Эссе: Alfred Noyes


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Предмет:
Английский язык
Тип работы:
Эссе
Количество страниц:
5

... The poet has not merely sat down and said to himself, "Now I will write an epic poem, and this theme is unused and seems as likely as any other." His heart is in the matter; he really cares for the great deeds of Elizabethan England, and the ideal which he divines in them is for him no mere memory of glory, but a living and inspiring force, the strength of England's Empire as it is to-day and the secret of all that it may be in the future. That is a great theme, and one thinks at once of the parallel of Rome and Virgil; but such themes, of course, do not in themselves involve or contain "the whole business of life." That has to be put into them somehow, in Virgil's way, by help of Dido and Euryalus, and Ascanius and Camilla; by retrospect and anticipation, which is again Virgil's way and Milton's too; by episode and metaphor and simile and allusion, as is the way of all epics. That is where Mr. Noyes fails. Here are three long books of blank verse, and, speaking broadly, there are no episodes in them and only two characters. There are fine lines and fine passages, of course; but the fact seems to be that the poetic power which was enough to fill the lyrics of his last volume with such abundant life has not been enough to give life to an epic. It is one thing, and a great and delightful thing, to write such poems as "Apes and Ivory" and "The Sweet o' the Year"; it is another thing to write a Paradise Lost. "Drake," then, as an epic, as a whole, cannot be called a success. An epic must, by one means or another, get hold of something of the richness and variety of life; and three long books with barely a whisper of a woman in them are, to say the least, against all the precedents. Two three pages out of a hundred and seventy are, indeed, given to Elizabeth; but, for one thing, there is more of Queen than woman in, them, and in any case the allowance is somewhat scanty. Then the villain Doughty, almost the only character beside Drake, is somehow entirely unconvincing. ...