Thursday, February 27, 2014

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.   

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