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TOPIC: Background information (A Lover's Complaint)

Background information (A Lover's Complaint) 8 years 3 weeks ago #141

The poem consists of forty-nine seven-line stanzas written in the rhyme royal (with the rhyme scheme ababbcc), a metre and structure identical to that of Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucrece.

In the poem, the speaker sees a young woman weeping at the bank of a river, in which she throws torn-up letters, rings, and other tokens of love. An elderly shepherd asks the reason for her sorrow, and she responds by telling him of a former lover who pursued, seduced, and finally abandoned her. She concludes her story by conceding that she would fall for the young man's false charms again:

O that infected moisture of his eye,
O that false fire which in his cheek so glow'd,
O that forc'd thunder from his heart did fly,
O that sad breath his spongy lungs bestow'd,
O all that borrowed motion seemingly ow'd,
Would yet again betray the fore-betray'd,
And new pervert a reconciled maid!


The poem was originally appended to the first complete edition of Shakespeare's sonnets, which was published by Thomas Thorpe in 1609. However, critics have often doubted attribution to Shakespeare. A Lover's Complaint contains many words and forms not found elsewhere in Shakespeare, including several archaisms and Latinisms, and is sometimes regarded as rhythmically and structurally awkward. Conversely, other critics have a high regard for the poem's quality, and see thematic parallels to situations in Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure. The poem can also be regarded as an appropriate coda to the sonnets, with its narrative triangle of young woman, elderly man, and seductive suitor paralleling a similar triangle in the sonnets themselves. John Mackinnon Robertson published a study claiming that George Chapman wrote the poem, as well as originating Timon of Athens.
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by William Shakespeare.
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Background information 7 years 3 months ago #1277

The recent RSC Complete Works volume by Jonathan Bate throws A Lover's Complaint out of the Shakespearean canon. I think it will be hard to convince scholars in general that ALC isn't Shakespeare's - I know I strongly believe that it is his. I think the structural and symbolical parallels to the Sonnets are striking, and absolutely intentional.
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Background information 7 years 3 weeks ago #1364

The poem consists of forty-seven seven-line stanzas.

Elderly yes, but shepherd ?

Thomas Thorpe? prove it John.

glad someone has read it though.


At last the key to Shakespeare is found.

all the best john
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