The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are the period of the European Renaissance or New Birth, one of the three great transforming movements of European history. This impulse had started first in Italy which we may call ‘the modern world came from Italy’! The Italians had become intellectually one of the keenest races whom the world has ever known for their incredible corruptions. In fourteenth century the spirit of Petrarch and Boccaccio was transmitted to Chaucer.
The Renaissance movement started from the rediscovery of Greek literature. Aristotle was vitalized and Plato’s noble idealistic philosophy was once more studied and understood. The word ‘human’ indeed became the chosen motto of the Renaissance scholars; ‘humanists’ was the title which they applied to themselves. A new creative enthusiasm had vitalized in both, art and literature. In the early sixteenth century a great many painters, Lionardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo rediscovered the European art. In science, towards the end of the fifteenth century Magellan virtually proved that the earth is round, when his ship actually circled the globe. About the year 1540, Copernicus reveals the truth that our world is not in the center of the universe, but merely one of the satellites of its far-superior sun.
In the middle of the fifteenth century the Renaissance had passed from Italy to France and then in England. Soon the study of Greek was introduced in Oxford. In Poetry, The Shepheard’s Calendar (1579) by Spenser is modelled on the artificial pastoral form, which is inspired by Virgil and Theocritus; was the spirit of the Renaissance. The supernatural beings and events of Spenser’s ‘Faerie Queene’ is essentially a picture gallery. He paints a large number of characters which influenced the spirit of the Renaissance. The most of the Renaissance poetry and sonnets are based on melancholic theme.
England was waved by the Renaissance to a new and most energetic life. Under this new aristocracy the rigidity of the feudal system became relaxed, and life became somewhat easier for all classes.