Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress should
be read entire (Everyman’s
Library, 35 cents; Cassell’s National Library, 15 cents; Temple
Classics, 45 cents). Selections may be found in Craik, III., 148-166;
Manly, II., 139-143; Oxford Treasury, 83-85; Century, 225-235.
In what does the secret of Bunyan’s popularity consist—in his style, or in his subject matter, or in both? What is specially noteworthy about his style? Point out some definite ways in which his style was affected by another great work. Suppose that Bunyan had held the social service ideals of the twentieth century, how might his idea of saving souls have been modified?
Lyrical Poetry.—Specimens of the best work of Herrick, Carew, Suckling, Lovelace, Herbert, Vaughan, and Crashaw may be found in Ward, II.; Bronson, II.; Oxford Treasury, III.; Manly, I.; and Century.
What is the typical subject matter of the Cavalier poets? What subject do Herbert, Vaughan, and Crashaw choose? Which lyric of each of these poets pleases you most? What difference do you note between these lyrics and those of the Elizabethan age? What Elizabethan lyrists had most influence on these poets? What are some of the special defects of the lyrists of this age?
John Milton.—L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, Comus, Lycidas (American Book Company’s Eclectic English Classics, 20 cents), and Paradise Lost, Books I. and II. (same series), should be read. These poems, including his excellent Sonnets, may also be found in Cassell’s National Library, Everyman’s Library, and the Temple Classics. Selections are given in Ward, II., 306-379; Bronson, II., 334-423; Oxford Treasury, III., 34-70: Manly, I., and Century, passim.
Which is the greatest of his minor poets? Why? Is the keynote of Comus in accord with Puritan ideals? Are there qualities in Lycidas that justify calling it “the high-water mark” of English lyrical poetry? Which poem has most powerfully affected theological thought? Which do you think is oftenest read to-day? Why? What are the most striking characteristics of Milton’s poetry? Contrast Milton’s greatness, limitations, and ideals of life, with Shakespeare’s.
[Footnote 1: See Milton’s Sonnet: On the Late Massacre in Piedmont.]
[Footnote 2: Robert Herrick’s Prayer to Ben Jonson.]
[Footnote 3: Paradise Lost, Book VII., lines 577-578.]
[Footnote 4: Ibid., Book II., lines 719-720.]
[Footnote 5: Paradise Lost, Book VII., lines 207-209.]
[Footnote 6: The Cambridge History of English Literature, Vol. VII., p.156.]
[Footnote 7: Paradise Lost, Book I., line 254.]