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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

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A Short Analysis of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s ‘A Hymn to the Moon’

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was a remarkable woman: as well as her writing, she is also celebrated for introducing smallpox inoculation to Britain, half a century before Edward Jenner developed vaccination against the disease. ‘A Hymn to the Moon’ is a wonderful short poem about the moon.

Written in July, in an arbour

Thou silver deity of secret night,
Direct my footsteps through the woodland shade;
Thou conscious witness of unknown delight,
The Lover’s guardian, and the Muse’s aid!
By thy pale beams I solitary rove,
To thee my tender grief confide;
Serenely sweet you gild the silent grove,
My friend, my goddess, and my guide.
E’en thee, fair queen, from thy amazing height,
The charms of young Endymion drew;
Veil’d with the mantle of concealing night;
With all thy greatness and thy coldness too. Read the rest of this entry

A Summary and Analysis of James Joyce’s ‘Araby’

A commentary on one of Joyce’s shortest Dubliners stories

‘Araby’ is one of the early stories in James Joyce’s Dubliners, the 1914 collection of short stories which is now regarded as one of the landmark texts of modernist literature. At the time, sales were poor, with just 379 copies being sold in the first year (famously, 120 of these were bought by Joyce himself). And yet ‘Araby’ shows just what might have initially baffled readers coming to James Joyce’s fiction for the first time, and what marked him out as a brilliant new writer. But before we get to an analysis of ‘Araby’ (which can be read here), a brief summary of the story’s plot – what little ‘plot’ there is.

In summary, then: ‘Araby’ is narrated by a young boy, who describes the Dublin street where he lives. As the story progresses, the narrator realises that he has feelings for his neighbour’s sister and watches her from his house, daydreaming about her, wondering if she will ever speak to him. When they eventually talk, she Read the rest of this entry