Lindley, David. Thomas Campion. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986.
Susan L. Anderson
NASHE, THOMAS (1561-ca. 1601) Thomas Nashe was born in Lowestoft in 1561. He attended St. John's College, Cambridge, graduating in 1586 with a B.A. Primarily known as a satirist and a playwright, Nashe was part of the "University Wits" group that included men such as Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd. He is especially remembered for a series of public (and vicious) debates with the poet Gabriel Harvey and his brother Richard that are reminiscent of the medieval Flyting tradition and of the literary debates between Thomas Churchyard and Thomas Camel in the late 1500s. Nashe's best-known work is The Life of Jack Wilton (1594), considered by some to be the first picaresque novel in English. Nashe, like most of the University Wits, also dabbled in poetry. Many of these poems were incorporated into other works. For instance, "A Litany in time of Plague" was published as part of the play Summer's Last Will and Testament. Nashe died in 1600 or 1601, of unknown causes. See also "Litany in Time of Plague, A."
Hibbard, G. R. Thomas Nashe: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962. McGinn, Donald J. Thomas Nashe. Boston: Twayne, 1981. Nashe, Thomas. The Works of Thomas Nashe. 5 vols. Edited by R. B. McKerrow. London, 1904, 1910.
"NATURE THAT WASHED HER HANDS IN MILK" Sir Walter Raleigh (1590) This poem is a combination of a blazon—a systematic list ing of a beloved's physical charms—and a complaint about the shortness of life and the inevitability of time's decay and death. Each stanza in the first half sets out some miraculous beauty created by Nature, only to find it destroyed by Time. The "mistress" that Nature creates from pure and dazzling ingredients such as snow, silk, and milk (instead of earth and water) is beautiful but fragile: While she presents herself in "her inside," to her lover as having "wantonness and wit" (l. 12), he complains that on her outside, she is unresponsive to him. In a typically Petrarchan approach, the speaker contrasts her seductive presentation of self with her coldness in their relations. The tone of the poem then changes as the speaker ruthlessly points out the lesson of human beauty—that it decays and is destroyed by Time, which "dims, discolors, and destroys" the beauty of Nature's creation. Her outside beauty decays; her sexual energy, conveyed in metaphors of liquidity and liveliness, will be "dull"ed and "dried" up (ll. 2930). And like beauty and sexual desire, human life itself, "the story of our days" (l. 36) is destroyed. Like everything else in Nature, we die, unknown and alone.
The poem's grim message is appropriately conveyed in relentlessly plain verse. Direct, almost proverbial, sayings replace Petrarchan metaphor: Slow lines of single syllable words force a sense of solemnity upon a reader, culminating in the emotional appeal at the conclusion as the speaker looks around hopelessly for an answer that neither Nature nor Time, which overcomes all things, can provide him: "Oh, cruel Time! which
takes in trust / Our youth, our joys, and all we have" (ll. 31-32). The conclusion is seemingly inevitable as Time, "When we have wandered all our ways / Shuts up the story of our days" (ll. 35-36). It is a grim and seemingly inescapable ending to what starts as a cheerful, celebratory love compliment. See also Raleigh, Sir Walter.
NEW WORLD The notion of a "New World" loomed large in the medieval and early modern imagination. As represented in works such as John Mandev-ille's Travels and Marco Polo's Travels, notions of people with mysterious bodies and unusual tribal rituals shaped the expectations of early modern explorers and writers. Columbus, having read the work of Marco Polo, knew what he should expect when he reached the land of India. For the early modern writer, the New World represented an opportunity to begin civilization anew. Some even believed in the New World that they would find the Old World, a kind of Eden-like state. In his first encounters with indigenous peoples, Christopher Columbus recalled images of the naked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In a highly romanticized view of this New World, others longed for a return to this setting.
The pastoral celebrates the simplicity of this New World, but it is in the exploration narratives produced by Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, and English discoverers that the myth of the New World was born. Cultural explorations, based on comparisons with European practices, dominate the texts. Sir Walter Raleigh's Discovery of Guiana (1595) details his findings in the New World in terms the monarchy wanted to hear. Poems also celebrated the New World. For instance, Michael Drayton wrote "Ode to the Virginian Voyage" (1606) using many of the standard images and ideologies, providing impetus for further explorations. In general, poems of this ilk celebrate the possibilities the New World offered, both financially and politically.
Was this article helpful?
Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.