Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Margaret Duggan


This study examines seven country-house poems of the seventeenth century: Ben Jonson’s “To Penshurst” and “To Sir Robert Wroth”, Thomas Carew's “To My Friend G. N., From Wrest" and “To Saxham”, Robert Herrick's “A Panegerick to Sir Lewis Pemberton”, Andrew Marvell's Upon Appleton House, and John Dryden's “To My Honor'd Kinsman, John Driden of Chesterton". It also briefly takes up three poems of the early eighteenth century: Alexander Pope’s “Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Paraphrased”, his “Epistle to Bathurst”, and his "Epistle to Burlington". All of the authors of these poems were very conscious of their cultural surroundings, so these country-house poems reflect a variety of influences: classical literary models, contemporary architectural styles, changes in social customs, and political, economic, and religious upheaval. A number of works analyze these influences very thoroughly, and I refer to these works extensively in this study. The purpose of this study, however, is not to trace influences, but to examine the relationship of individuals to their surroundings in these poems. For in each poem, that relationship is somewhat different. The poems of Jonson, Carew, and Herrick, which I take up in the first chapter, all describe and celebrate an ideal lord and his estate,· and in doing so set forth a definition of the ideal relationship between the lord of the manor and his estate community. These poets all assume, in the moral and political tradition of Aristotle, that the ideal man can exist only as a part of a community, but none posits exactly the same relationship between the individual and his society. In Jonson 's poems, the estate comnunity is every bit as ideal as the lord is, and the virtues and strengths of each nurture and support those of the other. Thus, each poet in this study uses the genre, its themes and conventions, and its moral assumptions to articulate and celebrate a different vision of the ideal relationship among the individual, the natural world, and the community of which he is a part.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Country homes in literature
English poetry -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University