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Ben Jonson-On my First Daughter

Ben Jonson employs some very interesting features in this poem which make this sad little epigram very unique. The poem is made of 12 lines wherein rhyming couplets and iambic tetrameter which add to the melancholy state of the poem. Each line and its couplet are very short which makes the stop at the lines, defined by punctuation, seem abrupt which might resemble the brevity of the life of his daughter. There is one line in particular which puzzles me since it is rather longer than the other lines and has iambic pentameter instead of tetrameter. Another interesting factor about the poem is the fact that though its subject is feminine, its rhyme pattern is masculine that is that each line ends with a stressed syllable.

On my First Son

Once again Jonson uses rhymed couplets in his poem and this also has a meter scheme where all but one of the lines is of the same meter. This one though has iambic pentameter save for one line which has iambic hexameter. In this poem and the previous one, both of which mourn a deceased child, the oddly metered lines have to do with the child’s name or how long he lived. Perhaps these are the pinnacle moments in the poem. Another interesting facet about this poem is the last line and especially the word “like”. It definitely, as the footnote states, can give various meanings but the word itself has an abrasive sound to it which adds to the aura of the sorrowful poem.

Mary Wroth- 16

This poem is certainly about the question of the binding power of love. Though this poem has 14 lines, its rhyme scheme and pattern is not like any sonnet I’ve studied. It is so interesting that she writes that love joys to ruin her. Of course there are varying conceptions of love and depending on one’s experience some love does indeed “joy to ruin” someone. After reading the third line, the thought that came to mind was that of childbirth since love often produces children and children do sap the strength out of you. It is also interesting that she separates love and desire saying that desire is the destroying factor.

68

Here yet is another poem with a very different rhyme scheme and still more bluesy thoughts. This poem reminds me of the sonnet cycles where the speaker experiences pain on account of love. This one of course is from a female perspective and is quite different. This one is not really lamenting that someone they love doesn’t love them back; they weep because of heartbreak or the harms of loving someone. In a word, love is hopeless. Yet while hope fails and love continues to shatter the joy of the speaker, love falsely proclaims that “love will not falsify”. How ironic.

Song

This song has a very interesting rhyme scheme and pattern. The first and last stanzas rhyme as one since each line ends with “ing”. However, all the medial stanzas rhyme like thus aabb. Each stanza is made of four lines of iambic tetrameter which give it its song like lilt. This poem is full of metaphorical speech since the child it speaks of is love. This makes sense since love is often portrayed as Cupid. While being in love does make one seem like flying, this could also refer once again to Cupid. It is very interesting that she states that Love is never satisfied; it always wants more. This poem is definitely written by someone who has had a bad experience with love.

George Herbert- The Altar

I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen an emblem poem in this time period. I’ve seen them in modern poetry of course but this I believe is much better. Though I’m sure the poem is meant to be an emblem of an altar, it doesn’t look much like an altar to me unless it be in the Catholic sense. Each line is a rhyming couplet and the top and base of the altar are made of lines of iambic pentameter while the middle is made of iambic tetrameter. It is also interesting to note that the capitalized word HEART is actually at the center of the poem.

Easter Wings

Once again, another emblem poem that doesn’t much resemble its title but still is beautiful in form and content. I can’t decide whether or not the “wings” would fold in between the stanzas or whether or not each stanza is its own pair of wings. The rhyme scheme for this poem is ababcdcd throughout both stanzas but the meter is very uneven due to the shape the actual poem has to form. The meter goes from iambic pentameter to iambic tetrameter to iambic trimester to manometer. This poem is a humble ode to Christ’s sufferings on the cross and the victory that we now have because of his suffering.

The Pulley

This four stanza, 20 line poem is quite an interesting one and due to tis allusion (albeit backwards) to Pandora’s box  makes it seem like some kind of pagan story or even a story one might find in India or the Caribbean. The rhyme scheme is quite simple though odd since I think this is the first time we’ve had to study a poem with five lines in each stanza since most conventions have an even number of lines. The fifth line “contract into a span” is rather odd since it is no longer used in our language but essentially it means that all the riches of the world will be gathered into one place. This poem is also rather interesting since it makes a sort of poetic myth of why the Lord gave us rest rather than the truth from Scripture.

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