Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shakespeare: Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, 
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


Our speaker kicks things off by telling us that he's feeling  down on his luck. He also uses the word "when," which tells us that he is no stranger to the kind of misfortune he's experiencing right now.Our speaker is "all alone" and bawling his eyes out because he's an outcast. Here, we learn that the speaker thinks God doesn't care about his problems and is completely ignoring  his useless ("bootless") cries.Our speaker is also getting a little snarky—he uses the word "trouble" to imply that his cries are getting on God's nerves.What's interesting is that our speaker doesn't actually use God's name here. When our speaker says he looks upon himselfit seems like a metaphor for self-reflection. (Although, it's also possible that he's literally gazing into a mirror and cursing his bad luck, or "fate.") This tells us that our speaker is pretty introspective and it also reminds us that we are definitely reading a lyric poem. Now, the speaker starts thinking about all the stuff he wishes he had and gets jealous of all the other men around him who have more stuff going for them. When we finally reach the heroic couplet that tops off this sonnet, the speaker  repeats that it's the memory of the addressee's "sweet love" that makes him feel so rich that he wouldn't change places with the most powerful or wealthy guys (kings) in the world. On the other hand, the speaker talks about the addressee's "sweet love" as if it's some kind of religious experience  in lines 10-12. 


Shakespeare: Fiddle

FEAR no more the heat o' the sun
   Nor the furious winter's rages; 
Thou thy worldly task hast done, 
   Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: 
Golden lads and girls all must, 
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. 

Fear no more the frown o' the great, 
   Thou art past the tyrant's stroke; 
Care no more to clothe and eat; 
   To thee the reed is as the oak: 
The sceptre, learning, physic, must 
All follow this, and come to dust. 

Fear no more the lightning-flash, 
   Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone; 
Fear not slander, censure rash; 
   Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: 
All lovers young, all lovers must 
Consign to thee, and come to dust. 

No exorciser harm thee! 
Nor no witchcraft charm thee! 
Ghost unlaid forbear thee! 
Nothing ill come near thee! 
Quiet consummation have; 
And renowned be thy grave! 


The overall meaning of the poem is that there is a natural end to all human natures. This natural end could be death, or it could simply be the termination point for all that is done. Shakespeare employs several ways to accomplish this the repetition of the verse " Come to dust" which closes each of the three stanzas accomplish this. The first stanza use of summer and winter seasons also bring the idea of the cycle of life, death and rebirth to mind. Additionally, in line 9, the idea of " Care no more to clothe and to eat," brings to mind that all human activity, while we consider it important, does not necessarily evade the fact there is a natural end to everything we do. The rhythm of the poem is established with a couplet at the start and the end of each stanza, beginning with " Fear no more" and ending with " Comes to dust." The tone of the poem strikes with a melancholy. The speaker does not seem overwhelmingly sad or angry with the natural end of everything " Coming to dust." Yet, there is a silent acceptance over the fact that death ends everything. There is a tinge of sadness, but it is not overwhelming throughout the poem. Through the use of specific images, both human made ( line 9) and pictures of natural phenomena (line 13 and 14, thunder and lighting),  Shakespeare creates the meaning that everything faces a natural end. The poem is a type of " funeral song" and four stanzas of six lines each. The song is an attempt to find consolation in the death of a loved one.  In the final three lines, the speaker wishes the deceased freedom from evil, a quite time rotting in the grave and fame after death.   

Rita Dove:Rosa

How she sat there,
the time right inside a place
so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with
its dream of a bench
to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:
the clean flame of her gaze
carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up
when they bent down to retrieve
her purse. That courtesy.


It's easy enough to figure out that this poem is about Rosa Parks because Rita Dove says. "How." Dove could have easily said, "She sat there." The word "how" really zooms in our focus—Dove wants us to stop and consider Parks, consider not only what she did, but how she did it. This single word sets the tone of close observation. When Dove writes, "so wrong it was ready," the "wrong" and "it" both refer to Montgomery , and that's what's ready.  That "trim" name stands for a very real person (Rosa Parks), and that person is very likely the one with the dream. When she writes that the name has a dream, Dove is using something called synecdoche here, a figurative of speech  where a part is used to represent the whole. There's no punctuation at the end and seems to be lopped off right in the middle of a thought. Dove uses it throughout the poem (in lines 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 11 to be specific) to carry us along to the next line without closing the door at the end of each line.
The beginning of line 6 finishes up the thought that was starting from line 4, and hints at the history Rosa Parks' name eventually made. Her name has been figuratively carved in the bus  bench from which she refused to get up, and it will "rest" there forever.She talks about Parks' "trim" name and her "sensible" coat. Dove is painting a picture of a humble  and quiet person—maybe not someone you'd think would have a huge effect on African-American Civil Right—but though Parks' act might seem small, her impact on history was undeniably powerful. Nothing isn't nothing in this case. By doing "nothing," Dove means not giving up her seat to a white person. She means refusing. She means standing up for herself. 
 She introduces the "clean flame of her gaze" that's been "carved by a camera flash." Dove's letting us see the fire (note the "flame") inside of Parks that helped her stand her ground.  The speaker uses alliteration in these two lines. The repetition of the beginning hard C sound in "clean," "carved," and "camera" is echoed by the repetition of the beginning F sound in "flame" and "flash." It's as if these lines enact what they're talking about: one takes a picture to repeat an image. Dove uses assonance, or the repetition of a vowel sound (in this case the "er" sound in "purse" and "courtesy") to end this poem on a musically soft, but strong, note.

Rita Dove: Testimonial

Back when the earth was new
and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn't had time to stick;
back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumn,
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file . . .

the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,
swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.

I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn't know their names?

Back when everything was still to come,
luck leaked out everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
and the world followed me here.


 In the poem “Testimonial” she demonstrates understanding of a child’s thought process and expresses through her strong words the frustrations  in which could arise. Her verbal style expresses the child’s emotions in a way that is authentic and moving without becoming excessively sentimental. 

She explains in the beginning of her poem “Back when the earth was new” this is her way of saying when she was a child and naive to the world. She then follows onto the next phrase, “Back when the names of things hadn't had time to stick” which means that she was so vulnerable and young she could not yet make sense of her surroundings. Her next stanza explains how her child hood flew by and she was growing up quickly. An example of this would be when she writes, “When the smallest breezes melted summer into autumn (Dove, Rita).” As she proceeds to write “When all the poplars quivered sweetly in rank and file…” I believe she meant as children get older they come to a point where they must grow up and move to the next stage of their life. Even though they are scared to grow up in which she used the word quivered to reference how scared she was. The poplar tree was chosen because it is fast growing, with a strong route system. She was young and quick to grow up however she was strong deep down inside and knew she had the ability to accomplish a lot.
As Rita Dove switches the word choice in the second half of the poem, by doing this, she switches the tone of the poem as well. She writes, “The world called, and I answered…I caught my breath and called that life, swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet (Dove, Rita).” There is a lot of meaning behind what she states. When she said the world called and she answered, she was saying that she was growing up to the point that she was making that leap into becoming of her own person. As she “caught her breath” was her moment to stop and reflect on the life she was now living. “Swoon between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet” was her way of saying that sometimes the little things could make her mind drift away from stress of growing up and bring her back to her memories of her childhood that made her life pass by so quickly. She is willing to accept bliss that she still finds in being alive so gratifying. She was opening her heart to living life and taking it all in one spoonful of sorbet at a time.
Another important line of her poem is when she says, “How could I count my blessings when I didn't know their names (Dove, Rita)?” When Rita Dove writes this, she is trying to say that everything happens for a reason and that it’s not always easy to decipher how you got to where you are in life when every small detail matters. She cannot count her blessings because she doesn't know each pebble that made her road to where she is. Though she is thankful in the least of how she got there she is unaware of the specifics as it happened so quickly.
Her last stanza again changes in tone just by her switching the words yet again back to how it all started. “Back when” she starts out as she glances back to when she was young again and her life was ahead of her, she continues “…everything was still to come (Dove, Rita)”.  As she finalizes with her last words, she chose the perfect words to end her thoughts. “I gave my promise to the world, and the world followed me here.” Rita Dove remembers being a young girl and the simplicity of her childhood. Just by allowing herself to enjoy the world was the most enjoyable thing to her.
The theme of this poem is that if you accept the world….then the world will accept you. Live life to the fullest and open your eyes and heart to what the world has to offer you and you will enjoy life more fully. Sometimes the smallest things and taking the smallest steps can lead you to a full life.

Shakespeare: All the World's a Stage

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. 


The meaning of All the  World's a Stage , is to pull the rug from under us. Th voice he hear is not Shakespeare's but that of a chronically depressed and unemployed nobleman, hanging around the court- in- exile of a deposed Duke. He is responding to the Duke saying that there are some people who are even worse off than he is by replying that everybody is actually playing the same role in life. We cannot aspire to an individual happiness greater than the misery which is thought of all men. He does not talk about women at all, but if he did, he'd say the same thing. He said that each man's finite life is nothing but an act, and as the man progresses in his life, the scenes and acts each shift accordingly. Then he becomes a lover, who is sad about having to leave his mistress and pours out his feeling in the form of ballads. He also becomes a soldier, who guards his reputation with his life and will defend it with anything. He compares people misfortunes with his own and tells them how to solve them.By this time he has become rather fat, something seemed as a sign of prosperity. Then becomes a weak,feeble old man who wears glasses and has shrunk to a thin, pitiful state and has a shrill, high pitched voice. The last stage is that of a old man, who is almost like an infant oblivious of his surroundings and who has lost everything in his lif, material, wise and as well as emotional wise.      

Rita Dove: Golden Oldie

I made it home early, only to get 
stalled in the driveway-swaying 

at the wheel like a blind pianist caught in a tune 
meant for more than two hands playing. 
The words were easy, crooned 
by a young girl dying to feel alive, to discover 
a pain majestic enough 
to live by. I turned the air conditioning off, 

leaned back to float on a film of sweat, 
and listened to her sentiment
Baby, where did our love go?-a lament 
I greedily took in 
without a clue who my lover 
might be, or where to start looking


In  this poem the speaker "made it home early,only to get stalled in the driveway-swaying at the wheel." She is only suddenly stopped by the "tune" that is being played in the car. She exaggerated the well played tune using a hyperbole "caught in a tune meant for more than two hands playing." As the poem goes on she listens to the song and notice that to her the words came as easy for the young women in the song. She describes the song as "a young girl dying feel alive, to discover a pain majestic enough to live by," this saying that this a love song. She then turn off the air condition to listen to the song better, but then realizes or feels as if the song. As she continues to listen to this lament she begins to question about where is her lover and "where to start looking."
 The tone of this poem starts off relaxing and pleasant when she arrived home from work early and starts off enjoying the tune. The tone then shifts to a little depressing and sad from the lament and tone finally ended questioning as she question when her significant other will come. The theme for the poem is to wait for true love to come. 

Shakespeare: Bridal Song

ROSES, their sharp spines being gone, 
Not royal in their smells alone, 
   But in their hue; 
Maiden pinks, of odour faint, 
Daisies smell-less, yet most quaint, 
   And sweet thyme true; 

Primrose, firstborn child of Ver; 
Merry springtime's harbinger, 
   With her bells dim; 
Oxlips in their cradles growing, 
Marigolds on death-beds blowing, 
   Larks'-heels trim; 

All dear Nature's children sweet 
Lie 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet, 
   Blessing their sense! 
Not an angel of the air
Bird melodious or bird fair, 
   Be absent hence! 

The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor 
The boding raven, nor chough hoar, 
   Nor chattering pye, 
May on our bride-house perch or sing, 

Or with them any discord bring, 
   But from it fly!


From whats I understand, through this poem Shakespeare is inviting the good within everything available in nature such as a rose flower into the bridal home to bless the bride and her bride groom. This is exemplified in the first line "ROSES, their sharp spines being gone," the meaning behind this poem is not negative, but optimistic of love even after locking ball-in-chain to yourself in marriage. I sense the unending , joy, passion and devotion. His reference to essential oils and herbs is amazing and to their credit of healing or destructive properties. In the song, the singer describes a long list of different kinds of flowers"roses,pinks,daises, primroses and so on, and then sings: "A dear nature's children sweet lie 'fore bride  and bride groom's feet, blessing their sense," The stage direction then has the boy suit the action the action to the word and strew flowers before the bride and bride groom's feet. He then calls upon the birds to sing for the wedding,but not ones with ugly voices,like the raven and chough.   
In line 20 Shakespeare uses assonance on the "o" sound to add emphasis on the raven sound. The tone of this poem is loving.