Major poets of Renaissance Age

Major poets of Renaissance Age | Important poets, dramatists and writer of the Renaissance Age

Major poets of Renaissance Age : This period is generally regarded as the greatest in the history of our literature. Historically, we note in this age the tremendous impetus received from the exploration of the new world. Let’s study Major poets of Renaissance Age.

Such an age of thought, feeling and vigorous action, finds its best expression in the drama and it is the most significant characteristic of the Elizabethan period. Though the age produced some excellent prose works, it is essentially an age of poetry. Let’s study Major poets of Renaissance Age. The literature of this age often called the literature of the Renaissance Age.

Major poets of Renaissance Age:-

Edmund Spenser:

Edmund Spenser is rightly called the poet’s poet, because all great poet of the England have been indebted to him.C.Rickett remarks,

“Spenser is at one the child of the renaissance and reformation. On one side we may regard him with Milton as-the sage and serious, on the other side he is the humanist, alive to the fingertips with the sensuous beauty of the southern romance”

Spenser’s main political works are: The shepherd’s calendar, two eclogues, March and December are famous poems. Amoretti, a collection of eighty patrachan sonnets Epithalamion, a magnificent ode written on the occasion of his marriage with Elizabeth Boyle Prothalamion, An ode on Marriage Astrophel, An elegy on the Death of Philip Sidney, four Hymns written to glorify love and humour his epic, the faerie Queen.

The introduction of Spenserian stanza is Spenser’s most remarkable contribution to poetry. Renwick says

“Shakespeare himself might not have achieved so much, if Spenser had not lived and labored”

Sir Philip Sidney:

Sidney was the most celebrated literary figure before Spenser and Shakespeare. As a writer he is known by three principle works, all published after his death, showing how little importance he attached to his own writing, even while he was  encouraging Spenser.

‘The Arcadica’ is a pastoral romance, though the work was taken up idly as a summer’s pastime, it become immensely popular and was imitated by a hundred poets.’ The Apologia for poetrie’, generally called the defense of posies-appeared in answer to a pamphlet by Stephen Gosson ‘Astrophel and Stella’ is a collection of songs and sonnets addressed to Lady Penelope Devereux.

George Chapman:

Chapman had written chiefly for the stage. His plays, which were for the most part merely poems in dialogue. His most famous works is the metrical translation of the Iliad and of the Odyssey. Chapman is remembered also as the finisher of Marlow’s Hero and Leander, in which, apart from the drama, the renaissance movement is seen at perhaps its highest point in English poetry.

Sir Thomas Wyatt:

Wyatt brought to English poetry grace, harmony and nobility. He followed the Italian models and attempted a great variety of metrical experiment-songs, sonnets, madrigals and elegies. Wyatt’s true ability as a poet is revealed not by the sonnets but by a numbers of Lyrical and songs that he composed.

William Shakespeare: 

Shakespeare composed many beautiful sonnets and two long poems– ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘the Rape of Lucerne’. This poem is remarkable for felicity of diction and flexibility of versification.

Ben Johnson:

Ben Johnson was a pioneer in field of poetry. His poetic work consist of short piece which appeared in three collection-Epigram’s, the forest and, the underwood.He is a first rate satirist in Elizabethan poetry. The spirit of satire looms large in these three collection oh his poetry. Ben Johnson was the first English poet to write Pindaric odes. His ode to himself is a fine example of this genre; To Celia, Echo’s song and a song are his memorable lyric.

Major Dramatist of Renaissance Age


At the time of Shakespeare’s death twenty -one plays existed in manuscript in the various theaters. A few others had already been printed in quarto form and the latter are the only publication that possibly have Met with the poet’s own approval. The first printed collection of his plays, now called the ‘First Folio’, was made by two actors, Heming  and Condell, who asserted that they had access to the papers of the poet and had made a perfect edition,,

“In order to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow Alive”

A careful reading of the play and poems leaves us with an impression of four different period of works. And these are;

A period of early Experiment:

Typical works of this period is his early poems, Love’s Labor’s, two Gentlemen of Verona and Richard.

A period of rapid growth and development:

Such plays of this period are the merchant of VeniceMidsummer Night Dreamas you like it, and Henry 4.His all this work show more careful and artistic work, better plots and a marked increase in knowledge of human nature.

A period of gloom and depression:

This period marks the full maturity of his powers. Which caused this evident sadness is unknown but it is generally attributed to some personal experience. The sonnet Twelfth night and his great tragedies, Hamlet, KingLear, Mackbath, Othelo, and Julius Seaser, belong to this period.

a period of restored serenity, of calm after storm:      

The winter’s tale and The Tempest are the best of his later plays. But they all show a falling off from his previous work and indicate a second period of experimentation.

Christopher Marlowe:

Marlowe is one of the most suggestive figures of the English Renaissance. The glory of the Elizabethan drama dates from his Tamburlaine; it is the story of Timur the Tartar. Tamburlaine is an epic rather than a drama.Faustus, the second play is in of his best work. It is the story of a scholar who longs for infinite knowledge and in order to learn magic he sells himself to devil.Maelowe’s third play is The Jew of Malta, a study of the lust for wealth. Marlowe’s last play is Edward II, a tragic study of a king’s weakness and misery.

Marlowe is the only dramatist of the time who is ever compared with is rightly said than-

“In all that makes a dramatist genius, Shakespeare stands alone, Marlowe simply prepared the way for the master who was to follow”

Ben Johnson:

Johnson’s work is in strong contrast with that of Shakespeare and of the later Elizabethan dramatists.

 He alone fought against romantic tendency and restored the classic tendency. Johnson’s first comedy, every man in his humour is a key to all his dramas. The best known of his comedies are Volpone, or the foxThe Alchemist and Epicane or the silent woman.

Beaumont and Fletcher:

The work of these two men is so closely interwoven that, though Fletcher outlived Beaumont by nine years and the letter had no hand in some forty oh the plays they bear their joint names, unlike most of the Elizabethan dramatist, they both come from noble and cultured families. Their work is totally contrasted with Johnson’s.

Their join plays. The two best known are Philaster and The maid’s tragedy.

Thomas Middleton:

Middleton is best known by two plays, the changeling and women beware women. And two earlier plays a trick to catch the old one and a fair Quarre are his best comedy drama.

Major Writer of the Renaissance Age:

Prose writer

The prose of early renaissance consist largely of translation. The writer of this period was educationists and reformers rather than creative writers;

Sir Thomas More:

He was one of the early humanists and the first prose writer of great literary significance. his famous work Utopia was written in Latin, but it was translated into English in 1551by Ralph Robinson. It is the true prologue of Renaissance. Utopia has been called the first monument of modern socialism. Thomas more extols democratic communism-people’s state, elected government, equal distribution of wealth and nine hours work a day. In English literary Thomas more is not remembered for his contribution to style but for the originality oh his ideas.

Roger Ascham:

Roger Ascham’s first work the school of shooting was written in English. Commenting on the state of English language he writes-

“Everything has been done excellently well in Greek and Latin, but in the English tongue so meanly no man can do worse. But I have written this English matter, in the English tongue for Englishmen”

His second work, the school master contains intellectual instructions for the young. He was the first writer who wrote the English speech for the English men.

Sir Thomas Elyot and Sir John Chake:

Elyot’s the Governor is a treatise on moral philosophy and education. His prose does not concern with common man but it is restrained and classical. Cheke was a teacher of Greek art at Cambridge. He wrote the heart of sedition which shows the influence of classicism and antiquity. To him both form and matter were equally important. His prose is vigorous. argumentiv, eloquent and humours.

Essay writers:

The year 1597, when Bacon published his ten essays, marks the beginning of essay writing in English literature.

Sir Francis Bacon:

Bacon occupies a dominant place in English prose. He wrote varied type of prose. he is philosophical in the Advancement of learning, historical in the History of Henry and speculative in  New Atlantis. Becon’s occupies a permanent place in English prose due to his  first edition of 10 essays which appeared in 1597.the second and third edition raised the number to 38 and 58 respectively. Becon’s essay introduced a new form of literature into English. He was he first English writer who employed a style that is conspicuous for Lucidity. Clarity, economy, and directness.

His image and figures of speech are simple and clearly illustrate the ideas that he wishes to communicate.

Sidney and Raleigh:

Sir Philip Sidney, who has already been considered as a poet. Is quite as well known by his prose works, Arcadica, a pastrol romance and The Defense of Poesie. While Raleigh’s chief prose works are the Discoveries of Guiana and the history of the world. The history of the world I interesting chiefly for its style, which is simple and dignified, and for the flashes of wit and poetry.

Ben Johnson:

Ben Johnson wrote aphoristic essays which are complied in The Timbeof Discoveries, which was published in 1641.His essays, are moral and critical. Johnson’s style is noticeable for lucidity, terseness and strength. He treats a subject in a simple and plain manner.

John Selden:

John Sedan’s Table Talk abounds in sharp, acid-natured aphorisms exhibiting tough common sense and little imagination. As a practitioner of aphoristic essay he stands next to Bacon and Ben Johnson. He also wrote The Titles of Honor and The History of Titles.

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