Poems

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Charlotte Smith’s late poem ‘Ode to Death’, published in 1797 in her collection of Elegiac Sonnets, showcases the idea of taking death as being a ‘friend’ (l. 1) instead of fearing that. The ode carries a profound sense of desperation and sorrow, as it alludes for the grief endured by Smith in her own life span, predominantly discussing the transferring of her daughter, Ould – Augusta de Foville. This marks Smith’s capacity to shape her misery, woe, anguish as a graceful construct, since the presenter acts as a substitute for her individual identity. By dwelling within the ‘torturing pain’ (l. 7) of lifestyle, the poet succeeds in presenting mortality as to some extent desirable personifying it because ‘Misery’s Cure’ (l. 21). This allows the target audience to think about its ability to provide pain relief to those in suffering.

The speaker’s willingness to embrace fatality is apparent in your opening brand of the composition, as the stress on the expression ‘friend’ (l. 1) draw out attention to itself. Despite the ode’s general usage of iambic pentameter, here emphasis is placed on the first syllable of the range meaning the of death as a partner is more prominent. The unexpected nature from the exclamation ‘Friend of the wretched! ‘ (l. 1) is additionally significant, since it hints at the despair of the speaker, who have appears to be excitedly awaiting death. The caesura in lines 1-3 of the first stanza contributes to this sense of emergency, as it creates a jolty tempo. This pounds of exigency is demonstrated throughout the poem, as Smith’s use of ecphonesis reinforces the speaker’s trouble sleeping and failure to withhold their immediate outbursts of emotion: ‘Ah! ‘ (l. 3), ‘O Death! ‘ (l. 19), ‘Oh! ‘ (l. 21). Similarly, Johnson incorporates a number of rhetorical questions to be able to create a fast-paced verse this is certainly particularly noticeable in the third stanza, where the simultaneous use of three concerns reveals the impatience from the speaker:

Well-defined goading Indigence who would not fly

That urges work the fatigued strength above?

Or avoid to the when fond pal’s averted vision?

Or whom to thy asylum certainly not remove

To get rid of the throwing away pain of unrequited like? (ll. 11-15)

A feeling of bewilderment is created, as the constant interrogations reflect the turbulence of the narrator’s fixer-upper mind. The use of anaphora in line 13-14 likewise intensifies the uneasy mood, meaning the speaker’s disappointment grows even more apparent, once again producing a feeling of excitement.

Although to an extent the speaker’s behaviour shows up slightly disorderly, at the same time Johnson conveys a feeling of measured reasoning behind all their thoughts, as the constant focus on life’s miseries assists in the justification of death. The poem therefore suggests that it is wiser to die instead of force your self to endure constant hardship:

[] -Ah! Wherefore anxieties to expire

He, whom compelled each poignant sadness to know

Pumps out to their lowest trash the cup of woe? (ll. 3-5)

The rhetorical question enables Smith to rationalize death, as the speaker reveals it since an escape from ‘each important grief’. The regularity in the quintain vocally mimic eachother scheme through the poem likewise maintains a impression of order, regularity. In this regard the poem will take the form of the Horatian ép?tre, the tone remains well-balanced and ready as the speaker evaluates the arguments in favour of taking death. The rhyming couplet at the end of every stanza likewise build on this sense of stability, since the form remains consistent and neat. The entire effect resembles that of the Petrarchan sonnet, where the interior couplets produce the effect of rounded thought and expression.

The vindication of death since an ally is usually further shown through Smith’s hyperbolised description of life’s afflictions:

Dread thee, To Death! – Or hug the organizations that situation

To joyless, cheerless life, her sick, reluctant head? (ll. 19-20)

The jarring effect manufactured by the cacophonie in line 20 is refractive of the speaker’s attitude of disgust toward life, since the repeating of the harsh ‘c’ provides an impressive jolty, chaotic feel. The sibilance throughout the repetition of ‘less’ adds to the aggressive strengthen due to the clarity of the audio, hinting at the speaker’s aggravation. Smith’s make use of imagery also builds for the idea of loss of life as a sort of relief, while the narrator’s metaphorical image of life since ‘chains’ signifies that death scholarships liberation via a miserable, constrained existence. Nevertheless , the strengthen in these lines differs from that at the beginning of the stanza, where Smith identifies the fatality of her daughter Anna, who died during giving birth in 1795. The use of tollé leads the voice to be much softer, different with the generally bitter and harsh strengthen of the poem:

Can then the wounded wretch who must deplore

What most she loved, to thy cool arms consigned

Who listens to the tone of voice that soothed her spirit no more, (ll. 16-18)

The graceful sibilance during these lines creates a even more subdued feeling, leading to a small lull in the verse. What this means is a more melancholic feel is usually produced, because Smith uses the tone of the loudspeaker to think about her own family misfortune, and also the loss of Anna, she got also witnessed the deaths of 3 of her twelve children during child years. The sonnet therefore telephone calls into issue the preeminence of motherhood, and in accordance to Jacqueline Labbe, enables Smith to explore the ‘ramifications of maternal grief’. Smith continues to present loss of life as attractive by contrasting the relax of lifestyle with the allegedly peaceful action of about to die:

Would Cowardice postpone thy calm embrace

To linger out long years in torturing soreness? (ll. 6-7)

The use of the expression ‘Cowardice’ below has a somewhat forceful result, as the tension of the colocar falls within the first syllable, producing a great explosive sound. This makes a harsh, nearly accusatory strengthen, the presenter appears frustrated by the feebleness of those who refuse to openly accept fatality. The clarity of this word juxtaposed with the softness of the phrase ‘calm embrace’ emphasises the pleasing nature of death, because the duplication of ‘m’ and ‘c’ constructs a calming sound, offerring an image of hugging Death itself. Additionally it is to be mentioned that Johnson exaggerates life’s sorrows by making use of alliteration equal 7, as the duplication of ‘l’ in ‘linger’ and ‘long’ draws out the vowels to make a slower speed, hinting in the prolonged soreness of lifestyle.

The thought of incessant agony is sturdy through the sonnet’s internal vocally mimic eachother for example in ‘linger’ and ‘years’, and ‘long’ and ‘torturing’ (l. 7). Right here the repetition of the vowel sounds ‘i’ and ‘o’ drags the actual length of the range, causing someone to slow down, hence showing this notion of perpetual battling. This is noticeable throughout the poem, ‘lowest [] woe’ (l. 5), ‘who too’ (l. 9), ‘aid [] vain’ (l. 10), ‘once fond’ (l. 13), ‘wasting pain’ (l. 15), ‘wounded [] who’ (l. 14), ‘thy [] consigned’ (l. 17), ‘life [] mind’ (l. 20), ‘angel [] save’ (l. 22). The assonance created as a result contributes to the poem’s total sound of despair, since the repeated emphasis on vowels produces whiney, eerie undertones and continue to be draw for the idea of endless grief. Smith’s manipulation of meter is also significant with regards to reflecting discomfort. Despite the most part of the composition being in iambic pentameter, the last lines of stanzas 2 five are in iambic hexameter. Here the additional two syllables are emphasized, as the altered cadence draws awareness of the last word of every stanza. Also, this is indicative of the long term agony of life, recommending that fatality is the way to the thoroughly long torture. This fixation on suffering is again influenced by the severe suffering endured simply by Smith herself, as before facing the deaths of four children, by a young era her individual mother passed away meaning the girl was raised by her great aunt from 1753. Loraine Fletcher argues that Smith’s performs ‘increasingly focus on the middle-aged rather than the young’, therefore the voice in ‘Ode to Death’ resembles the type of as himself, meaning ‘the reader that is aware of her age and private history pinpoints the author while using character’.

The poem’s portrayal of death as a remedy to life’s sorrows is reflecting of the author’s personal experiences with regards to suffering, as the verse covers the ‘ills that chase’ man (l. 8) and a existence plagued with misery. Yet , it is interesting to note the fact that third person narrator is definitely somewhat eclectic in the opening stanza the ‘wretched’ physique is referred to as a male, ‘He’, but then in lines 16-20 the character moves to ‘she’, before to become gender neutral ‘they’ in line 21-23. The peculiar inconsistency of the loudspeaker allows Cruz to conceal herself, yet still achieve a sort of ‘self-revelation’ by simply adapting the voice to fit her personal ordeals. ‘Ode to Death” displays a romanticisation of mortality and pessimistic attitude towards lifestyle that has therefore led editors to see just one single narrator in the poem, and that is the poet herself.

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