Anthony Esolen on the Theological Depth of a Neglected Wedding Hymn
One of the great pleasures I enjoy as a teacher of poetry is witnessing the astonishment of my students when I begin to reveal to them the subtle, manifold, and sometimes maddeningly complex craftsmanship the artists of the ancient world, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance employed. It is a pleasure mingled with a touch of scorn, I confess, because once one has beheld it, most of the art of our time, and especially what is consciously modern, seems pretty jejune—seems like a dry crust of white bread in place of a banquet.
Yet that lends us Christians a tremendous opportunity, both to recover the glories of our heritage and to apply their lessons to the world that God has sent us to evangelize. Let me take for example Edmund Spenser's wedding hymn, the Epithalamion.
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Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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