Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great Regulars: In fact, [Chidiock] Tichborne was probably 28

at the time: in terms of Elizabethan life-expectancy he was hardly a green youth. The poem is truthful but it is also a performance, dramatising the actual situation into a dance of life with death. What could be more artificial than an elegy written by a poet for himself? This is not mere autobiography, but autobiography transcended and shaped into art. If he really wrote it the night before his execution, the act of composition must have been deeply absorbing. Let's hope it brought him some temporary serenity and consolation.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Poem of the week: Tichborne's Elegy by Chidiock Tichborne


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