For my English Coursework I will be comparing three poems. The three poems will be “To One In Paradise” by Edgar Allen Poe, “I Am Stretched On Your Grave” a translation by Frank O’ Connor and “The Voice” by Thomas Hardy.
All three poems are about someone who has lost a loved on and long to have them back. The thing that makes these three poems so good is the fact that the poet’s souls are poured out in words; you can really understand the grief that the poets are feeling. All three poems depict the inner and most secretive feelings of the poets about love and death. Each poet express their emotions through poetry, for them, for them the opportunity to write there feeling down on paper offers them some conciliation and comfort for the traumatic life they now feel they are living after the death of a loved one. Each poet has experienced a whirl-wind childhood and what all three poets have in common is that the expression of grief, loneliness, despair and pain over the death of their loved ones who they cherished of the centre of their lives.
Death is the total assertion of life process that eventually occurs with all the living. The state of death has always been obscured by mystery and superstition. The precise definition of human death remains controversial and differs according to culture and legal system.
Christians believe that death is the beginning rather than the end. The beginning of a new life. Christians are people of hope because they believe in life after death.
Death is seen to many as an immeasurable question. Everyone has a separate view on death. Is it the beginning or is it the end? Should we fear or embrace death?
To me death is a topic of many thoughts. Why we have to die, and how we die are questions to ask. Is there any justification, do you get another chance after death, why do some get to live and others do not? What happens to people when they die?
I believe this is up to God to decide. Is there such a place as hell for sinners to go to is there such a place as heaven or do we just rot in our coffins in the undergrowth of the earth?
Many belief systems have tried to distinguish between physical and spiritual being. Despite the decomposition of the body following death, the idea has persisted that something of the individual continues to survive the experience of dieing. This belief occurs in virtually all religions, past and present.
Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-49) was an American writer, known as a poet and critic but was most famous as the first master of the short story form, especially tales of the mysterious and macabre.
Poe was born in Boston on January 19th 1809. His parents, towing actors, both died in Poe’s early childhood and John Allen, a successful businessman of Richmond, Virginia, raised the boy. The Allen family took Poe to England at the age of six. He was there placed in a private school. Upon returning to the USA in 1820 he continued to study in private schools and attended the University of Virginia for a year but in 1827, his foster father, displeased by the young man’s drinking and gambling problems, refused to pay his debts and forced him to work as a clerk.
Poe, disliking his new duties intensely, quit the job, thus estranging Allan, and went to Boston. There his first book, Tamerlane and other poems (1827) were published anonymously. Shortly afterward Poe enlisted in the army and served a two-year term. In 1829 his second volume in verse, Al Aaraaf, was released and he effected a reconciliation with Allen, who secured him an appointment to the US Military Academy after only a few moths at the academy, Poe was dismissed for neglect of duty and his foster father disowned him permanently.
Poe third book Poems was published in 1831 and the following year he moved to Baltimore, where he lived with his aunt and her eleven-year-old daughter Virginia Clemm. The following year his tale “AMS. Found in a bottle” one a contract sponsored by Baltimore Saturday visitor. From 1835-1837, Poe was an editor from the southern Literary Messenger. In 1836, he married his young cousin. Through out the next decade, much of which was married by his wife’s illness, Poe worked as an editor for various periodicals in Philadelphia and New York City. In 1847, Virginia died and Poe himself became ill. His disastrous addictions to liquor and alleged use of drugs, recorded by contemporaries, my have contributed to his early death in Baltimore on October the 7th 1849.
To One In Paradise
From the title, “To One I Paradise” and the first line of the poem, “Thou wast all to me, love” shows us how he loved and still loves his dead wife. I think that this line sets the tone for the rest of the poem because it tells us that his love is gone when he says, “wast”.
He also says, “For which my heart did pine” which tells me that he longed for her touch.
He then goes on to describe her as “A green isle in the sea” I think this line is signifying that her beauty would stick out in a crowd, the crowd being the sea. I also think that the green means evergreen, which is everlasting that says that there love, is never dieing.
He also describes her as “A fountain and a shrine” this tells us that she is a thing of beauty, “a fountain”, and something that should be worshiped, “a shrine.” I think that he is telling us that she is a beautiful and worthy of worship.
“All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers” is the next line he gives us. I would think that he is trying to say that she is blossoming into a beautiful flower.
I connection with the last line he then writes “And all the flowers are mine” this tells us that he feels lucky that he had all the flowers.
He ends the first stanza on that note. I think he used this quatrain to describes his wife and also describe his felling for his wife.
“Ah, dream to bright to last!” and “Ah, starry hope! That didst arise but to be overcast!” describes the feelings that he is unlucky and that is was too good to be true. It also tells me that he had got his hopes up but then it was just taken away again.
“A voice from out of the future cries
On! On! – But over the past
(Dim Gulf) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!”
These four lines tells me that he needs to get over the past and move on to the future but his spirit and heart is still with his dead wife. It’s just sitting there not moving still in shock. I think he knows he has to get over the death but he can’t because he loved her too much.
He ends the quatrain there. He uses that stanza to describe how he feels about her being gone from his life forever.
“For Alas! Alas! with me
The light of life is o’er!
No more – no more – no more”
This tells me that he is being to accept it that she is gone but he is also saying that his life is over by saying “The light of life is o’er”
“(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder – blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar”
He then goes on to make an about turn in my estimation because he writes ” Such language holds solemn sea” as if to say if I keep going on like that I will never let her go and I will never get on with my life. Then I think he says goodbye to her by saying, “Shall bloom the thunder – blasted tree or the stricken eagle soar”. In my opinion he uses this to say goodbye because he is saying that they will go on no further.
I think he uses that quatrain to say goodbye to his beloved wife. Although he found it difficult to say goodbye, he knew he had no choice.
“And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams”
These two lines shows that even though he wanted to stop thinking about his wife, he could not as she preoccupied him in his thoughts and dreams.
“And where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams”
This tells us that everywhere he looks and every step he takes, she is all that he can see.
“In what ethereal dances,
By what ethereal streams”
In the closing lines of the last stanza his lover forever haunts him.