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'Life of Cowley' by Samuel Johnson; Brief-answer Questions

Life of Cowley

Samuel Johnson

1. What type of composition is “The Life of Cowley”? [NU 2015]

Ans: The Life of Cowley by Samuel Johnson is a biography and critical work on Cowley.

2. 'The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together' – who wrote this and why? [NU 2012]

Ans: Johnson wrote the sentence 'The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together' to describe the conceits used by the metaphysical poets.

3. What is the purpose of the volume of The Lives of the Poets?

Ans: According to Johnson, the purpose of the volume of The Lives of the Poets is to allot to every poet an advertisement.

4. Who is considered the first lexicographer in English?

Ans: Samuel Johnson is considered the first lexicographer in English.

5. Who was the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson? [NU 2013]

Ans: James Boswell was the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson.

6. How does Dr. Sprat represent him?

Ans: Dr. Sprat represents him (Cowley) as the most amiable of mankind.

7. In The Life of Cowley what does Dr. Johnson emphasise?

Ans: In The Life of Cowley, Dr. Johnson emphasizes the moral side of Cowley.

8. What limits does Dr. Johnson have as a great critic?

Ans: As a great critic, Dr. Johnson has pet prejudices which impair some of his criticism.

9. What kind of a poet was Cowley?

Ans: Cowley was a metaphysical poet.

10. Who coined the term 'Metaphysical Poets'? [NU 2017]

Ans: Samuel Jonson coined the term 'Metaphysical Poets'.

11. What is an ode?

Ans: Ode is an exalted lyric poem that begins with an address to someone; instill anguish in the middle part and ends with consolation.

12. What kind of odes did Cowley write? [NU 2012, 2017]

Ans: Cowley wrote Pindaric Odes.

13. What is Pindaric Ode?

Ans: A Pindaric Ode, named after ancient Greek poet Pindar, is a poem with three triads: the strophe, the antistrophe and an epode.

14. What is the opinion of Johnson about the Olympick Ode?

Ans: The opinion of Johnson about the Olympick Ode is that the beginning of this ode is above the original in elegance but the ending is below it in strength.

15. What is the name of the satire written by Cowley? [NU 2014]

Ans: The name of the satire written by Cowley is The Puritan and Papist.

16. What is Davideis? [NU 2016]

Ans: Davideis is an unfinished epic poem by the 17th century English poet Abraham Cowley.

17. What is an epic?

Ans: An epic is a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style.

18. What type of work is 'Love's Riddle'? [NU 2016]

Ans: 'Love's Riddle' is a comedy.

19. What kind of writing is “The Guardian” by Cowley? [NU 2015]

Ans: 'The Guardian' by Cowley is a comedy.

20. Why was Cowley censored for The Guardian?

Ans: Cowley was censored for The Guardian because his earlier comedy Clutter of Coleman Street was taken for a satire on the king’s party.

21. Who is Donne?

Ans: Donne is the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets.

22. How does Donne use tears of lovers?

Ans: Donne uses tears of lovers to great poetical account by extending them into world.

23. What is metaphysical poetry?

Ans: Metaphysical poetry, a term coined by Samuel Johnson, has its roots in 17th-century England. This type of poetry is witty, ingenious, and highly philosophical. It topics included love, life and existence.

24. Who were the metaphysical poets? [NU 2013, 2015]

Ans: According to Johnson, the metaphysical Poets were a group of 17th-century British poets including John Donne, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, Andrew Marvell and Henry Vaughan.

25. What are the qualities of metaphysical poets?

Ans: The qualities of metaphysical poets are their use of wit and metaphysical conceits, references to the contemporary scientific or geographical discoveries, examination of religious and moral questions etc.

26. What is metaphysical conceit?

Ans: Metaphysical conceit is a figure of speech in which two dissimilar or far-fetched things / situations are “yoked by violence together.”

27. What are the effects of metaphysical conceits?

Ans: The effects of metaphysical conceits are to startle and surprise the readers.

28. How does Cowley portray love and lover?

Ans: Cowley portrays love and lover in a manner that they seem acquainted with ancient laws and rites of sacrifice.  

29. What is Cowley’s idea of love?

Ans: Cowley applied more perplexity to love.

30. How is a lover compared to Egypt by Cowley?

Ans: A lover is compared to Egypt by Cowley in that the lover is burnt up by his affection.

31. What is wit?

Ans: Wit is the resemblance of ideas that gives delight and surprise to the reader.

32. What does Johnson say about Pope's account of wit?

Ans: Johnson says that Pope's account of wit is erroneous.