By David Morse
Many occasions of the divided society from Elizabeth I to Charles I have been taken as an unmistakable signal that the realm was once coming into its final days. this article exhibits how pervasive used to be this pessimistic temper and the way powerfully it affected English writing from Shakespeare to Milton.
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Additional resources for England’s Time of Crisis: From Shakespeare to Milton: A Cultural History
And is this, think you, of our deserving, The Corrupted Church 29 or rather of God's mercy? Now surely, surely, we are very blind if we will not all confess with the prophet Jeremiah that it is God's mercy that we be not consumed [d. Lamentations 3:22]. So much disobedience both in prince and subject, so little care of duty, so deep forgetfulness of God, what doth it else deserve but heavy judgement? . It is no good argument that our estate is sure because God hath delivered us out of a great many troubles.
17 The irony of this, of course, is that the stately homes have achieved their object: they are taken so much for granted that the vainglory and financial malpractices that promoted their construction have long been forgotten. It is hard to recover the perspective from which, against a background of low and unpretentious wooden dwellings, these massive stone piles reared up as monstrous portents of a still more rapacious and inequitable London: the Corrupted City 51 future. In an age of transitory reputations they affirm the possibility of an enduring glory; in an age where the stakes were always high they were the ultimate wager.
Tillyard should be setting the homilies in their historical context as a strategy of containment, instead of using them, in conjunction with Ulysses' degree speech, as a covenient 'framework' into which everything else can be neatly fitted. Tillyard's The Elizabethan World Picture attempts to present medieval cosmology with its revolving spheres and chain of being from ant to angel as a master discourse that cannot be problematised. But, as I have already indicated, such a cosmological perspective cannot finally suppress or cancel the urgent questions raised by a reading of English history.