Thursday, March 24, 2011

III. Absence

Elizabeth Cobbold's "Absence" is a blazon. Throughout the poem, she is expressing how the "absence" of her lover or friend is taking a toll on her mental being. The diction and descriptions Cobbold utilizes within the poem express her true passionate, yet saddening feelings through this absence.

"Absence" is a blazon because Cobbold lists many traits of her "male friend," in regards to why this man is so perfect in her eyes and how he created this "ardent love" within her heart. She states she fell in love with him not for his "manly form" or for "thy sparkling eye," but his "rich and ever varying mind." This line is also the volta of the poem. By starting the line of with "No, twas...," it lets the reader know that she is going away from the "wrong" reasons she misses this man. This volta is meaningful because she contradicts two ideas/reasons for loving someone, looks and heart. These days, it takes true heart and courage for someone to have affection for someone just for what's on the inside rather than their looks. Cobbold lets us know, as readers, how "rich" and happy she was when he was in her presence. This consistent love is expressed through the majority of the sonnet.

The consistent love and feelings for Cobbold's counterpart is expressed through the diction as well. Throughout the sonnet, her word usage illustrates the tone and mood she feels at that certain point of the sonnet. The sonnet is titled "Absence," clearly letting the reader know something is missing in her life. She starts off the poem using words with downbeat tie-ins, such as distant and oblivion. It immediately alerts the reader how much she is saddened by his absence. However, she includes more optimistic, upbeat diction such as sparkling, "affection warm," and tranquil. The reader learns how much she was put at ease and how she "sparkl[ed]" when they were together. Through this tranquility and affection came this ardent love.

Although, Cobbold ends the sonnet with a very sorrowful taste. She realizes the time with him is in the past because she is viewing them in her head like the "tranquil" memories they truly were. Looking back on these memories puts her in "strain" and portrays a very sympathetic tone to the reader. No matter how much she thinks of the upside of their relationship, the affection, the love, the "generous feeling," the sorrow outweighs the happiness of this "absence."

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