Tag: Poetry

Remor∫le∫s deep, histories lost and Poetic Verse: A Linguistic Approach to Milton’s “Lycidas”

Paraphrase of Lycidas

With a summoning of the muse, John Milton begins to close his pastoral elegy “Lycidas.” The narrator calls for Alpheus’s return, assuring him that the “dread voice,” something which had been prominent within the previous section (including a rant about Saint Peters), had now subsided. Instead one finds that the return of artistic expression and beauty is once again normalized with the muse’s return, despite the somberness of Lycidas’s passing. In fact the occasion serves as an opportunity to gather the most gorgeous and eclectic floral arrangement possible. For what cause? To adorn the “Laureat Herse where Lycidas lies” of course. The act itself is almost ritualistic as the reader soon discovers the “speaker of the poem indulges in a fantasy that is given considerable scope before it is crushed” (Oxford 73). This is brought about by the realization that Lycidas’s body was possibly pulled under the ocean by the “whelming tide.” This epiphany is marked by the “tonal change” of that couplet, lines 157-158, which bring forth a profound realization and sad truth, there is an uncertainty of the location of Lycidas’s body (Draper 48). Ultimately the narrator is left with no other choice than to call upon the archangel “Michael” and the “Dolphins” to have pity and convoy the “hapless youth.”

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