The elegy is a conscious work of art and not a spontaneous expression of sorrow. Substantiate this claim with reference to "Lycidas."

The craftsmanship and thematic elements of "Lycidas" show that the elegy genre is not a spontaneous expression of sorrow. With its classical allusions, rhyme scheme, and alliterative devices, the poem shows the careful artifice behind this poetic form. Further, the theme of sorrow at a poet's life cut short because of the work it takes to produce art underscores the conscious craftsmanship behind an elegy.

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Milton's elegy for his friend Edward King, who drowned, shows conscious artistry rather than a spontaneous act of sorrow. A spontaneous act of sorrow would be an unthinking reaction to a death, in which a writer simply pours out the first words that come into their head. Milton, in contrast, clearly thought about and carefully crafted this response, using an elegy form that required discipline.

For example, a look at the following quote from the poem shows conscious craftsmanship:

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon...

(The entire section contains 335 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on July 22, 2020