'Qua Cursum Ventus' by Arthur Hugh Clough
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As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side,
Two towers of sail at dawn of day
Are scarce long leagues apart descried;When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
And all the darkling hours they plied,
Nor dreamt but each the selfsame seas
By each was cleaving, side by side:E'en so-but why the tale reveal
Of those, whom year by year unchanged,
Brief absence joined anew to feel,
Astounded, soul from soul estranged?At dead of night their sails were filled,
And onward each rejoicing steered-Ah, neither blame, for neither willed,
Or wist, what first with dawn appeared!To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
Through winds and tides one compass guides-To that, and your own selves, be true.But O blithe breeze! and O great seas,
Though ne'er, that earliset parting past,
On your wide plain they join again,
Together lead them home at last.One port, methought, alike they sought,
One purpose hold where'er they fare,-O bounding breeze, O rushing seas!
At last, at last, unite them there!
Editor 1 Interpretation
Qua Cursum Ventus: A Masterpiece by Arthur Hugh Clough
Are you looking for a poem that engages your mind with a deep, philosophical reflection on the futility of human endeavors? Look no further than Arthur Hugh Clough's "Qua Cursum Ventus," a poem that has stood the test of time since its publication in 1849.
Arthur Hugh Clough was a British poet and educator who lived from 1819 to 1861. Though he wrote only a small body of work, his influence on Victorian poetry was immense. Clough was a close friend of Matthew Arnold, and both poets were associated with the religious and cultural movement known as the Oxford Movement.
Clough's "Qua Cursum Ventus" was published in his collection "Ambarvalia" in 1849. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between two sailors, one of whom laments the futility of his life's endeavors, while the other urges him to look for meaning and purpose beyond mere material success.
Poetic Form and Structure
"Qua Cursum Ventus" is a poem of 176 lines, divided into twelve stanzas of varying length. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, a meter commonly used in English poetry. The rhyme scheme is irregular, with some stanzas using a consistent rhyme pattern, while others use internal rhyme or no rhyme at all.
The poem is a dialogue between two sailors, one of whom is identified by the initial "A" and the other by "B." The conversation takes place on a ship, as the sailors sail across the sea. The poem is written in a conversational tone, with each sailor speaking in turn.
One of the central themes of "Qua Cursum Ventus" is the futility of human endeavors. The speaker identified as "A" laments the fact that he has spent his life pursuing wealth and material success, only to find that these things do not bring him happiness or fulfillment. He says, "I have lived to know that the world is vain, / And we have laboured heartless at the core."
However, the other sailor, identified as "B," offers a different perspective. He argues that life is not meaningless, but rather that the pursuit of meaning and purpose requires a different approach than the pursuit of material success. He says, "For life, we learn, is more than breath or meat, / And the real life is elsewhere, stationed far."
Another theme in the poem is the contrast between the temporal and the eternal. The sailor identified as "A" is focused on the temporal aspects of life, such as wealth and power. He is frustrated by the fact that these things are fleeting and ultimately meaningless. The sailor identified as "B," on the other hand, is focused on the eternal aspects of life, such as love and faith. He believes that these things are eternal and provide a sense of purpose and meaning that transcends mere material success.
"Qua Cursum Ventus" is a poem that speaks directly to the human condition. It is a reflection on the universal struggle to find meaning and purpose in life. The poem challenges the reader to consider what truly matters in life and to question the values that society often promotes, such as wealth and material success.
The poem's title, which translates to "Whither the Wind Blows," is itself a metaphor for the uncertain and ever-changing nature of life. The wind, like life, is unpredictable and subject to forces beyond our control. The sailors in the poem are at the mercy of the wind, just as we all are at the mercy of the forces that shape our lives.
The poem is also a commentary on the Victorian era, a time of great social and economic change. The pursuit of wealth and material success was a driving force in Victorian society, and Clough's poem challenges this value system. The sailor identified as "A" represents the Victorian ideal of success, while the sailor identified as "B" represents an alternative, more spiritual approach to life.
"Qua Cursum Ventus" is a poem that is both timeless and timely. Its themes of the futility of human endeavors and the contrast between the temporal and the eternal continue to resonate with readers today. The poem is a call to question the values that society promotes and to seek out a deeper, more meaningful existence. With its conversational tone and universal themes, "Qua Cursum Ventus" is a masterpiece of Victorian poetry that deserves to be read and appreciated by readers of all ages.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Qua Cursum Ventus: A Masterpiece of Arthur Hugh Clough
Arthur Hugh Clough's Poetry Qua Cursum Ventus is a masterpiece of poetry that has stood the test of time. This poem is a reflection of Clough's life, his struggles, and his journey towards self-discovery. It is a poem that speaks to the human condition, and it is a poem that has the power to move and inspire its readers.
The poem is divided into three parts, each of which represents a different stage in Clough's life. The first part is titled "Childhood," and it is a reflection on the innocence and wonder of childhood. The second part is titled "Youth," and it is a reflection on the struggles and challenges of growing up. The third part is titled "Manhood," and it is a reflection on the journey towards self-discovery and self-realization.
In the first part of the poem, Clough reflects on the beauty and simplicity of childhood. He describes the world as a place of wonder and magic, where everything is new and exciting. He writes, "The world was fair, the sky was blue, / And every thing was fresh and new." This is a reflection of the innocence and purity of childhood, where everything is seen through the eyes of a child.
In the second part of the poem, Clough reflects on the struggles and challenges of growing up. He writes, "The world grew dark, the sky grew gray, / And every thing was old and gray." This is a reflection of the difficulties and challenges that come with growing up. Clough speaks to the struggles of adolescence, where one is faced with the challenges of identity, purpose, and meaning.
In the third part of the poem, Clough reflects on the journey towards self-discovery and self-realization. He writes, "The world was fair, the sky was blue, / And every thing was fresh and new." This is a reflection of the journey towards self-discovery, where one is able to see the world through new eyes. Clough speaks to the power of self-discovery, where one is able to find meaning and purpose in life.
Throughout the poem, Clough uses the metaphor of the wind to represent the journey of life. He writes, "As the wind bloweth where it listeth, / So the heart of man goeth forth." This is a reflection of the unpredictable nature of life, where one is never quite sure where the wind will take them. Clough speaks to the power of the wind, where it has the ability to move and shape the world around us.
In addition to the metaphor of the wind, Clough also uses imagery to convey the themes of the poem. He writes, "The world was fair, the sky was blue, / And every thing was fresh and new." This is a reflection of the beauty and wonder of life, where everything is seen through the eyes of a child. Clough also uses imagery to convey the struggles of growing up. He writes, "The world grew dark, the sky grew gray, / And every thing was old and gray." This is a reflection of the difficulties and challenges that come with growing up.
Overall, Poetry Qua Cursum Ventus is a masterpiece of poetry that speaks to the human condition. It is a reflection of the journey of life, and it is a poem that has the power to move and inspire its readers. Clough's use of metaphor and imagery is masterful, and his ability to convey complex themes in a simple and accessible way is truly remarkable. This poem is a testament to the power of poetry, and it is a reminder of the beauty and wonder of life.
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