Sunday, April 3, 2011

An Analysis of Charlotte Smith's "To a Nightingale" by Andrew Muniz

This particular sonnet takes on the form of the Italian sonnet and is split into a form the lends itself to the rhyme scheme. Since sonnets are meant to be a sort of homage to one's love (or maybe even a concept, as this case proves), it would be best to look at the focus of this particular sonnet. Although it is obvious that this poem pays an homage to the Nightingale and its sweet song, one could extrapolate this to mean that the poet is paying homage to nature. When the narrator mentions that a poet would scarce be able to translate the meaning of the song of the Nightingale, the poet also implies that nature itself holds images, sounds and meaning that can scarcely be put into words that do justice to what it means. The prior stanza posits that the song of the bird carries a air of lament. From here, we arrive at two ideas. One, bird's song is sad; two, the bird's song is an envoy of nature's unfathomable nature. The last stanza brings these two ideas together where the poet notes all the different dirges, elegies and lamentations that might be contained in the bird's song. This synthesis between the two former stanzas might also point to another idea. If the first stanza was about the bird (and nature) and the second about a human's successful (but bare) success with understanding the bird's song, than the third might point to man's place within the sphere of nature. Still, the poet cries out how that they might have the freedom to have the fluidity and power of the song of the nightingale. This points to man's distance from nature and some of their wish to retain some of that natural ability afforded to other creatures.

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