Poet, lover, liar: ‘Lachrimae’ (1975)

Jeffrey Wainwright

in Acceptable Words

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780719067549
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703359 | DOI:
Poet, lover, liar: ‘Lachrimae’ (1975)

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Robert Southwell (1561–95), Catholic martyr and poet from whose work Geoffrey Hill takes his epigraph for his 1975 sonnet sequence ‘Lachrimae or Seven tears figured in seven passionate Pavans’ wrote in his posthumous work St Peter's Complaint (1595) of what he saw as his contemporaries' abuse of their poetic talents: ‘a poet, a lover and a liar are by many reckoned but three things with one signification’. ‘Lachrimae’ is a ‘religious’ work in that it twitches the mantle of devotional verse, but it also explores the nature of the discourse of religion by both adopting and parodying its traditional figures and vocabulary.

Keywords: Robert Southwell; Geoffrey Hill; Seven tears; poetic talents; St Peter's Complaint

Chapter.  3100 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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