The Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. In 1386, Chaucer became Controller of Customs and Justice of Peace and, in 1389, Clerk of the King's work, it was during these years that Chaucer began working on The Canterbury Tales. The tales are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral; the prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return. After a long list of works written earlier in his career, including Troilus and Criseyde, House of Fame, Parliament of Fowls, The Canterbury Tales is near-unanimously seen as Chaucer's magnum opus, he uses the tales and descriptions of its characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, of the Church. Chaucer's use of such a wide range of classes and types of people was without precedent in English.
Although the characters are fictional, they still offer a variety of insights into customs and practices of the time. Such insight leads to a variety of discussions and disagreements among people in the 14th century. For example, although various social classes are represented in these stories and all of the pilgrims are on a spiritual quest, it is apparent that they are more concerned with worldly things than spiritual. Structurally, the collection resembles Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, which Chaucer may have read during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372, it has been suggested that the greatest contribution of The Canterbury Tales to English literature was the popularisation of the English vernacular in mainstream literature, as opposed to French, Italian or Latin. English had, been used as a literary language centuries before Chaucer's time, several of Chaucer's contemporaries—John Gower, William Langland, the Pearl Poet, Julian of Norwich—also wrote major literary works in English.
It is unclear to. While Chaucer states the addressees of many of his poems, the intended audience of The Canterbury Tales is more difficult to determine. Chaucer was a courtier, leading some to believe that he was a court poet who wrote for nobility; the Canterbury Tales is thought to have been incomplete at the end of Chaucer's life. In the General Prologue, some 30 pilgrims are introduced. According to the Prologue, Chaucer's intention was to write four stories from the perspective of each pilgrim, two each on the way to and from their ultimate destination, St. Thomas Becket's shrine. Although incomplete, The Canterbury Tales is revered as one of the most important works in English literature, it is open to a wide range of interpretations. The question of whether The Canterbury Tales is a finished work has not been answered to date. There are 84 manuscripts and four incunabula editions of the work, dating from the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, more than for any other vernacular literary text with the exception of The Prick of Conscience.
This is taken as evidence of the Tales' popularity during the century after Chaucer's death. Fifty-five of these manuscripts are thought to have been complete, while 28 are so fragmentary that it is difficult to ascertain whether they were copied individually or as part of a set; the Tales vary in both major ways from manuscript to manuscript. Determining the text of the work is complicated by the question of the narrator's voice which Chaucer made part of his literary structure; the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Tales are not Chaucer's originals. The oldest is MS Peniarth 392 D, written by a scribe shortly after Chaucer's death; the most beautiful, on the other hand, is the Ellesmere Manuscript, a manuscript handwritten by one person with illustrations by several illustrators. The first version of The Canterbury Tales to be published in print was William Caxton's 1476 edition. Only 10 copies of this edition are known to exist, including one held by the British Library and one held by the Folger Shakespeare Library.
In 2004, Linne Mooney claimed that she was able to identify the scrivener who worked for Chaucer as an Adam Pinkhurst. Mooney a professor at the University of Maine and a visiting fellow at Corpus Christi College, said she could match Pinkhurst's signature, on an oath he signed, to his handwriting on a copy of The Canterbury Tales that might have been transcribed from Chaucer's working copy. Recent scholarship has cast severe doubt upon that identification. In the absence of consensus as to whether or not a complete version of the Tales exists, there is no general agreement regarding the order in which Chaucer intended the stories to be placed. Textual and manuscript clues have been adduced to support the two most popular modern methods of ordering the tales; some scholarly editions divide the Tales into ten "Fragments". The tales that make up a Fragment are related and contain internal indications of their order of presentation with one character speaking to and stepping aside for another character.
However, between Fragments, the connection is
Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms, it focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary; the Homeric Question – concerning by whom, when and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed – continues to be debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion falls into two groups. One holds that most of the Odyssey are the works of a single poet of genius; the other considers the Homeric poems to be the result of a process of working and reworking by many contributors, that "Homer" is best seen as a label for an entire tradition.
It is accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. The poems are in Homeric Greek known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries. Most researchers believe that the poems were transmitted orally. From antiquity until the present day, the influence of the Homeric epics on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music and film; the Homeric epics were the greatest influence on education. Today only the Iliad and Odyssey are associated with the name'Homer'. In antiquity, a large number of other works were sometimes attributed to him, including the Homeric Hymns, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, the Little Iliad, the Nostoi, the Thebaid, the Cypria, the Epigoni, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia, the Margites, the Capture of Oechalia, the Phocais; these claims are not considered authentic today and were by no means universally accepted in the ancient world.
As with the multitude of legends surrounding Homer's life, they indicate little more than the centrality of Homer to ancient Greek culture. Many traditions circulated in the ancient world concerning Homer. Modern scholarly consensus is; some claims were repeated often. They include that Homer was blind, that he was born in Chios, that he was the son of the river Meles and the nymph Critheïs, that he was a wandering bard, that he composed a varying list of other works, that he died either in Ios or after failing to solve a riddle set by fishermen, various explanations for the name "Homer"; the two best known ancient biographies of Homer are the Life of Homer by the Pseudo-Herodotus and the Contest of Homer and Hesiod. The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. Nonetheless, the aims of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia; the earliest preserved comments on Homer concern his treatment of the gods, which hostile critics such as the poet Xenophanes of Colophon denounced as immoral.
The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The Iliad and the Odyssey were used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures, they were the first literary works taught to all students. The Iliad its first few books, was far more intently studied than the Odyssey during the Hellenistic and Roman periods; as a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts of the poems that were culturally or linguistically difficult. During the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, many interpreters the Stoics, who believed that Homeric poems conveyed Stoic doctrines, regarded them as allegories, containing hidden wisdom; because of the Homeric poems' extensive use in education, many authors believed that Homer's original purpose had been to educate. Homer's wisdom became so praised that he began to acquire the image of a prototypical philosopher. Byzantine scholars such as Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes produced commentaries and scholia to Homer in the twelfth century.
Eustathius's commentary on the Iliad alone is massive, sprawling nearly 4,000 oversized pages in a twenty-first century printed version and his commentary on the Odyssey an additional nearly 2,000. In 1488, the Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles published the editio princeps of the Homeric poems; the earliest modern Homeric scholars started with the same basic approaches towards the Homeric poems as scholars in antiquity. The allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems, so prevalent in antiquity returned to become the prevailing view of the Renaissance. Renaissance humanists praised Homer as the archetypically wise poet, whose writings contain hidden wisdom, disguised through allegory. In western Europe during the Renaissance, Virgil was more read than Homer and Homer was seen through a Virgilian lens. In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a s
Giovanni Boccaccio was an Italian writer, correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote a number of notable works, including The On Famous Women, he wrote his imaginative literature in the Italian vernacular, as well as other works in Latin, is noted for his realistic dialogue which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval writers who followed formulaic models for character and plot. The details of Boccaccio's birth are uncertain, he was born in a village near Certaldo where his family was from. He was the son of an unknown woman. Boccaccio's stepmother was called Margherita de' Mardoli. Boccaccio grew up in Florence, his father worked for the Compagnia dei Bardi and, in the 1320s, married Margherita dei Mardoli, of a well-to-do family. Boccaccio may have been tutored by Giovanni Mazzuoli and received from him an early introduction to the works of Dante. In 1326, his father was moved with his family to Naples. Boccaccio disliked the banking profession, he persuaded his father to let him study law at the Studium, where he studied canon law for the next six years.
He pursued his interest in scientific and literary studies. His father introduced him to the Neapolitan nobility and the French-influenced court of Robert the Wise in the 1330s. At this time, he fell in love with a married daughter of the king, portrayed as "Fiammetta" in many of Boccaccio's prose romances, including Il Filocolo. Boccaccio became a friend of fellow Florentine Niccolò Acciaioli, benefited from his influence as the administrator, the lover, of Catherine of Valois-Courtenay, widow of Philip I of Taranto. Acciaioli became counselor to Queen Joanna I of Naples and her Grand Seneschal, it seems that Boccaccio enjoyed law no more than banking, but his studies allowed him the opportunity to study and make good contacts with fellow scholars. His early influences included Paolo da Perugia, humanists Barbato da Sulmona and Giovanni Barrili, theologian Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro. In Naples, Boccaccio began. Works produced in this period include Il Filostrato and Teseida, The Filocolo, La caccia di Diana.
The period featured considerable formal innovation, including the introduction of the Sicilian octave, where it influenced Petrarch. Boccaccio returned to Florence in early 1341, avoiding the plague of 1340 in that city, but missing the visit of Petrarch to Naples in 1341, he had left Naples due to tensions between Florence. His father had returned to Florence in 1338, his mother died shortly afterward. Boccaccio continued to work, although dissatisfied with his return to Florence, producing Comedia delle ninfe fiorentine in 1341, a mix of prose and poems, completing the fifty-canto allegorical poem Amorosa visione in 1342, Fiammetta in 1343; the pastoral piece "Ninfale fiesolano" dates from this time, also. In 1343, Boccaccio's father remarried to Bice del Bostichi, his children by his first marriage had all died, but he had another son named Iacopo in 1344. In Florence, the overthrow of Walter of Brienne brought about the government of popolo minuto, it diminished the influence of the nobility and the wealthier merchant classes and assisted in the relative decline of Florence.
The city was hurt further in 1348 by the Black Death, which killed some three-quarters of the city's population represented in the Decameron. From 1347, Boccaccio spent much time in Ravenna, seeking new patronage and, despite his claims, it is not certain whether he was present in plague-ravaged Florence, his stepmother died during the epidemic and his father was associated with the government efforts as Minister of Supply in the city. His father died in 1349 and Boccaccio was forced into a more active role as head of the family. Boccaccio began work on The Decameron around 1349, it is probable that the structures of many of the tales date from earlier in his career, but the choice of a hundred tales and the frame-story lieta brigata of three men and seven women dates from this time. The work was complete by 1352, it was one of his last works in Italian. Boccaccio revised and rewrote The Decameron in 1370–1371; this manuscript has survived to the present day. From 1350, Boccaccio became involved with Italian humanism and with the Florentine government.
His first official mission was to Romagna in late 1350. He revisited that city-state twice and was sent to Brandenburg and Avignon, he pushed for the study of Greek, housing Barlaam of Calabria, encouraging his tentative translations of works by Homer and Aristotle. In these years, he took minor orders. In October 1350, he was delegated to greet Francesco Petrarch as he entered Florence and to have Petrarch as a guest at Boccaccio's home, during his stay; the meeting between the two was fruitful and they were friends from on, Boccaccio cal
Annus Mirabilis (poem)
Annus Mirabilis is a poem written by John Dryden published in 1667. It commemorated the "year of miracles" of London. Despite the poem's name, the year had been one of great tragedy, including the Great Fire of London; the title was meant to suggest that the events of the year could have been worse. Dryden wrote the poem while at Charlton in Wiltshire, where he went to escape one of the great events of the year: the Great Plague of London; the title of Dryden's poem, used without capitalisation, annus mirabilis, derives its meaning from its Latin origins and describes a year of notable events. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dryden's use of the term for the title of his poem constitutes the first known written use of the phrase in an English text; the first event of the miraculous year was the Battle of Lowestoft fought by English and Dutch ships in 1665. The second was the Four Days Battle of June 1666, the victory of the St. James's Day Battle a month later; the second part of the poem deals with the Great Fire of London that ran from September 2–7, 1666.
The miracle of the Fire was that London was saved, that the fire was stopped, that the great king would rebuild, for he announced his plans to improve the streets of London and to begin great projects. Dryden's view is that these disasters were all averted, that God had saved England from destruction, that God had performed miracles for England; the poem contains 1216 lines of verse, arranged in 304 quatrains. Each line consists of ten syllables, each quatrain follows an ABAB rhyme scheme, a pattern referred to as a decasyllabic quatrain. Rather than write in the heroic couplets found in his earlier works, Dryden used the decasyllabic quatrain exemplified in Sir John Davies' poem Nosce Teipsum in 1599; the style was revived by William Davenant in his poem Gondibert, published in 1651 and influenced Dryden's composition of Annus Mirabilis. This particular style dictates that each quatrain should contain a full stop, which A. W. Ward believes causes the verse to become "prosy". Dryden's "Annus Mirabilis"
Westminster School is an independent day and boarding school in London, located within the precincts of Westminster Abbey. With origins before the 12th century, the educational tradition of Westminster dates back as far as 960, in line with the Abbey's history. Boys are admitted to the Under School to the senior school at age thirteen; the school has around 750 pupils. The school motto, Dat Deus Incrementum, is taken from the New Testament 1 Corinthians 3:6, it is one of the original nine public schools of England as defined by the Clarendon Commission of 1861. Charging up to £7,800 per term for day pupils and £11,264 for boarders in 2014/15, Westminster is the 13th most expensive HMC day school and 10th most expensive HMC boarding school in the UK. Westminster School is the most prestigious academic secondary school in the UK, having achieved the highest percentage of students accepted by Oxbridge colleges over the period 2002–2006, has been ranked as the best boy's school in the country in terms of GCSE results in 2017.
The earliest records of a school at Westminster date back to the 1370s and are held in Westminster Abbey's Muniment Room, with parts of the buildings now used by the school dating back to the 10th century Anglo-Saxon Abbey at Westminster. In their annual accounts the school cites their origin as lying in a decree of Pope Alexander III in 1179 though the evidence for this is unclear. In 1540, Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries in England, including that of the powerful Abbots of Westminster, but ensured the School's survival by his royal charter; the Royal College of St. Peter carried on with forty "King's Scholars" financed from the royal purse. By this point Westminster School had become a public school. During Mary I's brief reign the Abbey was reinstated as a Roman Catholic monastery, but the school continued. Elizabeth I refounded the school in 1560, with new statutes to select 40 Queen's Scholars from boys who had attended the school for a year. Queen Elizabeth visited her scholars, although she never signed the statutes nor endowed her scholarships, 1560 is now taken as the date that the school was "founded".
Elizabeth I appointed William Camden as headmaster, he is the only layman known to have held the position until 1937. It was Dr Busby, himself an Old Westminster, who established the reputation of the school for several hundred years, as much by his classical learning as for his ruthless discipline by the birch, immortalised in Pope's Dunciad. Busby prayed publicly Up School for the safety of the Crown, on the day of Charles I's execution, locked the boys inside to prevent their going to watch the spectacle a few hundred yards away. Regardless of politics, he thrashed Puritan boys alike without fear or favour. Busby took part in Oliver Cromwell's funeral procession in 1658, when a Westminster schoolboy, Robert Uvedale, succeeded in snatching the "Majesty Scutcheon" draped on the coffin. Busby remained in office throughout the Civil War and the Commonwealth, when the school was governed by Parliamentary Commissioners, well into the Restoration. In 1679, a group of scholars killed a bailiff, ostensibly in defence of the Abbey's traditional right of sanctuary, but because the man was trying to arrest a consort of the boys.
Dr Busby obtained a royal pardon for his scholars from Charles II and added the cost to the school bills. Until the 19th century, the curriculum was predominantly made up of Latin and Greek, all taught Up School; the Westminster boys were uncontrolled outside school hours and notoriously unruly about town, but the proximity of the school to the Palace of Westminster meant that politicians were well aware of the boys' exploits. After the Public Schools Act 1868, in response to the Clarendon Commission on the financial and other malpractices at nine pre-eminent public schools, the school began to approach its modern form, it was separated from the Abbey, although the organisations remain close and the Dean of Westminster Abbey is ex officio the Chairman of the Governors. There followed a scandalous public and parliamentary dispute lasting a further 25 years, to settle the transfer of the properties from the Canons of the Abbey to the school. School statutes have been made by Order in Council of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Dean of Christ Church and the Master of Trinity College, are ex officio members of the school's governing body. Unusually among public schools, Westminster did not adopt most of the broader changes associated with the Victorian ethos of Thomas Arnold, such as the emphasis on team over individual spirit, the school retained much of its distinctive character. Despite many pressures, including evacuation and the destruction of the school roof during the Blitz, the school refused to move out of the city, unlike other schools such as Charterhouse and St. Paul's, remains in its central London location. Westminster Under School was formed in 1943 in the evacuated school buildings in Westminster, as a distinct preparatory school for day pupils between the ages of eight to 13. Only the separation is new: for example, in the 18th century, Edward Gibbon attended Westminster from the age of 11 and Jeremy Bentham from the age of eight; the Under School has since moved to Vincent Square. Its current Master is Mark O'Donnell
Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature; the Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. He enjoyed enormous popularity, but, in one of the mysteries of literary history, was sent by Augustus into exile in a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, "a poem and a mistake", but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars; the first major Roman poet to begin his career during the reign of Augustus, Ovid is today best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, for works in elegiac couplets such as Ars Amatoria and Fasti. His poetry was much imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, influenced Western art and literature.
The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology. Ovid talks more about his own life than most other Roman poets. Information about his biography is drawn from his poetry Tristia 4.10, which gives a long autobiographical account of his life. Other sources include Seneca the Quintilian. Ovid was born in Sulmo, in an Apennine valley east of Rome, to an important equestrian family, on 20 March, 43 BC; that was a significant year in Roman politics. He was educated in rhetoric in Rome under the teachers Arellius Fuscus and Porcius Latro with his brother who excelled at oratory, his father wanted him to study rhetoric toward the practice of law. According to Seneca the Elder, Ovid tended to not the argumentative pole of rhetoric. After the death of his brother at 20 years of age, Ovid renounced law and began travelling to Athens, Asia Minor, Sicily, he held minor public posts, as one of the tresviri capitales, as a member of the Centumviral court and as one of the decemviri litibus iudicandis, but resigned to pursue poetry around 29–25 BC, a decision his father disapproved of.
Ovid's first recitation has been dated to around 25 BC. He was part of the circle centered on the patron Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, seems to have been a friend of poets in the circle of Maecenas. In Trist. 4.10.41–54, Ovid mentions friendships with Macer, Horace and Bassus. He married three times and divorced twice by the time he was thirty years old, he had one daughter, who bore him grandchildren. His last wife was connected in some way to the influential gens Fabia and would help him during his exile in Tomis; the first 25 years of Ovid's literary career were spent writing poetry in elegiac meter with erotic themes. The chronology of these early works is not secure, his earliest extant work is thought to be the Heroides, letters of mythological heroines to their absent lovers, which may have been published in 19 BC, although the date is uncertain as it depends on a notice in Am. 2.18.19–26 that seems to describe the collection as an early published work. The authenticity of some of these poems has been challenged, but this first edition contained the first 14 poems of the collection.
The first five-book collection of the Amores, a series of erotic poems addressed to a lover, Corinna, is thought to have been published in 16–15 BC. 8–3 BC. Between the publications of the two editions of the Amores can be dated the premiere of his tragedy Medea, admired in antiquity but is no longer extant. Ovid's next poem, the Medicamina Faciei, a fragmentary work on women's beauty treatments, preceded the Ars Amatoria, the Art of Love, a parody of didactic poetry and a three-book manual about seduction and intrigue, dated to AD 2. Ovid may identify this work in his exile poetry as the carmen, or song, one cause of his banishment; the Ars Amatoria was followed by the Remedia Amoris in the same year. This corpus of elegiac, erotic poetry earned Ovid a place among the chief Roman elegists Gallus and Propertius, of whom he saw himself as the fourth member. By AD 8, he had completed his most ambitious work, the Metamorphoses, a hexameter epic poem in 15 books; the work encyclopedically catalogues transformations in Greek and Roman mythology, from the emergence of the cosmos to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
The stories follow each other in the telling of human beings transformed to new bodies: trees, animals, constellations etc. At the same time, he worked on the Fasti, a six-book poem in elegiac couplets on the theme of the calendar of Roman festivals and astronomy; the composition of this poem was interrupted by Ovid's exile, it is thought that Ovid abandoned work on the piece in Tomis. It is in this period, if they are indeed by Ovid, that the double letters in the Heroides were composed. In AD 8, Ovid was banished to Tomis, on the Black Sea, by the exclusive intervention of the Emperor Augustus, without any participation of the Senate or of any Roman judge; this event shaped all his following poetry. Ovid wrote that the reason for his exile was carmen et error – "a poem and a mistake", claiming that his crime was
Mac Flecknoe is a verse mock-heroic satire written by John Dryden. It is a direct attack on another prominent poet of the time, it opens with the lines: All human things are subject to decay, And when fate summons, monarchs must obeyWritten about 1678, but not published until 1682, "Mac Flecknoe" is the outcome of a series of disagreements between Thomas Shadwell and Dryden. Their quarrel blossomed from the following disagreements: "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." Shadwell fancied himself heir to Ben Jonson and to the variety of comedy which the latter had written. Shadwell’s poetry was not of the same standard as Jonson’s, it is possible that Dryden wearied of Shadwell’s argument that Dryden undervalued Jonson. Shadwell and Dryden were separated not only by literary grounds but by political ones as Shadwell was a Whig, while Dryden was an outspoken supporter of the Stuart monarchy.
The poem illustrates Shadwell as the heir to a kingdom of poetic dullness, represented by his association with Richard Flecknoe, an earlier poet satirized by Andrew Marvell and disliked by Dryden, although the poet does not use belittling techniques to satirize him. Multiple allusions in the satire to 17th-century literary works, to classic Greek and Roman literature, demonstrate Dryden’s complex approach and his mastery over the mock-heroic style; 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. Thus, Dryden subverts the theme of the defining characteristic by giving Shadwell a negative characteristic as his only virtue. Dryden uses the mock-heroic through his use of the heightened language of the epic to treat the trivial subjects such as poorly written and dismissible poetry; 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 compelling rhythm and rhyme. Oden, Richard, L. Dryden and Shadwell, The Literary Controversy and'Mac Flecknoe' ISBN 0-8201-1289-5 Reidhead, Julia et al; the Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume C. ISBN 0-393-92531-5 Text from Poetry Foundation