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A Short Analysis of A. E. Housman’s ‘The Lent Lily’

The poet A. E. Housman is best-known for A Shropshire Lad (1896), which became a bestselling volume of poetry at the turn of the century and would later be popular among soldiers during the First World War. ‘The Lent Lily’ is not one of the best-known of Housman’s poems, but it contains the signature twist we find in much of his poetry, as melancholy breaks in on hope.

The Lent Lily

’Tis spring; come out to ramble
The hilly brakes around,
For under thorn and bramble
About the hollow ground
The primroses are found.

And there’s the windflower chilly
With all the winds at play,
And there’s the Lenten lily
That has not long to stay
And dies on Easter day.

And since till girls go maying
You find the primrose still,
And find the windflower playing Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Rupert Brooke’s ‘Heaven’

Rupert Brooke remains known for two poems: ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’, which offers a powerful vision of dreamy English life before the outbreak of the First World War; and ‘The Soldier’, a patriotic sonnet written shortly after the outbreak of the war. But although Brooke was not a prolific poet – he died while still in his twenties – he wrote more than these two anthology favourites. His poem ‘Heaven’ is another classic, although less famous, and deserves a few words of analysis devoted to its quietly satirical tone and clever use of metaphor.

Heaven

Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond? Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti 72: ‘Oft, when my spirit doth spread her bolder wings’

The poem beginning ‘Oft when my spirit doth spread her bolder wings’ is part of Edmund Spenser’s sonnet sequence Amoretti, which the Elizabethan poet wrote about his courtship of his wife.

Oft, when my spirit doth spread her bolder wings,
In mind to mount up to the purest sky;
It down is weighed with thought of earthly things,
And clogged with burden of mortality;
Where, when that sovereign beauty it doth spy,
Resembling heaven’s glory in her light,
Drawn with sweet pleasure’s bait, it back doth fly,
And unto heaven forgets her former flight.
There my frail fancy, fed with full delight,
Doth bathe in bliss, and mantleth most at ease;
Ne thinks of other heaven, but how it might
Her heart’s desire with most contentment please.
Heart need not wish none other happiness,
But here on earth to have such heaven’s bliss. Read the rest of this entry