English Funerary Elegy in the Seventeenth Century: Laws in by Andrea Brady (auth.)

By Andrea Brady (auth.)

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Friend's narrative bears witness to the difficult task of reconciling himself as a Christian, a parent and a man to John's untimely death. Having explored his own culpability in provoking this providential loss, he calls his son a 'patterne fit to be imitated by any'. The memorial volume maps that pattern in accordance with the epideictic exemplarity discussed in Chapter 1. It also documents this loss with a specificity not often found in early modern elegy. Revealing how a family could share its private sorrow with the community, Friend testifies to the real comfort he derived from his friends' consolatory arguments.

63 Nominating themselves as arbiters of virtue also enabled elegists to declare their own assets. Aristotle recommended that the epideictic The Ritual of Elegiac Rhetoric 23 rhetorician, in order to be believed, must present himself as a judicious and trustworthy judge of virtue. Both Cicero and Quintilian confirmed that only someone with a personal knowledge of virtue - a good man- could praise goodness. ' 65 Elegists prove their virtue by commending virtue, but with a prosodic and rhetorical modesty suitable to modest individuals.

He claims to have investigated his subject's worth by litotes, arriving at 26 English Funerary Elegy in the Seventeenth Century a recognition of 'negative goodnesse'. 73 Corbet's research produces the topics of praise. ' and so on - he exposes the corrupting influences of class, property and court. Through this clever recusatio, Corbet turns his lack of specific knowledge about the dead into the virtue of negativity: Haward is not famous because he is not infamous. Corbet's scepticism towards the court promotes him as an honest broker, the critical conscience of authority.

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