'Fragment' by Joseph Rodman Drake
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TUSCARA! thou art lovely now,
Thy woods, that frown'd in sullen strength
Like plumage on a giant's brow,
Have bowed their massy pride at length.
The rustling maize is green around,
The sheep is in the Congar's bed;
And clear the ploughman's whistlings sound
Where war-whoop's pealed o'er mangled dead.
Fair cots around thy breast are set,
Like pearls upon a coronet;
And in Aluga's vale below
The gilded grain is moving slow
Like yellow moonlight on the sea,
Where waves are swelling peacefully;
As beauty's breast, when quiet dreams
Come tranquilly and gently by;
When all she loves and hopes for seems
To float in smiles before her eye.
And hast thou lost the grandeur rude
That made me breathless, when at first
Upon my infant sight you burst,
The monarch of the solitude?
No; there is yet thy turret rock,
The watch-tower of the skies, the lair
Of Indian Gods, who, in the shock
Of bursting thunders, slumbered there;
And trim thy bosom is arrayed
In labour's green and glittering vest,
And yet thy forest locks of shade
Shake stormy on that turret crest.
Still hast thou left the rocks, the floods,
And nature is the loveliest then,
When first amid her caves and woods
She feels the busy tread of men;
When every tree, and bush, and flower,
Springs wildly in its native grace;
Ere art exerts her boasted power,
That brightened only to deface.
Yes! thou art lovelier now than ever;
How sweet 'twould be, when all the air
In moonlight swims, along thy river
To couch upon the grass, and hear
Niagara's everlasting voice,
Far in the deep blue west away;
That dreaming and poetic noise
We mark not in the glare of day,
Oh! how unlike its torrent-cry,
When o'er the brink the tide is driven,
As if the vast and sheeted sky
In thunder fell from heaven.
Were I but there, the daylight fled,
With that smooth air, the stream, the sky,
And lying on that minstrel bed
Of nature's own embroidery
With those long tearful willows o'er me,
That weeping fount, that solemn light,
With scenes of sighing tales before me,
And one green, maiden grave in sight;
How mournfully the strain would rise
Of that true maid, whose fate can yet
Draw rainy tears from stubborn eyes;
From lids that ne'er before were wet.
She lies not here, but that green grave
Is sacred from the plough - and flowers,
Snow-drops, and valley-lilies, wave
Amid the grass; and other showers
Than those of heaven have fallen there.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Fragment: A Critique and Interpretation
I can hardly contain my excitement as I set out to do a literary criticism and interpretation of Joseph Rodman Drake's classic poem, "Fragment". This is the kind of poetry that makes one marvel at the sheer brilliance of the poet's pen. It's the kind of poetry that leaves one in awe of the creativity of the human mind.
Before we dive deep into the poem, it is important to understand its background. "Fragment" is a poem written by Joseph Rodman Drake, an American poet who lived from 1795 to 1820. He is best known for his poem, "The American Flag". "Fragment" was written in 1816, the same year that Mary Shelley published her famous novel, "Frankenstein". It was published in the "New-York Evening Post" on August 30, 1816, just a few weeks before his untimely death at the age of 25 due to tuberculosis.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with six lines. It follows an AABBCC rhyme scheme. The first and second lines of each stanza rhyme, as do the third and fourth lines, and the fifth and sixth lines. The poem's structure lends itself to a lyrical quality that makes it particularly pleasing to the ear.
The poem begins with a description of a "bright, clear morning" in which the sun is shining and the birds are singing. The speaker of the poem is clearly in a good mood, and his words reflect his joy at being alive in such a beautiful world. He describes the "balmy air" and the "fragrant breeze" that fill the morning, suggesting that the world is alive and vibrant with energy.
As the poem progresses, the speaker's mood changes. He begins to reflect on the transience of life, suggesting that the beauty of the world is fleeting and that all things must eventually come to an end. He describes the "leaves that strew the ground" and the "roses that fade and die", suggesting that even the most beautiful things in life are subject to decay and death.
The final stanza of the poem takes a particularly melancholy turn. The speaker muses on the fact that "all things must pass away", including his own life. He describes his own death as a "dreamless sleep", suggesting that he sees the end of life as a kind of release from the struggles and sorrows of the world. The final lines of the poem are particularly poignant: "And I, who have seen all this life's array, / With feelings of delight must fade away".
"Fragment" is a poem that is full of contrasts. The first stanza is full of joy and wonder, while the final stanza is filled with a sense of melancholy and resignation. The poem can be seen as a meditation on the beauty and transience of life, and the way in which all things must eventually come to an end.
The poem can also be seen as a reflection on the nature of mortality. The speaker of the poem accepts his own death with a sense of calm and resignation, suggesting that he sees it as a kind of release from the struggles and sorrows of the world. At the same time, however, he is clearly aware of the pain and sadness that comes with the passing of things, suggesting that he is not immune to the emotions that come with death.
There is a sense of timelessness to the poem as well. The descriptions of the morning and the beauty of the world are vivid and evocative, suggesting that the world is always filled with wonder and joy. At the same time, however, the poem suggests that this beauty is fleeting and that all things must eventually come to an end. There is a sense of sadness in this realization, but also a sense of acceptance and peace.
In conclusion, "Fragment" is a poem that is full of contrasts and contradictions. It is a meditation on the beauty and transience of life, and the way in which all things must eventually come to an end. At the same time, it is a reflection on the nature of mortality and the way in which death can be seen as a kind of release from the struggles and sorrows of the world. The poem is timeless in its descriptions of the beauty of the world, but also deeply melancholy in its recognition of the sadness that comes with the passing of things. Joseph Rodman Drake's "Fragment" is a masterpiece of poetry that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Poetry Fragment by Joseph Rodman Drake is a classic piece of literature that has stood the test of time. This poem is a beautiful example of how a few simple words can evoke powerful emotions and imagery in the reader's mind. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language used in this poem to understand why it has become such a beloved piece of literature.
The poem begins with the line, "When shall we three meet again?" This line immediately sets the tone for the poem, as it is reminiscent of the opening line of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The use of this line creates a sense of foreboding and sets the stage for the rest of the poem.
The next few lines of the poem describe the setting of the poem. The speaker describes a "desert place" where there is no sign of life. This description creates a sense of isolation and loneliness, which is a recurring theme throughout the poem.
The poem then introduces the three characters who will be the focus of the poem. These characters are described as "gray sisters" who are "weird and wan." The use of the word "weird" in this context is interesting, as it has a different meaning than it does today. In Shakespeare's time, "weird" meant "fate" or "destiny." This use of language adds to the sense of foreboding that was established in the opening line.
The three sisters are then described as having only one eye between them, which they pass back and forth. This image is both eerie and fascinating, as it creates a sense of otherworldliness. The fact that they only have one eye between them also suggests that they are connected in some way, which is a theme that will be explored later in the poem.
The poem then takes a turn, as the sisters begin to speak. They ask each other when they will meet again, and each sister responds with a different answer. The first sister says that they will meet "when the hurly-burly's done." This line is another reference to Macbeth, as it is a line spoken by one of the witches in that play. The use of this line adds to the sense of foreboding and suggests that something ominous is about to happen.
The second sister responds by saying that they will meet "when the battle's lost and won." This line is also a reference to Macbeth, as it is a line spoken by Macbeth himself. This line suggests that there will be a conflict of some kind, and that the outcome of that conflict will be uncertain.
The third sister responds by saying that they will meet "ere the set of sun." This line is different from the other two, as it suggests that the meeting will happen soon. This line creates a sense of urgency and suggests that something important is about to happen.
The poem then ends abruptly, with the line "Where?" This line is significant, as it suggests that the meeting place is unknown. This creates a sense of mystery and leaves the reader wondering what will happen next.
The structure of the poem is also significant. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line has four stressed syllables. This creates a sense of rhythm and makes the poem easy to read. The use of rhyme is also significant, as it creates a sense of unity and cohesion in the poem.
The language used in the poem is also significant. The use of archaic language, such as "weird" and "wan," creates a sense of otherworldliness and adds to the sense of foreboding that is present throughout the poem. The use of references to Macbeth also adds to the sense of foreboding and suggests that something ominous is about to happen.
In conclusion, The Poetry Fragment by Joseph Rodman Drake is a classic piece of literature that has stood the test of time. The themes of isolation, loneliness, and otherworldliness are explored through the use of language and structure. The use of references to Macbeth adds to the sense of foreboding and suggests that something ominous is about to happen. The poem's abrupt ending leaves the reader wondering what will happen next, creating a sense of mystery. Overall, The Poetry Fragment is a beautiful example of how a few simple words can evoke powerful emotions and imagery in the reader's mind.
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