A Red, Red Rose (p. 16)
1. Why is this a ballad?
The poem is a ballad because it tells a story, and there are music and rhyme to sing. It has four stanzas and each stanza has four lines which mean quatrains. The first and third lines of each stanza are iambic (an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable) tetrameter (four), and the second and fourth lines are iambic trimeter (three).
2. How can this be defined as a “Romantic love poem”?
It is a love poem because almost every line is about love such as the word “luve” is repeated in the poem. The poem is about a man or woman who is deeply in love with his or her lover. In the first line, the speaker compare his or her “luve” to “a red, red rose.” This is a simile which refers to the speaker’s lover and also the speaker’s feelings for his lover. His lover is like a rose because the person is beautiful. At the same time, if it refers to his feelings, like a rose his love is only for a short time. Particularly, the rose is a symbol of romantic love. The speaker compares his “luve” to “the melody” (l.3). The two simile emphasize that the speaker’s lover is someone special.
In the second and third stanzas, on the one hand, the poet says that the speaker’s love won’t last for a long time and on the other hand, the poet gives us the images of his love long-lasting until “the seas gang dry” (l.9), “the rocks melt wi’ the sun” (l.10) and “the sands o’ life shall run” (l.12). The speaker is contradicting himself. The speaker is unstable such as his love. It will change over the time and also it will remain unchangeable and will endure.
In the last stanza, the speaker promises his lover to “come again” (l.15) even if it is “ten thousand mile” (l.16) or it is “fare thee weel awhile” (l.14). This is about the speaker’s farewell to his lover and the speaker promises to return even if it takes a long time or it is a long distance. The speaker will love his lover forever even if changes occur over the time.
I wandered lonely as a cloud (p. 20)
1. Sum up the poem as briefly as possible.
The speaker is walking alone through the hills and valleys. Suddenly, he sees a field of yellow daffodils waving in the breeze near the lake. The speaker compares the daffodils to stars in the sky, he notices the dancing flowers stretch endlessly alongside a bay. The dancing daffodils seem more sparkling to him than the dancing waves of the lake. The speaker says that a poet could not do anything but to be happy with such a joyful company of the daffodils. The speaker stares for a while at the daffodils but does not understand when the speaker thinks about what wealth this spectacle could give to him. Whenever the speaker feels absent-minded or thoughtful, he thinks of the daffodils, and his heart dances with happiness.
2. How is Nature represented and why is it important for a poet?
The speaker is lonely but he doesn’t feel alone with the presence of nature. The nature is represented as supernatural. The speaker’s imagination illustrates the nature as an image of heaven on earth. The nature and the speaker are together. And the nature is personified throughout the poem by the poet. For example, “crowd” refers to “daffodils”. The speaker himself sees as “cloud.”The nature is beautiful for the speaker and has an impact on the speaker’s mind. It helps to develop his imagination. It is important because the nature, daffodils, is the only way for the speaker to escape his loneliness.
3. Choose one poem from the anthology which has a similar theme or mood. Explain.
This poem and Strange fits of passion… have a similar theme. Strange fits of passion is a romantic poem about the poet riding on the horse to the cottage where his lover called Lucy lives. The moon guides him on the way. The poet is happy and starts to dream but suddenly he thinks about Lucy’s death. The nature is the similar theme of these poems, togetherness between human and nature. Both are romantic poems, the nature plays an important role for the speaker’s imagination. The nature inspires the speakers to create or imagine the natural world in their mind. The nature is seen as companion for a lonely person. For example, personification of daffodils in “I wandered lonely as a cloud” and the symbolism of the moon in “Strange fits of passion.”
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, III, 1-5
Write a paraphrase for stanza V (p. 36)
- One who has grown old in this world of pain,
- Whose actions, not the number of years, were to penetrate the mysteries of life,
- So that nothing astonishing awaits him; nor hidden underneath
- Can feel love or sorrow, praise, desire, conflict,
- Rip his heart out again with the sharp knife
- Of silent and acute harshness: he asks
- Why does thought seek refuge in isolated but widespread caves
- With illusions and forms which inhabit
- Still intact, though old, in the depth of the tormented soul.
- The speaker is alone and sad and surrounded by nature. The speaker finds the consolation in nature.