'The Gift Of The Sea' by Rudyard Kipling
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The dead child lay in the shroud,
And the widow watched beside;
And her mother slept, and the Channel swept
The gale in the teeth of the tide.
But the mother laughed at all.
"I have lost my man in the sea,
And the child is dead.Be still," she said,
"What more can ye do to me?"
The widow watched the dead,
And the candle guttered low,
And she tried to sing the Passing Song
That bids the poor soul go.
And "Mary take you now," she sang,
"That lay against my heart."
And "Mary smooth your crib to-night,"
But she could not say "Depart."
Then came a cry from the sea,
But the sea-rime blinded the glass,
And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
"'Tis the child that waits to pass."
And the nodding mother sighed.
"'Tis a lambing ewe in the whin,
For why should the christened soul cry out
That never knew of sin?"
"O feet I have held in my hand,
O hands at my heart to catch,
How should they know the road to go,
And how should they lift the latch?"
They laid a sheet to the door,
With the little quilt atop,
That it might not hurt from the cold or the dirt,
But the crying would not stop.
The widow lifted the latch
And strained her eyes to see,
And opened the door on the bitter shore
To let the soul go free.
There was neither glimmer nor ghost,
There was neither spirit nor spark,
And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
"'Tis crying for me in the dark."
And the nodding mother sighed:
"'Tis sorrow makes ye dull;
Have ye yet to learn the cry of the tern,
Or the wail of the wind-blown gull?"
"The terns are blown inland,
The gray gull follows the plough.
'Twas never a bird, the voice I heard,
O mother, I hear it now!"
"Lie still, dear lamb, lie still;
The child is passed from harm,
'Tis the ache in your breast that broke your rest,
And the feel of an empty arm."
She put her mother aside,
"In Mary's name let be!
For the peace of my soul I must go," she said,
And she went to the calling sea.
In the heel of the wind-bit pier,
Where the twisted weed was piled,
She came to the life she had missed by an hour,
For she came to a little child.
She laid it into her breast,
And back to her mother she came,
But it would not feed and it would not heed,
Though she gave it her own child's name.
And the dead child dripped on her breast,
And her own in the shroud lay stark;
And "God forgive us, mother," she said,
"We let it die in the dark!"
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Gift Of The Sea: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Rudyard Kipling, known for his iconic works such as The Jungle Book and Kim, is also acknowledged for his contribution to the world of poetry. One of his most celebrated poems is The Gift Of The Sea. This poem, which was first published in 1918, is a beautifully crafted piece of literature that explores the relationship between man and the sea. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will examine the themes, language, structure, and symbolism of The Gift Of The Sea, and how it contributes to Kipling’s larger body of work.
The Gift Of The Sea is a poem that is rich in themes. One of the most prominent themes is the relationship between man and nature. Throughout the poem, Kipling portrays the sea as a powerful force that demands respect and reverence. He describes how the sea can be both a source of life and a source of destruction, and how man must learn to live in harmony with it. This theme is particularly evident in the following lines:
"They that go down to the sea in ships, And do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep."
Here, Kipling emphasizes the idea that those who venture out to sea are witness to the mysteries of nature and the power of God.
Another theme that is explored in The Gift Of The Sea is the idea of sacrifice. Kipling portrays the sea as a force that demands sacrifice from those who seek to profit from its bounty. He describes how the sea takes the lives of sailors and fishermen, and how their sacrifice is necessary for the survival of others. This theme is reflected in the following lines:
"They that go down to the sea in ships, And venture upon the deep; These return to their homes with the fruits of their labor, But some return not, neither give account."
Kipling suggests that the sea demands a price for its gifts, and that this price is often paid with the lives of those who venture out to sea.
The Gift Of The Sea is a poem that is written in a simple and straightforward language. Kipling’s use of language is effective in conveying the themes and emotions of the poem. The poem is written in a narrative style, with each stanza building upon the previous one. The language is also evocative, creating vivid images in the mind of the reader. For example, in the following lines:
"And the wind arose, and the waves rose, And drove the ship toward the land, And the thunder crashed, and the lightning flashed, And the ship struck the sand."
Kipling’s use of onomatopoeia and alliteration creates a sense of chaos and danger, and the reader can almost feel the storm raging around them.
The Gift Of The Sea is a poem that is structured in a unique way. The poem is divided into five stanzas, each with four lines. The first three lines of each stanza are written in iambic tetrameter, while the fourth line is written in iambic trimeter. The use of this structure creates a sense of rhythm and stability, and also emphasizes certain words and phrases. For example, in the following lines:
"They that go down to the sea in ships, And occupy their business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep."
The use of iambic tetrameter in the first three lines creates a sense of importance and reverence, while the use of iambic trimeter in the fourth line creates a sense of conclusion and finality.
The Gift Of The Sea is a poem that is rich in symbolism. Kipling uses the sea as a symbol for nature and the power of God. He describes how the sea can be both a source of life and a source of destruction, and how man must learn to live in harmony with it. In addition, Kipling uses the sea as a symbol for sacrifice. He describes how the sea demands sacrifice from those who seek to profit from its bounty, and how this sacrifice is necessary for the survival of others.
Another symbol that is used in The Gift Of The Sea is the ship. The ship is a symbol for man and his relationship with nature. Kipling describes how the ship is at the mercy of the sea, and how man must learn to navigate the dangers of the sea in order to survive. The ship is also a symbol for the sacrifices that must be made in order to profit from the bounty of the sea.
The Gift Of The Sea is a beautifully crafted poem that explores the relationship between man and the sea. Through its themes, language, structure, and symbolism, Kipling creates a vivid and evocative portrait of the power of nature and the sacrifices that must be made in order to profit from its bounty. The poem is a testament to Kipling’s skill as a poet and his ability to capture the beauty and mystery of the natural world.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has always been a medium of expression for human emotions, and Rudyard Kipling's "The Gift of the Sea" is no exception. This classic poem is a beautiful depiction of the sea and its gifts, and how it has the power to heal and rejuvenate the human soul. In this analysis, we will explore the various themes and literary devices used in the poem, and how they contribute to the overall meaning and impact of the poem.
The poem begins with a vivid description of the sea, "The sea is a hungry dog, Giant and grey. He rolls on the beach all day." This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, and immediately captures the reader's attention. The use of personification in this line is particularly effective, as it gives the sea a human-like quality, making it more relatable to the reader. The metaphor of the sea being a "hungry dog" also adds to the imagery, as it creates a sense of movement and energy.
As the poem progresses, Kipling describes the various gifts that the sea has to offer. "He gnaws the bones of the world, Devours his own. He is fat and he is sleek. He snores on his own white bed." These lines are a beautiful depiction of the sea's power and majesty. The use of imagery in these lines is particularly effective, as it creates a sense of awe and wonder in the reader's mind. The sea is portrayed as a powerful force that can both create and destroy, and this duality is a recurring theme throughout the poem.
The poem then takes a more introspective turn, as Kipling reflects on the impact that the sea has had on his own life. "I have seen him drive a wreck, Dragging his prey. With the thunder of his voice, He hurled them away." These lines are a powerful reminder of the sea's power and the danger that it can pose to human life. However, Kipling also acknowledges the healing power of the sea, "But the sea has many moods, Many faces. Many voices." This line is a beautiful reminder that the sea is not just a force of destruction, but also a source of healing and rejuvenation.
The poem then takes a more philosophical turn, as Kipling reflects on the nature of life and death. "The sea is a giver of life, But also a taker. He gives and he takes away, And we are but his playthings." These lines are a powerful reminder of the transience of life and the inevitability of death. However, Kipling also acknowledges the beauty of life, "But life is a gift, And the sea is a giver of gifts." This line is a beautiful reminder that life is a precious gift, and that we should cherish every moment that we have.
The poem then ends with a beautiful description of the sea, "The sea is a gift, A gift from the gods. A gift of life, A gift of love." These lines are a beautiful reminder of the beauty and majesty of the sea, and the gifts that it has to offer. The use of repetition in these lines is particularly effective, as it creates a sense of rhythm and flow, and emphasizes the importance of the sea as a gift.
In conclusion, Rudyard Kipling's "The Gift of the Sea" is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores the various themes of life, death, and the beauty of nature. The use of imagery, personification, and repetition are particularly effective in creating a sense of awe and wonder in the reader's mind. The poem is a beautiful reminder of the power and majesty of the sea, and the gifts that it has to offer. It is a timeless classic that will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.
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