Literature represents much of the very best of humanity's writings, and it is not by any accident that, after bestsellers and sensationalized books have faded from memory, literature continues to thrive and remain intensely relevant to contemporary human conditions.
The wealth of Shakespeare's luxuriant imagination and glowing language seems to have been poured forth in the graphic accounts which he has given us of the fairy tribe.
Indeed, the profusion of poetic imagery with which he has so richly clad his fairy characters is unrivalled, and the "Midsummer Night's Dream" holds a unique position in so far as it contains the finest modern artistic realisation of the fairy kingdom. Dowden in his Shakespeare Primerpp.
The world of the poet's dream includes the two -- a Titania, and a Bottom the weaver -- and can bring them into grotesque conjunction. No such fairy poetry existed anywhere in English literature before Shakespeare.
The tiny elves, to whom a cowslip is tall, for whom the third part of a minute is an important division of time, have a miniature perfection which is charming. They delight in all beautiful and dainty things, and war with things that creep and things that fly, if they be uncomely; their lives are gay with fine frolic and delicate revelry.
In Shakespeare's day, too, it must be remembered, fairies were much in fashion; and, as Johnson remarks, common tradition had made them familiar.
It has also been observed that well acquainted, from the rural habits of his early life, with the notions of the peasantry respecting these beings, he saw that they were capable of being applied to a production of a species of the wonderful.
Halliwell Phillipps1 has so aptly written, "he founded his elfin world on the prettiest of the people's traditions, and has clothed it in the ever-living flowers of his own exuberant fancy.
Keightley2 as an attempt to blend "the elves of the village with the fays of romance. His fairies agree with the former in their diminutive stature -- diminished, indeed, to dimensions inappreciable by village gossips -- in their fondness for dancing, their love of cleanliness, and their child-abstracting propensities.
Like the fays, they form a community, ruled over by the princely Oberon and the fair Titania. There is a court and chivalry; Oberon would have the queen's sweet changeling to be a "knight of his train to trace the forest wild.
They are represented as keeping rival courts in consequence of a quarrel, the cause of which is thus told by Puck "Midsummer Night's Dream," ii. Oberon first appears in the old French romance of "Huon de Bourdeaux," and is identical with Elberich, the dwarf king of the German story of Otnit in the Heldenbuch.
The name Elberich, or, as it appears in the "Nibelungenlied," Albrich, was changed, in passing into French, first into Auberich, then into Auberon, and finally became our Oberon. He is introduced by Spenser in the "Fairy Queen" Book ii. The wise Elficleos left two sons, "of which faire Elferon, The eldest brother, did untimely dy; Whose emptie place the mightie Oberon Doubly supplide, in spousall and dominion.
Ritson4 remarks, she is not "so called by any other writer. Thorns7 thinks that the origin of this name is to be found in the Celtic, and that it contains a distinct allusion to the diminutive form of the elfin sovereign.
Mab, both in Welsh and in the kindred dialects of Brittany, signifies a child or infant, and hence it is a befitting epithet to one who "Comes In shape no bigger than an agate-stone On the fore-finger of an alderman.
Keightley suggests that Mab may be a contraction of Habundia, who, Hey wood says, ruled over the fairies; and another derivation is from Mabel, of which Mab is an abbreviation. Amongst the references to Queen Mab, we may mention Drayton's "Nymphidia" "Hence Oberon, him sport to make, Their rest when weary mortals take, And none but only fairies wakeDescendeth for his pleasure: And Mab, his merry queen, by night Bestrides young folks that lie upright," etc.
Ben Jonson, in his "Entertainment of the Queen and Prince at Althrope," indescribes as "tripping up the lawn a bevy of fairies, attending on Mab, their queen, who, falling into an artificial ring that there was cut in the path, began to dance around.
Like Puck, Shakespeare has invested Queen Mab with mischievous properties, Which "identify her with the night hag of popular superstition," and she is represented as "Platting the manes of horses in the night. In his description of him, Shakespeare, as Mr.
Thoms points out, "has embodied almost every attribute with which the imagination of the people has invested the fairy race; and has neither omitted one trait necessary to give brilliancy and distinctness to the likeness, nor sought to heighten its effect by the slightest exaggeration.
For, carefully and elaborately as he has finished the picture, he has not in it invested the 'lob of spirits' with one gift or quality which the popular voice of the age was not unanimous in bestowing upon him. Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, You do their work, and they shall have good luck: Are not you he?
In Devonshire, Piskey is the name for a fairy, with which we may compare the Cornish Pixey. In Worcestershire, too, we read how the peasantry are occasionally "poake-ledden," that is, misled by a mischievous spirit called poake.
And, according to Grose's "Provincial Glossary," in Hampshire they give the name of Colt-pixey to a supposed spirit or fairy, which, in the shape of a horse, neighs, and misleads horses into bogs. Keightley9 thinks, also, that the Scottish pawkey, sly, knowing, may belong to the same list of words.
It is evident, then, that the term Puck was in bygone years extensively applied to the fairy race, an appellation still found in the west of England. Referring to its use in Wales, "there is a Welsh tradition to the effect that Shakespeare received his knowledge of the Cambrian fairies from his friend Richard Price, son of Sir John Price, of the Priory of Brecon.
His Mad Pranks, and Merry Jests, full of honest mirth, and is a fit medicine for melancholy.Explication of “Piers Plowman” by William Langland ENG/ April 9, Shannon Loerch Explication of “Piers Plowman” by William Langland In the 14th century William Langland penned a poem entitled “Piers Plowman”.
He used lines of metered rhythm to illustrate a man’s quest for a stereotypical Christian life. Langland's masterpiece, "Piers Plowman", is Middle English poetry that uses language that is more opaque that that of Chaucer, while expression ideas that are at .
Elyssa-Beth Bender British Literature Dr. Zeiger 14 March William Langland: Piers Plowman The life of William Langland is a mystery.
There is very little known about the man who wrote the Middle English, alliterative poem known as Piers Plowman.
The letter yogh (ȝogh) (Ȝ ȝ; Scots: yoch Middle English: ȝogh) was used in Middle English and Older Scots, representing y (/j/) and various velar phonemes. It was derived from the Old English form of the letter g.. In Middle English writing, tailed z came to be indistinguishable from yogh.
In Middle Scots, the character yogh became confused with a cursive z and the early Scots printers. Piers Plowman (written c. –90) or Visio Willelmi de Petro Ploughman (William's Vision of Piers Plowman) is a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Langland. It is written in unrhymed, alliterative verse divided into sections called passus .
Essay on Piers Plowman and The Last Election The book, Piers Plowman, is filled with allegorical figures that teach the readers morals and instruct us on the ideal ways of living.
The strategies that the author, William Langland, uses to teach us these morals and values vary considerably.