Sunday, January 23, 2011

Post 1 on Tichborne's Elegy - Kyra Dorgeloh

After reading Tickborne's Elegy by Chiciock Tichborne I was struck most by the series of contrasting images the author uses to speak of his own death. Most of the lines begin with an image of something full and vital, and then it is starkly contrasted by an image of something pained and empty. For example when he writes "my feast of joy is but a dish of pain" I believe he uses the drastic change of imagery to emphasize the harsh reality of death. Tichborne portrays death as the opposite of life, as something that directly contradicts life.

When discussing his life, Tichborne often makes it seem that he felt it was over before it began. The repeated devaluation of his own life suggests that he felt he didn't do the most he could while he was living. Perhaps he is hinting at regrets in how he conducted his life when he states "I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb." Repeated images such as this gave me a feeling of resignation and almost acceptance of his upcoming execution. He doesn't seem to value his past and doesn't want to return to it.

I think the beauty of this poem is how lyrical it is. Each stanza has the same rhythmic structure and each stanza is not end stopped. The thoughts of each stanza are connected and flow together through the use of these patterns. Perhaps Tichborne meant to do this in order to show how life inevitably flow toward death without the possibility of changing the outcome. Each line begins with a representation of life and ends with a representation of death, only continuing on to present the same concept multiple times.

Each stanza of the poem ends with the statement "and now I live, and now my life is done." This contradicts itself which I thought was an interesting approach to show the fleeting nature of life. Within the same moment he writes he is both living and his life is done. The line is disturbing in the way it demonstrates how quickly things can change.

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