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Look, Delia, How We 'Steem the Half-blown Rose (Delia XXXIX) -- Samuel Daniel

Guest poem submitted by Anustup Datta:
(Poem #375) Look, Delia, How We 'Steem the Half-blown Rose (Delia XXXIX)
  Look, Delia, how we 'steem the half-blown Rose,
  The image of thy blush and Summer's honor,
  Whilst in her tender green she doth enclose
  That pure sweet Beauty Time bestows upon her.

  No sooner spreads her glory in the air,
  But straight her full-blown pride is in declining;
  She then is scorn'd that late adorn'd the Fair;
  So clouds thy beauty after fairest shining.

  No April can revive thy wither'd flowers,
  Whose blooming grace adorns thy glory now;
  Swift speedy Time, feather'd with flying hours,
  Dissolves the beauty of the fairest brow.

  O let not then such riches waste in vain,
  But love whilst that thou mayst be lov'd again.
-- Samuel Daniel
  As far as I know, we have not had any of the celebrated
"Delia" sonnets on Minstrels. I hope this - probably the
most famous, Sonnet 39 - will correct the omission. That
apart, this is probably the best carpe diem poem ever - it
balances didactic philosophy and poetic delicacy wonderfully
well. The main argument is presented as logically and
cogently as to rival any of the great metaphysical poets -
Donne at his best would not have been ashamed to be credited
for this.

Anustup.

[Biography]

  b. 1562?, Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
  d. 1619

English contemplative poet, marked in both verse and prose
by his philosophic sense of history.

Daniel entered Oxford in 1581. After publishing a
translation in 1585 for his first patron, Sir Edward Dymoke,
he secured a post with the English ambassador at Paris;
later he travelled in Italy, visiting the poet Battista
Guarini in Padua. After 1592 he lived at Lincoln in the
service of Sir Edward Dymoke, at Wilton as tutor to William
Herbert, later earl of Pembroke, and at Skipton Castle,
Yorkshire, as tutor to Lady Anne Clifford. In 1604 Queen
Anne chose him to write a masque, The Vision of the Twelve
Goddesses, in which she danced. She awarded him the right to
license plays for the boy actors at the Blackfriars Theatre
and a position as a groom, and later gentleman, of her privy
chamber.

Edmund Spenser praised Daniel for his first book of poems,
'Delia, with The Complaint of Rosamond' (1592). Daniel
published 50 sonnets in this book, and more were added in
later editions. The passing of youth and beauty is the theme
of the Complaint, a tragic monologue. In 'The Tragedie of
Cleopatra' (1594) Daniel wrote a Senecan drama. 'The Civile
Warres' (1595-1609), a verse history of the Wars of the
Roses, had some influence on Shakespeare in Richard II and
Henry IV.

Daniel's finest poem is probably 'Musophilus: Containing a
Generall Defence of Learning', dedicated to Fulke Greville.
His Poeticall Essayes (1599) also include 'A Letter from
Octavia to Marcus Antonius'. His 'Defence of Ryme',
answering Thomas Campion's 'Observations in the Art of
English Poesie', a critical essay, was published in 1603.
Fame and honour are the subjects of 'Ulisses and the Syren'
(1605) and of 'A Funerall Poeme uppon the Earle of
Devonshire' (1606). He had to defend himself against a
charge of sympathizing with the Earl of Essex in 'The
Tragedie of Philotas', acted in 1604 (published 1605). His
other masques include 'Tethys' Festival' (1610), staged with
scenery by Inigo Jones, and 'The Queene's Arcadia'
(published 1606), a pastoral tragicomedy in the Italian
fashion. Daniel's last pastoral was 'Hymen's Triumph'
(1615). He also wrote 'The Collection of the Historie of
England' (1612-18) as far as the reign of Edward III.

    -- EB

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