The lute of spiritual poetry

Love emblems had established the lute as erotic. When, in the 17th century, a wave of religious fervour diverted romantic culture into the purposes of edification, spiritual poetry replaced courtly love songs and the lute passed from the arms of the amorini into those of the soul that loves Christ, or Divine Love. The Jesuits had found, in the form of emblems, a suitable medium for their mission to convert (Hesius, 1636). The lute alternately symbolizes spiritual inspiration, as in the frontispieces of Quarles (1635), Silesius (1657) and even Salmon (1672), or the rejection of profane poetry, as in Balde (1643).

Article plan

  • 1/ I Hesius’ lutes (1636)
  • 2/ The Soules Solace (1626)
  • 3/ Quarles ‘ emblems (1635)
  • 4/ The lute of the loving soul ; Silesius (1657)
  • 5/The broken lute ; Jakob Balde (1643)
  • 6/ A melodious hackney ; Salmon (1672)