Batter my heart, three-personed God; for, you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend Your force, to break, blow, burn, and made me new. I, like an usurped town, to another due, Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end, Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend, But is captived, and proves weak or untrue, Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain, But am bethrothed unto your enemy, Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I Except you enthral me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Like The Flea', the deictic interpersonal features of the poem allow us to establish a projected blending of the features of the text and the situation of the utterance (first and second person pronouns, present tense—'I', 'you', 'me', 'God'). Even though the poem opens with a very precise and concrete use of verb, pronoun and noun, the extra-grammatical, cultural significance of 'God' automatically precludes the dialogic context of a shared experience at the moment of the utterance. In an important sense the immaterial nature of the addressee governs the curious, almost urgent, use of compound metaphor: first God is transformed into a besieging force, then into a suitor to whose enemy (Satan?) the speaker is betrothed and finally, in the closing couplet, into a sexually purposive presence. The effect of these manic shifts from one associative pattern to another destabilises any firm relation between vehicle and tenor: the tenor, the presence of God, is moved so rapidly through each embodiment or vehicle that we are left with a foregrounding of what is known as the ground of the metaphor—the usually syntactic rather than semantic element that determines the relationship between the two parts of the metaphor. These metaphors are grounded upon the use of transitive verbs to present God as active and the speaker as passive. This effect might be explained in terms of Donne's obligation never to allow the tenor of the metaphoric associations to come to rest upon a particular vehicle—it would have been unwise to allow the transcendent, immaterial nature of the deity to become associated with specific, and by definition limited, human characteristics.
In prayers, hymns and psalms (and the seventeenth century was particularly productive of all three) there are clearly established zones of linguistic demarcation between the two pronouns 'I' and 'you', or more often 'thou'. In the best known, the Lord's Prayer, the textual deictics ('our bread', 'our trespasses'; 'thy will', 'thy name') are established as separate by the contextual determinates of 'on earth' (as it is) 'in heaven'. Consequently the associations between the images of God and humanity are metonymic rather than metaphoric: God as King and Father are versions of the orthodox theological dictat that human types of subservience and respect are transpositions of the overarching relation between God and man. For most of the sonnet Donne observes this convention (God as a military leader would be a metonym sanctioned by the Old Testament story of the 'battle' between God and Satan), but the concluding image of God and the speaker as sexual partners moves far beyond the more familiar religious associations. Sexual union, unlike leadership or the broader semantic connotations of love and subservience, is something that we find difficult to transpose from the mortal to the spiritual plane.
The question we should ask is why Donne feels confident enough to do with poetry what would have caused unease in non-poetic discourses? First of all we should note that he chooses to address God through the sonnet (there are nineteen holy sonnets in which God or other unverifiable entities such as the soul or death are directly addressed). The sonnet is arguably the most self-evidently conventional poetic structure. Unlike the couplet or stanza poem or blank verse, where the number of and the structural relation between each formal unit is controlled by the poet, the sonnet literally encloses and limits the duration and formal symbiosis of the message. Thus the degree to which the speaking presence becomes displaced from its contextual function and appears more as a construct of a system of conventions is increased. One might argue that the perennial desire to establish the 'real' identity of the speaker and dark lady of Shakespeare's sonnets is largely a consequence of their irritating enclosure within a textual world so separate from the usual balance between language and the pre-linguistic continuum. What Donne achieves in this holy sonnet is an effect closely related to the contextual-textual disjunctions of 'The Flea', though his methods and objectives are quite different.
In his amatory poems the tension between the textual function and the imagined relation between addresser and addressee is founded upon an almost infinitely flexible relation between the contingencies of existence and the ordering structure of language. With God as the addressee, emphasis is shifted further toward the relation between addresser and his own textual construction, and the sonnet provides Donne with the perfect safety net for his daring attempt to draw God into the behavioural and linguistic conditions of humanity. Again the key to our understanding of this strategy is the paradoxical interrelationship between the contact mode and the poetic function. The two octaves (abba, adda) followed by the quatrain (ef ef) and the couplet (g g) appear to determine the timing and the discrimination between the metaphoric excursions. The first octave consists almost entirely of transitive verbs whose subject and object are simply the speaker and God. The second maintains this verbal foregrounding while introducing the martial metaphor. The quatrain supplements this with the metaphoric images of divorce and betrothal, and the couplet transposes the two patterns of military and sexual conquest. On the surface the linguistic freedom of the speaking subject is constrained by the arbitrary metrical and syntactic rules of the sonnet, but in fact this textual determinism is matched by a more flexible pattern of semantic cohesion which provides us with an imagined presence outside the text, struggling with its perverse regulations. None of the figurative patterns remains immune from traces of the others: the 'weak' and 'untrue' viceroy in the besieged town prepares the thematic and phonemic ground for the internal rhyme 'love you' and the images of marriage and physical love carry with them traces of the earlier martial figure— 'enemy', 'imprison me', 'enthral' all maintain a double edged resonance of military and sexual activity. All the time we encounter the subject of the 'intentional act' attempting to negotiate the arbitrary structures of the 'carrier'; in this case the sonnet. This continuous conflict between text and speaking presence comes to a head in the closing three lines,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthral me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
The couplet makes use of a rhetorical device called chiasmus (a criss-cross arrangement of antithetical clauses and terms). The verb phrases 'enthral me' and 'ravish me' and the adjectives 'chaste' and 'free' occupy, respectively, caesural and terminal pause positions, and the binding mechanism of regular metre and rhyme overlays the semantic paradox with a kind of persuasive symmetry: a perfect instance of mutual collaboration between syntax and the metrical set. But the couplet is meaningless without the pronoun 'I', in this case left isolated at the end of the preceding quatrain. The contact mode (man addresses God) is again brought into conflict with the poetic function (the demands of the sonnet formula). Such an effect of textual and referential tension could not be achieved in non-poetic language because it is the double pattern that allows Donne to construct two communicative circuits: speaker addresses God within the arbitrary formal constraints of the sonnet, and at the same time speaker addresses reader on the subject of his own perceptions of the relation between man and God. The effect of Donne's use of the double pattern is significant both for our understanding of literary history and for our understanding of the relationship between linguistics and literary criticism.
As we shall see the poets of the early-seventeenth-century metaphysical school maintain an uneasy awareness that poetic writing is a discourse that allows them to create patterns of representation that would not be available in non-poetic writing. Donne demonstrates that by splitting the communicative circuit he is able to create an intriguing inbalance between language as a reflection and realisation of contextual conditions and language as something which transforms these into an enclosed systematic formula that detaches speaker and addressee from the terms and conditions of the real, or at least unpoetic, world. And we will encounter a more persistent foregrounding of this tension in the poems of Herbert.
Linguistics and its practitioners have maintained a somewhat defensive stance on how exactly a description of the linguistic features of a text can relate to an evaluation or interpretation of it as an aesthetic object. Roger Fowler (1975) writes:
An urgent priority for contemporary stylistics is to determine just what additional fields of knowledge are relevant to literary discourse, how they relate to the diversification of language outside of literature and, perhaps most fascinating of all to the linguistics-inclined critic, how these systems of literary knowledge are coded in the structure of language (p. 122).
In our own, perhaps limited, field of the relation between poetic form and signification, the 'additional fields' of enquiry will be determined by our perception of how the prevailing conventions and imperatives of a particular historical period can affect the way that poets adjust the balance between the internal structure of the text and its relationship with the aesthetic, political, social and existential mood of its compositional and interpretive circumstances. We will defer a judgement on the contextual pressures felt by the metaphysicals until the end of this chapter. For the moment we will consider a poet who represents the archetype of the metaphysical obsession with textuality and its relation with the speaking presence.
Within each school or generic subdivision of literary history it is often possible to identify a poet whose work not only contributes to the collective stylistic whole but which exaggerates and foregrounds one or more element of its particular poetic langue. One could cite Blake as the Romantic manifestation of this tendency and Hopkins and e. e. cummings as his Victorian and Modernist counterparts, while the difficulties in identifying a similarly innovative or even eccentric individual in Augustan poetry testifies to the power of stylistic codification in that period. With the metaphysicals George Herbert most clearly fills this role. The Temple, published posthumously in 1633, is a sequence of lyric poems which draw upon the contemporary trends in rhetoric and image-making and which attempt in a very individual way to make verse do the work of prayer and devotion. In practice he establishes his work as the first continuous foregrounding of, in Jakobson's phrase, poetic metalanguage. Each poem in the collection is as much about the experience of constructing poetic artefacts as it is about George Herbert and his relationship with God and the world—the poetic and metalinguistic functions are given equal prominence with the referential. The self-referential concentration within the author-text-reader circuit is continuous and unremitting: his self-imposed condition of never repeating the same stanzaic/metrical formula is as much a component of the message as are his deictic positionings of 'I' and 'my Lord'.
Jakobson claimed that the principles of metrical parallelism 'underlie' and 'prompt.semantic similarity and contrast', but with Herbert we often find it difficult to disentangle these two elements of the double pattern.
My words and thoughts do both express this notion, That Life hath with the sun a double motion. The first Is straight, and our diurnal friend, The other Hid, and doth obliquely bend. One life is wrapped In flesh, and tends to earth: The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth Taught me to live here so, That still one eye Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high:
Quitting with daily labour all My pleasure, To gain at harvest an eternal Treasure.
We could naturalise this poem much as we would Donne's 'The Flea' or his 'Holy Sonnet'. The governing metaphor, the conceit which resonates through the texture of the whole poem, is founded upon the notion of doubling. The vehicle of the sun's double motion underpins the complex tenor of the speaker's double perception of the empirical world and its spiritual counterpart. But the poem actively resists such a process of demystification. We could, of course, reconcile the more conventional elements of the metrical/ poetic function with the referential: the double rhymes of the opening and closing couplets are all nouns whose semantic relations correspond closely with the more prominent thematic motifs of the poem. These two closed couplets effectively enclose the freer movement of the three central couplets, and from this we might claim that his intention was to create an effect of speculation and enquiry bounded by certainty. But how do we deal with the syntactic unit that cuts diagonally through the entire text? We might be tempted to dismiss this as marginal to the signifying structure of the text, a decorative embellishment, and claim that it functions only as a visual effect. This is not strictly true, since when we hear the poem we do indeed hear this sentence. But it is meaningless until we connect the implied aural register of the iambic, syntagmatic pattern with its visual foregrounding. Our process of searching and disclosing is consistent with the theme of things 'hidden' from humanity, and this effect of transposing the tactile materiality of the text, an element of its poetic function, with its referential keynote becomes a motif in the collection. A similar use of aural-visual correspondences occurs in his widely anthologised 'pattern poems', 'Easter Wings' and 'The Altar'. In both instances the resemblance between the iconic shapes of the texts and their referential themes is interactive rather than discrete. When we hear 'Easter Wings' the ab ab rhyme scheme makes us aware of a closing and opening pattern of line lengths and traces out aurally the visual shape of the two stanzas as two pairs of wings, and this visual-aural supplement to the double pattern is entirely consistent with its central metaphor of birds, angels, rising and redemption. In 'The Altar' the narrow central column of the altar shape consists of short, quatro-syllabic couplets, whose theme is appropriately enough, a play on the double signification of 'heart' as both the centre of the text-icon and the emotional centre of its human source.
There is rarely a poem in the collection which does not draw the reader's attention both to the process of signification and its referential function. 'Jordan I' and 'Jordan II' address the continuous sense of doubt felt by Herbert that the ingenious and infinitely complex patternings of poetic discourse are purely self-referential and consequently incapable of accommodating the pre-linguistic experiences of faith and worship. His closing lines of stanza 2 from 'Jordan I' could be read as a desperate acknowledgement of Jakobsonian linguistics.
Must all be veiled, while he that reads, divines, Catching the sense at two removes?
And in 'Jordan IF he contemplates what might be regarded as the combined paradox and manifesto of the entire metaphysical school.
As flames do work and wind, when they ascend, So did I weave my self into the sense But while I bustled, I might hear a friend Whisper, 'How wide is all this long pretense!'
The enjambed phrase 'hear a friend/Whisper' foregrounds the tension between the arbitrary structure of the discourse and the prelinguistic experience that it seeks to communicate. The metaphor of 'weaving my self into the sense', of combining presence with textuality, is literally contained within the ironic textual correspondence between the speaker's 'sense', and its echo in the friend's accusation of 'pretense'.
Herbert's collection addresses the same problem that we encountered with Donne: the tension, apparently unresolvable, between presence and textuality. Clearly the principal difference is that whereas Donne created continuous tensions between context, message, contact and code, and consequently foregrounded the uneasy relation between the poetic and the referential functions of language, Herbert gives far more prominence to the arbitrary codes of his discourse and effectively designates the referential function (George Herbert, his beliefs, his experience) as being governed and determined by the metalingual and the poetic.
Andrew Marvell is regarded as a second-generation metaphysical. It could indeed be argued that he is the sole member of that generation. His best-known lyric poems were written in the early 1650s, two decades after the death of both of the major practitioners of metaphysical technique and of that technique's status as the dominant poetic code. Consequently many of his poems exhibit an exaggerated degree of tension between the metalingual and the poetic function—he displays a self-conscious awareness of the particulars of his inherited discourse. Consider one of his most quoted and widely anthologised lyrics, To His Coy Mistress'.
Prosodically the poem anticipates a number of formal conventions that would come to dominate poetic writing in the Restoration and eighteenth century. It is written in octosyllabic couplets and the structure of his argument consequently shifts from the metaphoric dimension of a stanzaic pattern toward the progressive, sequential dimension of the metonymic. The localised effect of moving consecutively from one couplet to the next—as we might from one sentence to the next—is supplemented by the poem's framework of three verse paragraphs, each following the formulaic relations of a philosophic syllogism: 'Had we.', 'But.' 'Now therefore. '. But, as we shall see in the next chapter, it would be wrong to impute to this text the imperatives of Augustan order and formal logic. It would be more fruitful to regard it as indicative of the gradual redisposition of the hierarchy of formal codes that took place between the Civil War and the closing decades of the seventeenth century. The most intriguing point of comparison is Donne's The Flea'. It is almost as though Marvell has set himself the task of engaging with the same contextual and referential conditions that attend Donne's poem. The addresser-addressee relation similarly shifts the context away from poet and reader toward a more enclosed dramatic situation of male and female personae, and there is the same density of first and second person pronouns: I, my, our, your, thy. The deictics of the utterance move beyond the immediate and specific instance of a flea bite to the broader metaphoric range of time and space: 'Ganges', 'Humber', 'before the Flood', 'the Conversion of the Jews', 'Deserts of vast eternity'. The principal difference between the two texts is in Marvell's arguably deliberate invocation of the contact mode. In Donne's poem the deictic features of each shift between stanzas indicate that the speaking presence is improvising rhetorical strategies in response to the silent imperatives of the addressee. With Marvell we find that the same division into three verse paragraphs indicates calculation and planning. First we encounter the fantastic realm of space/time transcendence, working as a kind of softening-up procedure to heighten the shock of the more concrete and disagreeable conditions of the second section. Here the spatial/temporal deictics move towards the facts of human existence—decay, the loss of beauty, the termination of such encounters that prompt this utterance, and death. The third section, the 'therefore' closure of the syllogism, seems to offer the only consolation possible, through the hedonistic exploitation of what remains of their mortal tenure.
Could it therefore be argued that Marvell is involved in a rejection of the metaphysical tendency toward textuality—the containment of the speaking presence within the varied conventions of poetic discourse—in favour of a more strategic, purposive deployment of poetic devices? To address this question we should first remind ourselves that Marvell does not entirely abandon the characteristic metaphysical device of textual foregrounding. Just as we are aware that the contact mode has shifted from improvisation to calculation so we should recognise that this shift occurs within the terms and conditions of the poetic function. The couplet presents the opportunity for the foregrounding of syntactic components, the use of the double pattern to supplement the compositional and interpretive conditions of syntax. Note, for example, how the metrical determinants of the couplet form are used to promote the more purposive and indeed threatening elements of the time/space deictics by placing them within the inexorable movement of the aa bb cc rhyme scheme. 'Time' and 'crime' in the first couplet remain in the mind to be supplemented by related semantic-acoustic correspondences between 'love should grow' and 'more slow'; 'always hear' and 'hurrying near'; 'turn to dust' and 'all my lust'; 'rough strife' and 'iron gates of life'. So again we find that the contextual function (man addresses woman) is qualified by the poetic-metalingual function in which the substance of the message becomes a condition of its self-evidently metrical structure. But Marvell also plays the cognitive element of the double pattern against its conventional element. In each of the three sections there is at least one instance of a main verb of a sentence placed in the position of the opening rhyme of a couplet: 'to praise/Thine eyes'; 'always hear/Times'; 'shall try/ that'; 'Transpires/At every'. There is a similar, but without the rhyme-correspondence less prominent, delayed positioning of the main verb at the beginning of lines. The effect of this deliberate interfusion of the active components of syntax with the arbitrary conventions of form is to give the impression that Marvell (or his vicarious representative within the text) is struggling as much with the conventions of poetic discourse as he is with the referential code of mortal existence and its limited tenure. The voice (the cognitive element of the double pattern) is in a continuously shifting relation with the conditions of the utterance (the conventional element), and by foregrounding the tension between the voice within and the projected voice beyond the text Marvell places himself firmly within the tradition of Donne and Herbert.
I stated earlier that his verse signals the redisposition of the codes of poetic discourse. In this instance and in poems such as The Definition of Love' and The Garden' we find that the argument of the text shifts away from the complex contrapuntal patterns of the early-seventeenth-century stanzaic forms toward more consecutive, syntagmatic formulae. This, as we shall see, was to become the keynote of the Augustan deployment of the couplet. The principal difference between Marvell and his Augustan successors is in the latter's attempts to marginalise the tension between the arbitrary nature of poetic writing and its counterparts in philosophic, political and social discourses. In the Augustan period the use of the double pattern would be offered as a productive alternative to rather than an aberration from the referential and contextual functions of prose.
Having come to some conclusions about how a number of lyric poems from the early-seventeenth-century work, can we devise a general formula which identifies their common denominator?
Let us return to the model introduced in Chapter 1, the sliding scale. We could argue that Donne, Herbert and Marvell produce poems that belong at the conventional rather than the cognitive end of the scale, where the balance between the two elements of the double pattern is shifted away from those features that poems might share with other linguistic discourses toward elements that are intrinsically and definitively poetic. We might also consider a related binary distinction between the functional and the structural, the context and the text. The functional and the contextual elements of language refer, respectively, to what a statement is meant to achieve and to the circumstances which prompt, and for the reader/ addressee substantiate, this objective. The structural and the textual elements refer, respectively, to the technique employed within a particular statement or utterance and to salient features that allow us to identify each text, in this case each poem, as distinct from yet related to other texts within the same genre or code, in this case early-seventeenth-century English poetry.
Herbert's poems belong at the conventional end of the sliding scale because they exhibit a persistent self awareness of their own formal strategies and limitations. In consequence it is extremely difficult for the reader to make a clear distinction between text and context, structure and function. In an ordinary, non-literary, statement the use of the pronoun 'I' will effectively govern and allow us to distinguish between the structural—textual and the functional-contextual dimensions (it combines both with our knowledge of the internal structure of the statement and with our broader knowledge or assumption about who the 'I' is and why this person is making the statement), but in all of the poems of Herbert's The Temple the speaking presence shifts the interpretive focus continuously and uneasily between text and context, structure and function. We might claim that the 'I' of the text is addressing God with the objective of resolving a complex of emotional and theological problems, and that these texts share a similar objective with such non-literary discourses as prayers, sermons or theological tracts. But we must also be aware that the 'I' of these poems is drawn away from this broader contextual— functional condition to become what is effectively a device operative only within the framework comprising other structural devices such as the stanzaic pattern, and the graphic and phonic material of the language. Thus the procedures and objectives of naturalisation become confused: to interpret the speaking presence as the literary counterpart to George Herbert, cleric and theologian, means that we have also to deal with the 'other' presence that literally inhabits the textual structure and whose function can be just as readily explained not in its relation to George Herbert but as an intertextual phenomenon which has close counterparts in the texts of Donne and Marvell.
With the poems of Donne and Marvell we encounter a similar, though less extreme, process of interpretive dislocation. The collective sub-genre of the 'amatory' poem invites us to position each text within the broader social and linguistic context of seduction and gender distinction, but the validity of such an assumption is compromised in The Flea' and To His Coy Mistress' by the fact that the functional validity of the speaker's techniques is explicitly and self-evidently a consequence of strategies peculiar to the poetic artefact, strategies that it would stretch plausibility to imagine occurring in non-poetic discourses or circumstances.
Let us now propose a common denominator: the lyric poem of the early seventeenth century can be said to place as much emphasis upon explicit textuality as it does upon its functional and purposive relation to other linguistic discourses. The attendent question is much more complex: why?
We do not have the space here to conduct a comparative analysis of the poetic and non-poetic texts of the period, but a number of generalisations are possible. The English 'literary Renaissance' of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries drew its own generic and broader contextual identity largely from classical precedent. I would argue that the relation between structure and function, text and context, was more uncertain for poetry than it was for such non-literary discourses as the political/philosophic tract or the sermon. The major prose writers of the period, Hooker, Bacon, Hobbes, Browne and Andrewes, all drew upon the stylistic techniques and philosophic propositions of Greek and
Roman writing, but they also, by various means, adapted these to the conditions and circumstances of sixteenth-seventeenth-century Europe. Thus the functional and contextual elements of Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity or Bacon's essays 'Of Truth', 'Of Death', 'Of Love' are positioned on a stable axis between what the author wanted to tell his contemporaries about new interpretations of scripture or codes of behaviour and perception and such textual strategies as syntax and rhetoric that can be seen to migrate between different texts and between the modern and classical periods. The functional purpose of prose discourse in relation to its immediate contextual circumstances was well established, a situation assisted by the proliferation of the printing press as a means of extending the relation between addresser and addressee to broader and definitively modern experience of author, text and addressee. But if we consult the new phenomenon of 'literary criticism' in the works of Sidney, Gascoigne, Wyatt or Puttenham we will find an enormous amount of advice on how English poets should adapt the stylistic precendents of the classics (quantitative versus accentual metre, the naming and classification of rhetorical devices, etc.) but hardly anything on what the poet and the poem were supposed to be and do within the social, philosophic and political circumstances of the composition and the reception of texts. English poetry existed as a discourse, a genre, that was aware both of its own structural framework and of the relation between this and its classical antecedents, but the question of its function, beyond a form of whimsical entertainment, remained unanswered and largely unaddressed. It would be wrong to claim that all the poems of this period adhere to the model of intertextuality that emerges from the texts studied: Donne's satyres or Jonson's 'At Penhurst', maintain a relation between textual strategies and a broader contextual situation of real and verifiable events and people. But they also maintain an uneasy condition of awareness that what lies beyond the poetic artefact might well be distorted and transformed by its presence within it.
Let us consider these issues within the broader disciplinary sphere of linguistics and literary interpretation. Jakobson's diagrams of the communicative circuit have provided us with a useful framework for documenting textual features and their cooperation in the production of meaning, but a problem arises when we find that the contact-context, addresser-addressee functions become so closely integrated with the textual components of the message that the process of naturalisation is continuously disrupted. In short the textual-structural and the contextual-functional dimensions of the text seem to operate at two levels. First, we have the one-sided dialogic functions, so prominent in poems of the period, in which contact and context, and the poetic components of the message occupy a realm of signification which is largely enclosed and from which the reader is often excluded. Second, we have the functional relation between text and reader, and here the context is expanded to include the reader's a priori expectations of what poetry is and how it should relate to other discourses; and of how the enclosed context of the poem—man's relation with God or the man addressing the woman —connects with the broader linguistic and non-linguistic context of social-behavioural convention, faith and theology. Between the 1960s and the 1980s linguists attempted to account for this troubling disjunction. Michael Riffaterre's celebrated challenge to Jakobson will be considered in the following chapter, but for our present purposes a more relevant development occurred in the 1970s when M.A.K.Halliday began to supplement his earlier emphases upon the pure mechanics of the text with considerations of its received and intended functions, functions that would be affected if not fully determined by the practices and expectations of the society in which it was written and read (see Halliday, 1978). Roger Fowler in a number of essays in the 1960s and 1970s and in Literature as Social Discourse (1981) took this approach a stage further and argued that the patterns of preference shown by a writer in his selection of linguistic and stylistic resources are a function of the particular practices of communities in particular historical periods. What neither writer attempted to do was to chart the causal relation between the movement of the double pattern along the sliding scale and the social, political and aesthetic circumstances of the poem in question. This, as I have stated previously, is the objective of this study. In the following chapter it will become apparent that, in the poetry written during the Restoration and the eighteenth century, structure becomes closely related with a much more certain awareness of social, political and aesthetic function than was evident in the early seventeenth century.
When criticising English lyric poems of the late sixteenth-early seventeenth century use the following formula. First, identify the situation of the utterance. The key factors in this process of speaker-reader orientation are deictics:
(i) Is the text a record of one person addressing another? Tense, and the use of personal pronouns will provide you with a basic grasp of the situation ('I', 'you' rather than 'he', 'she' for example).
(ii) Perhaps the text identifies two human subjects but does not specify the presence of the addressee at the moment of speaking. It is possible to encounter the pronoun 'you' while remaining uncertain of whether the subject and the situation are addressed directly, hypo the tically or retrospectively.
(iii) In relation to (ii) further evidence will be supplied by the speaker's deployment of concrete objects and images. These will often provide the vehicle for metaphoric excursions (the fleabite for instance). There will usually be a distinction between images drawn from the memory and experience of the speaker prior to the utterance and those that occupy the perceptual experience of the addresser at the time of the speech act; and the relation between these sources will usually substantiate the spatio-temporal relation between addresser and addressee (compare the images used in Donne's address to the woman in 'The Flea' with those in his address to God in the 'Holy Sonnef).
Second, examine whether the addresser-addressee relationship is enclosed by dense textual patterns or whether the text appears to respond to the pressures of pre-linguistic circumstances.
(iv) The double pattern is useful in addressing this question. The complexity of the metrical pattern, the stanzaic formula and the rhyme scheme will foreground the dominance of textuality over the situation of the utterance (the most obvious instance is the sonnet), while a more flexible formula suggests a shift in balance from the text toward the pre-linguistic situation.
(v) The relationship between the syntagmatic and paradigmatic chains (signalling the creation of metaphor) will often correspond with metrical complexity—the more complex the pattern the more violent the disturbance of the syntagm by paradigmatic shifts. The principal question raised by this formula is whether the poet wishes to disclose these figurative uses as planned or whether immediacy and spontaneity is the intended effect.
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