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Spring
A Poem by Thomas Carew (1594 or 1595-1640)
A Study Guide
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Type of Work
Summary
Structure
Text and Notes
Theme
Tone
End Rhyme
Verse Format
Figures of Speech
Carew as a Cavalier Poet
Questions, Writing Topics
Biography of Carew
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Study Guide Prepared by Michael J. Cummings.. 2011
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Type of Work, Publication, and Pronunciation of Carew

.......Thomas Carew's "Spring" is a lyric poem that exults in the onset of spring but bemoans the continuing winter in his beloved's heart. T. Walkley published "Spring" in London in 1640 as part of a collection of Carew's poems.
.......The last name of the author is pronounced CARE e, rhyming with hairy.

Summary

.......The speaker happily welcomes the month of May. The snow is gone, the sun thaws the earth, the bees awaken, and the birds chirp. The valleys, forests, and hills bloom with new plant life. Alas, however, his beloved remains as cold as winter toward him. While the open fields invite the ox from his winter stall and Amyntas and Chloris sleep beneath a sycamore, only his beloved remains out of step with the season. True, June is in her eyes, but January is in her heart. 

Structure

.......Carew divided the poem into two sections of twelve lines each. The first section centers on spring and the warmth, beauty, and sounds of nature. The second section centers on the coldness of the young woman toward the speaker.


Text of the Poem

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes; and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream:
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,....................5
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow;1 wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring,
In triumph to the world, the youthful spring:.........................10
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.
Now all things smile: only my love doth lower,2
Nor hath the scalding noon-day sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold.......................15
Her heart congeal’d, and makes her pity cold.
The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
Into the stall, doth now securely lie
In open fields; and love no more is made
By the fire-side, but in the cooler shade...............................20
Amyntas now doth with his Chloris3 sleep
Under a sycamore, and all things keep
Time with the season: only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January.

Notes

1...gives . . . swallow: There was a belief in earlier times that swallows hibernated in the winter, appearing dead, and awakened in the spring. However, like many other birds, swallows fly south for the winter.
2...lower (pronunciation: rhymes with power): Verb meaning to frown or scowl. 
3...Amyntas . . . Chloris: Amyntas is the name of a shepherd who appeared frequently in pastoral poems in Carew's time. Chloris (alternate name, Cloris) is his beloved.
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Theme

.......The theme of the poem is unrequited love at a time (spring) when the sun warms the spirits and kindles the fires of love.

Tone

.......The tone is lighthearted, in keeping with the time of the year, but tinged with frustration because of the attitude of the speaker's beloved.

End Rhyme

.......The poem consists entirely of rhyming couplets. The first six lines demonstrate the pattern.

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes; and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream:
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
Verse Format

.......Carew wrote the poem in iambic pentameter. The first two lines demonstrate the pattern.

........1.................2............... 3....................4..................5
Now THAT..|..the WIN..|..ter’s GONE,..|..the EARTH..|..hath LOST

........1.....................2................... 3..................4..................5
Her SNOW-..|..white ROBES;..|..and NOW..|..no MORE..|..the FROST

Figures of Speech

.......Following are examples of figures of speech in the poem. For definitions of figures of speech, see Literary Terms.

Alliteration

Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes; and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream (lines 1-4)
Chiasmus
only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January. (lines 23-24)
The second phrase inverts the structure of the first phrase.
Usually, the phrases would be parallel: June in her eyes, January in her heart.
Metaphor
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring,
In triumph to the world, the youthful spring (lines 9-10)
Comparison of chirping birds to a choir

marble ice (line 15)
Comparison of the firmness of the cold attitude of the 
speaker's beloved to the hardness of marble

Personification
..............the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes (lines 1-2)
Comparison of the earth to a person who wears robes
Paradox
gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow (lines 6-7)
The lines say a dead creature is born. (It was thought in earlier times that swallows
hibernated in river banks, appearing dead, and awakened in the spring. However,
like other birds, swallows fly south for the winter.)
Pun
humble-bee
Carew writes humble-bee instead of bumblebee.
Carew as a Cavalier Poet

.......During a power struggle in England between King Charles I and Parliament, Carew sided with the king. Charles—King of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1625 to 1649—believed strongly that his authority was God-given and pre-eminent. This viewpoint disconcerted Parliament. Charles further unsettled Parliament when he married a French Catholic, Princess Henrietta Maria, and when he championed the authority of the Church of England, insisting on preservation of its elaborate rituals in opposition to the wishes of a large bloc of Puritans in Parliament. 
.......After Parliament took issue with his foreign policy and his administration of the national purse, Charles dissolved Parliament (1629) and governed without it until 1640, when he convened a new Parliament. Sentiment against him remained strong. However, he had his defenders—notably a group of writers known as Cavalier poets. They were refined, cultured, fashionably dressed gentlemen—the very definition of cavalier—who included Carew as well as Richard Lovelace, Robert Herrick, and Sir John Suckling

Study Questions and Writing Topics

1...Write your own poem about a season of the year. The tone, verse format, rhyme scheme, etc., are up to you.
2...List additional examples of alliteration besides those mentioned above. 
3...Write an essay that defines the term cavalier poet.
4.  What is the meaning of congeal'd (congealed) in line 16? 

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