Mortimer, Nigel. John Lydgate's Fall of Princes: Narrative Tragedy in its Literary and Political Contexts. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005.
"FAREWELL FALSE LOVE" Sir Walter Raleigh (ca. 1582-1585) This highly stylized poem is a negative definition of love, emphasizing its irrationality. The poem is, essentially, a catalogue of images exemplifying love's harmful and irrational nature, including a temple of treason; a poisonous, flower-covered serpent (l. 7); a "gilded hooke that holds a poysoned bate" (l. 12); and a maze (l. 15). Many of the lines begin with "A . . . ," and the repetition increases the feeling of inescapability. The beginning and ending are somewhat circular, though the final goodbye in line 29 links false love with desire and beauty, whereas the initial rejection cites only love. overall, the catalogue seems to be an exercise in stylistic virtuosity rather than the expression of any real emotion.
Six contemporary manuscripts indicate that Sir Walter Raleigh circulated the poem widely. William Byrd set it to music in his Psalms, Sonets, and Songs (1588), and Sir Thomas Heneage composed a poetic counterpart, "Most Welcome Love," praising love and turning Raleigh's language and images to positive ones. Recent critics have attempted to determine which poem was composed first, but no authoritative answer has been established. Raleigh's poem also resembles two 16th-century continental poems, the French "Contr' amour" (first printed in 1573), and the Italian "La've l'aurora" (first published in 1553). Although there is no evidence of Raleigh's familiarity with either of these poems, five of his images are common to the two earlier poems.
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