Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Second essay

I will be available to talk and answer questions about this assignment at 4pm on Wednesday March 11th (sorry this is later than I envisaged but there is a departmental meeting). Room is F 107 (wherever that is)


This essay is a little different in that it tests the aim of the course--to enable you to pick up any writing from the seventeenth century and make sense of it using what you know of the context. Unless otherwise indicated the texts are available on EEBO. Choose one of these texts and questions and write 2,500 words on it. I am not supposed to put the deadline online so please look at your student handbook. If you want to alter the question just ask your tutor. There should not be any literary criticism available (if you find some good for you) but this does NOT mean that evidence is not referenced--textual (close reading) and contextual (available in the history books on this website)



1. The Royalist, Thomas D'Urfey (1682)


This play is on LION in a printable version.

Question: 'How does D'Urfey use 1650s history to say something about 1680s politics?'

Or: What does this play reveal about the essentially Cavalier nature of the heroes of Restoration comedy?


2. Samuel Pordage, Azaria and Hushai (1682)


This poem is the best Whig answer to Dryden. Either:

  • Explain how Pordage responds to Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel.
  • Or:
  • Discuss Pordage's poem in relation to the political debates of the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis.


3. The Protestant

 Use evidence from text and context to answer this question:

Question: 'This text appears to be a literacy handbook for children. Which aspects of the text indicate that it is in fact
Whig propaganda?'

(EEBO indicates that is was written by Benjamin Harris--all we know is that is was published by him). 


4. Charles Sedley, 

The mulberry-garden a comedy (1668)

The text and prefatory matter of The mulberry-garden seems to expect a certain type of audience(or audiences)--explore this topic using textual and contextual references.

(If you read one of Hester's emblem poems--the one about naughty ladies-- you will understand the significance of writing a Restoration comedy about the mulberry garden.... )


5. Katherine Sutton, A Christian womans 

experiences of the glorious working of Gods free grace Published for the edification of others, by Katherine Sutton(1663)  


Why do you think that this spiritual autobiography could not have been published in England in 1663? use textual and contextual evidence for your answer,


6. Hester Pulter's manuscript poems as on the Pulter website

With reference to the seventeenth-century context in which she was writing, discuss Hester Pulter’s approach to ONE of the following: literary allusion, Civil War politics, scientific exploration, natural history, gender.


 7.  Anon., The Famous Tragedie of King Charles I Basely Butchered (1649)

How does the author’s portrayal of EITHER historical people OR events support his (or her) royalist message?


8. Christopher Harvey, The School of the Heart (1647)

This text is available on EEBO but also through the English Emblem Book Project:

How do the different elements of Harvey’s emblems work together in conveying his spiritual message; you might want to think about, for example, the visual image, Biblical references, the shape of the stanzas.

9. Francis Quarles, The shepheards oracles delivered in certain eglogues (1645)

If you look in Robert Wilcher's book on royalism and poetry you will find out that most of the eclogues were written in the 1630 and that the last was written in the 1640s. Choose two of the eclogues to write about. Question: Using textual and contextual evidence explain either

a) why the eclogues were not published in the 1640s


b) why, with the addition of the last eclogue, the volume was finally published in 1645.


10. John Taylor, Mad Fashions, Od Fashions, All out [of] Fashions, or the Emblems of these distracted times (1642) reprinted as The World Turn’d Upside Down  (1647)

  • How does the poem draw upon the emblem tradition in order to comment on the politics of the Civil War?
  • What position does the poem take on the religious politics of the Civil War?