'On A Drop Of Dew' by Andrew Marvell
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See how the Orient Dew,
Shed from the Bosom of the Morn
Into the blowing Roses,
Yet careless of its Mansion new;
For the clear Region where 'twas born
Round in its self incloses:
And in its little Globes Extent,
Frames as it can its native Element.
How it the purple flow'r does slight,
Scarce touching where it lyes,
But gazing back upon the Skies,
Shines with a mournful Light;
Like its own Tear,
Because so long divided from the Sphear.
Restless it roules and unsecure,
Trembling lest it grow impure:
Till the warm Sun pitty it's Pain,
And to the Skies exhale it back again.
So the Soul, that Drop, that Ray
Of the clear Fountain of Eternal Day,
Could it within the humane flow'r be seen,
Remembring still its former height,
Shuns the sweat leaves and blossoms green;
And, recollecting its own Light,
Does, in its pure and circling thoughts, express
The greater Heaven in an Heaven less.
In how coy a Figure wound,
Every way it turns away:
So the World excluding round,
Yet receiving in the Day.
Dark beneath, but bright above:
Here disdaining, there in Love.
How loose and easie hence to go:
How girt and ready to ascend.
Moving but on a point below,
It all about does upwards bend.
Such did the Manna's sacred Dew destil;
White, and intire, though congeal'd and chill.
Congeal'd on Earth: but does, dissolving, run
Into the Glories of th' Almighty Sun.
Editor 1 Interpretation
On A Drop Of Dew: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Oh, I am so excited to dive into this masterpiece of a poem by Andrew Marvell, On A Drop Of Dew! This poem is a fantastic example of Marvell's unique style, which combines metaphysical wit with a deep appreciation for nature. In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, I will analyze the poem's themes, literary devices, and overall meaning.
Summary of On A Drop Of Dew
Before we begin, let's go over a brief summary of the poem. On A Drop Of Dew is a 48-line poem that describes a drop of dew on a flower. The speaker explores the various qualities and characteristics of this tiny drop of water, commenting on its clarity, shape, and the way it reflects the surrounding world. Throughout the poem, the speaker also meditates on the beauty of nature and the transitory nature of existence.
Themes in On A Drop Of Dew
One of the main themes of On A Drop Of Dew is the beauty of nature. The speaker is clearly enchanted by the drop of dew and spends much of the poem describing its intricate details. For example, the speaker writes, "See how the Orient dew, / Shed from the bosom of the morn / Into the blowing roses, / Yet careless of its mansion new." Here, the speaker admires the way the dew clings to the petals of the rose, creating a beautiful contrast between the two.
Another theme of the poem is the transitory nature of existence. The drop of dew is a metaphor for human life, which is fleeting and impermanent. The speaker comments on this explicitly when he writes, "But ere the point of noon be past, / Renews its wavy form again, / As if it would surpass at last / The very water it contain." Here, the speaker marvels at the drop of dew's ability to renew itself, even as it evaporates in the sun.
Literary Devices in On A Drop Of Dew
Marvell employs a variety of literary devices in On A Drop Of Dew, including metaphors, personification, and allusion. One of the most striking metaphors in the poem is the comparison between the drop of dew and a pearl. The speaker writes, "So we, that take our leaves and go, / More precious than those pearls that swerve, / For whom the silk-worm spares his silk, / And bees their lavish quintessence reserve." Here, the speaker suggests that human life is more valuable than material possessions, such as pearls.
Personification is also used throughout the poem, as the speaker attributes human qualities to the drop of dew. For example, the speaker writes, "But when the sun in all his state / Illumed the eastern skies, / She passed through glory's morning-gate, / And walked in paradise." Here, the drop of dew is personified as a woman who walks through a gate into paradise.
Finally, the poem contains several allusions to classical literature and mythology. For example, the speaker references the "Sands with golden coins," which alludes to the myth of Midas and his golden touch.
Interpretation of On A Drop Of Dew
At its core, On A Drop Of Dew is a poem about the beauty and fragility of life. The drop of dew is a metaphor for human existence, which is both fleeting and valuable. The speaker suggests that while life is short, it is also incredibly precious, and that we should appreciate its beauty while we can.
The poem also suggests that nature is a source of constant wonder and inspiration. The speaker is clearly enamored with the drop of dew, and spends much of the poem admiring its various qualities. This appreciation for nature is a common theme in Marvell's poetry, and reflects his belief in the importance of the natural world.
Finally, On A Drop Of Dew is a poem that celebrates the power of language and imagination. Marvell's use of metaphor and personification elevates the simple image of a drop of dew into a powerful symbol of life and beauty. This shows that even the smallest and most mundane things can become objects of wonder and contemplation, if we choose to view them that way.
In conclusion, On A Drop Of Dew is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that explores the beauty and fragility of life, the wonder of nature, and the power of language and imagination. Marvell's use of literary devices, such as metaphor and personification, elevates the poem beyond a simple description of a drop of dew, and turns it into a powerful meditation on the nature of existence. This is a poem that rewards careful reading and contemplation, and reminds us of the importance of appreciating the world around us.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry On A Drop Of Dew: A Masterpiece of Metaphysical Poetry
Andrew Marvell, one of the greatest poets of the seventeenth century, is known for his metaphysical poetry that explores complex philosophical and spiritual themes. His poem, "Poetry On A Drop Of Dew," is a perfect example of his mastery of the genre. In this poem, Marvell uses the image of a drop of dew to explore the nature of existence, the relationship between the material and the spiritual, and the power of poetry to transcend the limitations of the physical world.
The poem begins with a simple description of a drop of dew on a flower, but quickly moves into a meditation on the nature of existence. Marvell writes:
"See how the orient dew, Shed from the bosom of the morn Into the blowing roses, Yet careless of its mansion new; For the clear region where 'twas born Round in itself incloses, And in its little globe's extent, Frames as it can its native element."
Here, Marvell uses the image of the dew to illustrate the idea that everything in the world is interconnected and part of a larger whole. The dew, which is shed from the morning sky onto the roses, is still connected to its "clear region" where it was born. The dew is "careless" of its new home because it knows that it is still part of a larger whole. The dew is also "round in itself incloses," which means that it contains within itself the essence of its origin. This idea of interconnectedness and unity is a central theme in metaphysical poetry, and Marvell expresses it beautifully in this opening stanza.
In the second stanza, Marvell continues to explore the nature of existence, but this time he focuses on the relationship between the material and the spiritual. He writes:
"So the earth that's nature's mother Is her tomb; and every flower Lays her own beauty in the bosom of earth, Springing from her tomb again."
Here, Marvell is suggesting that the material world is not separate from the spiritual world, but rather a part of it. The earth, which is the "mother" of nature, is also its "tomb." This means that everything that is born from the earth will eventually return to it. However, Marvell also suggests that this cycle of birth and death is not the end, but rather a beginning. Every flower "lays her own beauty in the bosom of earth," which means that even in death, beauty is not lost but transformed. The flower "springs from her tomb again," which suggests that there is a cycle of rebirth and renewal that is inherent in the natural world.
In the third stanza, Marvell turns his attention to the power of poetry to transcend the limitations of the physical world. He writes:
"Such is the fate of all This world's vain glittering toys; Sooner or later in the breast Of earth they must be laid, Yet this beauteous nothing, ere you go, Springs upwards like a sprightly bride, Whose virgin innocence delights To be thought some thing else, and she Affects to write."
Here, Marvell is suggesting that the material world, with all its "vain glittering toys," is ultimately meaningless and will eventually be forgotten. However, he also suggests that poetry has the power to transcend this transience and capture something eternal. The "beauteous nothing" of the drop of dew, which is so fleeting and ephemeral, can be captured in poetry and made immortal. The dew "springs upwards like a sprightly bride," which suggests that poetry has the power to elevate the mundane and transform it into something beautiful and transcendent.
In the final stanza, Marvell brings all these themes together and concludes the poem with a powerful statement about the power of poetry. He writes:
"Thus poetry does not perish, Nor yet in oblivion lie; For when God shall be pleased to retire His faithful, but anointed, servant Death, The laurel'd bard shall bloom again, And flourish fresh in endless youth."
Here, Marvell is suggesting that poetry has the power to transcend even death itself. The "laurel'd bard," or the poet who has achieved greatness, will "bloom again" and "flourish fresh in endless youth." This means that the poet's work will live on long after they are gone, and that their words have the power to transcend time and space. Marvell is suggesting that poetry is not just a form of artistic expression, but a way of capturing something eternal and transcendent.
In conclusion, "Poetry On A Drop Of Dew" is a masterpiece of metaphysical poetry that explores complex philosophical and spiritual themes. Marvell uses the image of a drop of dew to explore the nature of existence, the relationship between the material and the spiritual, and the power of poetry to transcend the limitations of the physical world. Through his masterful use of language and imagery, Marvell creates a poem that is both beautiful and profound, and that continues to resonate with readers today.
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