GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Literary Analysis of British Poetry to 1660

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Example Question #1 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every Shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move,
To live with thee, and be thy love.
 
Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb,
The rest complains of cares to come.
 
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields,
To wayward winter reckoning yields,
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.
 
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of Roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten:
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
 
Thy belt of straw and Ivy buds,
The Coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee, and be thy love.

The reference to Philomel in line 7 serves primarily to __________.

Possible Answers:

give an example of the changing of seasons

give an example of a woman spurned

express a concern that the shepherd may harm the speaker

show the psychological toll that an affair with the shepherd might take on the speaker

show the effects of the passage of time

Correct answer:

express a concern that the shepherd may harm the speaker

Explanation:

Philomela is a character from Greek mythology. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Philomela is raped by her sister's husband, who also removes her tongue and hands so that she can not tell anyone of his crime. In the myth, she is then transformed into a nightingale.

Passage adapted from "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" by Sir Walter Raleigh (1596)

Example Question #58 : Literary Analysis

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The only simile throughout this sonnet is                        .

Possible Answers:

"like an usurp'd town" (line 5)

"betroth'd unto your enemy;" (line 10)

"Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again," (line 11)

"Reason, your viceroy in me," (line 7)

"Batter my heart, three-person'd God;" (line 1)

Correct answer:

"like an usurp'd town" (line 5)

Explanation:

"like an usurp'd town" (line 5) is the only simile throughout this sonnet, as it makes a direct comparison between two apparently unlike things—the poet and an usurp'd town—with the word "like." When constructing similes, the word "as" is also used.

Example Question #2 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

At its most basic level, the theme of this poem is                      .

Possible Answers:

reason

religion

romantic love

warfare

erotic love

Correct answer:

religion

Explanation:

At its most basic level, the theme of this sonnet is religion (that is, the poet's wish for God's more forceful intervention in his life).

Example Question #3 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Which of the following excerpts represents for the poet God's more gentle, yet insufficient, manifestations of love?

Possible Answers:

"Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new." (line 4)

"o'erthrow me" (line 3)

"imprison me" (line 12)

"for you/As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;" (line 1 & 2)

"Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again," (line 11)

Correct answer:

"for you/As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;" (line 1 & 2)

Explanation:

For the poet, God's "as yet" (line 2) knocking, shining, breathing, and mending are not sufficiently extreme to "Batter" (line 1) his heart, as a battering ram would.

Example Question #52 : Literary Analysis Of Poetry

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The major extended metaphor of the sonnet is the poet representing himself as                .   

Possible Answers:

a prisoner

a captured city

an unwilling bride

a viceroy

an exhausted laborer

Correct answer:

a captured city

Explanation:

The major extended metaphor of the sonnet is the poet representing himself as a captured city, as he is "like an usurp'd town" (line 5), until the typical sonnet turn in line 9.

Example Question #5 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Poetry

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The metaphysical conceit of the "usurp'd town" (line 5) turns at line 9 to                    .

Possible Answers:

the metaphor of the "three-person'd God" (line 1)

the metaphor of an imprisoned criminal

the metaphor of the chaste lover

the metaphor of the knot

the metaphor of an already engaged lover

Correct answer:

the metaphor of an already engaged lover

Explanation:

The metaphysical conceit of the "usurp'd town" (line 5) turns at line 9 to the metaphor of an already engaged lover "betroth'd unto your enemy" (line 10). A metaphysical conceit is simply an extended metaphor with rather complex logic.  

Example Question #4 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Throughout the poem, the poet seemingly demonstrates his interest in combining __________.

Possible Answers:

violence with erotic love

his reason with his lack of sentiment

spirituality with governance

love of the sacred and love of the earthly

his fear of God with his love of God

Correct answer:

love of the sacred and love of the earthly

Explanation:

Throughout the poem, the poet seemingly demonstrates his interest in combining love of the sacred and love of the earthly, as he petitions God "Take me to you, imprison me, for I,/ Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,/ Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me" (line 12 - 14).

Example Question #5 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The only example of alliteration throughout this sonnet is                      .

Possible Answers:

"Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me." (line 14)

"break, blow, burn," (line 4)

"like an usurp'd town" (line 5)

"Batter my heart, three-person'd God;" (line 1)

"Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again," (line 11)

Correct answer:

"break, blow, burn," (line 4)

Explanation:

"break, blow, burn," (line 4) is the only example of alliteration throughout this sonnet, as each word has the same sound at its beginning.

Example Question #6 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The "enemy" of line 10 is very probably                      .

Possible Answers:

the church

reason

the devil

the government

chastity

Correct answer:

the devil

Explanation:

As the poet is addressing the Christians' God, the "three-person'd God" (line 1), the "enemy" of line 10 is very likely the devil who would be, according to Christians, the enemy of God.

Example Question #7 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry To 1660

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

This poem is a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

ballad

epic

sonnet

elegy

pastoral

Correct answer:

sonnet

Explanation:

This poem is a sonnet. Specifically, it is a Shakespearean or an English sonnet, characterized by 14 lines written in iambic pentameter, concluding with a rhyming couplet.

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