Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Analysis of "Romance" by Edgar Allen Poe

Poem found here: "Romance" by Edgar Allen Poe



So on my version there's a stanza break -- ten line stanza and then an eleven line stanza.  I think, looking over my notes, the separation makes a difference between tone.  Romance, romance repeated twice -- this poem is definitely a definition of the term as it is anthropomorphized with, "who knows to nod and sing / With drowsy ahead and folded wing."  And, to me, the first thought to come to mind is that romance is angelic -- or at least appears that way.  This is important to note as the poem goes down the pastoral with, "Among the green leaves as they shake / Far down within some shadowy lake."  And, yes, "shadowy" might be a little too foreboding but hey there is, "To me a painted paroquet / Hat been-a most familiar bird"

So there's the tie in with the winged creature -- angelic but then actualized into the form of a paroquet (parakeet).  But note how the speaker introduces himself to authenticate the paroquet which then brings him internal with, "Taught me my alphabet to say / To list my very earliest word,"  Romance in the form of childhood -- those happy memories, "While in the wild wood I did lie / A child- with a most knowing eye."  And what ruins romance?  Knowledge?

Well the connection might be there after the break, the symbol of the bird changes to something a little more sinister, "Of late, eternal Condor years / So shake the very Heaven on high / with tumult as they thunder by."  So maybe a little too dramatic of a shift.  Yes, the later years does bring a sense of doom and dread -- but such knowledge changes things -- well within the speaker, "I have no time for idle cares."  With such a declaration, the romance is gone -- and what is in it's place.

"Through gazing on the unquiet sky. / And when an hour with calmer wings / Its down upon my spirit flings."  The speaker takes on the symbol of the bird -- all of it's forces, The romantic uplifting mixed with foreboding.  It is within the soul the speaker feels able to fly (good or bad).

"That little time with lyre and rhyme / To while away-forbidden things!"  What are these forbidden things?  It's really internal with the speaker at this point, but this felt forced to rhyme with "wings" and "things."  In any case, gone is the innocence of gazing, in is the forbidden action of the heart, "My heart would feel to be a crime / Unless it trembled with the strings."  Lust, perhaps?  Or maybe the transition between youthful want and old lechery?  Crime certainly changes people.

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