Themes in Hymn to St Teresa

Mystical perceptions

The obvious theme is the agony and ecstasy of love. Much more than in any poem of human love, Crashaw manages to convey here the possibility that agony and ecstasy are two sides of the same coin, and can be felt simultaneously. This is the mystical experience of the flaming arrow. So, with this theme, comes that of mystical perceptions of God, here not directly for the poet, but through his intense imaginative identification with Teresa.

Investigating Hymn to St Teresa
  • If Crashaw is at a first remove from Teresa's experiences, we as readers are at a second remove
      • Does the poet, through the power of his poetry, re-create for you some sense of his experiences, if not hers?
  • What would you say is the core of the poet's own experience of Teresa?
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