francis Quarles are not threads of doctrine or dissent, nor are they pure celebration. Instead, their common expressions are those of mourning and spiritual hunger. This spiritual hunger could have its roots in much of the chaos surrounding the Christian religion at this time. Though both Southwell and Quarles examine an intense need to escape earth and join God through death, the final conclusion that both come to—Southwell in the ceremony of the Mass in “On the Blessed Sacrament of the Aulter” and Quarles in “Emblem II—Book V” and “Emblem III—Book V”—is that the route to spiritual fulfillment comes from the imbibing of sacred foods, whether the Communion foods of wine and bread or the blessed apples of the Tree of Life. Both types of food are spiritual and represent the fruits of the spirit of God which are given to Christians through the love of God. The satiation brought by these foods reflects the satiation of the spirit that a prelapsarian Adam and Eve might have known. Since Freud maintains that a primal instinct of the human psyche is the desire to return to an earlier state, this desire for primeval satiation is not out of character for humans. Instead, the desire for spiritual satiation through God is still extant in the beliefs of most Christian denominations and is sought through both the physical act of Communion or Mass and the spiritual acceptance of the love of God that grants the fruits of the spirit. Therefore, the presence of a spiritual consummatory appetite as demonstrated in the poetry of Francis Quarles and Robert Southwell may still exist in twenty-first century spiritual culture. While this existence 81


82 cannot be currently proven, the presence of it in the sixteenth and seventeenth century cultural conflicts may deserve further examination not only in the poetry of Quarles and Southwell, but also in the poetry of their contemporaries.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ranid Marie Smith graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts from Centenary College of Louisiana in May 2003. While attending Centenary, Miss Smith majored in English with a Latin minor. She was involved in Zeta Tau Alpha and with the Centenary Activities Board. During her time at the University of Florida, Miss Smith has worked on projects involving Dante Alighieri, George Herbert, Charles Dickens, and a series of Reformation poets. Miss Smith has also been involved with the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Center as a graduate fellow. She will graduate from the University of Florida with her Master of Arts in a concentration of Early Modern/Renaissance Literature on May 3, 2005. 89