The poetry of Stephen Duck and Mary Collier presents an unusual way of discussing the social severe inequalities of their times. Significantly, while both of the above authors responded to pastoral poetry that called for humility, Collier also responded to her colleague by providing an alternative point of view. Such reflections allow the reader to gain a retrospective on the problems of perception of medieval times, hence broadening his horizons. Thus, this paper aims to briefly analyze the thoughts expressed and the positions taken by the poets on the issue of life for the poor and the rich.
First, it is necessary to analyze the writers’ attitudes toward the topic mentioned above in detail. While Duck criticized the approach of pastoral poetry, which promoted Christian motifs of obedience and repentance, he separated the poor and the rich as two distinct social groups. His female interlocutor also engaged in similar activity but had the opposite view on the issue of social separation, “Deigning to look down on one that’s poor and low, resembling yourself was lately so.” She believed that many of the wealthy of her time had achieved their position, though she did not deny the medieval culture of heritage and nobility.
From this distinction, however, grows all the significant differences between the poets, their reasoning moving in different directions. An example is that Duck sets a deterministic framework, classifying merchants and sailors as poor, indicating the basis of being in the lower strata of society as all-encompassing fear. A striking example of the expression of such thought are such lines as “The Sailor, terrify’d with Thoughts of thee, boldly attempts the Dangers of the Sea.” As a result, the different perspectives on the difference between the poor and the rich lead the two authors represented to different representations.
In conclusion, this analysis has demonstrated the foundation of the views of Duck and Collier and their main discrepancies. Taking as a basis the conclusions drawn, one can get an overall picture of the point of view of the poetic figures of the Middle Ages and the state of affairs in archaic society. The importance of such studies lies in the historical, sociological, and cultural values, whose contrast with contemporary realities allows one to draw multiple conclusions about societal trends. Moreover, the literary value of opposing conventional pastoral poetry is an important philological and creative milestone that deserves particular attention.