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Čo je v tejto časti? Vypracované vybrané štátnicové otázky pre študentov VŠ v oblasti AJ stručnou formou.
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Môžu sa ti zísť, ak si študent VŠ v niektorom z anglických programov a pripravuješ na štátnicu ale aj ako bežná príprava na VŠ prednášky či cviká sa dajú použiť :)

Štátnicové otázky z anglickej literatúry

V zozname nižšie nájdete stručné údaje pre vybrané štátnicové otázky z anglického jazyka - časť anglická literatúra.

7th - 11th century

Old English literature (or Anglo-Saxon literature) names literature written in Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) in Anglo-Saxon England, in the period from the 7th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. These works include genres such as epic poetry, hagiography, sermons, Bible translations, legal works, chronicles, riddles, and others. In all there are about 400 surviving manuscripts from the period. A large number of manuscripts are mostly written in both Latin and the vernacular (materinský jazyk, nárečia).

The bulk (vačšina) of the prose literature is historical or religious in nature. Old English poetry falls broadly into two styles or fields of reference, the heroic Germanic and the Christian. The most popular and well-known understanding of Old English poetry continues to be in alliterative verse. The system is based upon accent, alliteration, the quantity of vowels, and patterns of syllabic accentuation. Two poetic figures commonly found in Old English poetry are the kenning, an often formulaic phrase that describes one thing in terms of another. Old English poetry was an oral craft (rečnícke umenie), and our understanding of it in written form is incomplete. Most Old English poets are anonymous; twelve are known by name from Medieval sources, but only four of those are known by their vernacular works to us today with any certainty: Caedmon, Bede, Alfred the Great, and Cynewulf. Of these, only Caedmon, Bede, and Alfred the Great have known biographies. Caedmon is the best-known and considered the father of Old English poetry. He lived at the abbey of Whitby in Northumbria in the 7th century. Only a single nine-line poem remains, called Hymn, which is also the oldest surviving text in English.

Elegies - related to the heroic tales are a number of short poems from the Exeter Book which have come to be described as "elegies" or "wisdom poetry".

Saint poetry - The Vercelli Book and Exeter Book contain four long narrative poems of saints' lives.

12th - 15th century

This is the earliest form of English literature which is comprehensible to modern readers and listeners, albeit not easily. Middle English lasts up until the 1470s, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, became widespread and the printing press regularized the language. Middle English Bible translations, notably Wycliffe's Bible, helped to establish English as a literary language. Categories of Middle English Literature: Religious, Courtly love, and Arthurian.

The most significant Middle English author was Geoffrey Chaucer who was active in the late 14th century. Often regarded as "the Father of English Literature," Chaucer is widely credited as the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, rather than French or Latin. The Canterbury Tales was Chaucer's magnum opus, and a towering achievement of Western culture. Since at least the 14th century, poetry in English has been written in Ireland and by Irish writers abroad. The earliest poem in English by a Welsh poet dates from about 1470.

15th century English morality play

Nothing is known of the author. Everyman examines the question of Christian salvation by use of allegorical characters, and what Man must do to attain it. The premise is that the good and evil deeds of one's life will be tallied by God after death, as in a ledger book (účtovná kniha) The play is the allegorical accounting of the life of Everyman, who represents all mankind. In the course of the action, Everyman tries to convince other characters to accompany him in the hope of improving his account. All the characters are also allegorical, each personifying an abstract idea such as Fellowship, (material) Goods, and Knowledge. The conflict between good and evil is dramatized by the interactions between characters.


Like the characters, the setting is allegorical: God speaks from heaven, then sends Death to earth to seek Everyman, who ascends to heaven in the final scene. Figuratively, the setting is anywhere on earth. The cultural setting is based on the Roman Catholicism of the era.


Game is opening with starting prologue, messeger tells to audience. Then God speaks, lamenting that humans have become too absorbed in material wealth and riches to follow Him. He feels taken for granted, because He receives no appreciation from mankind for all that He has given them. So God commands Death, His messenger, to go to Everyman and summon him to heaven to make his reckoning. Death arrives at Everyman's side and informs him it is time for him to die and face judgment. Upon hearing this, Everyman is distressed as he does not have a proper account of his life prepared. So Everyman tries to bribe Death, and begs for more time. Death denies Everyman's requests, but will allow him to find a companion for his journey, someone to speak for his good virtues. Fellowship, representing Everyman's friends, enters and promises to go anywhere with him. However, when Fellowship hears of the true nature of Everyman's journey, he refuses to go, saying that he would stay with Everyman to enjoy life but will not accompany him on a journey to death. Everyman then calls on Kindred and Cousin, who represent family, and asks them to go with him. Kindred refuses outright. Cousin also refuses but makes excuses. But Cousin also explains a fundamental reason why no people will accompany Everyman: they have their own accounts to write as well. Everyman realizes that he has put much love in material Goods, so Goods will surely come with him on his journey with Death. But Goods will not come, saying that since Everyman was so devoted to gathering Goods during his life, but never shared them with the less fortunate, Goods' presence would only make God's judgment of Everyman more severe. Everyman then turns to Good Deeds. Good Deeds says she would go with him, but she is too weak as Everyman has not loved her in his life. Good Deeds summons her sister Knowledge to accompany them, and together they go to see Confession. Confession offers Everyman a "jewel" called Penance if he repents his sins to God and suffers pain to make amends. In the presence of Confession, Everyman begs God for forgiveness and repents his sins, punishing himself with a scourge. After his scourging, Confession declares that Everyman is absolved of his sins, and as a result, Good Deeds becomes strong enough to accompany Everyman on his journey with Death. Knowledge gifts Everyman with "a garment of sorrow" made from his own tears, then Good Deeds summons Beauty, Strength, Discretion and Five Wits (i.e. the five senses) to join them. They all agree to accompany Everyman as he goes to a priest to take sacrament. But after taking the sacrament, Everyman tells them where his journey ends, and again they all abandon him – except for Good Deeds. Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and the Five Wits are all qualities that fade as a person gets older. Knowledge cannot accompany him after he leaves his physical body, but will stay with him until the end. Content at last, Everyman climbs into his grave with Good Deeds at his side and dies, after which they ascend together into heaven, where they are welcomed by an Angel. The play closes as the Doctor, representing a scholar, enters and provides an epilogue, explaining to the audience the moral of the story: that in the end, a man will only have his Good Deeds to accompany him beyond the grave.

16th - 17th century

The Renaissance was slow in coming to England, with the generally accepted start date being around 1509. It is also generally accepted that the English Renaissance extended until the Restoration in 1660. A number of medieval poets had shown an interest in the ideas of Aristotle and the writings of European Renaissance authors such as Dante. Three other factors in the establishment of the English Renaissance were the Reformation, Counter Reformation, and the opening of the era of English naval power and overseas exploration and expansion. The establishment of the Church of England in 1535 accelerated the process of questioning the Catholic world-view that had previously dominated intellectual and artistic life. At the same time, long-distance sea voyages helped provide the stimulus and information that underpinned a new understanding of the nature of the universe which resulted in the theories of Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler.

The most significant English poet of this period was Thomas Wyatt, who was among the first poets to write sonnets in English. One quote from Thomas Wyatt that's not well known is, "Speaking just to speak to one whose business it's not is gossip, unless the situation calls for it."

The Elizabethans

The Elizabethan period (1558 to 1603) in poetry is characterized by a number of frequently overlapping developments. The introduction and adaptation of themes, models and verse forms from other European traditions and classical literature, the Elizabethan song tradition, the emergence of a courtly poetry often centred around the figure of the monarch and the growth of a verse-based drama are among the most important of these developments.


They was using two kind of poetry forms:

1. Petrarchan Sonnet: Octave + Sestet

2. Spenserean Sonnet

Courtly poetry

With the consolidation of Elizabeth's power, a genuine court sympathetic to poetry and the arts in general emerged. This encouraged the emergence of a poetry aimed at, and often set in, an idealised version of the courtly world. Among the best known examples of this are Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, which is effectively an extended hymn of praise to the queen, and Philip Sidney's Arcadia.


Virgil's Aeneid, Thomas Campion's metrical experiments, and Spenser's Shepheardes Calender and plays like Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are all examples of the influence of classicism on Elizabethan poetry. It remained common for poets of the period to write on themes from classical mythology; Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis and the Christopher Marlowe/George Chapman Hero and Leander are examples of this kind of work.

1564 - 1616

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day. He wrote them in a stylised language that does not always spring naturally from the needs of the characters or the drama. The poetry depends on extended, sometimes elaborate metaphors and conceits, and the language is often rhetorical—written for actors to declaim rather than speak.


Shakespeare's standard poetic form was blank verse, composed in iambic pentameter. In practice, this meant that his verse was usually unrhymed and consisted of ten syllables to a line, spoken with a stress on every second syllable. The blank verse of his early plays is quite different from that of his later ones. It is often beautiful, but its sentences tend to start, pause, and finish at the end of lines, with the risk of monotony. Once Shakespeare mastered traditional blank verse, he began to interrupt and vary its flow. This technique releases the new power and flexibility of the poetry in plays such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet. Shakespeare combined poetic genius with a practical sense of the theatre. Like all playwrights of the time, he dramatised stories from sources such as Plutarch and Holinshed. Shakespeare's work has made a lasting impression on later theatre and literature. In particular, he expanded the dramatic potential of characterisation, plot, language, and genre.

Soliloquies (monológy) had been used mainly to convey information about characters or events. The Romantic poets attempted to revive Shakespearean verse drama, though with little success.


Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's main purpose is to "justify the ways of God to men."

The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being recounted later. Milton's story has two narrative arcs: one of Satan (Lucifer) and another of Adam and Eve. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished to Hell.

Satan employs his rhetorical skill to organise his followers; he is aided by his lieutenants Mammon and Beelzebub. Belial and Moloch are also present. At the end of the debate, Satan volunteers himself to poison the newly-created Earth and God's new and most favoured creation, Mankind. He braves the dangers of the Abyss alone in a manner reminiscent of (pripomínajúc) Odysseus or Aeneas. After arduously traversing the Chaos outside Hell, he enters God's new material World, and later the Garden of Eden.

Partway through the story, the Angelic War over Heaven is recounted. Satan's rebellion follows the epic convention of large-scale warfare. The battles between the faithful angels and Satan's forces take place over three days. The final battle involves the Son of God single-handedly defeating the entire legion of angelic rebels and banishing them from Heaven. Following the purging of Heaven, God creates the World, culminating in his creation of Adam and Eve. While God gave Adam and Eve total freedom and power to rule over all creation, He gave them one explicit command: not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil on penalty of death.

The story of Adam and Eve's temptation and fall is a fundamentally different, new kind of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are presented for the first time in Christian literature as having a full relationship while still without sin. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan, disguised in the form of a serpent (falošný had), successfully tempts Eve to eat from the Tree by preying on her vanity (pýcha, samoľúbosť) and tricking her with rhetoric. Later, Adam seeing Eve has sinned, knowingly commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his flesh, they are bound to one another so that if she dies, he must also die. In this manner, Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure, but also as a deeper sinner than Eve, as he is aware that what he is doing is wrong.

After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex, and at first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. However, they soon fall asleep, having terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination.(vzájomné obviňovanie sa).

After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex, and at first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. (prospešné) However, they soon fall asleep, having terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination. However, Eve's pleas (prosby) to Adam reconcile (uzmieriť sa vzájomne) them somewhat. Her encouragement enables Adam and Eve both to approach God, to "bow and sue for grace with suppliant knee", and to receive grace from God. Adam is shown a vision by the angel Michael, in which Adam witnesses everything that will happen to mankind until the Great Flood. Since Adam is very upset by this vision of humankind's future, Michael also tells him about humankind's potential redemption from original sin through Jesus Christ (whom Michael calls "King Messiah"). Adam and Eve are then cast out of Eden, and Michael says that Adam may find "a paradise within thee, happier far". Adam and Eve also now have a more distant relationship with God, who is omnipresent (všadeprítomný), but invisible (unlike the previous tangible (hmatateľný) Father in the Garden of Eden).


Raphael is an angel who is sent by God to warn Adam about Satan's infiltration of Eden and to warn him that Satan is going to try to curse Adam and Eve. He also has a lengthy discussion with the curious Adam regarding creation and events which transpired in Heaven.


Michael is a mighty archangel who fought for God in the Angelic War. In the first battle, he wounds Satan terribly with a powerful sword that God designed to even cut through the substance of angels. After Adam and Eve disobey God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God sends the angel Michael to visit Adam and Eve. His duty is to escort Adam and Eve out of Paradise. But before this happens, Michael shows Adam visions of the future which cover an outline of the Bible, from the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis, up through the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

17th century

Highly intellectualized poetry written chiefly in 17th-century England. Wrote between 1590 and 1680. Less concerned with expressing feeling than with analyzing it, Metaphysical poetry is marked by bold (bezočivý) and ingenious (dômyselný) conceits. They were mostly influenced by John Donne although he made no attempt to gather a group of poets round him.

Metaphors drawing sometimes forced parallels between apparently dissimilar ideas or things. Complex and subtle thought, frequent use of paradox, and a dramatic directness of language, the rhythm of which derives from living speech.

Migled together: sensual and spiritual motives.

At the beginning of the time of the metaphysicals Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne. She was a powerful monarch, in control of parliament and the all the political decisions in England.

The courtly ideal

Career-minded young men, therefore, tried to become part of the court. But there was a courtly ideal, to which they needed to conform. This went back to the Renaissance ideal of the courtier, someone who was:

  • *educated, but kept his learning hidden
  • *a soldier
  • *a poet
  • *a ladies’ man, graceful and witty.

The Elizabethans frequently held up one man as their ideal, Sir Philip Sidney, a talented poet. Sadly, he died as a soldier, fighting a war in Holland.

Main theme – example:

Marvell`s The loss of innocence - is metaphysical: that is, part of the nature of human life and being. The soul is innocent at birth because it has just emerged from heaven. Its loss of innocence is part of its forgetting, as it widens the distance in time and space between where it is now and its origins. Retrieval is possible. It is through seeking revelation (zjavenie) of heaven, through the contemplation that Marvell hints at in poem: The Garden.



The speaker tells his beloved to look at the flea before them and to note “how little” is that thing that she denies him. For the flea, he says, has sucked first his blood, then her blood, so that now, inside the flea, they are mingled; and that mingling cannot be called “sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead.” The flea has joined them together in a way that, “alas, is more than we would do.”

As his beloved moves to kill the flea, the speaker stays her hand, asking her to spare the three lives in the flea: his life, her life, and the flea’s own life. In the flea, he says, where their blood is mingled, they are almost married—no, more than married—and the flea is their marriage bed and marriage temple mixed into one. Though their parents grudge their romance and though she will not make love to him, they are nevertheless united and cloistered in the living walls of the flea. She is apt to kill him, he says, but he asks that she not kill herself by killing the flea that contains her blood; he says that to kill the flea would be sacrilege, “three sins in killing three.”

“Cruel and sudden,” the speaker calls his lover, who has now killed the flea, “purpling” her fingernail with the “blood of innocence.” The speaker asks his lover what the flea’s sin was, other than having sucked from each of them a drop of blood. He says that his lover replies that neither of them is less noble for having killed the flea. It is true, he says, and it is this very fact that proves that her fears are false: If she were to sleep with him (“yield to me”), she would lose no more honor than she lost when she killed the flea.


This poem alternates metrically between lines in iambic tetrameter and lines in iambic pentameter, a 4-5 stress pattern ending with two pentameter lines at the end of each stanza. Thus, the stress pattern in each of the nine-line stanzas is 454545455. The rhyme scheme in each stanza is similarly regular, in couplets, with the final line rhyming with the final couplet: AABBCCDDD.

This poem is the cleverest of a long line of sixteenth-century love poems using the flea as an erotic image, a genre derived from an older poem of Ovid. Donne’s poise of hinting at the erotic without ever explicitly referring to sex, while at the same time leaving no doubt as to exactly what he means, is as much a source of the poem’s humor as the silly image of the flea is; the idea that being bitten by a flea would represent “sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead” gets the point across with a neat conciseness and clarity that Donne’s later religious lyrics never attained.



"To His Coy Mistress" is divided into three stanzas or poetic paragraphs. It’s spoken by a nameless man, who doesn’t reveal any physical or biographical details about himself, to a nameless woman, who is also biography-less.

During the first stanza, the speaker tells the mistress that if they had more time and space, her "coyness" (see our discussion on the word "coy" in "What’s Up With the Title?") wouldn’t be a "crime." He extends this discussion by describing how much he would compliment her and admire her, if only there was time. He would focus on "each part" of her body until he got to the heart (and "heart," here, is both a metaphor for sex, and a metaphor for love).

In the second stanza he says, "BUT," we don’t have the time, we are about to die! He tells her that life is short, but death is forever. In a shocking moment, he warns her that, when she’s in the coffin, worms will try to take her "virginity" if she doesn’t have sex with him before they die. If she refuses to have sex with him, there will be repercussions for him, too. All his sexual desire will burn up, "ashes" for all time.

In the third stanza he says, "NOW," I’ve told you what will happen when you die, so let’s have sex while we’re still young. Hey, look at those "birds of prey" mating. That’s how we should do it – but, before that, let’s have us a little wine and time (cheese is for sissies). Then, he wants to play a game – the turn ourselves into a "ball" game. (Hmmm.) He suggests, furthermore, that they release all their pent up frustrations into the sex act, and, in this way, be free.

In the final couplet, he calms down a little. He says that having sex can’t make the "sun" stop moving. In Marvell’s time, the movement of the sun around the earth (we now believe the earth rotates around the sun) is thought to create time. Anyway, he says, we can’t make time stop, but we can change places with it. Whenever we have sex, we pursue time, instead of time pursuing us. This fellow has some confusing ideas about sex and time. Come to think of it, we probably do, too. "To His Coy Mistress" offers us a chance to explore some of those confusing thoughts.


"To His Coy Mistress" takes the form of a dramatic monologue, which pretty much means what it sounds like. The speaker of the poem does all the talking, which makes this a monologue, a speech by a single character. But, because he isn’t just talking to himself, but to another fictional character, the mistress, it’s "dramatic" – hence the term "dramatic monologue."

The poem’s meter is "iambic tetrameter." Rhyme: AABB

17th century


A simple verse form

This poem is an excellent example of simple verse form, song-like in the shortness of its lines. There are just five syllables to every line in each stanza except for the third line, which has only three syllables. This means that each quatrain is only one syllable longer than a Japanese haiku.

God’s discipline

The choice of this form for a poem entitled Discipline, might seem strange, as we think of the subject as serious and heavy, not light and lyrical. The term discipline means instruction, teaching and correction. The biblical subtext may be 1 Corinthians 4:21, in which St Paul asks the Corinthians if they would prefer him to come ‘with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?’ There is also a relevant passage in Hebrews 12:5-11 on God's discipline, saying that it should be accepted patiently.

Love is better than a rod

Herbert argues with God that love is a better discipline for him than a ‘rod’, a metonymy for punishment. The central lines read

  • Love will do the deed:
  • For with love
  • Stonie hearts will bleed.

Love brings softness to the ‘stony’ heart. The Bible speaks of unresponsive hearts ‘of stone’ which God will replace with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19).

God is forgiving

Herbert’s other argument is, that when he does wrong, he is immediately sorry: ‘Though I fail, I weep’. He also comes to ask forgiveness: ‘I creep/To the throne of grace.’ This phrase ‘the throne of grace’ comes from Hebrews 4:16, where Jesus is pictured as a king who has the power to pronounce pardon and human beings are encouraged to seek mercy and forgiveness.

Love is the better way

The poem then turns to a hymn of praise to love. The imagery used here may combine a reference to the Bible (The Lord is a man of war, Exodus 15:3) with an allusion to Cupid, the Roman god of love. The final argument is that it was love that brought Christ to earth and to humiliation. That love must inevitably make a much deeper impression on him than the threat of punishment.



Mac Flecknoe (or, A satyr upon the True - Blew - Protestant Poet) is a verse mock-heroic satire written by John Dryden. It is a direct attack on Thomas Shadwell, another prominent poet of the time. It opens with the line:

“All human things are subject to decay, and when fate summons, monarchs must obey.”

Mac Flecknoe" is the outcome of a series of disagreements between Thomas Shadwell and Dryden.


  • 1) their different estimates of the genius of Ben Jonson
  • 2) the preference of Dryden for comedy of wit and repartee and of Shadwell, the chief disciple of Jonson, for humors comedy
  • 3) a sharp disagreement over the true purpose of comedy
  • 4) contention over the value of rhymed plays,
  • 5) plagiarism.

Also different political beliefs: Shadwell was a Whig, while Dryden was an outspoken supporter of the Stuart monarchy.

The poem illustrates Shadwell as the heir(dedič) to a kingdom of poetic dullness(tuposť), represented by his association with Richard Flecknoe, an earlier poet Dryden disliked, but Dryden does not use belittling techniques(vulgárne techniky) to satirize him.

The multiplicity of allusions to 17th Century literary works and to classic Greek and Roman literature with which the poem is riddled, demonstrates Dryden’s complex approach to satire, and the fact that he satirizes his own work as well shows his mastery over and respect towards the mock-heroic style in which the poem is written. The poem begins in the tone of an epic masterpiece, presenting Shadwell's defining characteristic as dullness, just as every epic hero has a defining characteristic: Odysseus's is cunning; Achilles's is wrath; the hero of Spenser's The Faerie Queene is of holiness; whilst Satan in Paradise Lost has the defining characteristic of pride. Thus, Dryden subverts the theme of the defining characteristic by giving Shadwell a negative characteristic as his only virtue. The juxtaposition of the lofty style with unexpected nouns such as 'dullness' provides an ironic contrast and makes the satiric point by the obvious disparity. In this, it works at the verbal level, with the language being carried by strong compelling rhythms and rhymes.

18th - 19th century


Neoclassicism (mid-18th to the end of the 19th century) is generally considered a movement of constraint(obmedzenie) and order(poriadok). Using the distant past as a guide, artists and thinkers returned to the regular forms of classical Greece and Rome, leaving behind the inventiveness and experimentation of the Renaissance.

Writers resurrected classical structure in poetry and brought a corresponding order to theater, along with a particular interest in regularizing grammar and vocabulary. Writers were particularly attached to the notion of "wit," which in those times meant intellect, especially an ability to express oneself with elegance. As Pope writes, "True wit is nature to advantage dressed, / What oft was thought, but never so well expressed.”

Neoclassicism represented a reaction against the optimistic, exuberant (prekypujúci), and enthusiastic Renaissance view of man as a being fundamentally good and possessed of an infinite potential for spiritual and intellectual growth. Neoclassical theorists, by contrast, saw man as an imperfect being, inherently sinful, whose potential was limited. They replaced the Renaissance emphasis on the imagination, on invention and experimentation, and on mysticism with an emphasis on order and reason, on restraint, on common sense, and on religious, political, economic and philosophical conservatism.

They maintained that man himself was the most appropriate subject of art, and saw art itself as essentially pragmatic — as valuable because it was somehow useful — and as something which was properly intellectual rather than emotional. Their work concepts were symmetry, proportion, unity, harmony, and grace, which would facilitate the process of delighting, instructing, educating, and correcting the social animal which they believed man to be.

Their favorite prose literary forms were the essay, the letter, the satire, the parody, the burlesque, and the moral fable; in poetry, the favorite verse form was the rhymed couplet, which reached its greatest sophistication in heroic couplet of Pope; while the theatre saw the development of the heroic drama, the melodrama, the sentimental comedy, and the comedy of manners.



The Rape of the Lock is a humorous indictment of the vanities and idleness of 18th-century high society. Basing his poem on a real incident among families of his acquaintance, Pope intended his verses to cool hot tempers and to encourage his friends to laugh at their own folly.

The poem is perhaps the most outstanding example in the English language of the genre of mock-epic. The strategy of Pope’s mock-epic is not to mock the form itself, but to mock his society in its very failure to rise to epic standards, exposing its pettiness by casting it against the grandeur of the traditional epic subjects and the bravery and fortitude of epic heroes. The Rape of the Lock had its origins in an actual, if trivial, incident in polite society: in 1711, the twenty-one year old Robert, Lord Petre, had, at Binfield, had surreptitiously cut a lock of hair from the head of the beautiful Arabella Fermor, whom he had been courting. Arabella took offense, and a schism developed between her family and Petre's. John Caryll, a friend of both familes and an old friend of Pope's, suggested that he work up a humorous poem about the episode which would demonstrate to both sides that the whole affair had been blown out of proportion and thus effect a reconciliation between them. Pope produced his poem, and it seemed to have achieved its purpose, though Petre never married Arabella. It became obvious over the course of time, however the poem, which Pope maintained "was intended only to divert a few young Ladies," was in fact something rather more substantial, and the Fermors again took offense--this time at Pope himself, who had to placate them with a letter, usually printed before the text, which explains that Arabella and Belinda, the heroine of the poem, are not identical.

Pope’s use of the mock-epic genre is intricate and exhaustive.

The verse form of The Rape of the Lock is the heroic couplet; Pope still reigns as the uncontested master of the form. The heroic couplet consists of rhymed pairs of iambic pentameter lines (lines of ten syllables each, alternating stressed and unstressed syllables). Pope’s couplets do not fall into strict iambs, however, flowering instead with a rich rhythmic variation that keeps the highly regular meter from becoming heavy or tedious.

The Rape of the Lock is the finest mock-heroic or mock-epic poem in English: written on the model of Boileau's Le Lutrin, it is an exquisitely witty and balanced burlesque displaying the literary virtuosity, the perfection of poetic "judgement," and the exquisite sense of artistic propriety, which was so sought after by Ne-classical artists.

Repeatedly invoking classical epic devices to establish an ironic contrast between its structure and its content, it functions at once as a satire on the trivialities of fashionable life, as a commentary on the distorted moral values of polite society, and as an implicit indictment of human pride, and a revelation of the essentially trivial nature of many of the aspects of human existence which we tend to hold very dear.



It is a rationalistic effort to use philosophy in order to "vindicate the ways of God to man" (l.16), a variation of John Milton's claim in the opening lines of Paradise Lost, that he will "justify the ways of God to men" (1.26). It is concerned with the natural order God has decreed for man. Because man cannot know God's purposes, he cannot complain about his position in the Great Chain of Being (ll.33-34) and must accept that "Whatever IS, is RIGHT"


The essay, written in heroic couplets, comprises four epistles.

Main Idea:

Pope says that man has learnt about Nature and God's creation by using science; science has given man power but man intoxicated by this power thinks that he is "imitating God". Pope uses the word "fool" to show how little he (man) knows in spite of the progress made by science.


Pope opens his second Epistle much the same as he opened his first. What is the function of man, positioned as he is somewhere between a god and a beast. Man, during that brief interlude between birth and death, experiences a "chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd." He finds on earth the "Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all." Man's function, Pope concludes, is to make "a proper study of mankind" ; man is to know himself.

What man will come to know is that he is ruled by passion; passion is the ruler and reason it's counsellor.

Alas what wonder! Man's superior part Uncheck'd may rise and climb from art to art; But when his own great work is but begun, What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone. It is in the nature of man to first serve himself; but, on account of reason, to do so with the long range in view. Two Principles in human nature reign; Self-love, to urge, and Reason, to restrain; ... Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh; Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie:

A person is driven by passion, driven by his desire for pleasure; temptation is strong and passion is "thicker than arguments." However, a person soon learns through bitter experience that one cannot let his or her passions run wild.

Attention, habit and experience gains; Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains. ... Self-love and Reason to one end aspire, Pain their aversion, Pleasure their desire, ... Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood, Our greatest evil, or our greatest good. ... Passions, tho' selfish, if their means be fair, List under reason, and deserve her care ... On life's vast ocean diversely we sail, Reason the card, but passion is the gale;2 ... Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train, Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain, These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd, Make and maintain the balance of the mind:

Pope's theme is again repeated: the two driving forces of man are his reason and his passion. However, passion is the king and reason but a "weak queen." What can she more than tell us we are fools?

Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend. A sharp accuser but a helpless friend!

Reason ("th' Eternal Art, educing good from ill") is not a guide but a guard. Passion is the "mightier pow'r." Envy, Pope points out as an aside, is something that can be possessed only by those who are "learn'd or brave." Ambition: "can destroy or save, and makes a patriot as it makes a knave."

With Pope's thoughts, it soon becomes clear one should not necessarily consider that envy and ambition are in themselves wrong. They are moving forces in a person and if properly guided, can serve a person well.

As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade And oft so mix, the diff'rence is too nice, Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice. ... And virtuous and vicious ev'ry man must be, Few in the extreme, but all in the degree;

Each person is driven by self-love, but on the same occasion "each on the other to depend, a master, or a servant, or a friend, bids each on other for assistance call." Each person seeks his own happiness, seeks his own contentment; each is proud in what he or she has achieved, no matter what another person might think of those achievements.

Whate'er the passions, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change is neighbour with himself. The learn'd is happy nature to explore, The fool is happy that he knows no more; The rich is happy in the plenty given, The poor contents him with the care of Heaven, See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing The sot a hero, lunatic a king; The starving chemist in his golden views Supremely bless'd, the poet in his Muse.

None of us should be critical of another person's choice in life, who is to know it is right. Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,

Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw: Some livelier plaything give his youth delight, A little louder, but as empty quite: Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage, And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age: Pleased with this bauble still, as that before, Till tired he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.

the end of 18th - mid of 19th century


In literature, Romanticism found recurrent themes in the evocation or criticism of the past, the cult of "sensibility" with its emphasis on women and children, the heroic isolation of the artist or narrator, and respect for a new, wilder, untrammeled and "pure" nature.

The changing landscape of Britain brought about by the steam engine has two major outcomes: the boom of industrialism with the expansion of the city, and the consequent depopulation of the countryside as a result of the enclosures, or privatisation of pastures. Most peasants poured into the city to work in the new factories.

The publication in 1798 of Lyrical Ballads, with many of the finest poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge, is often held to mark the start of the movement.

Romanticism in English literature had little connection with nationalism, and the Romantics were often regarded with suspicion for the sympathy many felt for the ideals of the French Revolution, whose collapse and replacement with the dictatorship of Napoleon was, as elsewhere in Europe, a shock to the movement.

This abrupt change is revealed by the change of meaning in five key words: industry (once meaning "creativity"), democracy (once disparagingly used as "mob rule"), class (from now also used with a social connotation), art (once just meaning "craft"), culture (once only belonging to farming).

But the poor condition of workers, the new class-conflicts and the pollution of the environment causes a reaction to urbanism and industrialisation prompting poets to rediscover the beauty and value of nature. Mother earth is seen as the only source of wisdom, the only solution to the ugliness caused by machines.

The superiority of nature and instinct over civilisation had been preached by Jean Jacques Rousseau and his message was picked by almost all European poets. The first in England were the Lake Poets, a small group of friends including William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. These early Romantic Poets brought a new emotionalism and introspection, and their emergence is marked by the first romantic Manifesto in English literature, the "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads".

The "Second generation" of Romantic poets includes Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. Byron, however, was still influenced by 18th-century satirists and was, perhaps the least 'romantic' of the three. His amours with a number of prominent but married ladies was also a way to voice his dissent on the hypocrisy of a high society that was only apparently religious but in fact largely libertine, the same that had derided him for being physically impaired.

John Keats did not share Byron's and Shelley's extremely revolutionary ideals, but his cult of pantheism is as important as Shelley's. Keats was in love with the ancient stones of the Parthenon that Lord Elgin had brought to England from Greece, also known as the Elgin Marbles. He celebrates ancient Greece: the beauty of free, youthful love couples here with that of classical art. Keats's great attention to art, especially in his Ode on a Grecian Urn is quite new in romanticism, and it inspired Walter Pater's and then Oscar Wilde's belief in the absolute value of art as independent from aesthetics.



The poem begins with the question, “Little Lamb, who made thee?” The speaker, a child, asks the lamb about its origins: how it came into being, how it acquired its particular manner of feeding, its “clothing” of wool, its “tender voice.” In the next stanza, the speaker attempts a riddling answer to his own question: the lamb was made by one who “calls himself a Lamb,” one who resembles in his gentleness both the child and the lamb. The poem ends with the child bestowing a blessing on the lamb.


“The Lamb” has two stanzas, each containing five rhymed couplets. Repetition in the first and last couplet of each stanza makes these lines into a refrain, and helps to give the poem its song-like quality. The flowing l’s and soft vowel sounds contribute to this effect, and also suggest the bleating of a lamb or the lisping character of a child’s chant.


  • The poem is a child’s song, in the form of a question and answer.
  • The first stanza is descriptive, while the second focuses on abstract spiritual matters
  • The child’s question is both naive and profound.
  • The answer is presented as a puzzle or riddle, and even though it is an easy one—child’s play—this also contributes to an underlying sense of ironic knowingness or artifice in the poem.
  • The lamb of course symbolizes Jesus.
  • The traditional image of Jesus as a lamb underscores the Christian values of gentleness, meekness, and peace.
  • The image of the child is also associated with Jesus: in the Gospel, Jesus displays a special solicitude for children, and the Bible’s depiction of Jesus in his childhood shows him as guileless and vulnerable.
  • Child - speaker approaches the ideas of nature and of God.
  • The pendant or companion (spoločník) poem to this one, found in the Songs of Experience, is “The Tyger”; taken together, the two poems give a perspective on religion that includes the good and clear as well as the terrible and inscrutable.(nevyspytatelný)


The poem begins with the speaker asking a fearsome tiger what kind of divine being could have created it: “What immortal hand or eye/ Could frame they fearful symmetry?” Each subsequent stanza contains further questions, all of which refine this first one. From what part of the cosmos could the tiger’s fiery eyes have come, and who would have dared to handle that fire? What sort of physical presence, and what kind of dark craftsmanship, would have been required to “twist the sinews” of the tiger’s heart? The speaker wonders how, once that horrible heart “began to beat,” its creator would have had the courage to continue the job. Comparing the creator to a blacksmith, he ponders about the anvil and the furnace that the project would have required and the smith who could have wielded them. And when the job was done, the speaker wonders, how would the creator have felt? “Did he smile his work to see?” Could this possibly be the same being who made the lamb?


The poem is comprised of six quatrains in rhymed couplets. The meter is regular and rhythmic.


  • The tiger is strikingly beautiful yet also horrific in its capacity for violence. What kind of a God, then, could or would design such a terrifying beast as the tiger?
  • The tiger initially appears as a strikingly sensuous image. However, as the poem progresses, it takes on a symbolic character, and comes to embody the spiritual and moral problem the poem explores: perfectly beautiful and yet perfectly destructive, Blake’s tiger becomes the symbolic center for an investigation into the presence of evil in the world.
  • Since the tiger’s remarkable nature exists both in physical and moral terms, the speaker’s questions about its origin must also encompass both physical and moral dimensions.
  • The reference to the lamb in the penultimate stanza reminds the reader that a tiger and a lamb have been created by the same God, and raises questions about the implications of this. It also invites a contrast between the perspectives of “experience” and “innocence”
  • The Tyger” consists entirely of unanswered questions, and the poet leaves us to awe at the complexity of creation, the sheer magnitude of God’s power, and the inscrutability of divine will.


After twilight, the speaker, the speaker’s friend, and the friend’s sister sit and rest on an “old mossy bridge,” beneath which a stream flows silently. Hearing a nightingale’s song, the speaker remembers that the nightingale has been called a “melancholy bird” and thinks that such an assignation is ridiculous: While a melancholy human being might feel that a natural object expresses his present mood, nature itself cannot be melancholy. The speaker regrets that so many poets have written about the “melancholy” song of the nightingale, when they would have been better off putting aside their pens and simply listening to this natural music.

The speaker tells his companions that they are not like those “youths and maidens most poetical,” for to them, nature’s voices are full of love and joy. He says that he knows of a neglected grove near a huge castle, which is visited by more nightingales than he has ever heard in his life; at night, they layer the air with harmony. He says that a “most gentle Maid” has been known to walk through the glade. Sometimes, the moon passes behind a cloud, and the nightingales grow quiet, but then it comes out again, and they burst forth into song.

The speaker bids “a short farewell” to his companions and to the nightingale but says that were the bird to sing again now, he would still stay to listen. Even his infant child, he says, loves the sound and is often soothed by the moonlight. The speaker hopes his son will learn to associate nighttime with joy. Then, he again bids farewell to his friends and the nightingale.


  • * “The Nightingale” is subtitled “A Conversation Poem”
  • * Coleridge’s use of blank verse
  • * unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter
  • * register of natural speech.

Coleridge’s poetry is never as speech-like as Wordsworth’s, simply because Coleridge often favors musical and metrical effects over unadorned (neozdobený) explication; however, “The Nightingale” is one of his most Wordsworthian poems, both in form and in theme.



In seven stanzas, a first-person poetic persona turns inward to appreciate the power of knowledge and wonders how to recapture it. In the first stanza, he describes the spirit of natural beauty with awe; it is a power that can hardly be grasped. He addresses that spirit in the second stanza; it seems to be gone, leaving humans in gloom (šero, temnota, smútok). People have tried to name it, but they have made it something supernatural, like a ghost; instead of superstition (povera), people should focus on the graceful light of reality and truth. In the fourth stanza, knowledge appears to be more enduring than emotions such as love; it lights up the heart.

The persona then recalls his youth, when he used to seek passing or imaginary things like “ghosts” and love, but then the deep shadow of nature’s reality fell upon him, and he felt the ecstasy of the possibility of intellectual knowledge. He vowed to dedicate his powers to knowledge and study. He also has always hoped that knowledge “wouldst free / This world from its dark slavery” to superstition. In the final stanza, he adds that he has worshiped knowledge of nature, which provides calm love and conquers fear.


iambic rhythm, pentameter


Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” makes much reference to a key poet among the first generation of Romantics, William Blake. The speaker begins by drawing attention to “the awful shadow of some unseen Power.

Human intellect is referred as The “power”, something beyond access by the senses, which must be beautiful in a way different from the things that are beautiful directly to the eyes. This is a quite Blakeian way of viewing the human mind in relation to the natural world, while it also draws on a long Platonic tradition of seeing beauty in abstract concepts.

Shelley argues that the real beauty of nature and experience lies in the human exploration of creativity and imagination, the ability to “perceive” beauty and truth in experience, going beyond the experience itself.

For Shelley (being an atheist), in the absence of God the highest thing to praise is the human spirit, specifically the intellectual spirit, which the poet directly addresses as a real being.



Keats’s speaker opens his first stanza by addressing Autumn, describing its abundance and its intimacy with the sun, with whom Autumn ripens fruits and causes the late flowers to bloom. In the second stanza, the speaker describes the figure of Autumn as a female goddess, often seen sitting on the granary floor, her hair “soft-lifted” by the wind, and often seen sleeping in the fields or watching a cider-press squeezing the juice from apples.

In the third stanza, the speaker tells Autumn not to wonder where the songs of spring have gone, but instead to listen to her own music. At twilight, the “small gnats” hum among the "the river sallows," or willow trees, lifted and dropped by the wind, and “full-grown lambs” bleat from the hills, crickets sing, robins whistle from the garden, and swallows, gathering for their coming migration, sing from the skies.


To Autumn” is written in a three-stanza structure with a variable rhyme scheme. Each stanza is eleven lines long and each is metered in a relatively precise iambic pentameter. In terms of both thematic organization and rhyme scheme, each stanza is divided roughly into two parts.

In each stanza, the first part is made up of the first four lines of the stanza, and the second part is made up of the last seven lines.

The first part of each stanza follows an ABAB rhyme scheme, the first line rhyming with the third, and the second line rhyming with the fourth. The second part of each stanza is longer and varies in rhyme scheme: The first stanza is arranged CDEDCCE, and the second and third stanzas are arranged CDECDDE. (Thematically, the first part of each stanza serves to define the subject of the stanza, and the second part offers room for musing, development, and speculation on that subject; however, this thematic division is only very general.)


In both its form and descriptive surface, “To Autumn” is one of the simplest of Keats’s odes. There is nothing confusing or complex in Keats’s paean to the season of autumn, with its fruitfulness, its flowers, and the song of its swallows gathering for migration.

* Calm, gentle, and lovely description of autumn.

1837 - 1901


Poetry in a sense settled down from the upheavals (otrasy) of the romantic era and much of the work of the time is seen as a bridge between this earlier era and the modernist poetry of the next century.

The reclaiming of the past was a major part of Victorian literature with an interest in both classical literature but also the medieval literature of England. The Victorians loved the heroic, chivalrous stories of knights of old and they hoped to regain some of that noble, courtly behaviour and impress it upon the people both at home and in the wider empire.

The best example of this is Alfred Tennyson's Idylls of the King, which blended the stories of King Arthur, particularly those by Thomas Malory, with contemporary concerns and ideas.

Victorian poetry is self-defining: poetry written during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). But the dates of Victoria's reign also seem to mark out a consistent sensibility in poetry. Victorian poets were heirs to the Romantics, and many of the generalizations about Romantic poetry still apply: distrust of organized religion, skepticism, interest in the occult and the mysterious. Yet where Romantic poets made a leap of faith to assert that the received image of God did not exist, Victorian poets were more likely to have a scientific conviction of God's absence ("Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold is the great Victorian example).

The late-Romantic / early-Victorian poet Thomas Hood is here as a transitional figure; his famous poem "I Remember, I Remember" catches a note of nostalgic regret that carries through English poetry all the way to the 1890s, and is not typical of the great energy of the "High Romantics." While such brooding skepticism informs the work of Tennyson, Arnold, Robert Browning and others, there are also great florid devotional poems by such writers as Christina Rossetti and, late in the period, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and a more mystic, personal religious sense in works by writers like EB Browning, Emily Brontë, and Oscar Wilde. Victorian poets are on balance funnier than the Romantics, and the Victorian period is the great age of whimsy and nonsense, represented in our selection by Edward Lear and CS Calverley.

If there is one transcending aspect to Victorian England life and society, that aspect is change – or, more accurately, upheaval. Everything that the previous centuries had held as sacred and indisputable truth came under assault during the middle and latter parts of the nineteenth century. Nearly every institution of society was shaken by rapid and unpredictable change.

19th centry was very fruitful in way of scientic and indrustrial fundamental research.

The effects of that demographic shift can still be observed. Conditions in the overwhelmed, sprawling cities degenerated as the infrastructure simply could not handle the influx of new workers. Slums and shantytowns became the norm, and depredation was a fact of life for the majority of the working class.

Not surprisingly, women in the Victorian world held very little power and had to fight hard for the change they wanted in their lives. What one thinks of as feminism today had not yet taken form in the Victorian period. The philosophy of female emancipation, however, became a rallying point for many female Victorian writers and thinkers.

Both the purpose of poetry and its basic style and tone changed drastically during the Victorian Period. In the first half of the nineteenth century, poetry was still mired in the escapist, abstract imagery and themes of the earlier generation. While essayists and novelists were confronting social issues head-on, poets for their part remained ambivalent at best.

Victorian Poetry, however, is much harsher (drsnejšia) and realistic as Romantics poetry. During the Victorian era, people became aware of the grave social injustices in their world, and therefore many people didn't like the romanticized version of society. Victorian poetry tends to deal with more serious and realistic subjects, such as child labor, slavery, and other such social injustices. It often called for social reform, as in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "The Cry of the Children". In this poem, Browning write of the atrocity of slavery, and the damage it has done to children and families.

Victorian poetry marks society's progression from the carefree notions (bezstarostná/ľahostajná atmosféra) of Romanticism to a state of social awareness and reform.

Tennyson was, to some degree, the Spenser of the new age and his Idylls of the Kings can be read as a Victorian version of The Faerie Queen, that is as a poem that sets out to provide a mythic foundation to the idea of empire.

The Brownings spent much of their time out of England and explored European models and matter in much of their poetry. Robert Browning's great innovation was the dramatic monologue, which he used to its full extent in his long novel in verse, The Ring and the Book. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is perhaps best remembered for Sonnets from the Portuguese but her long poem Aurora Leigh is one of the classics of 19th century feminist literature.



The poem is divided into four numbered parts with discrete, isometric (equally-long) stanzas. The first two parts contain four stanzas each, while the last two parts contain five. Each of the four parts ends at the moment when description yields to directly quoted speech: this speech first takes the form of the reaper’s whispering identification, then of the Lady’s half-sick lament, then of the Lady’s pronouncement of her doom, and finally, of Lancelot’s blessing. Each stanza contains nine lines with the rhyme scheme AAAABCCCB. The “B” always stands for “Camelot” in the fifth line and for “Shalott” in the ninth. The “A” and “C” lines are always in tetrameter, while the “B” lines are in trimeter. In addition, the syntax is line-bound: most phrases do not extend past the length of a single line.


Part I: The poem begins with a description of a river and a road that pass through long fields of barley and rye before reaching the town of Camelot. The people of the town travel along the road and look toward an island called Shalott, which lies further down the river. The island of Shalott contains several plants and flowers, including lilies, aspens, and willows. On the island, a woman known as the Lady of Shalott is imprisoned within a building made of “four gray walls and four gray towers.”

Both “heavy barges” and light open boats sail along the edge of the river to Camelot. But has anyone seen or heard of the lady who lives on the island in the river? Only the reapers who harvest the barley hear the echo of her singing. At night, the tired reaper listens to her singing and whispers that he hears her: “ ‘Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott.”

Part II: The Lady of Shalott weaves a magic, colorful web. She has heard a voice whisper that a curse will befall her if she looks down to Camelot, and she does not know what this curse would be. Thus, she concentrates solely on her weaving, never lifting her eyes.

However, as she weaves, a mirror hangs before her. In the mirror, she sees “shadows of the world,” including the highway road, which also passes through the fields, the eddies in the river, and the peasants of the town. Occasionally, she also sees a group of damsels, an abbot (church official), a young shepherd, or a page dressed in crimson. She sometimes sights a pair of knights riding by, though she has no loyal knight of her own to court her. Nonetheless, she enjoys her solitary weaving, though she expresses frustration with the world of shadows when she glimpses a funeral procession or a pair of newlyweds in the mirror.

Part III: A knight in brass armor (“brazen greaves”) comes riding through the fields of barley beside Shalott; the sun shines on his armor and makes it sparkle. As he rides, the gems on his horse’s bridle glitter like a constellation of stars, and the bells on the bridle ring. The knight hangs a bugle from his sash, and his armor makes ringing noises as he gallops alongside the remote island of Shalott.

In the “blue, unclouded weather,” the jewels on the knight’s saddle shine, making him look like a meteor in the purple sky. His forehead glows in the sunlight, and his black curly hair flows out from under his helmet. As he passes by the river, his image flashes into the Lady of Shalott’s mirror and he sings out “tirra lirra.” Upon seeing and hearing this knight, the Lady stops weaving her web and abandons her loom. The web flies out from the loom, and the mirror cracks, and the Lady announces the arrival of her doom: “The curse is come upon me.”

Part IV: As the sky breaks out in rain and storm, the Lady of Shalott descends from her tower and finds a boat. She writes the words “The Lady of Shalott” around the boat’s bow and looks downstream to Camelot like a prophet foreseeing his own misfortunes. In the evening, she lies down in the boat, and the stream carries her to Camelot.

The Lady of Shalott wears a snowy white robe and sings her last song as she sails down to Camelot. She sings until her blood freezes, her eyes darken, and she dies. When her boat sails silently into Camelot, all the knights, lords, and ladies of Camelot emerge from their halls to behold the sight. They read her name on the bow and “cross...themselves for fear.” Only the great knight Lancelot is bold enough to push aside the crowd, look closely at the dead maiden, and remark “She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace.”


Part I and Part IV of this poem deal with the Lady of Shalott as she appears to the outside world, whereas Part II and Part III describe the world from the Lady’s perspective. In Part I, Tennyson portrays the Lady as secluded from the rest of the world by both water and the height of her tower.

Part II describes the Lady’s experience of imprisonment from her own perspective.

Part III focuses on one particular knight who captures the Lady’s attention: Sir Lancelot.

Part IV, all the lush color of the previous section gives way to “pale yellow” and “darkened” eyes, and the brilliance of the sunlight is replaced by a “low sky raining.” The moment the Lady sets her art aside to look upon Lancelot, she is seized with death. The end of her artistic isolation thus leads to the end of creativity: “Out flew her web and floated wide” (line 114). She also loses her mirror, which had been her only access to the outside world: “The mirror cracked from side to side” (line 115). Her turn to the outside world thus leaves her bereft both of her art object and of the instrument of her craft—and of her very life. Yet perhaps the greatest curse of all is that although she surrenders herself to the sight of Lancelot, she dies completely unappreciated by him. The poem ends with the tragic triviality of Lancelot’s response to her tremendous passion: all he has to say about her is that “she has a lovely face” (line 169). Having abandoned her artistry, the Lady of Shalott becomes herself an art object; no longer can she offer her creativity, but merely a “dead-pale” beauty.



This poem is loosely based on historical events involving Alfonso, the Duke of Ferrara, who lived in the 16th century. The Duke is the speaker of the poem, and tells us he is entertaining an emissary who has come to negotiate the Duke’s marriage (he has recently been widowed) to the daughter of another powerful family. As he shows the visitor through his palace, he stops before a portrait of the late Duchess, apparently a young and lovely girl. The Duke begins reminiscing about the portrait sessions, then about the Duchess herself. His musings give way to a diatribe on her disgraceful behavior: he claims she flirted with everyone and did not appreciate his “gift of a nine-hundred-years- old name.”

As his monologue continues, the reader realizes with ever-more chilling certainty that the Duke in fact caused the Duchess’s early demise: when her behavior escalated, “[he] gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together.” Having made this disclosure, the Duke returns to the business at hand: arranging for another marriage, with another young girl. As the Duke and the emissary walk leave the painting behind, the Duke points out other notable artworks in his collection.


“My Last Duchess” comprises rhyming pentameter lines. The lines do not employ end-stops; rather, they use enjambment (presah) — that is, sentences and other grammatical units do not necessarily conclude at the end of lines. Consequently, the rhymes do not create a sense of closure when they come, but rather remain a subtle driving force behind the Duke’s compulsive revelations.

The Duke is quite a performer: he mimics others’ voices, creates hypothetical situations, and uses the force of his personality to make horrifying information seem merely colorful. Indeed, the poem provides a classic example of a dramatic monologue: the speaker is clearly distinct from the poet; an audience is suggested but never appears in the poem; and the revelation of the Duke’s character is the poem’s primary aim.


  • *Colorful character and placing him in a picturesque historical scene.
  • *Italian Renaissance held a particular fascination for R.Browning
  • *Exploration of sex, violence, and aesthetics
  • *Duke sees sin lurking in every corner.
  • *Renaissance was a time when morally dissolute men like the Duke got absolute power and as such it's a fascinating study for the Victorians
  • * A poem like “My Last Duchess” calculatedly engages its readers on a psychological level. Decide - Which aspect of the poem dominates: the horror of the Duchess’s fate, or the beauty of the language and the powerful dramatic development?


Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the poet of her time. She was an amazing influence for her readers then and for her readers now. Despite the many obstacles that Browning was forced to face and overcome she was able to use her writing as an escape from everything she was confronted with. Not only did Browning contract a disease, which she had trouble recovering from, but she was also forced to deal with not only her mother's death but also two of her brother's deaths, all of which occurred quite close together. However, Browning was still able to write straight from her heart, as well as using her writing as a method of recovery from the anguish she was suffering from. Although for some time it seemed as if she would never truly love a man she eventually fell in love with Robert Browning, the man she married. Browning's father strongly disapproved of the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert and so they were forced to marry in secret. Marriage opened up a whole new category of writing for Browning. She was able to write from the perspective of her own deep and passionate love, but also the passionate love that Robert Browning returned to her, and the love that she felt from him. Furthermore, "A Man's Requirements" is a poem that beautifies the description of what a man loves in a woman or what he hopes to love in a woman. It is a poem that is solely influenced by the love between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, and the love that encompasses them both, as well as influencing both of their lives, which can be seen through Elizabeth Barrett Browning's writing in "A Man's Requirements."

"A Man's Requirements" eloquently describes a love that is wished for. It asks for this love in such a sincere way that the readers are able to feel it themselves. It requests a love so strong and so passionate that there are no words to describe it: "With the vowing of thy mouth / With its silence tender/" (ln 7-8). The Browning's had an eternal love between the two of them, although they still had their ups and downs as most relationships do. Robert wrote to Elizabeth to thank her for the volume of poems she published paying tribute to the poets of her time, including Browning. They began visiting each other and soon after Robert proposed, except that Elisabeth turned him down. Robert then realized the easiest way to Elizabeth's heart was through her work and through his, and so this was how he claimed her heart, which was sealed in marriage on September 12th, 1846. Furthermore, "A Man's Requirements" then portrays the loving ways in which Robert Browning claimed Elizabeth's heart, and the love for her that he so passionately held. It shows the ways in which he wished to be loved by Elizabeth, and although it is called "A Man's Requirements" it also portrays the ways in which she hoped to be loved by him. It shows the hope that they both held to be loved fully and completely.

It is therefore a poem, which simply describes the type of love that is wished for. It portrays the way in which a man would like to be loved. It is shown simply yet sincerely, and thus the readers are able to feel the love that existed between the Browning's.

It is easily seen that "A Man's Requirements" was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning with the strong influence of love within her life. Her marriage to Robert Browning allowed her to write with the actual experience of love in her life, and thus she was able to feel the emotions herself and the hopes and wishes for the future. It is obviously easier to write about love when you've actually felt the emotion yourself, and thus once the Browning's met, fell in love, and married they were both able to feel that overwhelming feeling that love fuels within a person. This passion for love is shown within "A Man's Requirements." It portrays a yearning for love through Browning's eloquent phrases and simply put emotions.

It is a simple description of the love within herself, and the genuine feelings of a yearning for all that love has to offer a person. The speaker within the poem wants it all. He doesn't just want love in its' simplest form, but he wants all that love has to offer. He wants all the elements and pieces that go along with love and a relationship. Thus, this is why the poem has such a yearning tone within it. The speaker is speaking straight from the heart. He is expressing all his deepest wishes, hopes, and emotions to come forth concerning love, and a love that is meant to be eternal: "Love me with thy thoughts that roll / On through living - dying/" (ln 27-28)

Furthermore, the speaker within "A Man's Requirements" is describing all the elements of love that he wants present in his love and relationship. Each stanza represents a different aspect that he wants to possess. For example, the first stanza talks of loving the person completely: "Love me in full being/" (ln 4). The seventh stanza however talks of loving straight from the soul and within the soul: "Love me with thy thinking soul/" (ln 25). He wants them to possess each other and he wants the love to be eternal, which is also what the soul represents. As well, the ninth stanza describes love in a religious sense. He wants to be loved in a Godly and Heavenly sense: "Love me, kneeling at thy prayers, / With the angels round thee/" (ln 31-32). Finally, the twelfth and concluding stanza speak of his ability to love her as much as he is capable of loving. However, he will only be able to love her fully and completely if she will love him as fully as he wishes to be to loved.

20th century


The Victorian era continued into the early years of the 20th century and two figures emerged as the leading representative of the poetry of the old era to act as a bridge into the new. These were W.B.Yeats and Thomas Hardy. Yeats, although not a modernist, was to learn a lot from the new poetic movements that sprang up around him and adapted his writing to the new circumstances.

Yeats is generally considered one of the twentieth century's key English language poets. He was a Symbolist poet, in that he used allusive imagery and symbolic structures throughout his career.

Unlike other modernists who experimented with free verse, Yeats was a master of the traditional forms. Yeats chose words and assembled them so that, in addition to a particular meaning, they suggest other abstract thoughts that may seem more significant and resonant.

His use of symbols is usually something physical that is both itself and a suggestion of other, perhaps immaterial, timeless qualities. Yeats was writing about Irish myth and folklore, about decline of European civilization and later about themes spirituualizm.

The Georgian poets and World War I

The Georgian poets were the first major grouping of the post-Victorian era. Their work appeared in a series of five anthologies called Georgian Poetry. The poets featured included Edmund Blunden, Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves, D. H. Lawrence, Walter de la Mare and Siegfried Sassoon. Their poetry represented something of a reaction to the decadence of the 1890s and tended towards the sentimental.

Brooke and Sassoon 1st world war poets

Brooke was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War, especially "The Soldier". He was also known for his boyish good looks, which were said to have prompted the Irish poet W. B. Yeats to describe him as "the handsomest young man in England".

His attitudes was quiete familiar with authors from so called Bloomsbery group. Sasoon was decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches(zákopy), and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a vainglorious(pýšná, nafúkaná) war.

Despite his decoration and reputation, he decided in 1917 to make a stand against the conduct of the war. One of the reasons for his violent anti-war feeling was the death of his friend, David Cuthbert Thomas.

Other notable poet who wrote about the war was Wilfred Owen, from the home front, whose inspirational poem was set in a national themes. Although he wrote socially-aware criticism of the war, mostly remained technically conservative and traditionalist. Owen`s shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark (totálny) contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the confidently patriotic verse written by earlier war poets such as Rupert Brooke. The Romantic poets Keats and Shelley influenced much of Owen's early writing and poetry.

While his use of pararhyme, with its heavy reliance (dôvera) on assonance, was innovative, he was not the only poet at the time to use these particular techniques. He was, however, one of the first to experiment with it extensively.

Sassoon, who was becoming influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis, aided him here, showing Owen through example what poetry could do. Sassoon's use of satire influenced Owen, who tried his hand at writing "in Sassoon's style". Further, the content of Owen's verse was undeniably changed by his work with Sassoon.

Sassoon's emphasis on realism and "writing from experience" was contrary to Owen's hitherto romantic-influenced style, as seen in his earlier sonnets.



First Verse Paragraph - "Honored among wagons"

The poem consists of six verse paragraphs with nine lines each. The first verse paragraph introduces the speaker and his take on his memory of how he was back in those days of his youth. In addition to being “young and easy,” the speaker seemed to have a control over his environment: he was “honored among wagons, “he was “prince of the apple towns,” and he “lordly had the trees and leaves / Trail with daisies and barley.” He easily moved through this beautiful country setting as if he owned everything.

Second Verse Paragraph - "Pebbles in the holy streams"

The second paragraph the speaker introduces the concept of time, which he personifies, claiming that it was time that allowed him to enjoy his regal activities as a young farmboy who was also “huntsman and herdsman”: “Time let me play and be / Golden in the mercy of his means.” In this paragraph, the speaker pays homage to divinity by observing that “the sabbath rang slowly / In the pebbles of the holy streams.”

Third Verse Paragraph - "As I rode to sleep"

The third paragraph offers more description of his idyllic farm: “the hay / Fields high as the house,”” “and the horses / Flashing into the dark.” The speaker refers to falling asleep as riding to sleep: “As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away.” While falling asleep, he could hear the owls whose plaintiff cries seemed to lull him away from the farm.

Fourth and Fifth Verse Paragraphs - "Shining, it was Adam and maiden"

The fourth and fifth paragraphs continue tracing the memories of how charming the speaker’s surroundings were and what a good time he had every day. As he awakened each morning, it was as if the farm was bringing back to him a Garden of Eden, where everything seemed new again: “it was all / Shining, it was Adam and maiden.” He even claims that it must have been this way when God first created creation, and “the spellbound horses walking warm / Out of the whinnying green stable / On to the fields of praise.” And he was “happy as the heart was long, / In the sun born over and over, / I ran my heedless ways.” Again he emphasizes his carefree attitude.

Sixth Verse Paragraph - "I sang in my chains like the sea"

In the final paragraph, the speaker demonstrates what he has since learned about being “green,” “easy,” “heedless”; he has discovered that all that freedom was somewhat delusive. He did not realize that at the time or else he just did not pay attention that while time was allowing him this idyllic space to romp and be carefree, that same commodity of time was running out. As the speaker has realized this as an adult, he still retains the beautiful memory that even though “Time held me green and dying,” still because of youth, he can claim that “I sang in my chains like the sea.”

Thomas' Accomplishment - A Skilled Craftsman

Dylan Thomas has fashioned a remarkable drama, portraying his youth and the farm where he spent it. His colorful language use describes the setting in such as way that it communicates true feeling without becoming sentimental in it execution or maudlin in its discovery. This poet was a skilled craftsman.


Dylan Thomas places his character under "apple boughs" for a reason. The apple tree is said to have been the Tree of Knowledge in Genesis. The author connects the innocence of the young man to the innocence of Adam in the Garden of Eden. He mentions the green grass. Green recurs through the poem and it might symbolize freshness and youth. A "dingle" is a shaded valley. He says time let him climb because as a child, his focus was upward. Notice how children use the word "up." They love things that are up: "growing up," "staying up," "up in the air," and "climbing up." In myths, the beginning of time is called the Golden Age. He talks about being "golden" in someone's eyes. The eyes, perhaps, are those of God. God is the King and this boy is a prince. Golden will also reappear in the poem.



Edward James "Ted" Hughes, OM (17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998) was an English poet and children's writer. Critics routinely rank him as one of the best poets of his generation.

Hughes' earlier poetic work is rooted in nature and, in particular, the innocent savagery of animals, an interest from an early age. He wrote frequently of the mixture of beauty and violence in the natural world.[44] Animals serve as a metaphor for his view on life: animals live out a struggle for the survival of the fittest in the same way that humans strive for ascendancy and success. Examples can be seen in the poems "Hawk Roosting" and "Jaguar".

The West Riding dialect of Hughes' childhood remained a staple of his poetry, his lexicon lending a texture that is concrete, terse, emphatic, economical yet powerful. The manner of speech renders the hard facts of things and wards off self-indulgence (odvracia seba-pohodlie).

Hughes' later work is deeply reliant upon myth and the British bardic tradition, heavily inflected with a modernist, Jungian and ecological viewpoint.[44] He re-worked classical and archetypal myth working with a conception of the dark sub-conscious.


Literally it revolves around the mind and behaviour of an arrogant hawk. This hawk sees as killing a thrill and pleasure. He is at the top of power in the woods.

The poem is being used to represent a message in the poem. As readers we see through the eyes of the Hawk, and what Ted Hughes wants us to see is a symbolism of human kind. ‘Nothing has changed since i began‘ looking through the hawks eyes we see a reflection of human kind and how no matter what we always like to be in control.

There isn't much to this poem, the hawk simply believes that he is God. He is arrogant and vain and is symbolising human beings. WE think we know what is best, but infact we don't, we don't believe in our creator (God) and we doubt all his creations. WE kill each other, kill the creation. Humans will always stay like this.

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