The Last Pilgrimage to Eternity
Protestant Paths to the Afterlife in Early Modern English Poetry
With the advent of the reformation, concepts of living and dying were profoundly reconfigured. As purgatory disappeared from the spiritual landscape, other paths to the afterlife were rediscovered. Thus, when life draws to a close, the passage to the afterlife becomes a last pilgrimage, a popular early modern metaphor that has received little critical commentary. In a rigorous historical and theological reading, Cyril L. Caspar explores five major English poets – John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, George Herbert, Edmund Spenser, and John Milton – to unveil the poetical potential of the last pilgrimage as a life-transcending metaphor.