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at a time, but recurring every so often. This has the effect of conferring a kind of structural unity to a poem otherwise shapeless. Here we find also new, subtle and personal variations which transform the technical device into a very individual mark of Ralegh's style, as in the lines:
"With youth is dead the hope of love's return,This is not the only characteristic sign of Ralegh's style that can be found in Sol's speeches; another one is recognisable in the balance between the two halves of each one line - the "abrupt snip-snap emphasized by constant recourse to alliteration and antithesis" 1, of which Ralegh was very fond. A few examples from Nashe are:
"Much Ile not say (much speech much folly shewes)and we could quote more. In Ralegh's poems lines like this are extremely common; more frequent in the early poems but distinctively present in all. For example we may take a stanza from the early poems2:
"Yet more than this, a hope still founde in vaine,And one from a beautiful later one (1592):
"Like truthles dreames, so are my ioyes expired,And one from The Ocean to Cynthia:
"Such heat in Ize, such fier in frost remaynde,These are the most obvious characteristics of style which Nashe seems to have intended to reproduce.
There are themes common to Sol's speeches and Ralegh's poems, like the one of Diana ruling the tides, already commented upon3. And other passages are reminscent of passages from Ralegh's poems, or intentionally allusive to them. I find the parallelism striking, for example, between Sol's:
"If Envy unconfuted may accuse,and Ralegh's:
"Of other cause if then it had proceedinge,The themes of the unjust and indefensible judgment, based on "other cause", and on Envy's accusations, rather than on facts or on justice, are identical; the sense of utter helplessness of the defendant, appears in both, since in Ralegh's poem judgment has already been passed and in Summers Last Will and Testament the judge's ears are stopped (i.e. the judge has already made up his mind). The mention of "Martyrdome" (Nashe, 505) seems to echo the line "The lymes divided, sundred and bleeding" (Ralegh, 342). Finally, the declarations "Much Ile not say..." and "I leve th'excuse..." are very similar.
This theme of the uselessness of defence appears again, both in Sol and in Ocean. Sol says:
"In vaine I pleade, well is to me a fault,Besides line 341, quoted above, there are several others in The Ocean to Cynthia on a similar tone, for instance:
"But what hath it avaylde thee so to write?And
"Butt what of thos, or thes, or what of oughtIn all these examples the poet realizes the uselessness of his own pleading and renounces continuing his defence; he does continue, however, with the complaint that his truth has been pre-judged as deception, and the good faith of his past actions is taken as fraud, exactly as Sol says.
Whether Nashe knew these lines, written probably in the Summer 1592, or not, we cannot say. What is important is that the themes sprang from Ralegh's situation, as their presence in his own poem shows. We can assume that Sol's lines are a comment upon that same situation, because of the similarity of the (continued next page)
1. A.M.C. LATHAM in the "Introduction" to Ralegh's Poems,cit., p. XXIX
2. This is the poem, "Who list to heare the sum of sorrowes state", and in Miss Latham's edition it is printed among the "Conjectural Poems". Mr Oakeshott, however, considers it authentic and dates it between 1581 and 1587 (op.cit. pp. 146-48
Contents © Copyright Maria-Luisa Minio-Paluello, 2005. The copyright of this thesis belongs to the author under the terms of the United Kingdom Copyright Acts. Due acknowledgement must always be made of the use of any material contained in, or derived from, this thesis.