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By Harry Blamires

`It is sweet to work out a reprint and whole updating of this famous old travel de strength, with its proof of enormous analyzing and actually hundreds of thousands of important facts.' - occasions academic complement

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    By this point the poem is already heavy with sadness, its heroine weighed down under the burden of suffering and remorse alike; for Henryson’s oppressively moralistic tone matches the intensity of his feeling: but now the agony becomes something rarely fine and dramatic, for Troilus passes by the hideous beggar: something faintly reminds him of his darling Cresseid and he gives a generous sum. When Cresseid asks who it is that was so kind, another leper identifies Troilus. Cresseid is overcome by grief and remorse: she writes a will bequeathing a ring to Troilus, and dies.

    The Scottish king is married to Dorothea, daughter of Henry VII, but his wayward passion for Ida, daughter of the Countess of Arran, is fanned by the villainous Ateukin (another disciple of Machiavel). The Queen remains faithful and devoted even after an attempt on her life. Ida is chaste against royal pressure and marries Eustace for love. The two firm and attractive women are finely portrayed. The blank verse is more disciplined and, at suitable points, veers into tidy couplets. William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was the son of a Stratford-onAvon tradesman important enough to hold the highest municipal office.

    The one book of comparable significance in English literary history to that of the Bible is the Book of Common Prayer. Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556) was in charge of the preparation of the Prayer Book of 1549 (in the reign of Edward VI) on which the Prayer Book of 1662 was based. What cannot be ascertained with confidence is the extent of Cranmer’s personal contribution to the production of the text. His own original literary work in the field of theological controversy is not inspiring. Yet the achievement of the Book of Common Prayer in matching the Latin liturgy with an English rendering that has solemnity, beauty and sublimity, and yet is fresh and sinewy in its Englishness, is a remarkable one.

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