Ocean To Cynthia The

Raleigh, Sir Walter.

OCTAVE (OCTET) In English, an octave (also called an octet) consists of eight lines of iambic pentameter (five syllables), though in Italian, it is comprised of hendecasyllables (11 syllable). Italian (Petrarchan) sonnets, both in English and Italian, utilize an octave as the initial part of the poem, which is then followed by a sestet. Traditionally, the octave concludes one idea, paving the way for another, although English sonnets tend to alter this tradition radically.

See also sonnet.

"ODE, AN" See Cynthia, with Certain Sonnets.

ofermod In The Battle of Maldon, Byrthnoth makes a tactical error allowing the Vikings to cross on to the mainland: "Pa se eorl ongan for his ofermode / alyfan landes to fela latere ^eode" ("Then the lord began, on account of his ofermod, to grant too much territory to the hateful people," ll. 89-90). The Old English noun/adjective ofermod (ofer [excessive] + mod [mental quality, negatively, arrogance]) translates into the Latin term supurbia (pride).

The poem was long considered an example of heroic praise poetry, and that the poet should take a critical stance to the hero Brythnoth was an irritation to many readers. In the 1960s, scholars claimed that ofermod could have a positive meaning such as "high-spirited-

ness" or "exceeding courage"; however, general consensus now holds that ofermod can only be used in the negative sense of "pride" or "arrogance," and that interpretations of the poem must take this criticism of Byrthnoth into consideration.

Synonymous with ofermod in the meaning of "pride" or "arrogance" is oferhygd (ofer [excessive] + gehygd [mental quality, consideration]). In Beowulf, Hrothgar says "oferhygda d®l" ("a portion of prideful thoughts," l. 1741) causes a ruler to begin to neglect his responsibilities. He enjoins Beowulf that he "oferhyda ne gyme^" ("pay no attention to prideful thoughts," l. 1760).

further reading

Cavill, Paul. "Interpretation of The Battle of Maldon, Lines 84-90: A Review and Reassessment." Studia Neophilologica 67 (1995): 149-164. Scragg, Donald, ed. The Battle of Maldon AD 991. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

Shaun E. D. Hughes

"OF UNSACIABLE PURCHASERS" Robert Crowley (1550) Robert Crowley, a clergyman, poet, prose polemicist, and publisher, was dedicated to the Protestant cause, but he argued vociferously that the Reformation must be managed so that it benefited the poor in particular. Most of his writing was contrived to argue against the exploitation of the poor, and his poems, such as "Of Unsaciable Purchasers," present moral tales delivered with acerbic sharpness, attacking the greedy mismanagement of resources by the wealthy. One such abuse is the unnecessary accumulation of land.

In "Of Unsaciable Purchasers," Crowley relates a presumably fictional anecdote about a man who acquires property but fails to use it to the wider community's advantage. The poem is built upon a biblical allusion to a parable in the Gospel of Luke, wherein a wealthy man feeds the poor because they are more grateful than the rich. The generosity of the rich biblical figure is presented as a negative mirror image of the uncharitable rich man in Crowley's 20-line epigram. This tightfisted, "unreasonable ryche manne" represents the antisocial, selfish, "unsaciable" people Crowley argued against—the greedy land devourers who are never happy.

The rich man boasts to his servant that he has purchased some nearby land. His cheeky servant, rather than praising his vain master, states that local people are perplexed by the man's desire to buy more land, because his "housholde is smal"—that is, he does not share. The rich man replies with rhetorical sarcasm, to which the lad then simply states that it is thought that the man buys "the Devill, his dame and all" (l. 20). This last line encapsulates the crux of Crowley's withering social and religious satire. The man is obsessed with worldly ownership of land but will not improve his community. To acquire land pointlessly is to buy only an association with the Devil. In other words, Crowley argues that the unnecessary accumulation of land by self-interested, ungenerous, wealthy men is bad not only for the worldly welfare of the poor, but also for the souls of the inevitably hell-bound rich "purchasers."

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