Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw

By George Walton Williams | Go to book overview

III.
WHITE AND RED

WHITE AND RED are for Crashaw the primary colors of poetry. Mr. Warren has observed that one cannot survey Crashaw's imagery "without perceiving how the whole forms a vaguely defined but persistently felt series of interrelations. There are things red -- fire, blood, rubies, roses, wine -- and things white -- tears, lilies, pearls, diamonds: symbols of love and passion; symbols of contrition, purity, innocence."1 There are indeed two groups of things opposed in color and opposed in symbolic values; their member images recur with almost tedious frequency in the poetry. This chapter will examine these images and symbols and clarify their interrelations, vaguely felt and persistently defined, by a judicious rearranging and supplementing of Mr. Warren's list of things white and red. So there are flowers -- lilies and roses -- and there are gems -- pearls or diamonds and rubies -- and there are liquids -- tears or water and blood or wine. After an excursus into sources, the following pages will notice first the flowers and then the gems. The most conspicuous set of color images is that involving the liquids; as it is extensive and as it has its own integrity, it appears separately in Chapter V. There are other white substances and liquids -- snow, silver, milk, cream, crystal -- but they do not regularly stand in color opposition and they may conveniently be noticed in the poems as they occur; there is fire, which is red only occasionally and which does not stand in color opposition.2 There is, however, one other thing white and red -- the blush; it neatly and appropriately combines the two colors. Finally there are many adjectives of color which Crashaw uses to expand the pattern. In line after line, he joins substantives and attributives in a manner which demonstrates unmistakably that he is thinking in terms of the white and red contrast and of its symbolic values.

To speak of sources for the white/red color distinction is perhaps to mislead; it is more nearly accurate to trace traditions or to cite suggestions. The white/red contrast was very much in the air when Cra

____________________
1
Austin Warren, Richard Crashaw, p. 192.
2
The primary symbolic values of fire in Crashaw are heat and light, communicating the love of God (Chap. VI, Sec. 2). The iconography of the Church represents fire as red, with particular reference to Pentecost, but Crashaw seems generally to have resisted this tradition.

-33-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - The Poet-Saint and the Baroque 1
  • II - Quantity 12
  • III - White and Red 33
  • IV - Light and Dark 57
  • V - Liquidity 84
  • VI - Other Symbols and Images 105
  • Bibliography 137
  • Indices 146
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 151

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.