Mary Wroth (1587-1651/3), from "Pamphilia to Amphilanthus"
- In what context was this poem published and who is its speaker? What is added to the poem by the use of classical names?
- Why does Pamphilia welcome the night?
- What are features of the poem's form? rhythm? Imagery and word choices?
- How do these aid in conveying the speaker's anxieties and passions?
- What happens in the poem's conclusion? Does it resolve the speaker's problems?
- How would you compare this poem to other love sequences you have read--for example, to Sir Philip Sidney's "Astrophel and Stella"?
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1661-1717), "An Apology for Writing So Much upon This Book"
- What are the poem's rhythm and stanza form? Do these fit the subject?
- This is one of several apologies or explanations with which Cavendish prefaced her poems. Why do you think she added these?
- What is the poem's tone and subject? Why do you thnk the author fears censure for her revisions?
- What are the poem's basic metpahors, and what emotions are they designed to evoke? What do they reveal about the writer's preoccupations?
- What are some reasons Cavendish may be particularly anxious about the publicaton of her book?
- Would you describe this as an effective poem? What does it reveal about the audience for women's poetry at the time?
Katherine Philips (1632-64), "Epitaph"
- Describe the poem's form. Do you think this effectively complements its subject?
- What conclusion does the speaker profess to draw from the death of her only child?
- What aspects of her child's existence does she remember? To what does she ascribe his death? How might this be called a "conceit"?
- Does the poem contain metaphors, and if so, how are these arranged to reinforce the meaning?
- Can you explain the poem's ending?
- Is the poem effective in presenting its subject?
Philips, "To My Excellent Lucrasia, On Our Friendship"
- How is the form of this poem designed to complement its subject?
- How are the poem's metaphors arranged to describe the speaker's friendship with Lucrasia?
- Why do you think the poet used a literary name or pseudonym to address her friend?
- On what basis does the poet claim that her friendship with Lucrasia is superior to marriage? Why does she assert that their design is "innocent"?
- Philips wrote what seem to be sincere love poems to her husband; in this context what may be meant by her praise of an "innocent" relationship? Might this be read as a homoerotic poem?