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O king of the Bright-Danes,

Journal 1

Read this passage:
Now I mean to be a match for Grendel,
Settle the outcome in single combat.
And so, my request, O king of the Bright-Danes,
Dear prince of the Shieldings, friend of the people
And their ring of defense, my one request
Is that you won’t refuse me, who have come this far,
The privilege of purifying Heorot,
With my own men to help me, and nobody else (425-32).

This is Beowulf addressing Hrothgar. He has just arrived and is requesting that Hrothgar allow him to take up the challenge that has eluded Hrothgar’s men for 13 years. Consider, before writing your response, how the men of Heorot must feel when they hear Beowulf’s request.
Here’s your specific Journal prompt:
Write 250 words reflecting on what kind of hero Beowulf seems to be. Would he be considered heroic in your eyes? Do his heroic values mirror your own?

After you write a response of 250 – 400 words to this prompt, be sure to type your name at the end of the journal entry.
Journal 2
Read this passage:

The veteran king sat down on the cliff-top.
He wished good luck to the Geats who had shared
his hearth and his gold. He was sad at heart,
unsettled yet ready. Sensing his death.
His fate hovered near, unknowable but certain:
It would soon claim his coffered soul,
Part life from limb. Before long
The prince’s spirit would spin free from his body (2417-24).

Beowulf is about to address his people after serving as their king for 50 years. He is aware of the dragon’s power and his own diminished strength. This is no longer the confident and boastful young warrior we met in Heorot at the beginning of the epic.
Here’s your specific Journal prompt:
Write 250 – 400 words in which you consider how Beowulf is different from Hrothgar, his counterpart at the beginning of the story. Is Beowulf more heroic now than he was as a youngster?
After you write a response of 250 words to this prompt, be sure to type your name at the end of the journal entry.
Journal 3
Read and study this passage:

“Would you grant me the grace,” said Gawain to the king,
“To be gone from this bench and stand by you there,
If I without discourtesy might quit this board,
And if my liege lady misliked it not,
I would come to your counsel before your court noble.
. . .
I am the weakest, well I know, and of wit feeblest;
And the loss of my life would be least of any;
That I have you for uncle is my only praise
My body, but for your blood, is barren of worth;
And for that this folly befits not a king,
And ’tis I that have asked it, it ought to be mine,
And if my claim be not comely, let all this court judge,
In sight” (343-61).

The holiday festivities at Arthur’s court have been seriously disrupted by the arrival of an improbably large green knight who begs a “game” of the court. Arthur initially takes up the challenge, then Gawain steps up and delivers the request quoted above.
How would you describe Sir Gawain’s personality? Think about this question specifically in the context of what Beowulf might have said. Speculate on what changes in culture this contrast might imply about the Christian Middle Ages as compared to the Anglo-Saxon/Christian culture of the 11th century.
Journal 4
When Sir Gawain finally meets up with the Green Knight to accept his fate, he is only nicked on the neck. The Green Knight then comments: “Yet you lacked, sir, a little in loyalty there, But the cause was not cunning, nor courtship either, But that you loved your own life; the less, then, to blame” (2366-68).
Sir Gawain is the hero of the tale, but he clearly is not the idealized character the we meet in Beowulf. Consider the passage above in which Sir Gawain is “exposed” by the Green Knight. What do you think the author of the story wants us to understand about being heroic when we see what happens to Sir Gawain?
Journal 5
This entry is based upon “The General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales.

If you had a chance to meet either the Prioress (Madame Eglantine) (lines 118-62), the Monk (lines 165-207), or the Miller (lines 547-68), with which person would you enjoy spending an evening in conversation? For what reasons do you make your choice?

Journal 6
What is the conceit used by Sir Thomas Wyatt in his sonnet,”The long love that in my thought doth harbor,” and how do you think it helps him communicate his message to the lady? Remember that a conceit is a metaphor, and is a comparison in which the writer compares one thing to another.

Journal 7
Read Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love. Then read Sir Walter Ralegh’s satiric companion poem “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” How does the urbane and witty Sir Walter Ralegh make fun of the pastoral life in his response poem, “The Nymph’s Reply. . .”?

Journal 8
Description A response to Shakespeare’s sonnets.
After you write a response of 250 – 400 words to this prompt, be sure to type your name at the end of the journal entry.
Instructions Choose one of the assigned Shakespeare sonnets that brings to memory a specific experience from your own life.
Tell the reader about the memory evoked by the sonnet. Write the story of this memory and give the reader the sensory details that bring the experience of the memory to life.

Journal 9
Description A response to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130.
After you write a response of 250 – 400 words to this prompt, be sure to type your name at the end of the journal entry.
Instructions Read sonnet 130 carefully. Why do you think Shakespeare seemingly belittles his love’s physical appearance?
Journal 10
This journal will give you an opportunity to read and provide your response to an example of metaphysical poetry. Read the poem slowly and be sure to read the prompt below carefully. Notice that it focuses on an imagined scene that is created by the poem.

John Donne’s poems are usually dramatic. That is, they capture an immediate sense of a scene unfolding as the poem is written. In “Good Morrow” Donne is talking to his wife or mistress. What is the dramatic situation–where are they and what is he trying to say to her?

Journal 11
Read Ben Jonson’s elegies on the deaths of his son and daughter: “On My First Daughter” and “On My First Son”.. Which elegy strikes you most deeply? Why?
Scroll past the prefatory information and glossary to page 1 for the translation of Beowulf.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Canterbury Tales
This web site has a Table of Contents in a frame on the left side of the screen. From this table, select “The General Prologue,” “The Miller’s Prologue,” “The Miller’s Tale,” “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue” and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” “The Pardoner’s Prologue,” and “The Pardoner’s Tale.”
Notice that the selections will appear in another frame with hypertext links to all unfamiliar words.
Sir Thomas Wyatt

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
Here’s Surrey’s translation of the same Petrarchan sonnet that Wyatt translated in the selection above.

Edmund Spenser
You will need to scroll down to find the specific poems. Note that Amoretti 34 is “Sonnet XXXIV,” and Sonnet 54 is “Sonnet LIV.”

Sir Philip Sidney
Use the Table of Contents to locate Astrophel and Stella #s 71 and 87.

Samuel Daniel
This link should take you directly to Sonnet 46 (XLVI). Note that the sonnet is mis-labeled on the Samuel Daniel Home page Table of Contents as LIII.

Michael Drayton

William Shakespeare
This link will take you to the Table of Contents, from which you will select Sonnets 015, 029, 030, 073, 116, 130, and 138.

Christopher Marlowe’s “A Passionate Shepherd to his Love”

Sir Walter Ralegh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”

John Donne
This link will take you to a Table of Contents. You will read the following poems:
From Songs and Sonnets: “The Flea,” “Good Morrow,” “The Bait.”
From Elegies: “Elegy XIX: To his Mistress Going to Bed.”
From Holy Sonnets: Holy Sonnets 10 (X) and 14 (XIV).
From Devotions from Emergent Occasions: “Meditation 17 (XVII)”

Ben Jonson
From Epigrams “On My First Daughter” (XXII), “To John Donne” (XXIII), and “On My First Son” (XLV).

George Herbert
From The Temple: “Prayer (I),” and “Love (III)”

Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”

Robert Herrick
From Hesperides: “”Delight in Disorder,” “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” “Upon Julia’s Clothes,” “His Prayer to Ben Jonson” (scroll way down to find this poem).

John Milton’s Paradise Lost



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