Friday, May 2, 2014

Analysis of "Sonnet -- To Science" by Edgar Allen Poe

Original poem reprinted online here: "To Science" by Edgar Allen Poe
Originally read: September 29, 2013
More information about the Poet: Edgar Allen Poe



This Elizabethan sonnet has something to say -- at least a strong stance.  Well, the first line, "Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!" starting out with two exclamation mark indicates some sort of emotion.  Forced?  Yup.  In any case the speaker is creating a figure -- a "true daughter" to point out and describe.

"Who alterest all things withy thy peering eyes. / Why prayest thou thus upon the poet's heart. / Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?"  So at the end of this quatrain the daughter is compared to a Vulture which is a strong sentiment; however, I think the key to this poem is the progression of the speaker who sees this daughter as someone who alters things, but then the speaker is the one who alters her at the end.  Also note that the "poet's heart" is not necessarily the speakers, but there's a high probability (due to the speaker's shift) that the speaker sees himself with a poet's heart.

And in the next part, I think the he refers to the "poet." " How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise, / Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering"  Note the shift between a found connection with the "daughter" and the wanderings of the "poet" who instead wanders for the sake of searching for love, "To seek for treasure in the jeweled skies, / Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?"  Note the second reference to wing here -- the her has wings that blur, he has wings that soar.

If the "thou" in the third quatrain is science, note the number of allusions falling:

     Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
          And driven the Hamadryed from the wood
     To seek a shelter in some happier star?
           Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood

The Diana reference is taken off her car, and the Naiad reference is removed from her flood -- not that the women here are noted without.  The key to this quatrain is the third line -- the happier star, although a generality, is specific here because there's no association to a specific allusion here.

"The Elfin from the green grass, and from me / The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree". Past me noted, "Fantasy: destroyed? retooled?"  I think a little of both. The grass is the only thing that the speaker "experiences" rather than thinks about.  This is kind of funny in the sense that the speaker shows how science takes away through his thoughts, but when it comes down to experience, it doesn't seem to faze "the dream."

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