Sir reprinted in 1604. “Aurora,” another popular work

SirWilliam Alexander, Earl of Stirling, was born in the village of Menstrie,Scotland. He is famously to have been a scholar, a poet, and someone who hadworked closely to both James I and Charles I and was involved in the affairs ofEngland and Scotland. He received his education through Dr.

Thomas Buchananthat whom was the tutor of James I of Scotland, however, it is also thoughtthat he may have attended the University of Glasgow according to the Dictionaryof Canadian Biography. Later in 1603, he had made a reputation of himself as apoet when he had written and published his “Tragedy of Darius” in Edinburghalong with the “Tragedy of Croceus” and were later reprinted in 1604. “Aurora,”another popular work of Alexander, was also printed with the works previouslymentioned but was a piece written before. Although Aurora was published withthose other works, it is recognized to be one of his most, if not most famous,and well-known pieces he’s written; it seems to outshine some of his otherworks at the time.

“He there wrote, in 1604, his best-known work, “Aurora,” asonnet sequence that outlived his subsequent didactic tragedies” (Britannica,2016). These were later followed up by the “Alexandrian Tragedies” in 1605 andthe “Tragedy of Julius Caesar” in 1607.Later in 1612, he wrote “An Elgie on theDeath of Prince Henrie” and was a then appointed usher in the house of PrinceCharles.

Two years later, he had then published his final work, “Doomes-Day.”Sir William’s work has so much importance and influence so much, so he stillreceives praise from many contemporary writers, one of which included Drummondof Hawthornden. He was recognized as an influential writer so much that he wasasked to help transcribe the Psalms of King David by King James. According tothe Encyclopedia Britannica, later in 1630 he was created Viscount or Stirlingand Lord Alexander of Tullibody, then in 1633, the Earl of Stirling Viscount ofCanada, and (again) Lord Alexander of Tullibody. Alexanders famous work,”Aurora,” was written in 1604 along with the “Tragedies of Darius and Croceus,”but as mentioned before, are outshined by this popular and well-known piecedone by Sir William Alexander. The work “Aurora” is a work seemingly dedicatedto a woman named Aurora, which who the speaker is infatuated and in love with andtells for how she makes him feel about her. With little to no research done onthe work, interpretation and speculation are left to figure out the themes ofthe poem, but it is strongly suggested that romance and suffering is theprimary theme. This is strong reminiscent of Sydney’s “Astrophil and Stella” asthey have the same theme of a strong desire for someone, yet their love causesthem pain.

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When tying these poems together, they follow a convention madefamous by Petrarch, another well-known poet, and are known as Petrarchan(Renaissance) sonnet sequences. One seen throughout these poems are “the objectof desire is powerful.” This indicates that the infatuation and love for thelady leaves the poet/speaker weak and helpless to their feelings toward them,it may even leave them in pain and cause them to suffer. The object of desireis all they can think about, this is shown in sonnet 10 of “Aurora”: Thepoem does have a specific rhyme scheme and consistent structure going on. Asseen in the sonnet above, the first and fourth lines of the sonnet rhyme, alongwith the second and third lines rhyming as well.

That’s the usual and mostconsistent rhyme scheme that occurs within all the sonnets. The structure isinteresting because all the sonnets have their first two and last two lineswith indents, however the indents on the first lines are due to them having alarge decorated letter at the beginning of each sonnet. Sonnet 1 has asignificantly larger decorated letter, so the indent is bigger than the others.

The decorated letters on each sonnet may just be there for decoration purposesitself, maybe it is a popular style of writing and printing different pieces ofliterary work at the time. It may have been possible that these decorativeletters could’ve been used to make emphasis on the sonnets, or to indicatewhich were sonnets or not. Other than Aurora, there are other works thatAlexander had published, many of them have written around the same time Aurorawas and were all put into a collection called “The Monarchicke Tragedies”.

According to Kristen Sandrock in her journal “Ancient empires and early moderncolonialism in William Alexander’s Monarchicke Tragedies (1603-07)”, “thecollection consists of four dramas – “The Tragedy of Croesus”, “The Tragedy ofDarius”, “The Alexandræan Tragedy” and “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” – whichwere printed between 1603 and 1607, with Darius is the ?rst published drama.”These dramas were made to show the downfalls of each king and their kingdom,following with how they expanded their territories. Alexander wrote these two”advise” James I on how to be a “wise and successful king,” the plays’persistently interrogate situations of monarchic instability, fallibility, anddestruction’ to advise James on how to be a wise, successful king (Sandrock,347). Alexander’s “Doomes-Day” was another significant and important workbecause it was the final piece he had made. Peter Auger said in his journal ofthe “Recreation and William Alexander’s Doomes-day (1637)” it was surely writtento be Alexander’s more serious and long-lasting poetic achievements, and thereis evidence that his contemporaries, including William Drummond, thought sotoo.

This poetic piece was divided up into twelve cantos, or “Hours” (Auger,2), and is thought to represent the destruction of earth in real-time. Theapocalypse is a major theme within the poem and there are sections devoted torepresenting devices to retain human information, like a sort of encyclopediaof sorts. For example, the third section is devoted to how we interpret all theinformation while the last focuses more on “dooms-day” itself. It isunfortunate that despite his great works and his influence in history, that heis not brought out or represented in a light that he should.

His work ispraised amongst his contemporaries and even seen in good light to both CharlesI and James I which whom he served under. It should be noted that he could’vebeen one of the most important writers of his time and should be recognized inthe same regard.

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