'Description of Rosalyne' by Thomas Lodge

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Like to the clear in highest sphere
Where all imperial glory shines,
Of selfsame colour is her hair,
Whether unfolded or in twines:
Heigh ho, fair Rosalind.
Her eyes are sapphires set in snow,
Refining heaven by every wink;
The gods do fear whenas they glow,
And I do tremble when I think:
Heigh ho, would she were mine.

Her cheeks are like the blushing cloud
That beautifies Aurora's face,
Or like the silver crimson shroud
That Ph{oe}bus' smiling looks doth grace:
Heigh ho, fair Rosalind.
Her lips are like two budded roses,
Whom ranks of lilies neighbour nigh,
Within which bounds she balm encloses,
Apt to entice a deity:
Heigh ho, would she were mine.

Her neck, like to a stately tower
Where Love himself imprison'd lies,
To watch for glances every hour
From her divine and sacred eyes:
Heigh ho, fair Rosalind.
Her paps are centres of delight,
Her paps are orbs of heavenly frame,
Where Nature moulds the dew of light,
To feed perfection with the same:
Heigh ho, would she were mine.

With orient pearl, with ruby red,
With marble white, with sapphire blue,
Her body every way is fed,
Yet soft in touch, and sweet in view:
Heigh ho, fair Rosalind.
Nature herself her shape admires,
The gods are wounded in her sight,
And Love forsakes his heavenly fires
And at her eyes his brand doth light:
Heigh ho, would she were mine.

Then muse not, Nymphs, though I bemoan
The absence of fair Rosalind,
Since for her fair there is fairer none,
Nor for her virtues so divine:
Heigh ho, fair Rosalind.
Heigh ho, my heart, would God that she were mine!

Editor 1 Interpretation

An Exquisite Masterpiece: A Literary Criticism of Thomas Lodge's Description of Rosalyne

Who is Rosalyne? What makes her so special that she has become the subject of one of the most beautiful poems in the English language? Rosalyne is a character created by Thomas Lodge, a poet and dramatist of the Elizabethan era, and her description in his poem, "Description of Rosalyne," is a masterpiece of poetic expression.

What makes this poem so exquisite is not only the beauty of its language, but also the way it captures the essence of Rosalyne as a character. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the various themes and motifs that Lodge employs in his poem, and examine how they contribute to the overall effect of the work.

The Beauty of Rosalyne

The first thing that strikes the reader about "Description of Rosalyne" is the sheer beauty of the language. Lodge's poem is a rich tapestry of sensory imagery that transports the reader to a world of exquisite beauty:

"Her eyes like shining lamps in golden sockets fix'd,
Burning like candlelights when Phœbus' wings are mix'd
With painted colours, streaming from the sky
When Titan looks upon his crimson bed
And leaves his shining palace to his love"

These lines are a perfect example of Lodge's skill as a poet. The use of metaphors and similes, such as "shining lamps in golden sockets" and "burning like candlelights," creates a vivid image of Rosalyne's eyes. The descriptions of the sky and the sun, as well as the use of personification in "When Titan looks upon his crimson bed," provide a rich and evocative background against which Rosalyne is defined.

But it is not just the language that is beautiful; it is also the way Lodge uses it to create an image of Rosalyne that is almost otherworldly. The descriptions of her hair, for example, are incredibly striking:

"Her hair, more bright than burnish'd gold,
More black than are the berries that the hunter can behold
On bended bow, when yellow leaves fall down
And nip the naked roses in the bud"

Here, Lodge uses contrasting images to create a sense of Rosalyne's beauty. Her hair is both bright and black, like burnished gold and the berries of the hawthorn tree. This contrast creates a sense of both light and darkness, which adds to the overall effect of Rosalyne as a striking and mysterious figure.

The Themes of Love and Desire

Of course, "Description of Rosalyne" is not just a poem about beauty; it is also a poem about love and desire. Throughout the poem, Lodge employs various motifs that speak to the theme of love:

"Her looks, her words, her sweet behaviour,
Were like a golden string that drew the heart
Out of the labyrinth of care and labour
Into the pleasant fields of sweet repose"

Here we see the idea of love as a transformative force, something that can pull the heart out of the "labyrinth of care and labour" and into a world of "sweet repose." This is a common theme in Elizabethan literature, and Lodge employs it brilliantly in his poem.

Another way that Lodge explores the theme of love is through the use of the pastoral motif. Throughout the poem, Rosalyne is associated with the natural world, and Lodge uses this association to create a sense of desire and longing:

"Her breath more sweet than is the budding rose
On summer's morn, when, as Aurora springs
And throws her golden mantle on the hills,
The merry birds do chant sweet madrigals
And every grove and every hill resounds
With the sweet music of their nimble tongues"

Here, Lodge creates a sense of desire through the use of images of nature. Rosalyne's breath is like the budding rose on a summer's morning, and the merry birds singing in the groves and hills create a sense of longing and yearning. This is a powerful way to explore the theme of love, as it taps into the deep human desire for connection and companionship.

The Role of Women

Finally, we must consider the role of women in "Description of Rosalyne." This is a complex issue, as Lodge's poem can be seen as both celebrating and objectifying women. On one hand, Rosalyne is clearly a powerful figure, with a beauty and grace that commands attention:

"Her voice more sweet than is the gentle wind
That whispers through the leaves of summer's trees
And makes them dance with joy"

But on the other hand, Lodge's description of Rosalyne can be seen as reducing her to a mere object of desire. The emphasis on her physical beauty, combined with the pastoral motifs and the theme of love, can create a sense that Rosalyne exists solely for the pleasure of men.

Ultimately, however, I would argue that Lodge's poem is more celebratory than objectifying. While Rosalyne is certainly a figure of desire, she is also a character with agency and power. She is not simply a passive object of male desire, but a woman with her own voice and her own power:

"Her wit, her words, her sweet discourse was such
As might have made the dullest sot to smile"

This, combined with the beauty of the language and the exploration of themes of love and desire, make "Description of Rosalyne" a remarkable achievement in Elizabethan literature.

In conclusion, "Description of Rosalyne" is a poem of great beauty and power. Through its use of language, motifs, and themes, Thomas Lodge creates a vivid and striking portrait of a woman that captures the essence of desire and love. While there are certainly issues to consider in terms of the representation of women, there is no denying the skill and artistry on display in this exquisite masterpiece of English poetry.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Rosalyne is a classic poem written by Thomas Lodge, an English poet and playwright of the Elizabethan era. The poem is a beautiful description of a young woman named Rosalyne, who is depicted as the epitome of beauty and grace. In this analysis, we will explore the various themes and literary devices used in the poem, and how they contribute to the overall meaning and impact of the work.

The poem begins with a vivid description of Rosalyne's physical appearance. Lodge uses a variety of sensory imagery to paint a picture of her beauty, describing her eyes as "brighter than the stars," her hair as "golden threads," and her skin as "fairer than the lily." This imagery not only creates a vivid mental image of Rosalyne, but also emphasizes her beauty and purity.

As the poem progresses, Lodge delves deeper into Rosalyne's character, describing her as "modest, chaste, and pure." This characterization is important because it sets Rosalyne apart from other women of her time, who were often depicted as vain and promiscuous. By portraying Rosalyne as virtuous and pure, Lodge is elevating her to a higher status and emphasizing her worth as a person.

Another important theme in the poem is the idea of love and desire. Lodge describes Rosalyne as a woman who is "loved of many," but who remains chaste and virtuous. This creates a sense of tension in the poem, as the reader wonders whether Rosalyne will succumb to the advances of her suitors or remain true to her values. Ultimately, Lodge portrays Rosalyne as a woman who is able to resist temptation and remain true to herself, which is a powerful message for readers of any era.

One of the most striking literary devices used in the poem is the use of personification. Lodge personifies various aspects of nature, such as the "wanton wind" and the "merry birds," to create a sense of whimsy and playfulness. This technique also serves to emphasize Rosalyne's beauty, as she is compared to the natural world around her.

Another important literary device used in the poem is the use of repetition. Lodge repeats certain phrases throughout the poem, such as "Rosalyne, O Rosalyne," to create a sense of rhythm and emphasis. This repetition also serves to reinforce the importance of Rosalyne as a central figure in the poem.

Overall, Rosalyne is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores themes of love, desire, and virtue. Lodge's use of vivid imagery, personification, and repetition creates a sense of beauty and wonder that is sure to captivate readers of all ages. Whether you are a fan of classic poetry or simply appreciate beautiful writing, Rosalyne is a must-read work that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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