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The end of day, the end of the year, and the end of the century symbolically unite with the bleakness of the imagery in the first two stanzas of this poem to evoke a mood of utter desolation and hopelessness. What the poem actually presents in subtler and less cheerful. In the last line he flatly states that he is unaware of any hope. The bird sings, really, out of instinct, not out of knowledge, and at the bottom of his mind the speaker know this. Imaged and mood blend perfectly in this poem. And it has ambiguous reference. Both, and either, since the quip permits of both interpretations equally.

The theological meaning is embodied in the quip, for a virtuous person dedicates his life to the Lord, in exchange for which the Lord sacrifies Himself as the salvation of the virtuous. For example, Beauty presents herself as a rose who wonders what has robbed the speaker of the power to command his own hands, discrediting his abstention as implying his weakness.

And Glory tries to tempt by superciliously parading his superiority. In any case, Herbert opposes these talkers to the taciturn speaker we should probably take the italicized lines to be unspoken thoughts, a rejoinder never uttered aloud , for the answer is not to be made by man but by the Lord, who accepts and approves his actions. And rather than draw out any argument to support this, the speaker produces his quip, for debate and argument are the modes of the world. The biographical information suggests that if Herbert may be identified as the speaker, his renunciation of worldly goods and pleasures should be recognized as temptations truly overcome, rather than as the rejection of things which he has never experienced.

It is a repudiation of worldliness which continues to tempt. Grammatically the sentence curls easily and without distortion into a pattern in which all lines rime alternately and each line is measured against a metrical framework of four iambic feet. But just as a sunset has many tones, so does this poem. Its life lies in its metaphors, in the modifiers.

In the first four lines we are told that the light of the sunset seems to hover or linger as do the prolonged tones of trumpets blown at a military burial. The simile catches up not only the lingering quality of both sunset light and trumpet tone, but also their richness: the light of the sunset is golden, the sonorous tones of the trumpet seem golden and are blown from golden trumpets.

All the material imagery prepares us for the final simile. The dark hills fade into dark night as if daylight were ending forever and history were done. Some day-ends do give this impression of utter finality. Literally, it describes a sunset behind dark hills. But through the quality of its imagery- the metaphor and similes contained in the modifiers are added larger overtones of meaning. War, the poem suggests, is a condition of human life. The apostrophe helps give the impression of a solitary speaker brooding over the sunset.

A sunset poem is appropriately a somber poem. The darkness of the hills serves not only as a visual image but as an emotional symbol. While the first quatrain refers to the motions of the bird, it is itself static, a collection of nouns and prepositional phrases without predication.

These phrases thus refer to two characteristic of a hummingbird in flight: its ability to hover motionlessly in the air and its sudden, almost magical disappearance from sight as it speeds away. These lines name motion, but do not have the completeness of sentences moving through grammatical correctness. Lines also contain examples of synesthesia, the substitution of one sense for another.

The bird that has ruffled their hair is as swift-and as magical-as a postman who travels thousands of miles in a single morning. The pearls constitute the one metaphor which does not fit in with the central metaphor of the garden. This plain sense is rendered through three from 4 metaphors. Kissing is compared to purchasing cherries.

But this is a love poem, not a religious poem. There were no cries of street vendors in the Biblical Eden, not were there peers or princes there. The Eden overtones are just that-overtones, not the subject of the subject of the poem. All four forms of metaphor are found in this poem. The central metaphor equating a garden and a face belongs to form 1. It also consists of a single sentence winding easily and gracefully through the strict formal requirements meter and rime scheme of an English sonnet.

It thus exemplifies in it's from the paradox which is central to its content-the idea of freedom achieved within bondage. It is a pavilion, a tent made not of coarse canvas, but of silk. Silk suggests beauty and fineness. The tent is circularity. What kind of woman is portrayed in this comparison to a tent? The first four lines suggests outward beauty, delicacy, gentleness, freedom, and composure.

The next three lines suggest strength and sweetness of soul, and a firm dedication to spiritual values. Some change of circumstance, a sudden gust of wind, causes a tug or pull on her, to which she responds. In human terms, she is needed, and responds to the need. Considering the link that he draws between sleep and death, is he in fact desiring a final desire through line 8 makes that seem a reasonable conjecture although we must be careful not to take a figurative term literally - but still, why does he desire it? We would normally suppose that it is better to possess the mental qualities embodied in the word-moral standards, moral compulsion, and consciousness.

Yet clearly, to the speaker, this phrase is negative in its implications-it is what he wants to be saved from. Because Keats takes the speaker no further, it is not possible to determine any specific cause for the desire for sleep, though of course we cart rule out some simplistic explanations: he is not insomniac; he is not weary after great physical labore he does not need to sleep now so as to wake early.

The open-endedness of the desire, here, is part of the appeal of this sonnet, which focuses more on the desire than on the motive. Strikingly, he eliminates the concluding couplet which to him and many others has seemed too likely to be glib and superificial as a resolution , and instead interrupts the orderly progression of heroic quatrains with anomalous rimes at lines abab cdcd bc efef. The speaker thinking of his lady, is reminded by it of woman-of woman-not physically present. The next morning she finds the sea urchin again, this time literally crushed in a foot print and she is reminded again of the vulnerability of fragile woman, but is reminded of it by the sea urchin, not vice versa.

It is principally the physical presence of the sea urchin that makes it a symbol. Richardson also compares woman to egg-shells, in a metaphor that emphasize their fragility. This comparison in the first stanza anticipates the destruction in the second stanza. The substitution of suspension periods for a single period at the end indicates that the movement continues beyond the end of the poem. Man breaking the articles of this once, rendered himself for ever incapable of retrieving that loss, or of keeping them for the future; so by these articles he could never thrive, that is, never be justified.

This was purchased for us by, and granted to us at, the death of Christ.

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These premises will lead us into the plain sense of this poem. Note, however, that they are not given some of the less admirable qualities such as selfishness, lust, spitefulness, and others equally characteristic of young men. The symbols in the poem are introduced in the sestet with the images of water, wind, sunlight, and of frost, stillness, darkness.

The literal process presented in the sestet is the freezing over of a lake that was brilliantly active in the sunlight, and how is brilliantly still in the moonlight. The sunlit lake is a symbol for the lives of these young men, and the frozen lake a symbol for their deaths. They are equally beautiful, though completely opposite. The movement of the poem supports the general tenor of this body of thought. The identity of the answer is not clear-cut: Is he Christ, promising rest after a weary life, or only someone who knows the answer posed by the traveler?

The riddling tone of the poem arises out of the simplicity of he symbols. The speaker has felt badly about some aspects of the way his life was going, but the falling of a few flakes of snow has shaken him out of himself and helped him overcome his despondency: He could have been annoyed at the minor inconvenience of the incident, but he has made the most of it. It is not that nature is beneficent, trying to find ways to help man, but than man makes for himself the pattern of his life. He regards sexual desire and fulfillment as natural and innocent.

The poem illustrates Dickinson at her poetic best in its fortunate combination of a simple but meaningful words. She most often employs iambic tetrameter lines 4-foot, 8- beat and alternating rhymes, sometimes off0rhyme unveil-befell, hell. The first line might be considered awkward in its repetition of close, and that too is typical of her poems-when used sparingly, such repetition is successful; when excessive, it can become ineffective.

The idea of parting as a from of dying, in a way more terrible than death because the bereft one knows the other to be alive somewhere but out of reach, is of course a topic of frequent and earnest treatment among poets. Dickinson, however, uses it more often and with a more cutting effect than most poets have. Most readers have little difficulty with the first paradox.

The speaker, while living, suffered two metaphorical deaths through the loss of persons dearly beloved by her. The use in line 1 of the past tense rather than the present perfect indicates that the speaker is at or near the point of her death: her life has come to its literal close now, and she is therefore in a position to make this definitive statement.

She suggests, in other words, that the death of her two precious friends were so painful to her that even the bliss of her own entry into heaven or the horror of her entry into hell may seem trivial by comparison, or does she perhaps suggest that Immortality, by separating her from friends newly dead? The closest we can come to knowing heaven is when our friends describe it which is to say, we can know nothing of it as long as we are still living and our friends have gone there without us 2. Though we do know whether there is an afterlife of bliss after death, we have a foretaste of what heaven will be like if it does exist in the emotions we feel at parting from loved ones during life.

The ironic line is line 10, for the one fault that the poet avers against the lady turns out to be her crowing virtue: modesty, lack of vanity. Instead, we are given taxicabs, streetcars, coffee, lipstick, and bourbon whiskey. But this is a modern love poem. It is appropriately placed among the realities of modern times and is more real in its passion because it is so. Love poems traditionally praise the beloved, and so does this one. We love her the more for it. For her clumsiness with things is balanced by her deftness with people. The poem pivots of this contrast.

But Shakespeare an Donne proved long ago that with and deep feeling are compatible. Overstatement is the traditional language of love poetry. The overstatements in this poem are as extravagant as any, but are used in dispraise as well as praise. This is what the last line means. But it says it so as to make us feel it. One might also find situational irony in the final phrase, since it indicates on outcome contrary to truth of fact: that treason must be called by another name if it succeeds, even though it remains by definition what it is.

This final phrase puts irony to the service of satire, pointing an accusing finger at those who for the sake of expedience or out of fear will avoid stating the truth. One might conceive of a successful act of treason that does not bring with it wealth that of the Minutemen in the American Revolution, for example, who were traitors to the British crown not for personal gain but for an idealistic goal.

Examining recent history World War II was its central event , he finds that modern man has devoted his major energies to devising ingenious methods of subjugating and destroying other men. The chief qualification for membership, the, is to be a crafty killer. In his application the poem he therefore describes the program he proposes for himself in order to acquire the requisite skills.

His program for qualifying himself is one that he does not intend to carry out. If he human race is what it appears to be, and if he indeed has the option of belonging or not belonging, he chooses not to belong. The title embodies two distinct meanings. A satire on modern insituationalism and bureaucratic red tape, the poem is notable for the departure from the typical blank verse speech rhythms of the earlier works. The short, staccato rhythm of the couplets reminds one of the satires of the Eighteenth Century.

Moreover, its clipped, abrupt tone helps to capture the cut-and-dried language and attitude of modern institutionalism. The individual can be curtly and abruptly dismissed. The opening twelve lines satirize the departmentalization of modern life. Because the ant was assigned a specific duty, the sight of the unnatural monster did not surprise him. But when the reader understands that the remark really refers to humanity, he suddenly realizes that underneath the tone of calm observation runs a current of sharp, biting satire.

People, like ants, are so institutionalized that they do not allow their individual sense of wonder to operate in their lives. After this statement, the satire becomes more specific. A sense of the loss of a beloved individual is no longer present in a departmentalized society. The official process of communication goes forth in formic.

Notice the realistic touch Frost gives here: ants do secrete formic acid. In fact, one of the triumphs of the poem is its ability to be simultaneously cure to human and insect nature. Jerry, the deceased, is coldly, methodically prepared for burial: Lay him in state on asepal. Wrap him forshroud in a petal. Embalm him with ichor of nettle.

The ant morticians seem as inhuman as the human ones. One is reminded of E. Everything is so cut-and-dried in this society that death is not an occasion for sorrow. Just as no one had ever considered Jerry as an individual while he lived, so no one cares about his death. These too, the onlookers returned to heir own lives. But the difference as a unique individual, and the onlookers reaction had been their way of preserving their lives in the face of the awful tragedy.

Here, no one even feels a sense of tragedy; everything is approached matter of faculty. But, ironically, what is curious about them is that, in another sense, they are an extremely incurtious race: they have no curiosity about matters unrelated to their own assigned duties in the colony. No provision is made for grief, or personal relationship in the efficiently organized bureaucracy. To shift metaphors violently, they are cogs in a machine. The flower addressed in the first line of the poem represents Milton's niece Anne Phillips, the daughter of Milton's sister Anne. Oh no! In stanzas V through IX.

Milton continues to mourn the Infants death. At the end of the ninth stanza Milton refers to the division between the "sordid world" and "heavn. A habit of mind which would continue to the end of his writing career and which is particularly central to the structure of paradise lost. In stanza XI Milton inquires as to why the child could not have stayed here on earth to bless everyone with her purity. As Milton says to her, she can "perform that office". Miltons sister by pointing out what a splendid gift she made to god. Ivi, 5. It is remarkable for its suggestion of various elements used later in paradise lost.

The poem consists of eleven seven-line stanzas. The rhyme scheme of the stanza is a, b, a, b, b, c, c, and is in iambic pentameter, with an Alexandrine, or six-foot line, at the end. Using small conceits fancy images , alliteration, and a technically precise yet difficult stanza form, he successfully establishes a mood of sincere grief. It is the first poem in which we are actually aware of Milton's natural poetic genius. Milton informs us. Milton seems, for the first time, to be turning to the serious kind of poetry upon which his reputation would ultimately be built.

The subject of the nativity was an extremely common one in both sixteenth and seventeenth century English poetry. The poem consists of art introduction of four stanzas by a hymn of twenty- seven stanzas. The first seven stanzas reiterate continuously the peaceful silence of the setting. Milton paints a picture of peace descending on the world at the birth of Christ: winds and water stand still, while war is temporarily halted, in stanza V. Music of the spheres ring out louder and louder as angelic harmony counteracts the silence of the opening. In stanza XVI, Milton realizes that heaven on earth can not be a reality until Christ has been crucified.

His mere arrival on earth is not the same thing as the establishment of his kingdom on earth: but at least from this day of Christ s birth on, we are moving toward a divine harmony. The theme of the nativity ode is the infant Christ s triumph over the gods of paganism. The stanza is also quite similar to Tasso's description of the silencing of the oracles in a Nativity poem in Rime Sacre. In any case, in Milton, s ode the old order of paganism is being defeated by the new order of Christianity. Not only are Appollo's oracles silenced, but the local classical gods depart, as do the feeling pagan gods of ancient Palestine.

The poem's outstanding quality is its tight organization. Because of delicately conceived architecture. Milton writes gracefully. Milton depicts Christ not as a suffering Saviour but rather as the mighty pan. I, The stanzas of the introduction are in the seven-line rhyme of "on the death of a fair infant". Eighteen century readers did not consider Milton's Nativity ode a very good poem. The most frequently voiced objection to the poem has been its use of metaphysical conceits and elaborate, baroque imagery. On the other hand, the ode was Dylan Thomas' favorite poem.

In any case Milton never wrote another poem like it. It has an attractive diversity, a rich use of language, and a tight organization. For a young poet, this would seem enough to recommend the ode. Also, we must emphasize that Milton apparently felt sincerely moved by a contemplation of Christ when he came to write this poem, and much of the criticized extravagance it contains may perhaps be explained by the intensity of Milton's commitment to the idea of the triumph Christianity over paganism.

It was placed immediately after the nativity ode in the edition of Milton's poetry, and apparently was written the following Easter, in Milton begins by saying that he must now go on to tell us what happened to Christ after his splendid birth described in the nativity ode. After recalling former music in stanza 1, Milton writes, "Now to sorrow must I tune my song. Where Milton stops writing, he affixes a note pointing out that he had found the subject of the poem "to above the years he had, where he wrote it. Most critics suspect that Milton failed to complete "the passion" simply because he did not like thinking about Christ as the suffering Saviour.

He preferred to think of Christ as the ideal, model man. Christ is not simply our redeemer; he is our guide. Milton's Christ is alive and in this world, leading men to God's truth. Because of the apparent unpleasantness of the crucifixion, Milton does little more than introduce the theme before he quits. The poem is important because it reveals to us the nature of Milton's feelings about Christ. In "the passion" Milton again uses the seven-line stanza of iambic pentameter, rhyming a, b, a, b, b, c, c,.

The lines represent one of Milton's rare attempts at copying the style of his contemporaries. Milton praises Shakespeare by suggesting that he does not need an actual monument, for there is a metaphorical monument formed by all of his readers. The poem should be compared with Ben Jonson's lines on Shakespeare, in which Jonson tells Shakespeare that he is "a monument without a tomb. Furthermore, Milton seems sincere in his praise and admiration of Shakespeare.

As Milton wrote these dedicatory lines, in his mind he was probably consciously comparing his own poetry to that of Shakespeare. In attempting to copy a popular style of his day, Milton experimented with the heroic couplets. The poem is an extended conceit and thus belongs to the metaphysical style made fashionable by Donne and Herbert. They are deliberate experiments on serious themes for the first time since Milton failed in "the passion.

And he is deliberately trying to achieve sustained music. In "on time" Milton simply accuses time of preying on mortals; Milton cautions that once man passes into eternity, he becomes greater than time. Time, in other words, only has relevance for this "merely mortal" world.

Soon, man will triumph over Death, chance, and time. In "upon the circumcision, " Milton addresses the "powers" that are part of the hierarchy of angles that Milton pictured singing at Christ's birth in the nativity ode. Now Milton commands them to "mourn" for Christ's death. The poem is more or less only a brief statement of Christ's crucifixion and God's reason behind it. It is the same topic that Milton failed to treat successfully in "He is probably more successfully in "the passion.

In 'At a solemn music, " Milton sustains his rhythm the longest. In "At a solemn music, " as in "on time, " Milton is again making a contrast between good and evil. The three lyrics seem to be linked thematically to the other early poems dealing with Christ's birth and death.

Although none of the three poems is particularly exciting, together they show Milton exploring high seriousness in poetry while making a stylistic advance. All three of these lyrics are ode with irregular rhyme and line length. The long sentences is only one suggestion of the new way in which Milton seems capable of sustaining a mood over a larger number of lines without becoming monotonous. A stylistic improvement that would aid him greatly when writing Paradise Lost. Although presented by Milton as only a fragment, the poem nevertheless can be viewed as complete in itself.

One must realize that the Arcades are the natives of Arcady, the Greek state usually adopted by poets of the English renaissance for their pastoral settings. Some Arcadian shepherds have been seeking their Arcadian queen. The first song asserts that they now find her in the person for whom the masque is being performed.

We must picture the countess of Derby sitting facing a group of actors who turn and sing directly to her as if they had never seen her before and are now discovering her for the first time. The first song, in other words, explains how the searching shepherds are overpowered by the beauty of Milton's patroness.

As the shepherds come closer to the countess, the Genius of the wood enters and announces that he understands that they are arcades and, knowing of their quest, offers his assistance. But first he pauses to explain the way in which he watches over the beautiful surrounding landscape. This is Milton's way of paying a compliment to the beauty of the countess estate. Then the Genius of the wood describes the music of the spheres recall the similar description in the nativity ode , and explains that if he were not so busy, he would sing in praise of his mistress himself.

Then, however, he does indeed to sing a song. Which many consider the most beautiful part of "Arcades, " beginning "O'er the smooth enamel'd green. Thus from the first song, through the narration and song of the Genius of the wood, to the final chorus song of the shepherds, "Arcades" forms an extended pastoral description. The tone and style of "Arcades" are similar to those of a Jonsonian masque. The masque is important, first, in that Milton for the first time seems capable of writing "songs, " and second, as a preparation for "Comus.

Being only a fragment of a masque, "Arcades" does not conform to masque, structure. There is no prologue or epilogue. The fragment contains three songs. The first song of four six-line stanzas, each ending in a couplet of iambic tetrameter, is followed by a long speech by the Genius of the wood consisting entirely of heroic couplets. The second song consists of five couplets of irregular length and is sung by the Genius of the wood. The third and final song of the fragment is in sonnet form fourteen lines of rhymed verse. We have reviewed those early poems usually considered to be the most important of Milton's early work.

There are, however, some excellent Latin poems and Italian sonnets which show us Milton as a courtly Petrarchan lover, a face he apparently did not wish to reveal in English. And there are some other less important poems in English which are interesting only as curiosity pieces: among them are "song: on may morning, " "At a vacation Exercise in the college" in both Latin and English , and the two poems on the death University carrier Hobson, the mailman.

In these poems, as in the more important early poems, Milton is constantly experimenting both in versification and themes. His poems have become exercises, but that does not make them any less enjoyable. Milton's second poem is better organized than his first. His ode on the Nativity contains better transitions between the stanzas than does his poem on his niece's death. The depiction of the infant Christ's triumphs over the gods of paganism represents a more serious and dignified theme.

In other words, Milton's second poem is more important simply because of its subject matter. We generally assign more importance to poems having universal themes. That Milton's technical skill as a poet improved in his second poem simply makes it that much more important. In short, both in content and style, his Nativity ode looks forward to the larger themes he would develop more fully in his last, great works such as paradise lost and Samson agonists. Although "Arcades" of course does not have the fullness and complexity of Milton's later masque, "Comus, " there is no reason why it cannot be read as complete in itself.

Consider the structure of "Arcades": the opening song merely explains that the searching shepherds are overpowered by the lady, Milton's patroness; the Genius of the wood then makes a speech and follows it with a song. His words are so lovely that the shepherds join together to sing the third or final song. In all the lines of the masque, we are listening to descriptions of pastoral beauty; there is no need for Milton to develop a complicated story. He may have called it a "part" of an entertainment only because he realized upon completion that there was no need to go further, even though his masque was not that long.

If we think of it as a connected set of short pastoral poems, however, we sense the unity of Milton's incomplete masque. That is, if we can think of "Arcades" as a group of pastoral songs, rather than as a masque, we are more aware of its unity. Milton did not confine his literary endeavor to the composition of long poems. In addition to writing twenty-four sonnets, he wrote, at three different time in his life, paraphrases of psalms.

These were literary exercises popular during Milton's contemporaries also tried their hands at psalms translation. In , when Milton was only fifteen years old, he wrote paraphrases, or translations, of psalms and His renditions of these psalms are interesting primarily because they are the earliest surviving poems which Milton wrote.

He included them in the edition of his poems. Milton next tried to translate psalms in when he wrote "Nine of the psalms done into meter, " announcing further that he had made no changes from the original text. The nine psalms were those numbered to , and Milton's note about their proximity to the text is certainly accurate. Milton's third and final experiment at psalms translation was in when he translated psalms into various metrical and stanzaic forms.

He wrote almost one each day, and each is different from all of the others. Milton's treatment of the original Hebrew in which the psalms were written was no freer than of any of his contemporary translators. The compositions of all of the psalms, incidentally, was probably inspired by Milton's father, who enjoyed writing psalms tunes. Although marked by an expected immaturity of a fifteen-year-old boy, Milton's first two psalms translations nevertheless are evidence of his literary precocity, originality, and scholarly facility.

Milton's second group of psalms translations, because of their literality, have a far less poetic quality than his earlier ones and are less enjoyable.

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Milton seems to have written them in the common service meter 8 and 6 so that they could be sung in church. Milton's final translations are much more flexible than the second group and only loosely follow the original text. Milton was now once again close to the kind of translations he wrote when he was only fifteen. Except that he was now combining his own experience with that of the psalmist more extensively. Each psalm is more complexly rendered than the last.

The first it written in sixteen lines of rhymes which alternate in three-foot lines. There is no attempt at uniformity. Rather, the diversity suggests that the psalm translations be considered simply as literary activities of an experimental nature. He never sat down, and wrote several sonnets at the same time. Only occasionally did he even venture to write a sonnet. The mere fact that he wrote relatively few suggests that he was not particularly attracted to the sonnet form.

This is one reason that Milton changed, as we shall observe, the direction of the sonnet's content. The last fourteen of Milton's sonnets, numbers 11 through 25, were written at various intervals between the years and , while the earlier sonnets were all written prior to Sonnets 11 and 12 are both in defense of Milton's ideas about divorce see introductory chapter.

Both sonnets present Milton's bitter, angry reaction to the reception of his divorce tracts, particularly Tetrachordon, which was published in There is nothing subtle about Milton's purposes in the two sonnets. He bluntly beings the first, "A book was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon, " and the second, "I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs. Together they represent Milton's first complaint about the culture of his age.

Sonnets 13 and 14 are both simply personal compliments. Sonnet 13 is in praise of Henry lawes, the musician who wrote the music for "Comus" and whom Milton praised in line Sonnet 14 is a religious poem contemplating the virtuous soul of the deceased Mrs. Catharine Thomason, who died in We do not know the precise nature of the relationship between the Thomasons and the Miltons, except for the fact that Milton gave copies of some of his works to Catharine's husband George.

Sonnets 15, 16 and 17 continue the trend of personal compliment begun earlier; however, Milton's sonnets are now becoming some-what more eloquent. No longer does he seem only to be celebrating an occasion or a person. Instead, he uses a particular public event or personality as a springboard into a discussion with universal relevance. This is exemplified in sonnet 15 to sir Thomas Fairfax whose victories at Marston Moor and Naseby in and decided the outcome of the civil War. Milton makes Fairfax's victory a direct product of his virtues, a theme which Milton develops more extensively in paradise Lost.

In vain doth valor bleed While avarice and rapine share the land. Sonnet 18, "on the late massacre in piedmont, " sonnet 20 on Henry Lawrence the lord president of the council under Cromwell's government , and sonnet 21 on Cyriak skinner the famous author of the institutes of the law in England , are all more or less of only limited interest. It any case, many of Milton's sonnets have remained popular for the last three hundred years.

Selected important sonnets will now be discussed separately in detail. He concludes by suggesting that he serves both muse and love, that is, that he likes romance and he likes to write poetry, the conventional combination for the Italian Petrarchan lover. The first group of Milton's sonnets were written during his last years as a student at Cambridge.

Milton presents himself in the poem as the typical courtly lover. Furthermore, as the first sonnet in the group of six. It introduces the reader to the romantic nature of the following five sonnets in Italian. The versification of this sonnet is similar to that of the Italian sonnets: an octave first eight lines rhyming a, b, b, a, a, b, b, a.

Milton merely sings of love's champion, the nightingale, in a conventional manner. Having turned twenty-three, in other words, Milton imagines that he must now be near to manhood, and naturally he is somewhat sad at the passing of his childhood. He realizes, however, that no matter whether time passes slowly or quickly, it all leads on to the next and final life in Heaven: and this constitutes Milton's major consolation.

This is one of Milton's most famous sonnets. Presumably written on his twenty-third birthday, it is an eloquent crystallization of the emotions of a young boy realizing for the first time that he is at last becoming a man. Sonnet 7 is important because it proves that Milton is now capable of giving utterance to personal feelings. We no longer discover the conventional, romanticized speaker that is common to the first group of poems.

Although Milton adheres to the Italian division of his fourteen lines into octave and sestet here rhyming a, b, b, a, a, b, b, a, and c, d, e, d, c, e respectively , he is now writing the kind of personalized sonnet for which words worth and other late English poets would have such great admiration. The poem was originally titled "On his door when the city expected an assault, " but has been known either by its first line or as "when the Assault was Intended to the city.

Sonnet 9, "lady that in the prime of earliest youth, " the subject of which is unknown, and sonnet 10, addressed to the lady Margaret Ley, both written in , are personal compliments but are not outstanding poems. This whole group of Milton's first ten sonnets was published in the edition of his poetry. Sonnets 8, 9 and 10 have become somewhat antiquated. The only one of the first ten still enjoying a large critical popularity is the emotionally charged sonnet written on his twenty-third birthday. These last three sonnets of the first group published are "occasional" in their background and have only limited modern appeal.

Technically, of course, Milton continues to grow, but the topical nature of the poems places the advancement in style in the shadows of a clouded content. Cromwell, for example, is guided "by faith and matchless fortitude" 1. Milton thus freely blends Cromwell's military genius with his own religious genius. Sonnet 16 on Oliver Cromwell, "our chief of men" 1. It has always enjoyed a favorable reputation, partially because it suggests the way Milton felt about the puritan leader Cromwell see introduction and partly because of the very expressiveness of the sonnet's language.

Both this sonnet on Cromwell, and sonnet 17 on sir Henry Vane, as celebrations of two great anti-royalists, are similar to the "heroic sonnets" written by Tasso about some of the great figures of his contemporary Italy. It is probably the record of a real dream. Milton skillfully contrasts his vision while dreaming, with his lack of vision while awake, an ironic inversion of nature: to a certain extent the poem contains a Bitterness about blindness. For in this sonnet, as distinct from the previous two on blindness, Milton closes the poem by referring to his blindness.

Explaining that "day brought back my night" 1. There is no note of happiness in the sonnet. There is no affirmation of faith. Only the unreal, the illusory is attractive. The loveliness of the poem, in other words, is discovered of the dream. Milton sees his wife "vested all in white, pure as her mind" 1. The sonnet moves, in short. From a holy bright vision to sad, enveloping darkness. It is possible, although not probable, that this sonnet has nothing to do with Milton's blindness. Milton may have been simply following the Petrarchan convention of having the poet awaken from a vision of his beloved to find her gone.

This, for example, is typical of many of sir Phillip Sidney's sonnets to Stella in his sonnet sequence. No, there is a difference between the three sets of psalms which Milton translated. His first two psalms, written when he was only fifteen, have more flexibility and charm because Milton did not follow the Hebrew as close as he might have. In the second group of sonnets which he wrote, for example, Milton's style is based on his attempt to duplicate the precise style of the original. Milton's style varies with each of the three groups of psalms.

But within each group his style is consistent, primarily because he decided before he began whether he was going to follow the original text closely or not. It is not really possible to consider Milton's sonnets as a group. They were written during some forty years and they were not planned as part of an organic whole. Beginning with the English sonnet written on his twenty-third birthday, Milton primarily used the sonnet as a form for expressing his ideas about bout public events and private emotions.

Every sonnet is different. Some flatter friends some celebrate public happenings; and some are merely utterances of private conflict and turmoil. One minute Milton is castigating the entire nation for its illiteracy and ignorant reception of his divorce tracts. The next minute he is discussing his blindness or his deceased wife. In short, there is no singular theme which can be said to unite all twenty-four sonnets. Each has a distinct mood and is related to a particular moment in Milton's career as a poet. Perhaps we can note the general predominance of kindness and sympathy which is marred only by occasional bitter-ness or vexation.

Furthermore, there is a note of optimism which runs like a stream of inspiration beneath the surface of most of the sonnets. We can feel certain that the sonnets do not form a "group, " merely because there are some sonnets which have universal appeal and have endured in their popularity. While there are other sonnets which have grown stale and uninteresting except as historical footnotes. How can we possibly connect the sonnets on Milton's blindness with some of his other sonnets like those on Cromwell and Fairfax?

It is an interesting fact of literary history that Milton only began to write sonnets after they had lost most of their vogue in England. The Elizabethans, it was thought, had exhausted the sonnet form. The truth was, however, that they had only attempted to use the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet for the conventional expression of love. But Milton knew of Tasso's heroic sonnets which celebrated public events and personalities, and thus Milton put the sonnet to new work in English literature. Milton's sonnets alone were Wordsworth's chief source of inspiration. And for the first time in English literature, the sonnet had now been put to use by Milton as a vehicle for non- romantic statement.

Because he was willing to use the sonnet form for something other than blind statement of courtly love, Milton's sonnets stand alone in the history of English literature. Like Quixote, he is foolish; but, unlike Quixote, he is a coward. People who think in slogans are seldom logically consistent, or even logical. A good poem can be made out of trite language when the trite language is used consciously for ironic effect.

Eliot The HOLLOW MAN This work was built from a number of separate poems; the first four sections appeared separately and in different combinations until the addition of the last section in Poems gave us the poem as we now have it. Its manner of composition is found also in the next poem, Ash-Wednesday, and may account for some of the apparent discrepancies between the sections of both poems that cause local difficulties of interpretations, but the shared metrical and emotional characteristics of the sequences weld each into a coherent poetic unity-and it is grasping that overall effect, rather than puzzling over isolated uncertainties, at which the newcomer to such poems should aim.

This would link up with the treachery associated with the second epigraph and the recollection of another speech by Brutus in Part V of the poem. The poem has two epigraphs, on consecutive pages in Selected Poems. The horror! COMENTARY: Notice how the short lines and the repetitions, varied by rhymes and partial rhymes men … men … when; together … together … cellar; Alas … less … grass … glass , emphasis the feebleness and limitedness and pointlessness being presented.

The verse structure, different from that of any of the earlier poems, helps to set the tone of the poem as much as the images that will be developed. While the damned cross the River Acheron to Hell, these tepid souls are condemned to stay eternally by the river, a ghastly Limbo. The critic F. The broken lives presented throughout the poem fade away in a conclusion combining a feeble trailing off with a memorable inevitability.

From now on, however, the way can only be upwards. This underlines the links with both Beatrice who salutes Dante in The New Life, III, dressed in pure white and the Virgin saluted by the Angel Gabriel as well as the devout : as in Dante, a parallel between these two Ladies is established in the poem, and they are basic to its total imagery.

This section develops both the staircase image and the idea that sensual distractions hinder spiritual progress. As the time of conversion the dying of the old man and the birth of the new is difficult, the help of the blessed teachers in needed. Here the poet brings together all the previous female presences in the poem to aid his final prayer. The journey is not over yet. The imagery of the middle section is particularly unusual, both for the prophetic suggestions of future events of the Crucifixion a literary technique called prolepsis and for the significance of the choice of the other images.

Of such apparently random but emotion-charged images Eliot has written illuminatingly: Six ruffians seen through an open window playing cards at night at a small French railway junction where there was a watermill: such memories may have symbolic value, but of what we cannot tell, for they come to represent the depths of feeling into which we cannot peer.

Magi: the three wise men who came from the East with gifts for the Newly-born Jesus. However, the simplicity does not preclude the possibility of sophisticated metrics, notably in the placing of the biblical extracts, and complex imagery, notably in the opening verse paragraph. In brief, she does not expect or require faith in the original meanings of the stories, but revises their significance for a less credulous age.

Belshazzar had not learned the lesson taught to his father, that the sacred vessels should not have been stolen from the holy kitchenware, and was informed by the finger of fire that his wickedness had been judged, and that he and his kingdom were to be destroyed-a prophecy fulfilled that very night. The tale presents the punishment of arrogance, willful refusal to learn, and luxurious sinfulness; from this the poet draws a moral for us all: conscience is a reliable guide to conduct.

Poetic logic calls for as tight a coherence of all details in the poem as possible. Emotional connections are more important than strictly logical ones. The octave concerns the relationship of the spirit and the body in life, the sestet, the relationship of the spirit and the resurrected body in eternity. The basic analogies may be expressed thus: 1.


Hopkins uses the image of the light from a lantern being carried along by someone in the dark, as the image of human life: appearing, passing, and fading into the distance —birth, life, and death. He is then identified in stanza 4. It is a sonnet again, but there virtually all of the similarities disappear. The picture is of night falling and stretching out over the entire land, stressing the magnitude of the darkness.

It is also possible to consider that the German word for child, Kind as in kindergarten , is implied, and that the idea of a child or children: that we are all children of Christ, is also intended here. This is a sonnet and it is regularly constructed by the poet. He avoids off-rhymes entirely and only uses internal rhyme twice, once at a very important place. The poem bristles with Sprung Rhythm. A good example is line 13 and There, eyes them, heart wants, care haunts, foot follow skind, Their ransom, their rescue, and first, fast, last friend.

The stressed syllables emphasize the words Hopkins thought were important to the meaning of the poem, not the words which fell into the usual metrical pattern. But far more important is the word which is jammed together at the end of line This has been covered under In stress, but structurally it is important in the way Hopkins takes three words which function as subject, verb, and object, and ties them all together without losing a shred of their individual identity.

In fact, their identity is emphasized rather than destroyed. Hopkins was fond of interrupting his poetic sequence when what he had to say was more important than the way it was said. Actually the first line is the only one in which the alliteration seems weak. Typically Hopkins uses questions to interrupt the flow of narrative, and then he even refers to himself as rapt in thought. He makes his references most personal with his interest and his admission of failure. These are devices which make the poem more poignant, and they are balanced against the complexity of some of his images.

In a latter of June 22 of that year the poet wrote to his poet-friend Robert Bridges: I shall send you an amended copy of the Windhover: the amendment only touches a single line, I think, but as that is the best thing I ever wrote I she. Like you to have it in its best from. Yet the poem stands with or without the dedication. The falcon mentioned here is actually the kestrel hawk, which is found in Europe but not in America. Hopkins has all but hidden the fact that this poem is a sonnet. He has interjected so many stylistic devices that reader is never aware of its structure, and appropriately these add to the grace of the poem in a subtle way.

Thus instress is a tool to create inscape. Again the rhyme scheme identifies the poem as a Petrarchan sonnet. Every line is super-charged with rhythmic vitality, often in the overextension of the normal rhythmic accents. Line 3 offers a fine example of how hop-kinds extend iambic pentameter with five stresses into some from of his own device which has seven accents at least. There is a particularly vital instance of sprung rhythm in line 9, where all of the last six syllables are accented.

Here he does it four times. Similarly, notice how certain lines are broken by exclamation points at the end of dramatic phrases. Hopkins wrote of this as his best work, so he must have considered it a good example of the style that he was trying to master and present to his limited audience. At that time, there must have been fewer than ten people reading his works.

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Yet there is just as much surprise in their position and association. Thus it takes nine words to describe the falcon, and there is an entire participial phrase used later to describe the air. Also there are numerous instances in which a word is used in a unusual context. The first and second part of the group are linked as well as the second and the third. Moreover there is relationship demonstrated in the continuity of ideas. The poet uses alliteration in every line.

Poetry by its very nature is subtle in the way it expresses its message because it conveys its message through images that can be emotionally as well as intellectually perceived, rather than by intellectual exposition. In this poem Hopkins suggests his theme rather than stating it, and if the reader can understand the pictures which he creates for the mind to see then the student can understand the basis for the entire poem.

The picture of the bird stirs the heart of the poet and he compares it then in its movements to the incision which as ice skate makes in the ice. If it becomes so personal that the poet only knows what he means then it is not and never can be art.

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Art by its nature must be universal, and it will not allow subjective distortion and emotional nearsightedness. Larkin does not make that life attractive, but tedious and mundane. The emphasis is not on beauty or pleasure or love, all to be lost in the obliteration of death, but on the fear of nothingness.

But communication is a temporary cure, an alleviation of the fear, but certainly no defense against death itself or the knowledge of its inevitability. He does display another kind of courage, though the courage to acknowledge to himself his fears and to look into the darkness with honesty.

And most students are not likely to make the connection for themselves. If the instructor wishes to use the poem for a further lesson in allusion, the class should probably be supplied in advance with copies of the Shakespeare passage, and asked to find the verbal echoes. A poem is concerned with experience, not with propositional statements. To create experience, the rest of the poem tells us and illustrates in its telling , the poet must rely upon images and symbols.

If thou canst accuse, Or aught intend'st to lay unto my charge, Do it without invention, suddenly; As I with sudden and extemporal speech Purpose to answer what thou canst object. Think not, although in writing I preferr'd The manner of thy vile outrageous crimes, That therefore I have forged, or am not able Verbatim to rehearse the method of my pen: No, prelate; such is thy audacious wickedness, Thy lewd, pestiferous and dissentious pranks, As very infants prattle of thy pride.

Thou art a most pernicious usurer, Forward by nature, enemy to peace; Lascivious, wanton, more than well beseems A man of thy profession and degree; And for thy treachery, what's more manifest? In that thou laid'st a trap to take my life, As well at London bridge as at the Tower. Beside, I fear me, if thy thoughts were sifted, The king, thy sovereign, is not quite exempt From envious malice of thy swelling heart. Lords, vouchsafe To give me hearing what I shall reply.

If I were covetous, ambitious or perverse, As he will have me, how am I so poor? Or how haps it I seek not to advance Or raise myself, but keep my wonted calling? And for dissension, who preferreth peace More than I do? No, my good lords, it is not that offends; It is not that that hath incensed the duke: It is, because no one should sway but he; No one but he should be about the king; And that engenders thunder in his breast And makes him roar these accusations forth.

Thou bastard of my grandfather! Is not his grace protector to the king? O, what a scandal is it to our crown, That two such noble peers as ye should jar! Believe me, lords, my tender years can tell Civil dissension is a viperous worm That gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth. A noise within, 'Down with the tawny-coats! If we have entrance, as I hope we shall, And that we find the slothful watch but weak, I'll by a sign give notice to our friends, That Charles the Dauphin may encounter them.

First Soldier Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city, And we be lords and rulers over Rouen; Therefore we'll knock. An alarum: excursions.

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Let frantic Talbot triumph for a while And like a peacock sweep along his tail; We'll pull his plumes and take away his train, If Dauphin and the rest will be but ruled. Drum sounds afar off. To them with his Soldiers, TALBOT TALBOT My gracious prince, and honourable peers, Hearing of your arrival in this realm, I have awhile given truce unto my wars, To do my duty to my sovereign: In sign, whereof, this arm, that hath reclaim'd To your obedience fifty fortresses, Twelve cities and seven walled towns of strength, Beside five hundred prisoners of esteem, Lets fall his sword before your highness' feet, And with submissive loyalty of heart Ascribes the glory of his conquest got First to my God and next unto your grace.

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A hall of state. Trumpet sounds. Enter General and others, aloft. Messenger They are return'd, my lord, and give it out That he is march'd to Bourdeaux with his power, To fight with Talbot: as he march'd along, By your espials were discovered Two mightier troops than that the Dauphin led, Which join'd with him and made their march for Bourdeaux. Renowned Talbot doth expect my aid, And I am lowted by a traitor villain And cannot help the noble chevalier: God comfort him in this necessity!

If he miscarry, farewell wars in France. I did send for thee To tutor thee in stratagems of war, That Talbot's name might be in thee revived When sapless age and weak unable limbs Should bring thy father to his drooping chair. But, O malignant and ill-boding stars! Now thou art come unto a feast of death, A terrible and unavoided danger: Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse; And I'll direct thee how thou shalt escape By sudden flight: come, dally not, be gone. And shall I fly? O if you love my mother, Dishonour not her honourable name, To make a bastard and a slave of me!

The world will say, he is not Talbot's blood, That basely fled when noble Talbot stood. Upon my death the French can little boast; In yours they will, in you all hopes are lost. Flight cannot stain the honour you have won; But mine it will, that no exploit have done: You fled for vantage, everyone will swear; But, if I bow, they'll say it was for fear. There is no hope that ever I will stay, If the first hour I shrink and run away. Here on my knee I beg mortality, Rather than life preserved with infamy.

If death be so apparent, then both fly. My age was never tainted with such shame. No more can I be sever'd from your side, Than can yourself yourself in twain divide: Stay, go, do what you will, the like do I; For live I will not, if my father die. Come, side by side together live and die.

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And soul with soul from France to heaven fly. The regent hath with Talbot broke his word And left us to the rage of France his sword. Where is John Talbot? Pause, and take thy breath; I gave thee life and rescued thee from death. The life thou gavest me first was lost and done, Till with thy warlike sword, despite of late, To my determined time thou gavest new date. Then leaden age, Quicken'd with youthful spleen and warlike rage, Beat down Alencon, Orleans, Burgundy, And from the pride of Gallia rescued thee.

The ireful bastard Orleans, that drew blood From thee, my boy, and had the maidenhood Of thy first fight, I soon encountered, And interchanging blows I quickly shed Some of his bastard blood; and in disgrace Bespoke him thus; 'Contaminated, base And misbegotten blood I spill of thine, Mean and right poor, for that pure blood of mine Which thou didst force from Talbot, my brave boy:' Here, purposing the Bastard to destroy, Came in strong rescue.

Speak, thy father's care, Art thou not weary, John? Wilt thou yet leave the battle, boy, and fly, Now thou art seal'd the son of chivalry? Fly, to revenge my death when I am dead: The help of one stands me in little stead. O, too much folly is it, well I wot, To hazard all our lives in one small boat! If I to-day die not with Frenchmen's rage, To-morrow I shall die with mickle age: By me they nothing gain an if I stay; 'Tis but the shortening of my life one day: In thee thy mother dies, our household's name, My death's revenge, thy youth, and England's fame: All these and more we hazard by thy stay; All these are saved if thou wilt fly away.

And like me to the peasant boys of France, To be shame's scorn and subject of mischance! Surely, by all the glory you have won, An if I fly, I am not Talbot's son: Then talk no more of flight, it is no boot; If son to Talbot, die at Talbot's foot. Alarum: excursions. Triumphant death, smear'd with captivity, Young Talbot's valour makes me smile at thee: When he perceived me shrink and on my knee, His bloody sword he brandish'd over me, And, like a hungry lion, did commence Rough deeds of rage and stern impatience; But when my angry guardant stood alone, Tendering my ruin and assail'd of none, Dizzy-eyed fury and great rage of heart Suddenly made him from my side to start Into the clustering battle of the French; And in that sea of blood my boy did drench His over-mounting spirit, and there died, My Icarus, my blossom, in his pride.

Servant O, my dear lord, lo, where your son is borne! The palace. And fitter is my study and my books Than wanton dalliance with a paramour. Yet call the ambassador; and, as you please, So let them have their answers every one: I shall be well content with any choice Tends to God's glory and my country's weal.

Enter Scout. Now help, ye charming spells and periapts; And ye choice spirits that admonish me And give me signs of future accidents. The French fly. SUFFOLK Tush, my good lord, this superficial tale Is but a preface of her worthy praise; The chief perfections of that lovely dame Had I sufficient skill to utter them, Would make a volume of enticing lines, Able to ravish any dull conceit: And, which is more, she is not so divine, So full-replete with choice of all delights, But with as humble lowliness of mind She is content to be at your command; Command, I mean, of virtuous chaste intents, To love and honour Henry as her lord.

Therefore, my lord protector, give consent That Margaret may be England's royal queen. You know, my lord, your highness is betroth'd Unto another lady of esteem: How shall we then dispense with that contract, And not deface your honour with reproach? SUFFOLK As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths; Or one that, at a triumph having vow'd To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists By reason of his adversary's odds: A poor earl's daughter is unequal odds, And therefore may be broke without offence.

Her father is no better than an earl, Although in glorious titles he excel. Henry is able to enrich his queen And not seek a queen to make him rich: So worthless peasants bargain for their wives, As market-men for oxen, sheep, or horse. Marriage is a matter of more worth Than to be dealt in by attorneyship; Not whom we will, but whom his grace affects, Must be companion of his nuptial bed: And therefore, lords, since he affects her most, It most of all these reasons bindeth us, In our opinions she should be preferr'd.

For what is wedlock forced but a hell, An age of discord and continual strife? Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss, And is a pattern of celestial peace.