Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development

By Ruth C. Wallerstein | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
EMBLEM AND IMPRESA: THE MATURING OF CRASHAW'S IMAGERY

We have already suggested in our comparison of Crashaw Sospetto with Marino's poem the direction of the impulses and the nature of the vision which enabled Crashaw to kindle to poetic life the artificial forms springing from the study of rhetoric and from Marino. But much as this spirit depended for its growth on Crashaw's own inner growth, and highly individual as his work became, he did not advance alone here any more than in his earlier technical studies. Just as the school of rhetoricians and poetical craftsmen had developed the technique of the ingenious metaphor, so another school of craftsmen had been studying how to turn ingenious wit to the use of quickened meanings. These were the emblematists, the makers of imprese, the designers of allegorical tapestry. As we have already said when we spoke of Crashaw's reading, his study of emblems cannot be referred to a distinct stage in his development; but as we shall see in the course of this chapter, emblematic figures appear in his translations from Marino and are woven through and through the texture of his hymns. Thus we may link the emblematic mode of thought in him with the deepening of his religious vocation and with his concentration as an artist upon religious themes.

Some specific indebtedness of Crashaw to the emblematists has already been pointed out by Mr. L. C. Martin, by Mr. H. J. C. Grierson, and by Signor Praz.1 It is very likely that he knew Af-beeldinghe van d'eerste eeuwe der Societyt Iesu. . . . T'Antwerpen . . . M.DC.XL;2 and it is certain that he was familiar with Hugo Pia Desideria, the drawings of which were later used by Quarles in his volumes of Emblems, and that he knew such emblematic drawings (largely Dutch) as were used to illustrate the Little Gidding Concordances. It is unlikely, that this list

____________________
1
See the notes to Mr. Martin edition of the Poems.
2
Signor Praz, quoted in Martin, note to page 236, p. 446.

-114-

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Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Chapter I Introductory 9
  • Chapter II Crashaw's Life and Inner Growth 16
  • Chapter III School-Work: the Latin Epigram and the Pattern of the Rhetorics 56
  • Chapter IV the Translations 73
  • Chapter V Emblem and Impresa: the Maturing of Crashaw's Imagery 114
  • Chapter VI Style and Spirit Fused 136
  • Bibliography 148
  • Index 159
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