Poetry

British Poetry Since the Sixteenth Century: A Students’ by John Garrett (auth.)

By John Garrett (auth.)

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Extra resources for British Poetry Since the Sixteenth Century: A Students’ Guide

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Rhythm Rhythm works in coordination with imagery and diction, reinforcing the theme and tone of the poem. The commonest rhythm in English poetry is iambic pentameter, in which the pattern of one unstressed followed by a stressed syllable (v') occurs five times in a line of verse: I stood tip-toe upon a little hili. Qohn Keats, 'I Stood Tip-toe') One may further scan the poem - or dissect it for its rhythm - by dividing it into its metrical units, or feet: I stoodl tip-toel iiponl a iilttie hill.

Daylight, which puts up a courageous struggle against the forces of darkness and disorder, must inevitably fade and fail each evening with the sinking of the sun. The brilliantly-coloured violet will lose its lustre once it has passed the peak of its growth cycle, the 'prime' of its existence. Similarly, the youthful head ofblack ('sable') curls will certainly in time lose its colour and vitality, turning first to 'silver', then to a lifeless 'white'. The colour progression of these images suggests the deterioration in quality and the loss of energy that affects all living organisms as time passes.

The questions addressed, ostensibly to the moon, have a cumulatively ironic tone, calling for the reader's condemnation of the practices among beautiful women that could provoke such hurt. Secondly, more might be said about the poem's one image: the moon. The moon, according to the Ptolemaic astronomical beliefs that were still current in Sidney's day, was the lowest of the spheres containing the planets which revolved around the earth (conceived as 42 BRITISH POETRY SINCE THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY being the centre of the universe).

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