42 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2016
    1. I was not present at any of them; nor ever had I any Personal prejudice at the Persons thus brought upon the Stage

      This language speaks to the authenticity, or lack of, regarding Mather's insight into the Salem trials. He states plainly that he was not in attendance during the proceedings. Obviously, spectral evidence loses clout, for no other reason other than the writer's absence from the trials. Modern minds have no trouble disproving Mather's suggestions, but European superstitions die hard.

    2. Devil was exceedingly disturbed, when he perceived such a People here accomplishing the Promise of old made unto our Blessed Jesus, That He should have the Utmost parts of the Earth for his Possession

      Cunning language here by Mather. The colonists harbored the idea that they were equal in their land claims to that of the chosen people of scripture. This typology would seem very appealing to an official who doubts the security of its colony. Cotton is suggesting that these New England colonists shared the same destiny of ancient Israeli tribes in that they are destined by god to inherit coveted land. Prosperity on this land likens them to Jesus and his prophetic inheritance. This is propaganda writing which supports the embryonic notion of American exceptionalism.

    3. She confessed, that the Devil carry'd them on a pole, to a Witch-meeting

      The technical term for this nocturnal flight is called "transvection". This old belief of witches flying on broom sticks, shovels, or even animals such as the black ram gave rise to the stereotypical green hag of American Halloween fame. Satan was believed to have aided witches of certain rank on their way to the Sabbath. This was a motif of European art during the witch craze.

      Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology.

    4. But having received a Command so to do, I can do no other than shortly relate the chief Matters of Fact, which occurr'd in the Tryals of some that were Executed, in an Abridgment Collected out of the Court-Papers, on this occasion put into my hands.

      Cotton was commissioned to relate the events of the Salem witch trials to the powers that be in England. Stoughton recruited Mather because of his literary abilities. You can get a sense of the doubt surrounding the court of Salem and the lords abroad regarding the stability of the New England colonies. Mather wrote The Wonders of the Invisible World to assuage the doubt and anxiety surrounding the Massachusetts colony and to appease Governor Phips.


      Witch hunting was a science and these tenets are fashioned after a notorious tome from the late fifteenth century. The Malleus Maleficarum served as a field guide to hunt witches. Within its pages, the witch finder could find detailed instructions for identifying, torturing, and executing a woman who is accused of witchcraft of black magic.

    6. The Kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, yea and England it self, as well as the Province of New-England, have had their Storms of Witchcrafts breaking upon them, which have made most Lamentable Devastations: which also I wish, may be The Last.

      Mary Queen of Scots introduced Scotland to witchcraft. In Scotland, you could face torture and execution for merely associating with an accused witch. Unique differences can be found here: the witches didn't need to confess in order to be executed. Other countries like England held the confession as an essential part of the purging process. The condemned also had to pay for their torture and execution, and what property they had left was confiscated by a noble lord.

      See The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Russell Hope Robins

    7. Wherefore the Devil is now making one Attempt more upon us

      Mather suggests that the Massachusetts colony was founded in the an area previously influenced by Satan. This reference, however, could recall the witch hysteria of reformation Europe. More than 400,000 people were killed, primarily during the seventeenth century. Mater could be appealing to his audience's sense of history and European superstitions by transposing that paranoia onto New England.

  2. Feb 2016
    1. It was upon a Sabbath-day-morning, that they prepared for their travel.

      Image Description

      Judaeo-Christian day of worship/rest has been a tradition that predates those religions. During the second century B.C.E. persecuting Romans confused the Hebrew deity, Yahweh Saboas, with the Hellenistic deity, Jupiter Sabazius.



    2. but the dregs of the cup, the wine of astonishment

      A reference from the disillusioned voice of Psalm 60:3. The reader can detect the bitter dejection of the author and the language mirrors a human struggle with colonial overtones. The phrase "wine of astonishment," was used by Trinidadian novelist, Earl Lovelace, compare the oppression of the Spiritual Baptists in Trinidad during 1917 British colonial rule.


    3. I hope it is not too much to say with Job, "Have pity upon me, O ye my Friends, for the Hand of the Lord has touched me.

      There are several references to the book of Job in this document. The thirteenth, eighth, and third removes all hearken back to the blessed but tortured figure from The Old Testament. Here god wagers with the devil over Job's loyalty. Satan claims that Job will abandon his faith if he keeps suffering and loses his Earthly blessings. Rowlandson turns to scripture as she endures loss and hardship. She almost views her harrowing experience as a sort of spiritual test.

    1. If then new things, their old form must retain, Eliza shall rule Albian once again.

      Image Description

      Albion is the ancient name for England. According to legend, a giant who was a son of Poseidon created and lived on the island. The island carries a Utopian connotation and this was personified by Blake's "Albion Man," a figure of liberation free from the constraints of political and religious oppression. Elizabeth, in this poem echoes this mystical concept.

      image: http://tweleve.org/maranatha/17561-william-blakes-vitruvian-man.html


    2. What is it then? To do as stoics tell, Nor laugh, nor weep, let things go ill or well? Such stoics are but stocks, such teaching vain, While man is man, he shall have ease or pain.

      The stoics sought to alleviate their connection to the material world by purging emotion. Bradstreet echoes this sentiment but seeks to maintain emotional openness, regardless of the vicissitudes of human existence.


    3. The rude untamed Irish she did quell,

      This xenophobic accolade refers to Elizabeth's success in thwarting a Catholic alliance of Spain and Ireland during the Desmond and Tyrone rebellions. The later conflict, also called The Nine Year War, saw reformation tensions boil over as Elizabeth was able to defend her protestant throne against the Catholic uprising in Ireland.


  3. Jan 2016
    1. did come and intreate vs that we would bee a meanes to our God that they as others that had dealt ill with vs might in like sort die; alleaging howe much it would be for our credite and profite, as also theirs; and hoping furthermore that we would do so much at their requests in respect of the friendship we professe them.

      As the natives began to develop a mortal fer of the Christian god, there arose a sinister desire to appeal to the friendship between the colonists and the natives. If the some native people suffered disease and death by angering the Christian god, then perhaps this god could be weaponized to smite the enemy tribes of the natives. A dark example of syncretism.

    2.  Twise this Wiroans was so grieuously sicke that he was like to die, and as hee laie languishing, doubting of anie helpe by his owne priestes, and thinking he was in such daunger for offending vs and thereby our god, sent for some of vs to praie and bee a meanes to our God that it would please him either that he might liue or after death dwell with him in blisse, so likewise were the requestes of manie others in the like case.

      A case of hybridity, where a sick native appeals to the colonists' religion. The dying native asks for Christian prayer on his deathbed. He has here expressed doubt regarding the faith of his ancestors and yearns to experience the Christian god in his supposed afterlife.

    3.  In respect of vs they are a people poore, and for want of skill and iudgement in the knowledge and vse of our things, doe esteeme our trifles before thinges of greater value

      This is a recurring motif among these accounts of the colonists. Compare this with a passage from A Discourse of Virginia: "They were well contented with trifles...He and his messengers were pleased with the like trifles." This exploitation was common in the trading between the colonists and native. Novelty kitsch was sold to the natives in exchange for items of better value and practicality.

    4.   They beleeue also the immortalitie of the soule, that after this life as soone as the soule is departed from the bodie according to the workes it hath done, it is eyther carried to heauẽ the habitacle of gods, there to enioy perpetuall blisse and happinesse, or els to a great pitte or hole, which they thinke to bee in the furthest partes of their part of the worlde towarde the sunne set, there to burne continually: the place they call Popogusso.

      Despite the dismissive nature of many of the colonists, they recognize a shred belief in an afterlife. The European Christians scoffed at many of the the natives' religious beliefs, but here we find a stark similarity between the Christian afterlife of either paradise or fiery perdition and a native belief in "perpetual bliss" or the "great pit."

    1. So they made them a barricado (as usually they did every night) with loggs, staks, & thike pine bowes, ye height of a man, leaving it open to leeward, partly to shelter them from ye could & wind (making their fire in ye midle, & lying round aboute it), and partly to defend them from any sudden assaults of ye savags, if they should surround them.

      This verbiage speaks volumes of the paranoia felt by these New England colonists. Upon first contact, they immediately develop a mistrust of the native. Yes the barricade would stave off the harsh November weather, but it will also serve as as a fortification against an attack they felt was imminent. They're intentions have to be questioned in terms of violence and their expectations of it.

  4. Dec 2015
    1. and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and look’d up With mad disquietude on the dull sky,

      Compare the hateful, self-loathing suicides here with the end of Frankenstein. "I shall collect my funeral pile and consume to ashes this miserable frame,that its remains may afford no light...I shall no longer see the sun or stars..." These passages share a common hopeless nihilism and represent the fear of the end-times which permeated the nineteenth century.

    2. And they were enemies: they met beside The dying embers of an altar-place, Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things For an unholy usage; they raked up,        60 And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath

      Man has been divorced form god as Byron envisions the ashes of the corporeal institutions as the final remnants of the religious impulse. After the enlightenment, religion received a critical reevaluation and Byron, along with Percy Shelly, criticized the fundamentals of Christianity. In "Darkness," people have become entirely removed from spirituality.

      Freeborn, Richard. Frankenstein and Bazarov. New Zealand Slavonic Journal. (1994). 33-44. JSTOR. Web. Nov. 2015.

    3. Even dogs assail’d their masters

      There are many references to Dante's Inferno. This one recalls the dogs of the Inferno tearing living flesh.

      Zakrzewski, Christopher, A. Toward A Reassessment of Mickiewicz' "Ciemosc." Canadian Slavic Papers. 19.4. December 1997: 468-80. JSTOR. Web. Nov. 2015.

    4. And gnash’d their teeth and howl’d: the wild birds shriek’d, And, terrified, did flutter on the ground.

      A horrifying image with biblical wording. The sate of man has been reduced to a violent, beastly, and primitive form. The primeval fear of this desolate landscape is manifest in man and animal alike has given voice to a primal death rattle. The Darkness has regressed the world back to its primitive origins.

      Tritt, Michael. Byron's "Darkness" and Asimov's "Nightfall." Science Fiction Studies 8. 1 (1981): 26-8. JSTOR. Web. Nov. 2015.

    5. Happy were those who dwelt within the eye Of the volcanoes, and their mountain-torch: A fearful hope was all the world contained;

      This is an allusion to the eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815. The fall-out from this led to the unseasonable weather and the apocalyptic expectations that followed. This was considered in Europe "the year without summer."

      Vail, Jeffery. The Bright Sun was Extinguished: The Bologna Conspiracy and Byron's Darkness. Wordsworth Circle. Summer 1997: 183-192. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 204. Literature Criticism. Web. Nov. 2015.

    6. And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,        10 The palaces of crowned kings—the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,

      These lines describe primitive frenzy to establish light in a world enveloped by darkness. The need for light is so dire that the inhabitants of this world are wiling to destroy all accomplishments of civilization to illuminate the darkness. This also implies a complete deterioration of social and political structure.

      Tritt, Michael. Byron's "Darkness" and Asimov's "Nightfall." Science Fiction Studies 8. 1 (1981): 26-8. JSTOR. Web. Nov.2015.

    7. and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air

      As life extinguishes on Earth, the planet itself is removed form the cosmos. The once verdant Earth is now lifeless and frozen as it floats aimlessly away from the sun into primordial dark.

      Freeborn, Richard. Frankenstein and Bazarov. New Zealand Slavonic Journal. (1994). 33-44. JSTOR. Web. Nov.2015.

    8. I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream,

      The original title of Darkness was A Dream. Byron wrote this poem in July of 1816 in the Villa Diodati, near Geneva. This poem was published that same year along with another celebrated work of his, Prisoner of Chillon.

      Mackay, Mary, A. Sketch Club Drawings for Byron's "Darkness" and Scot's "Lay of the Minstrels."Master Drawings. Vol. 35 No. 2 Summer, 1997. 142-154. JSTOR. Web. Nov. 2015.

    9. 476. Darkness

      Byron's metaphorical, "last man" poem inspired by an Italian astronomer's apocalyptic prediction that the sun would die on July 18th 1816. Europe was experiencing strange weather phenomenon such as crop failures and untimely cold spells. The nameless astronomer was known as "the mad Italian prophet"and his end of days rhetoric caused hysteria in many European cities.

      Vail, Jeffery. The Bright Sun was Extinguished: The Bologna Conspiracy and Byron's Darkness. Wordsworth Circle. Summer 1997: 183-192. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 204. Literature Criticism. Web. Nov. 2015.

    10. The Moon, their mistress, had expired before; The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air,        80 And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need Of aid from them—She was the Universe!

      What makes this poem unique is the finality of this vision. Many religions/mythologies offer an end-times scenario. These contain violent struggle and otherworldly upheaval but with a promise of new life or re-birth. Byron's apocalyptic nightmare offers no hope of a continuation of life; only the true finality to a world once thought anthropocentric extinguished of all life forever.

      Pordzik, Ralph. The Poetry of Lastness: Reconsidering a Neglected Motif in Early Nineteenth-Century Literature. Anglia. 128.3. 406-30. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 314. Literature Criticism. Web. Nov. 2015.

    11. Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless, A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.

      Byron was inventive in his words here, as he used negation to convey the true absence of life after Darkness.

      Pordzik, Ralph. The Poetry of Lastness: Reconsidering a Neglected Motif in Early Nineteenth-Century Literature. Anglia. 128.3. 406-30. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 314. Literature Criticism. Web. Nov. 2015.

    12. The populous, and the powerful was a lump,

      Byron here remarks that in the apocalypse, all revolution and class structure would be meaningless as the world would become one universal struggle against death.

      Vail, Jeffery. The Bright Sun was Extinguished: The Bologna Conspiracy and Byron's Darkness. Wordsworth Circle. Summer 1997: 183-192. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 204. Literature Criticism. Web. Nov. 2015.

    13. and vipers crawl’d        35 And twined themselves among the multitude, Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food:

      George Turner, a millenarian and student of prophetess Joanna Southcott, was quoted in the Morning Chronicle that a priest namaed Carillo made an apocalyptic prediction that Naples would be destroyed by heavenly fire and the survivors would be eaten by serpents.

      Vail, Jeffery. The Bright Sun was Extinguished: The Bologna Conspiracy and Byron's Darkness. Wordsworth Circle. Summer 1997: 183-192. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 204. Literature Criticism. Web. Nov. 2015.

    14. and beheld        65 Each other’s aspects—saw and shriek’d, and died— Ev’n of their mutual hideousness they died,

      There is a festering sense of misanthropy in this section of Darkness. The fear and paranoia of the Italian prophecy led to mistrust, suicide and mutual human disdain.

  5. Nov 2015
    1. The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still, And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths; Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,        75 And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp’d, They slept on the abyss without a surge— The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave

      Coleridge's immortal sea-faring nightmare is referenced here. Byron displays a heavy Ancient Mariner influence with these lines. Compare this passage to the Ancient Mariner: Part 2, lines 107-110; "Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down, 'Twas sad as sad could be; And we did speak only to break The silence of the sea!" Also; Part 7, lines 446-449; "Under the water it rumbled on, Still louder and more dread: It reached the ship, it split the bay; The ship went down like lead."

    2. The pall of a past world

      The Romantics were had a tremendous influence on 19th century American writers, especially Edgar Allan Poe. Compare this line with a passage from the final stanza in "The Conqueror Worm". "Out--out are the lights--out all! And, over each quivering form, The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm,"

      The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Tally Hall Press. Ann Arbor. 1997. 1175. Print

  6. Oct 2015
    1. And now there came both mist and snow,<br> And it grew wondrous cold:<br> And ice, mast-high, came floating by,<br> As green as emerald.

      Green was the color of the devil in the middle ages and as Coleridge had a proclivity for the medieval in this work, he used the mist and ice as foreboding metaphors to suggest the ship is bound for a demonic realm much like the voyage in The Demon Lover.

      Nozedar, Adele. The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols. Hong Kong: Harper Element, 2008. Print.

    2. In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud, It perched for vespers nine; Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white, Glimmered the white moon-shine

      Vespers is the sunset prayer in many christian denominations. This is as "Gothic" as it gets. A mysterious bird following a damned voyage driven south (hell) with white fog and lunar radiance with a reference to late night supplications. A moody and portentous rhyme that shouldn't be overlooked.

    3. 1798 ed lines 177-185:And are these two all, all the crew,<br> That woman and her fleshless Pheere?His bones were black with many a crack,<br> All black and bare, I ween;<br> Jet-black and bare, save where with rust<br> Of mouldy damps and charnel crust<br> They're patch'd with purple and green.

      A strong contrast can bees seen here between the two versions of the poem. In the first edition we get a more ghastly death specter without the gloss. The "charnel crust" evokes gruesome imagery as we can see the flesh rotting from the ribs of the phantasm. The second edition uses the gloss to briefly describe the scene; perhaps Coleridge felt it was too graphic to keep such horrors in the stanza.

    4. And now there came both mist and snow.

      The Land of ice, and fearful sounds, where no living thing was to be seen.

      This line and proceeding gloss recalls Niflheim, the Norse land of the dead which features mist, cold, the cacophony of damned spirits and a phosphorescent sheen. The vikings told stories of doomed voyages with descriptions of mist, cold, and loss. By combining underworld imagery with a sort of hallucinatory vision, Coleridge draws an intriguing parallel to the dark tradition of viking nautical myths.

    5. It is the Hermit good! He'll shrieve my soul.

      Hermeticism is a mystical religion dating back to ancient Egypt and incorporates elements of astrology, magic, and practices from mystery religions. Often associated with the figure of a reclusive wizard with a pointed hat, long grey beard etc. This is the attire of the "magus" a medieval practitioner of astrology and magic. Coleridge is moving the titular character towards an ancient or antiquated source of absolution

      Ruiz, Teofilo F. "The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition." The Teaching Company. 2002. DVD. Lecture.

  7. Sep 2015
    1. The sultry tyrant of the south Has spent his short lived rage

      An allusion to Satan in reference to the weather. The infernal heat of the day has subsided to the coolness of twilight. The poem's first shift of time.

    1. She binds iron thorns around his head She pierces both his hands and feet She cuts his heart out at his side

      This imagery suggests the biblical crucifixion as well as ancient sacrificial rites practiced by the Mayans. Blake illustrates the reciprocal, emotional violence, and power mongering of human relationships in an emotional, mystical context.