Proving one God, one harmonie : the persona of George Herbert's 'The Temple' and its poetic legacy
The thesis examines the presentation of the persona in George Herbert's The Temple, and uses this persona as a central focus for discussion of Herbert's later "imitators and adaptors". The first part of the thesis deals with the theoretical implications of the term "persona" in relation to the seventeenth century religious lyric, and with Herbert's portrayal of a multivocal persona in The Temple. After a discussion of Herbert's work, other seventeenth century writers who acknowledged a poetic debt to The Temple, Christopher Harvey (The Synagogue), Richard Crashaw (Steps to the Temple), and Henry Vaughan (Silex Scintillans) are dealt with in detail, while the work of some of the less familiar of Herbert's poetic followers is examined ~n Chapter Six. Throughout this section, the discussion is centred upon the presentation of the persona. While during the seventeenth century the interest in poetic spiritual autobiography takes the form of verse collections modelled around a central theme, in the eighteenth century this interest is reflected in the growing popularity of the hymn. The second part of the thesis examines the contribution of The Temple to the portrayal of the central voice in the hymns of Isaac Watts, John Wesley and William Cowper. The anonymous Select Hymns, Taken out of Mr Herbert's Temple is also looked at in this section. In the final chapter, the return to popularity of thematically orientated verse collections, such as Keble's The Christian Year, is discussed with relation to The Temple. The poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Christina Rossetti are also discussed in terms of Herbert's poetic legacy.