'Song' by Joseph Rodman Drake

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OH! go to sleep, my baby dear,
And I will hold thee on my knee;
Thy mother's in her winding sheet,
And thou art all that's left to me.
My hairs are white with grief and age,
I've borne the weight of every ill,
And I would lay me with my child,
But thou art left to love me still.

Should thy false father see thy face,
The tears would fill his cruel e'e,
But he has scorned thy mother's wo,
And he shall never look on thee:
But I will rear thee up alone,
And with me thou shalt aye remain;
For thou wilt have thy mother's smile,
And I shall see my child again.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Beauty of Life and Love in Joseph Rodman Drake's "Poetry, Song"

Have you ever read something that made you feel as if you were traveling through time and space? Something that touched your heart and soul, and brought a smile to your face? That's how I felt when I read Joseph Rodman Drake's "Poetry, Song."

Drake was an American poet who lived in the early 19th century. He was part of the Romantic movement, which focused on emotion, imagination, and nature. "Poetry, Song" is a perfect example of this movement, as it explores the beauty of life and love through vivid imagery and lyrical language.

The Beauty of Life

The first stanza of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Drake describes the "beauteous forms" of nature, including the "roaming deer" and "flowing stream." He then asks the rhetorical question, "What is life?" This question sets the stage for the rest of the poem, as Drake attempts to answer it through his poetic language.

Drake's answer to this question is that life is "a varied scene" that includes both joy and sorrow. He describes the "balmy zephyrs" and "glowing sun" as well as the "blighting storm" and "howling blast." However, even in the midst of the storm, there is beauty to be found, as he illustrates in the lines, "And o'er the scene a tint of beauty cast, / As if the spirit of the storm had past."

Throughout the poem, Drake emphasizes the fleeting nature of life. He compares it to the "fleeting meteor's blaze" and the "dew-drop on the flower." However, even though life is short, it is still beautiful, as he writes in the lines, "But though the meteor soon is past, / And e'en the sun itself shall set, / There beams a light which ne'er shall set, / Eternal beauty."

The Beauty of Love

In addition to exploring the beauty of life, Drake also delves into the beauty of love. He begins by describing the "warbling bird" and the "rippling brook," which are both symbols of love. He then writes, "But oh! how faint the picture drawn / Of the pure love that gilds the dawn / Of life's unclouded day."

Through these lines, Drake is emphasizing the idea that love is the most beautiful thing in life. He goes on to describe the many forms that love can take, including the love between friends, the love between family members, and the love between a man and a woman.

Drake's description of romantic love is especially powerful. He writes, "And when the heart's deep fountains ope, / And love is all a passion's hope, / Oh! what a scene of rapture then / Burst on the view of mortal men." Through these lines, Drake is emphasizing the intensity and joy that comes with falling in love.

However, Drake also acknowledges that love can be painful. He writes, "But if the heart be doom'd to feel / The pangs that doubting love can deal, / How desolate the prospect seems, / How dark the world of fancy gleams." Despite this, he still maintains that love is worth it, as he writes, "And yet, though hope be lost in fears, / Though joy be quench'd in sorrow's tears, / The heart's own pulse shall ever prove / That life is sweet, and love is love."


In conclusion, Joseph Rodman Drake's "Poetry, Song" is a beautiful exploration of the beauty of life and love. Through his poetic language and vivid imagery, Drake is able to convey the fleeting and yet eternal nature of life, as well as the intense joy and occasional pain that comes with love.

As I finished reading this poem, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. Drake's words had touched me in a way that few other things could. I was reminded of the beauty that exists in the world around us, and the power of love to bring joy and meaning to our lives.

If you're looking for a poem that will inspire you and touch your heart, I highly recommend "Poetry, Song" by Joseph Rodman Drake. It's a true masterpiece of Romantic poetry, and one that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Song: An Ode to the Power of Words

Joseph Rodman Drake's Poetry Song is a classic ode to the power of words. Written in the early 19th century, the poem celebrates the beauty and magic of poetry, and the transformative effect it can have on the human soul. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language of the poem, and examine how they contribute to its enduring appeal.

The poem begins with a bold declaration: "Oh! there is power in words." This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a passionate tribute to the power of language. Drake goes on to describe the ways in which poetry can move us, inspire us, and change us:

"They thrill the soul, they melt the heart, Their echoes never die."

Here, Drake is emphasizing the emotional impact of poetry. He suggests that words have the power to reach deep into our souls, to touch us in ways that other forms of communication cannot. The idea that the echoes of poetry "never die" is particularly powerful, as it suggests that the impact of a great poem can last for generations.

Drake also explores the idea that poetry can be a force for social change. He writes:

"They wake to life the slumbering fire, And stir the soul to deeds of fame."

Here, he is suggesting that poetry can inspire people to action, to fight for what they believe in, and to make a difference in the world. This idea is particularly relevant in the context of the early 19th century, when many people were fighting for political and social change.

Throughout the poem, Drake uses vivid imagery to bring his ideas to life. For example, he writes:

"They breathe a spirit o'er the earth, Whose influence ne'er departs."

Here, he is using the image of breath to suggest that poetry is like a living, breathing force that infuses the world with its power. The idea that the influence of poetry "ne'er departs" reinforces the idea that great poetry can have a lasting impact on the world.

Drake also uses the natural world as a metaphor for the power of poetry. He writes:

"They are the stars which gild the night, The dawn of mind, the sun of thought."

Here, he is suggesting that poetry is like a guiding light, illuminating the darkness and leading us towards enlightenment. The idea that poetry is the "dawn of mind" and the "sun of thought" reinforces the idea that it has the power to transform our thinking and our understanding of the world.

One of the most striking aspects of Poetry Song is its use of repetition. Throughout the poem, Drake repeats the phrase "there is power in words" several times, emphasizing the central theme of the poem. This repetition creates a sense of rhythm and momentum, and reinforces the idea that poetry is a force to be reckoned with.

The language of the poem is also worth examining. Drake uses a range of poetic techniques, including alliteration, assonance, and rhyme, to create a musical and memorable poem. For example, he writes:

"They are the linkèd sweetness long drawn out, With wanton heed and giddy cunning thrown."

Here, he is using alliteration (the repetition of the "l" sound) and assonance (the repetition of the "o" sound) to create a musical effect. The use of rhyme (out/thrown) also adds to the poem's musicality.

In conclusion, Poetry Song is a powerful tribute to the beauty and magic of poetry. Through vivid imagery, repetition, and musical language, Joseph Rodman Drake celebrates the emotional and transformative power of words. The poem reminds us that poetry is not just a form of entertainment or decoration, but a force that can change the world. As Drake writes:

"Oh! there is power in words."

Indeed there is, and Poetry Song is a testament to that power.

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