What is Restoration Comedy?, Its features an Famous Dramatists.

The comedy of manners is a peculiar product of the Restoration Period (1660-1702). It reflects the very spirit of the age. It depicts faithfully the life and manners of the general society of the day. It depicts a small world which has a distinct territory of its own. The world covers the fashionable parks and coffeehouses of London in the time of Charles-II. Hyde Park, St. James Park, Mulberry Garden, fashionable clubs, taverns etc. are the favourite places for the aristocratic people. The pompous houses and drawing-rooms of the rich and leisured classes of the time are used as the setting of the.comedy of manners. The Restoration comedy is identical to this form of comedy. The comedy of manners has made the Restoration rich in drama. The skeleton of this type was, however, produced much earlier. But it finds a handsome flowering in the master hands of Etherege, Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh and Farquhar.

Features of Restoration Comedy:
Comedy of manners is a kind of comedy which portrays the ridiculous behaviour pattern of the individuals of an aristocratic society. It is concerned with the coarseness, immorality, faithlessness, jealousy, intrigue etc. of an artificial society. It always seeks to give a real picture of one section of contemporary life. It's
purpose is to give a criticism of society with skilful satiric touches.
It's success depends on the dramatist's capacity to present the
unemotional treatment of sex. The comedy of manners is rich with wit and satire. It gives the image of the time. The heroine is more important and interesting than the hero in it. The hero of this type of comedy is well-born, well-dressed and capable of contest of wit. The heroine is also a paradox of virtues and affections. She is as self possessed and witty as her male opponent. They are surrounded by a set of fops, wits, half-wits who carelessly laugh at all social and moral codes. However, "manners" means a quality acquired by a person from free social intercourse with cultivated men and women.

Famous Dramatists in This Section:
Sir George Etherege is the first and foremost writer of the comedy of manners. He has left three comedies. They are “Love In a
Tub:, “She Would if She Could” and “The Man of Mode”. They represent
the first true comedy of manners. But we should not forget that Etherege was concerned with morals and not with manners. His plays carry none of the social criticism implicit in the comedy of Moliere. He is important historically as having helped to the mode of Restoration comedy.

Wycherley moulds the comedy of intrigue and the comedy of manners into a refreshing original type. His fame depends on his four comedies. They are “Love in a Wood’, “The Gentleman Dancing Master”, “The Country Wife” and “The Plain Dealer”. These plays are
extremely witty with all their coarseness. Wycherley impresses thereaders by sheer vehemence of language and the energy of characterization. He has the first satirical power of Ben Jonson. The atmosphere of “The Plain Dealer” is that of the Puritan rather than the Restoration comedy of manners.

William Congreve is the most successful playwright of the
Restoration Period. He takes the comedy of manners to its proper channel. He has composed five comedies. They are “The Old Bachelor”, “The Double-Dealer”, “Love for Love”, “The Mourning Bride” and “The Way of the World”. Of these, The Way of the World is
considered to be the flower of Restoration comedy. It's plot iis
developed skilfully. The love-scenes between Mirabell and Millamant have been treated with tenderness and sensitivity. In this play, Congreve deals with a serious theme of sexual relationship through a variety of characters and situations. He shows the affectations, conspiracies and hypocrisies of the age. But there is
true love between Millamant and Mirabell. The proviso-scene shows
his rational attitude to love and marriage. Here we also find the
strength of newly developed English prose.

After Congreve, Vanbrugh and George Farquhar keep alive
something of the spirit of Restoration comedy of manners. Vanbrugh
has written mainly three comedies. The plays are “The Relapse”, “The
Provoked Wife’ and “The Confederacy”. They lack the art and elegance of Congreve. But they are full of energy and genial humour. They are admirable in construction, characterization and dialogue.
Actually, Vanbrugh has a sheer genius for farcical situations. On the
other hand, Farquhar has composed seven plays. These plays bear upon him the imprint of his good-humoured and happy-go-lucky personality. The Recruiting Officer and the Beaux' Stratagem are the best works of Farquhar. The play has enjoyed a distinctive place in the Restoration drama for its open air atmosphere.

Faults of Restoration Comedy:
Many critics condemn the Restoration comedies as immoral. In
1698, Jeremy Collier wrote A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage. The book had an immense effect on the literary critics. Charles Lamb in one of his essays says, “The
Restoration comedies are a world of themselves almost as much as fairy land". He was anxious to reconcile his enjoyment of the plays of Wycherley and Congreve with the moral disapproval of his
contemporaries. Macaulay attacked Charles Lamb. He says that unsound morality was always set off to every advantage in the Restoration comedy of manners. He also indicates that sound morality was insulted and derided in these plays. Dobree who is an eminent critic says that the Restoration comedy is concerned with rationalizing sexual relationships. In respect of sexual relations, L.C. Knights says, "The Restoration comedy is entirely dominated by a narrow set of conventions."
In context of our discussion, we can again add that a particular society is mirrored in the comedy of manners. It was careless and intent only on pleasure and amorous intrigues. But it was the lover of
fine arts in a superficial way. If we condemn the society of the
Restoration court, we cannot condemn the dramatists of this period
The comedy of manners gives the  picture of the society of Charles- II’s court. It has verbal repartee, an air of abandon and immorality.
Sometimes it oversteps the bounds of decency and good taste. The brilliant wit, the bright dialogues and hilarious laughter are the most important and interesting elements in this comedy. They leave an enduring and lasting interest to all lovers of literature. Moreover, the Restoration comedies have to be studied in the spirit of the age in which they were written. They have drawn a true picture of gallants and belles of the then society. In this respect, we can mention “The Way of the World” which is the queen of the comedy of manners.


Metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century. And their contribution to English Literature.

The term metaphysical' was first applied by Dryden to the poetry of Donne, which so rich in far-fetched conceits. 'He affects metaphysics' this is what Dryden speaks about the poetry of Donne. Dr. Johnson, following Dryden, applied the term 'metaphysical' to describe a whole school if seventeenth century poetry who wrote in imitation of Donne, and showed some feature of poetry which are akin to those of John Donne, "the father of metaphysical school of poets".  In the ordinary sense of the term metaphysical' means 'based
on abstract general reasoning,' in the Johnson sense of the term which denoted not the philosophical thoughts of Donne but some tricks of his phrasing. Johnson had in mind particularly the extravagant 'conceits' in which Donne clothed his thoughts.

The main characteristics of Donne's poetry are a depth of philosophy, subtlety of reasoning, a blend of through and devotion, a mingling of the homely and the sublime, the light and serious which make it full of variety and surprise. It is this last element of 'surprise that is most important in Donne. Surprising connections of ideas, called 'conceits' are common enough in Elizabethan and Jacobean poetry, no doubt but no poet ever before sprang so many and such strange surprises on his readers as Donne did by his conceits. Thus he has compared the parted lovers to the legs of a pair of compasses, a lover to a spider which 'transubstantiates all', his sick body to a map, his physician to a cosmographer the flea which bites lovers to a bridal bed, because their blood has been mingled in it. This mingling of the lofty and the mean, the sublime and trivial is the essence of his ‘conceits'. John Donne's works can be roughly classified into Love Poetry, Religious Poetry and Elegies and Satires. His love poems, the
songs and sonnets are intensely personal and are characterised by
subtle analysis of all the moods of a lover expressed in a vivid language. John Donne (1573-1631) wrote his Satires. “The Songs and Sonnets”, and “The Elegies” between 1590-1601. He was the most
independent of Elizabethan poets. Among his best known and most
typical of the love poems are "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning", "The Ecstasie", "The Good Morrow", "A Nocturnal upon St. Lucies Day". His religious poetry include "The Progress of the Soule" (1601) and "The Anatomy of World" (1611). His Holy Sonnets were written after 1610.The elegies are the fullest record of Donne's cynical frame of mind the conflicting moods. His satires are deliberate imitation of perseus.

John Donne
Donne's poetry is a reaction to the fluency and exuberance of Elizabethan poetry and to the conventional mode of petrarch and
others. He made a searching analysis of every mood and emotion in his love poems, and in his religious poems, the same intellectual analysis is prominent. It seeks a blend of intellect and passion, wit and emotion. It is logical in structure and rich in images which are taken from Astronomy, Geography and other fields of learning. Donne's conceits are instruments of persuasion (Helen Gardner) and effect a blend of passion and intellect and thus achieves a unification of sensibility' (T. S. Eliot). Donne is the lover and sensualist, but this mind reviews his love in the terms of philosophy or explores it with the images gathered in his scientific and theological reading. He can perceive beauty but at the very moment of that perception he sees the corpse, the skeleton. His thought is ever at the service if his passions and his passions enter into his thought. He sought out the strongest images which yoked ideas which no one had yet seen together. The metaphysical school of poets in the seventeenth century who are
followers of Donne, reveal some common features delivered from
their 'father.

Some of the more important of these metaphysical poets are: George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, Henry Vaughan (pronounced Von), Abraham Cowley, Thomas Carew and Andrew Marvell.

George Herbert (1593-1633) is of all these poets most akin to Donne the master. He is the saint of the metaphysical school. His poetry constantly offends taste but often gives the impression of a sort of sublimity. The most popular of his poems is The Temple which is a collection of poems, full of faith and fervour and also subtlety of thought and ornament. It is a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that passed between God and the poet in the mind of the poet. The poems are homely, quiet, colloquial and touched with a quaint humour. They are metaphysical in their unusual conceits (though Herbert does not cultivate the learned scholastic imagery of Donne) and in the blend of thought and feeling. His oft-quoted poem, Virtue" is full of surprising images. The 'angry and brave
the rose that bids the rash gazer wipe his eyes; the spring is aa box
where sweets compacted lie and the virtuous soul like seasoned timber never gives: These are some of his remarkable conceits. In spite of these faults of taste, his poems in general how are flashes of beauty. His other poems "The Quip" and "The Pulley" are spun of mere conceits. His well-known poem is "The Caller" from The Temple.

Richard Crashaw's (1613-49) best work is Steps to the Temple, written in honour of Herbert Whom he admired. He possesses certain profoundly poetic qualities in Higher degrees than Herbert. His language is not simple and precise like Herbert's but he has more warmth, colour and harmony. His lyrical flights often remind the reader of Shelley's lyrics, in their fire and fervour. He is
emotional rather than intellectual. At the same time he has metaphysical's fondness for the striking conceit, which often becomes fantastic. This is seen in his poem, "The Weeper"

“Two walking baths, two weeping motions
Portable and compendious oceans"

Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) was a doctor and not a priest like the previous two poets. He was the disciple of Herbert in a more intimate sense. He found God not only in the Bible and the church but also in nature. He anticipates Wordsworth by two centuries. His love of nature recalls the later poet. His Mysticism like Wordsworth's is grounded on his recollection of childhood. His
Retreat anticipates Wordsworth's Immortality Ode". It is an exquisite poem. The poem, "They are all gone into the world of light touches artistic perfection in its choice of rhythms and images. He wrote Silex Scintillans which appeared in two parts in 1650 and 1655. It is written under the influence of Herbert's Temple. Here is a metaphysical conceit in the manner of Herbert "Stars shut up shop." He employs other tricks of Herbert's style- abrupt openings, the questions and ejaculations and whimsical titles. But the poems like “The World" and "They are all Gone into the World of Light" are free from Herbert's influence. In these poems his religious our is highly imaginative. His style is simple and dignified and is free from metaphysical 'conceits'.

Abraham Cowley (1615-67) is a great example of the infant
age of prodigy. The Faerie Queene made Cowley a poet at the twelve, when he wrote Constantina Philetus. His Poetical Blossoms were published when he was fourteen. His best known poems are
“The Mistress". "The Pindaric Odes" and "The Davideris". It is an epic on king David in heroic couplets. The best of his prose works is
his “Essays” "The Mistress" has the influence of Donne's style. He
follows Donne in the free use of far-fetched similes and metaphors
He likens the lover's inconstancy to the vibration of a magnetic
needle before it fixed on the true north. In Pindaric Odes, he retained rime but approximated to what is known as free verse. Cowley lacked intensity of passion and depth of insight. His images are fanciful and decorative, rather than a means of exploring experience. His mind is a Restoration mind and this comes out in such lines as these from the "Of Wit”--
"And Reason, the inferior powers control"

Herbert Grierson observes: in Cowley, the central heat of metaphysical poetry has died down. Less extravagant, This wit is also less passionate and imaginative.

Thomas Carew (1598-1639) had undoubted lyrical gifts. Within the narrow field of amorous complement and disdain he has often attained perfection. some of his poems remind us of Byron's lyrics like She walks in beauty or There be none of beauty's daughter. His language is oratorial and is marred by licence and bad taste. His debt to Donne is to be found in his ability to sustain poetic arguments, his vivid phrases and conceits and sometimes in his
achievement of that fusion of feeling, thought and image which is characteristic of Donne.

Andrew Marvell (1621-78) perhaps the greatest poet of the school, was a puritan, but no sour puritan; he was a humanist, a wit and a high minded patriot. In his lifetime his poems were circulated in manuscript among friends and published only after his death. His poems have been described as the finest flower of the serious and secular metaphysical verse. His work has the subtlety of wit, passionate argument and the learned imagery of the metaphysical
combined with the clarity and control of the classical followers of Johnson. His rhythms are flexible, his melody delicates. He loved
nature and the freshness of the gardens and in all his work there is a
high seriousness and absolute sincerity. His love-poem, "To His Coy
Mistress" and patriotic poem "Horatian Ode" upon "Cromwell's
Return to England" are most popular. His another poem is “The Garden" which shows his delight in nature and his metaphysical qualities like argumentative structure and conceits.


Major Features of The age of Milton.

Generally the time-span from 1630 to 1660 is called the Age of Milton. It is actually the Puritan Age. The main literary tendencies of this time differ from those of the Elizabethan Age in
many ways. During this period, there was a decline in literary production. Metaphysical poetry developed with unexpectable variety. The development of prose was well-marked during the Age of Milton. Drama lost its grandeur and glory in this time.

The literature of the Age of Milton presents a marked difference
from the literature of the Elizabethan Age. Elizabethan literature is full of variety and diversity. It had a marked unity in spirit. It resulted from the patriotism of all classes of people and their devotion to a queen. With all her faults, the queen also tried to seek first the welfare of the nation. But under the Stuarts, all this was
changed. The kings were the open enemies of the people. The country was divided by the struggle for political and religious liberty.
Literature was also divided in spirit as the struggling political parties.

Elizabethan literature is generally inspiring. It throbs with youth, hope and vitality. It speaks of age and sadness. Even its brightest hours are followed by gloom and pessimism inseparable from the passing of old standards. Elizabethan literature is intensely romantic. Romance springs from the heart of youth and believes all things even the impossible. But in the literature of the Puritan Age (1620-1660, one looks in vain for romantic ardour. Even in the lyrics and poems, critical intellectual spirit takes its place. Whatever romance asserts itself is in form rather than in feeling. Poetry becomes a fantastic and artificial adornment of speech rather than the natural utterance of a

Note of Melancholy
The literature in the Age of Milton is marked with a note of melancholy and spiritual certainty. It is very much different from buoyancy and optimism of the Elizabethan Age. The great conceptions of the Elizabethan Age disappeared in the Age Milton. We found an ideal union between the interest of the
Renaissance and those of the Reformation in the Age of Elizabeth.
But we have in the seventeenth century the gallant but light-hearted
Cavaliers. We meet too the earnest but narrow-minded Puritans. In
the absence of great conceptions, human ambition and character
became less splendid and unified. In place of Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe and Shakespeare, we have Ben Jonson, Bacon and Donne. Exception is noticed only in the case of Milton himself.

Decline in Literary Production
There was a clear decline in literary production in the time of Milton. We obviously find the steep decline from the high Elizabethan standard. The declination was mostly due to the
influence of Puritanism. It was noticeable in both the poetry and
prose. John Donne started writing metaphysical poetry in the later part of the Age of Shakespeare. But in the Age of Milton, his poetry began to blossom. It was being written in full swing then. Crashaw, George Herbert, Vaughan and Marvell started following the tradition of Donne. They were called the metaphysical poets. They produced a kind of poetry in which conceit and learning were blended. They are usually lyrical in nature. Their work shows surprising blend of passion and thought. Metaphysical poems are full of learned imagery and striking conceits. They often reveal great psychological insight and subtlety of thought development.

Secular Poets
During the Age of Milton, there were some secular poets known as the Cavalier poets. They dealt with the subject of love. The Cavalier poets were Herrick, Carew, Lovelace and Suckling. They were masters in the art of producing love lyrics. They followed Ben Jonson in their classical restraint and concise lucidity. They were the Sons of Ben'. Their work is -simple, graceful in structure and highly polished in style. Thus we find two classes of poets in the Age of Milton. They are the Metaphysical poets and the Cavalier poets. But we cannot deny that both of them have enriched English poetry by their compositions.
Development of Prose
The development of prose was well-marked during the Age of Milton. Civil War did not hamper the flow of prose-writing. Prose was copious and excellent in kind. There was a notable advance in the sermon. Pamphlets were in profusion. History, politics, philosophy and miscellaneous kinds were well-represented. In addition, there was a remarkable advance in prose style. But declination was seriously evident in drama then. Civil War and the strong opposition of the Puritans were mainly responsible for the decline of drama. The age was also not dramatic in temper. The actual dramatic work of the period was small and unimportant. Milton himself left writing dramas. He tried to do it in
Elizabethan Age. Moreover, theatres were officially closed in 1642.

However, John Milton (1608-1674) is one of the greatest literary figures in English literature. He is not only the best poet in his age but in all times. He is a born poet. During the age of this great poet, there is a departure from the literary tradition of the
Renaissance Period. This age encourages literary freedom and wild
pleasures of this world. The liberty it allows often turns indecent.
Metaphysical poetry and gay lyrics were the main products of the age. Milton himself started writing but his great epics were written in the Restoration Period (1660-1702). The tradition of the Elizabethan drama was not found. Artificiality rather than originality became dominant


Major features of English Drama with reference to Shakespeare.

The Elizabethan Period is regarded as the Golden Age of drama. It is no exaggeration to say that the Elizabethan drama is the
supreme achievement of the genius of the English race. Only the Greek ancient drama can be compared with it. It can offer only a
close parallel to it. It is composed of the works of supreme geniuses like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Yet in sheer splendour and intensity, Elizabethan drama stands supreme and unapproachable. It
is also superior to the other of the same type in range and variety. It is distinguished with its special trends from the dramas of the other
ages. The Elizabethan dramas are marked by their variety and range, innovation. characterisation, classical influences, artistic qualities stage-performances and popularity.

The Elizabethán dramas may rightly be compared to a web of many colours. A host of the great Elizabethan dramatists was in the
task of weaving this complex and many-coloured web. Kyd, Marlowe. Greene, Lyly, Peele, Ben Jonson and others were
remarkable. They wrote tragedies, comedies, tragi-comedies revenge plays, melodrama etc. Many of them were of real genius but
they were unlucky in their time. Being born in the Age of Shakespeare, they had been eclipsed and overshadowed by the
blinding light. Because Shakespeare was the great miracle of genius.

Shakespeare came in the ripeness of time when the English drama had needed a supreme genius to give it direction and energy
He found the raw-materials of the English drama in a mess. But they his supreme powers, he turned them into finished products. He turned the baser metals into gold. He was no conscious innovator or theorist on drama. He took drama as a thing o unsouled forms
lacking lustre eyes, brain and meaning. But by his supreme genius he reformed its shapes with grace and virtue. He breathed life into it
and the drama was reborn. This is what his genius had done for the Elizabethan drama. He made it a thing of beauty and hence a joy for
ever. Herein lies the distinctive quality of his creative genius.

Elizabethan drama is the fruitful product of the Renaissance. Renaissance elements are abundantly found in the dramas of
Shakespeare. Love of beauty, love of power and wealth and love of knowledge and learning become the striking features of As You Like
It. Twelfth Night, Hamlet, King Lear and The Tempest.

Elizabethan dramas are influenced by the classical play Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca and Aristophanes had
influenced them to a great extent. Elizabethan tragedy was influenced by Seneca to a great extent. Seneca influenced it more
than Sophocles and Aeschylus. He was a Roman dramatist. Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton produced the first tragedy in English.literature, Gorboduc in the style of Seneca. Thomas Kyd wrote his
famous melodrama, The Spanish Tragedy following the style Shakespeare wrote Richard-III, Hamlet and Macbeth being
influenced by Seneca. He seems to be aware of the dramatic output of Seneca well. He uses general machinery and speeches of Seneca in his plays.

Elizabethan dramas are original. They deal with universality Shakespeare is original and universal. But he is a great borrower. He has borrowed freely from older plays. Yet we find his deep and profound understanding of human nature. His dramas are a great
river of life and beauty. The characters of Shakespeare have permanent hold on the human mind. They seem to be the common
species. His characterisation is a rare gift in the field of the Elizabethan drama. He touches the human heart and moves us to pity
and sympathy. His observations about life and its different facets are very meaningful and significant.

Treatment of love is another important feature of the Elizabethan dramas. Shakespeare stands supreme in this respect. His
dramas mainly deal with love theme. The principal characters of Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra are violently
passionate and sentimental. They become so for the sake of love. His comedies are too replete with love theme. Love at first sight becomes the common characteristics of his romantic comedies. The Elizabethan dramatists tended to give moral lessons
Christopher Marlowe gives us a striking moral lesson in his famous tragedy, Doctor Faustus. He shows here how Faustus has been
damned for his vaulting ambition. Faustus gives up religion and wants to be a superman. He does not hesitate to sell his soul for
learning magic and earthly voluptuousness. Shakespeare teaches us the great lesson of sympathy with our fellow-mortals of all kinds and classes. His power of insight and imagination is rich and creative. He
is also able to impress us for his language and style. His language is grand and majestic. He is romantic like other Elizabethan dramatist.

However, in context of our delineation, we may say that the Elizabethan Age is the Golden Age of drama. The dramas in this period stand supreme and unapproachable. They are superior to the other of the same types in range and variety. They are marked by
their variety and range, innovation, characterisation, classical influences, artistic qualities, stage-performances and popularity
Kyd, Marlowe, Greene, Lyly, Peele, Ben Jonson and many others are remarkable playwrights. But they had been eclipsed and overshadowed by the blinding light of Shakespeare. He was the great miracle of genius. He represented the period.


Elizabethan age as the golden age in the history of English Literature.

The Elizabethan Age (1558-1603) is generally regarded as the greatest era in the history of English literature. It is important
historically and economically. It is a pregnant age of literature. Every
branch of literature is produced in profusion. Poetry, drama, essay and criticism are written with the utmost development in this period. Thomas Kyd, Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare are the immortal figures in the history of English literature. John Lyly, George Peele, Robert Greene and other University Wits have composed many dramas. Francis Bacon becomes the father of modern essay. Thomas Nashe contributes a great lot to write a kind of picaresque novel. So the Elizabethan Age is truly the Golden Age of English literature.

The Elizabethan Age is memorable in politics of Queen Elizabeth. It is memorable in the various forms of literature too. Experiment in almost all branches of literature was going on. We notice the extended excellence that we found in the time of Reformation. Poetry, drama, novel, essay and criticism reach their
pinnacle of excellence in this period. The poetry of the Elizabethan age is different from other periods. It is original in form and style Lyrics and songs, sonnets and epic are absolutely incomparable Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare represent and dominate this period. Their contribution is immeasurable. They have created a true flavour of romanticism in poetry for the first time. They are able to maintain and hold the features of the Renaissance in their work.

To prove this age as golden age we want to show the famous writers of this age and their golden contribution to English literature.

Edmund Spenser:
Edmund Spenser is the greatest poet of the Elizabethan Age. He is called the poet of the poets. He is also called the 'Prince of Poets in his Time'. He has written songs, sonnets, hymns, epithalamiums and prothalamion. “The Shepherds Calendar” is his very popular poem. It makes him known to be a great poet. It is written in is modelled on the artificial pastoral. It is inspired by Virgil and Theocritus, Bion and Marot. It is a pastoral. It is a series of twelve short pastoral poems. “Astrophel” is written in 1586. It is an allegory of the life and death of Sir Philip Sidney.

“The Faerie Queene” is the masterpiece of Edmund Spenser. It is an incomparable creation in English literature. The poet has
composed it for twenty years. He came to Wilton from Ireland in 1582. Then he began to compose this famous epic. The epic was published in 1590 (st three parts). Second three parts published in 1596. The two cantos of the second three parts published in 1609.
“The Faerie Queene” is an allegory. It has five kinds of allegory. The
allegories are moral allegory, political allegory, spiritual allegory, chivalric allegory and Aristotelian allegory. “Amoretti” is a series of 88 sonnets. Here the poet describes the progress of his love for Elizabeth Boyle whom he married in 1594. Spenser has written"Four Hymns" in 1596.

William Shakespeare:
William Shakespeare is the greatest dramatist and poet of the Elizabethan Age. His poetry is prominently displayed in his plays which are poetic dramas. It is generally asserted that if Shakespeare had written no plays, his poems alone would have given him a commanding place in the Elizabethan Age. He is incomparable and matchless. He has written three volumes of poetry. They are “Venus and Adonis” (1593), “The Rape of Lucree” (1534) and “The Sonnet” (1609). He has written 154 sonnets. His plays are replete with lyrical songs which are remarkable for their melody and picture.

Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night and As You Like It are such plays which display Shakespeare's highly lyrical genius.

Sir Philip Sidney
In addition to Spenser and Shakespeare, we find some other
poets. Sir Philip Sidney is one of them. He has written important
Arcadia and Astrophel and Stella. Astrophel and Stella is a collection
of sonnets. In this volume, there are 108 sonnets. Samuel Daniel has
written a collection of sonnets, The Civil Wars Delia,

Michael Drayton
is romantic in idealism. He has written lyrics and sonnets.

Christopher Marlowe is the pioneer of the blank verse or mighty line.
He is the greatest of Shakespeare's predecessors. He may be regarded as the true founder of English drama. As a poet, he has written "Hero and Leander" and "Passionate Shepherd to His Love".

John Donne is the most independent of the Elizabethan poets. He is the last great poet of the Elizabethan Period. He is the leader
Metaphysical poets. His works can be classified into love poetry, religious poetry, elegies and satires. He is the first writer of dramatic
monologues. He has started writing poetry in this period. But almost
all his volumes of poetry were published after his death in 1631. He
has written in this period Songs and Sonnets (published 1633). The
Elegies (written about 1590s, published in 1633), The Satires (15
1598) and The Progress of the Soul (1601).

Golden Time For Drama
Drama has occupied the best position in the Elizabethan Age. It is flourished by the master hands of the University Wits and Shakespeare. Thomas Kyd, Marlowe, Nashe, Greene, Lyly and Peele are called University Wits. Thomas Kyd has written The Spanish Tragedy. It is written in 1589. It is the greatest drama of the Elizabethan Age. It is a revenge tragedy. Christopher Marlowe has been rightly called the father of English tragedy. Before him, the
English drama was in a chaotic state. He has written four serious plays in this period. They are Doctor Faustus (1588), Tamburlaine
the Great, The Jew of Malta (1589) and Edward-II (1593). Doctor Faustus is the greatest tragedy of Christopher Marlowe. It is written in blank verse.

William Shakespeare in Drama
William Shakespeare is a world famous dramatist. We know that he has written 37 plays in his poetic career. But among them, he has written only 25 plays in the Elizabethan Age. Among them,
Henry-IV (1st part), Henry-IV (2nd part), Henry-IV (3d part), Richard-III, The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, The Taming
of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, King John, Richard-11, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Henry-iv (1st Part), Henry-IV (2nd Part), Much Ado About Nothing, Henry-V, Julius Caesar, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It and
Twelfth Night are remarkable. They can be divided into pure tragedy, pure comedy, tragi-comedy, dark comedy or sombre comedy and historical plays.

University Wits
John Lyly is the foremost among the University Wits. The Elizabethan comedy was enriched by the contributions of Lyly Greene and Peele. His writings are “Campaspe”, “Sapho and Phao”, “Midas and Endymion”. Robet Greene is a university wit. His plays are “Friar Bacon” and “Friar Bangay”, “James-IV”, “Alphossus”, “The
Looking Glass for London and England” and “Orlando”. George Peele is a university wit. He writes “David and Bathsabe” and “Arraignment of Paris”. Among English men of letters, Ben Jonson is a unique figure in many ways. He is an actor and a playwright. He has written only one play in this period. “Every Man in His Humour’ is that drama. Cyril Tourneur has written only one play in this period. It
is “The Revenger's Tragedy” in 1600.

Prose Writing
To sum up, we may add that Francis Bacon is a scholar and philosopher. He is famous for his prose writing. He is called the father of English essay. He has started writing in this period. He has published “Essays” in 1597. Thomas Nashe has written many pamphlets, "The Anatomy of Absurdities" (1589), "Christs Tears
over Jerusalem" (1593) and others. He is famous for his novel about travelling. The name of the novel is “The Unfortunate Traveller” or “The Life of Jack Wilton” (1594). Thomas Lodge followed John Lyly.
He is a novelist. He has written “Rosalynde”. In the field of literary criticism, we cannot but mention “An Apology for Poetry” by Sir Philip Sidney. Thus we find only the measure of important writers and their writings. This measure proves that the Elizabethan Age is the Golden Age of English literature. The period is golden, technically perfect and innovative too.