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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Essex told Elizabeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0713  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

From:           Dennis Taylor <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 09:46:23 -0500
Subject:        Dickinson Poem

Here's a stab at interpretation of the Dickinson poem:

     Elizabeth told Essex
     That she could not forgive
     The clemency of Deity
     However--might survive--
     That secondary succor
     We trust that she partook
     When suing--like her Essex
     For a reprieving Look--

Elizabeth, following the Protestant/Calvinist line, insisted on
predestination versus mercy won by works or anything we do (like praying
for mercy, and expecting God to change his design). That is, she could
not forgive, or consider acceptable, a notion of God as "clemency."
HOWEVER, in death Elizabeth probably hoped for a little mercy after all
(to be let off the hook for her sins), and so came crawling to God,
praying for mercy, as Essex had begged mercy from her, when he was under
order of execution. Perhaps it is important that Essex was associated
with various dissident groups, including Catholics, and so might be seen
as a less than observant Calvinist.

Another interesting crux: how do listserv members interpret Eliot's
mention of Elizabeth and Leicester in The Waste Land?

Dennis Taylor

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