POETRY ANTHOLOGYI have chosen one narrative poem and two lyrical poems.● Narrative poem: extracts from “Beowulf”.● Lyrical poems: “Edna St. Vincent Millay. (1892-1950) “ “Sonnet CXXX. “My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun” by William Shakespeare. 1564-1616.
“Heroic Beowulf and his band of mencrossed the wide strand, striding alongthe sandy foreshore; the sun shone,the world’s candle warmed them from the south as they hastened to where, asthey had heard,the young king, Ongentheow’s killerand his people’s protector, was dispensing ringsinside his bawn. Beowulf’s return was reported to Hygelac as soon as possible,news that the captain was now in the enclosure,his battle- brother back from the frayalive and well, walking to the hall.Room was quickly made, on the king’s orders,And the troops filed across the cleared floor.After Hygelac had offrered greetingsto his loyal thane in lofty speech,he and his kinsman, that hale survivor,set face to face. Haereth’s daughtermoved about with me mead- jug in her hand,taking care of the company, filling the cupsthat warriors held out. Then Hygelac beganto put courteous questions to his old comradein the hight hall. He hankered to knowevery tale the Sea- Geats ha to tell”.
I’ve chosen these fragments since they give us an understanding ofthe traditions and uses of the time. It tells us about the King Hygelacreceiving Beowulf and his troops in his castle and how he iswelcomed.Beowulf is an epic poem narrative about deeds of a hero. It is aprimary epic because it belongs to the oral traditions.As regards the language of Beowulf, many words are words known askennings. Kennings are words that are in themselves metathoricaldescriptions, and were a typical feature of Anglo- Saxon poetry. Bylinking words in this way, the poets were able to experiment with therhythm, sounds, and imagery of poetry. Some examples of kenningwords in the extracts that I have chosen are: “battle- brother”;“mead-jug”.
Beowulf is written in unrhyming verse, without stanzas, with a caesura in the middle of each line. The lines contain caesuras to represent the pauses that speakers normally used in everyday speech.“Heroic Beowulf and his band of mencrossed the wide strand, striding alongthe sandy foreshore; the sun shone,the world’s candle warmed them from the south as they hastened to where, asthey had heard,the young king, Ongentheow’s killerand his people’s protector, was dispensing ringsinside his bawn”.Caesura’s effectively make the poem easier to read, by causing breaks for thereader or poet to take a breath. They also help to design the structure of an epicpoem.
Clearly this give us an insight into the Anglo-Saxon culture, by theuse of kennings and caesuras. It is clear that these people believedstrongly in honor, prestige and heritage, and this has beenproven through the use of the epic story of Beowulf.
The image I have chosen is very similar to the mental image I hadwhen reading these extracts from the poem since we can see how theheroes are welcomed with a feast to celebrate their heroic deeds.
LYRICAL POEMEdna St. Vincent Millay. (1882-1950)
I’ve chosen this poem because I like the idea implied by the author thatwomen can be learned, can have their own thought and be independent frommen. Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word! Give me back my book and take my kiss instead. Was it my enemy or my friend I heard, ``What a big book for such a little head! Come, I will show you now my newest hat, And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink! Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that. I never again shall tell you what I think. I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly; You will not catch me reading any more: I shall be called a wife to pattern by; And some day when you knock and push the door, Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy, I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me.
The choice of words is very interesting especially adjectives, forexample the contrast in line three and four: Was it my enemy or my friend I heard, ``What a big book for such a little head!
This image remainds me of the end of the poem when this self-confident woman informs her husband that one day she will get tiredof being taken for granted, will leave him and he will regret it.
Lyrical poem: “Sonnet CXXX. “My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun” by William Shakespeare. 1564-1616.
My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go;My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.
In this sonnet he describes his mistress in a very realistic way.Shakespeare wants readers to realize that he speaks of a real woman, awoman that actually exists. He writes that his love must be unique, formany women are misrepresented by comparisons. His is a true love,not a hope, not an illusion.In society, women are forced with dealing with high standars,unreachable standars. This sonnet proves that beauty can be foundoutside of these ideas.
*The choice of vocabulary shows that he is not idealising her but rather portraying her as a normal person with her virtues and flaws.*It is a lyrical poem because it expresses the feelings and thought of the writer.* As regards the use of language, it uses the language of irony.
Use of comparisons, for example in the first two lines: “My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun Coral is far more red than her lip’s red...”The poet states that his mistress’s eyes can never be compared to thesun and he finds coral more reddish than her lips. This creates anegative impression of the beloved.
We can find very interesting metaphors in the poem. For example,the first stanza is based on physical description by using uglymetaphors. In the second stanza the poet states that he doesn’t find thecheeks of his mistress as soft as a rose.The use of paralell structure is also presented in the sonnet, forexample: “If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head”
✔ The sonnet is written in iambic pentameter verse followingthe rhyme scheme ab ab cd cd ef ef gg.Shakespeare considers that accepting only thepositive aspects of his beloved is not love.Accepting the negative aspects of this person is reallove, giving importance to their inner beauty ratherthan external beauty.
When I found this image I immediately thought of Shakespeare’smistress with her natural beauty, her imperfections and her simplicity.