James Nohrnberg
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Raleigh in ruins, Raleigh on the rocks
Sir Wa’ter’s two Books of Mutabilitie and their subject’s allegorical presence in select Spenserean narratives and complaints
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Sir Walter Ralegh's poem could warn a reader that there are no true Confessions, only false ones. Ralegh's friend Edmund Spenser supplies the bereft Timias, a counter for Ralegh, with a more effective advocate, a peace-making dove that acts the ambassadorial go-between for whose office Ralegh's poem seems itself to have been quite incompetent. Lachrymous to a fare-thee-well, Ralegh's maudlin piece is perhaps histrionic in the literary way of the overwrought utterance of dramatis personae inside of fictions and scripts. The earlier Ralegh was perhaps the single most prominently benefited courtier in Elizabeth's court, and likewise the swain most dependent on the royal favour, and most economically endangered by that favour's loss. Florimell's loyalty to Marinell sounds somewhat like Bess Throckmorton's lifelong attachment to Ralegh, even if it can only apply specifically to her history after the fact of Spenser's poem.

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