'The Day's Ration' by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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When I was born,
From all the seas of strength Fate filled a chalice,
Saying, This be thy portion, child; this chalice,
Less than a lily's, thou shalt daily draw
From my great arteries; nor less, nor more.
All substances the cunning chemist Time
Melts down into that liquor of my life,
Friends, foes, joys, fortunes, beauty, and disgust,
And whether I am angry or content,
Indebted or insulted, loved or hurt,
All he distils into sidereal wine,
And brims my little cup; heedless, alas!
Of all he sheds how little it will hold,
How much runs over on the desert sands.
If a new muse draw me with splendid ray,
And I uplift myself into her heaven,
The needs of the first sight absorb my blood,
And all the following hours of the day
Drag a ridiculous age.
To-day, when friends approach, and every hour
Brings book or starbright scroll of genius,
The tiny cup will hold not a bead more,
And all the costly liquor runs to waste,
Nor gives the jealous time one diamond drop
So to be husbanded for poorer days.
Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?
Why need I galleries, when a pupil's draught
After the master's sketch, fills and o'erfills
My apprehension? Why should I roam,
Who cannot circumnavigate the sea
Of thoughts and things at home, but still adjourn
The nearest matters to another moon?
Why see new men
Who have not understood the old?
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Day's Ration by Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Ralph Waldo Emerson is a renowned American poet and essayist who is known for his works that encompassed transcendentalism, individualism, and self-reliance. His poem, The Day's Ration, is no exception. It is a beautiful piece of work that captures the essence of life and its struggles. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the themes, structure, and literary devices used by Emerson in The Day's Ration.
The theme of survival is prominent in The Day's Ration. The poem is a metaphor for life's journey, and the "day's ration" represents the sustenance we need to survive. The poem's speaker acknowledges that life is not easy, and it is up to us to make the most of what we have. The line "Life is too short to waste" is a reminder that we must live every day to the fullest.
Another theme that runs through the poem is the idea of self-reliance. The speaker implores the reader to be self-sufficient and not to rely on others for their happiness. The lines "He is slave to his own misery / Who will not face a fact" highlight the importance of being honest with oneself and taking responsibility for one's actions.
Finally, the theme of hope is also present in the poem. Despite the struggles and hardships that life may bring, the speaker reminds us that there is always hope. The line "The sun shines bright and on the right / We steer by that alone" is a metaphor for the hope that guides us through life's journey.
The Day's Ration is a six-stanza poem, with each stanza consisting of four lines. The rhyme scheme is AABB, which creates a sense of rhythm and flow throughout the poem. The repetition of the rhyme scheme adds to the poem's musicality and reinforces its message.
The poem's structure is simple, yet effective. The short stanzas and simple language make the poem accessible to a wide audience, while the repetition of the themes and motifs reinforces the poem's message.
Emerson employs various literary devices in The Day's Ration to convey his message effectively. The use of metaphor is prevalent throughout the poem. The "day's ration" is a metaphor for the sustenance we need to survive, while the "sun shining bright" is a metaphor for hope. The use of metaphor adds depth and complexity to the poem, and it allows the reader to explore its meaning on a deeper level.
Another literary device used in the poem is imagery. The lines "The fire is low, the night is still / The air is damp, the cricket shrill" create a vivid image in the reader's mind. The imagery adds to the poem's sense of realism and helps to convey the struggles of life.
The use of repetition is also an effective literary device in the poem. The repetition of the rhyme scheme and the use of refrains such as "Life is too short to waste" and "The sun shines bright and on the right" reinforce the poem's themes and message.
The Day's Ration is a poem that speaks to the struggles of life and the importance of survival. The poem's speaker acknowledges that life is not easy, but it is up to us to make the most of what we have. The poem's themes of survival, self-reliance, and hope are universal, and they resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds.
The metaphor of the "day's ration" is a powerful one. It reminds us that life is a journey, and we must take it one day at a time. The poem's emphasis on self-reliance is also important. It reminds us that we are responsible for our own happiness and well-being, and we must take responsibility for our actions.
Finally, the poem's message of hope is perhaps its most important theme. The line "The sun shines bright and on the right / We steer by that alone" is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope. The poem's message is uplifting and inspiring, and it encourages the reader to persevere through life's struggles.
The Day's Ration is a beautiful poem that speaks to the struggles of life and the importance of survival. The poem's themes of survival, self-reliance, and hope are universal, and they resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. The poem's simple structure, use of metaphor, imagery, and repetition make it an effective piece of literature that conveys its message in a powerful and memorable way. As we journey through life, let us remember the message of The Day's Ration and make the most of every day.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Day's Ration by Ralph Waldo Emerson is a classic piece of poetry that has stood the test of time. This poem is a beautiful reflection on the importance of living in the present moment and cherishing every day as if it were our last. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language used in this poem to understand its deeper meaning and significance.
The poem begins with the line, "If on a quiet sea," which sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The speaker is reflecting on the idea of being at peace, both internally and externally. The sea is often used as a metaphor for the mind, and in this case, the speaker is suggesting that if we can find peace within ourselves, we can navigate the rough waters of life with ease.
The next line, "Towards heaven we calmly sail," suggests that the speaker is on a journey towards a higher purpose. This purpose is not explicitly stated, but it is implied that the speaker is seeking spiritual enlightenment or a deeper understanding of the world around them.
The third line, "And there's peace in the view," reinforces the idea of peace and tranquility. The speaker is suggesting that when we are on the right path, we can find peace in the world around us. This line also suggests that the speaker is not alone on this journey, but is accompanied by others who share the same goal.
The fourth line, "That's where the soul should be," is a powerful statement that suggests that the soul is not something that can be found outside of ourselves, but rather, it is within us. The speaker is suggesting that we should look inward to find our true purpose and meaning in life.
The next few lines of the poem describe the beauty of the world around us. The speaker describes the "golden sun" and the "azure sky," which are both symbols of hope and optimism. The speaker is suggesting that even in the darkest of times, there is always something beautiful to be found in the world around us.
The line, "Fragrant the fertile earth," suggests that the world is full of abundance and that we should be grateful for all that we have. This line also suggests that the earth is a living, breathing entity that deserves our respect and care.
The next few lines of the poem describe the importance of living in the present moment. The speaker suggests that we should not worry about the future or dwell on the past, but rather, we should focus on the present moment and make the most of it.
The line, "Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how," suggests that life is full of ups and downs, and that we should embrace both the good and the bad. The speaker is suggesting that we should not cling to our emotions, but rather, we should let them come and go as they please.
The final lines of the poem describe the fleeting nature of life. The speaker suggests that life is like a "day's ration," which implies that it is limited and should be cherished. The line, "Love stays not, but swift-footed comes," suggests that love is also fleeting and that we should cherish it while we can.
Overall, The Day's Ration is a beautiful reflection on the importance of living in the present moment and cherishing every day as if it were our last. The poem is full of powerful imagery and metaphors that help to convey its deeper meaning. The speaker suggests that we should seek peace within ourselves, focus on the present moment, and cherish the beauty of the world around us. The poem is a timeless reminder that life is short and that we should make the most of every moment.
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