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29

Literacy, pens, paper, the printing press. A written culture has different restrictions than an oral culture dependant on ease of repetition from memory. According to the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center: Beowulf is the oldest narrative poem in the English language, embodying historical traditions that go back to actual events and ...


27

Who says we don't? Have you listened to rap or hip-hop lately? Anglo-Saxon poetry like Beowulf was heavily beat-based and while it didn't involve rhyme it used alliteration that gave similar aural cues. The lines were recited four stressed beats to a line with a caesura dividing it into two-beat groups, and rhythm was important. I have long considered ...


17

The verbs dawn and realize work in opposite directions. In 1, the idea is the subject and he is the object. In 3, he is the subject and the idea is the object. So, they are not synonyms.


16

This was to signify that the syllable was omitted. In most cases today, we don't pronounce the final syllable in many -ed endings that used to always be articulated. You can see a remnant of this in the word learned: We say that word in one syllable in the sentence I learned a lot from him. but pronounce it as two syllables in He was a very learned ...


16

How to understand "losing theirs and blaming it on you" in the first stanza? In particular, what do the pronouns "theirs" and "it" respectively stand for? To "keep your head" means to remain calm, which is sometimes hard to do when the people around you ("about you") are in "panic mode." To remain calm in spite of their panic is therefore a virtue. ...


15

It's a subverted rhyme. I hesitate to cite TV Tropes directly but the term has also appeared in ELU.


14

In context: How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. The second line, in more conventional syntax: Forgetting the world, and by the world forgotten. This is a sentence fragment (common in poetry), and the "subject" is only in the previous line. So here, the meaning is that a "blameless vestal" (chaste ...


14

The usual meaning of "dawn" is "sunrise". It is used in a poetic way here to describe that after a long period of darkness, where the person just did not realize something, he finally came to the right conclusion. The word "realize" itself makes no implication about how much time it took the person to come to this conclusion.


12

It's simply an archaic, variant spelling. From Wikipedia: The spelling rhyme (from original rime) was introduced at the beginning of the Modern English period, due to a learned (but etymologically incorrect) association with Greek ῥυθμός (rhythmos, rhythm). The older spelling rime survives in Modern English as a rare alternative spelling. A ...


12

The reason why iambic pentameter is common among Shakespeare and other English poets has nothing to do with the intrinsic properties of the number 10, but rather the properties of the English language. Given the number of syllables and emphasis of English words, iambic pentameter is a meter that's easy to put English words into. The Greeks and the Romans ...


11

A native or expert Polish speaker is clearly what we need here! I’m not one, but my best attempt: the original has w którym słowiczku mój a leć and the word corresponding to trostle seems to be słowiczku, a diminutive form of słowik, which online dictionaries tell me is nightingale. The nightingale is a species of thrush (roughly — there are some ...


11

The simple answer is that if Haiku is not about nature, it is called Senryu. I've heard different views on whether the Japanese definition is different than the non-Japanese ones, and whether the syllable counts can differ. There seems to be some subjectivity on definitions, in English poetry at least. I think the following is Senryu, but you could make a ...


11

Wikipedia says it at least as well as I could have: The grave accent, although not standardly applied to any English words, is sometimes used in poetry and song lyrics to indicate that a vowel usually silent is to be pronounced, in order to fit the rhythm or meter. Most often, it is applied to a word ending with -ed. For instance, the word looked is ...


11

To me it looks like a combination of two modifiers: (adj noun) and (noun adj). Sometimes (for poetic reasons) adjectives are placed after the noun (this also happens with certain adjectives, such as elect in president elect). So here we have human face, which is further modified by a post-positioned adjective: ((human face) divine) => "divine human face" ...


10

This was homework? Apparently this doggerel ditty was published 1872 by Christina Rossetti... city plum - rare slang for someone who possesses £100000. statesman's rat - politician who abandons his party. sailor's cat - braided naval whip, 'cat-o-nine-tails' or possibly a type of sailor's knot - a 'cat's paw' or 'catshank'. soldier's frog - decorative ...


10

In leaves no step had trodden black. This line refers to leaves that have been stepped on to the point where they are black instead of the color they were when they fell off the tree. The word "tread" means (one of its meanings) "to step on." So you can tread on the leaves as you walk along. If you have stepped on the leaf, we can say you have ...


9

Let's look at a little more context: When the night has come and the land is dark And the moon is the only light we see No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid Just as long as you stand, stand by me A perfect construction marks a past action as having brought about a state which is relevant at some later point: the utterance’s ‘Reference ...


9

Anadiplosis: repetition of the final words of a sentence or line at the beginning of the next Examples


8

Use the first two lines To establish the context; Then go for the kill.


8

I see two meanings here: Lifelong partners often express a wish: let me be the first to die, meaning that life would not be worth living if the other partner were no longer around. If a poet (Millay) outlives a friend or a lover, s/he can perform the service of memorializing the deceased — although this may come at a high price in grief and ...


8

From pole to pole refers to the North Pole and South Pole of a planet; it means all over the world. In Wikipedia's article on Invictus, it has a section on its meaning: Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. The first stanza depicts the speaker at night, ...


8

Silvan (or sylvan) refers to a forest, while game in this sense most likely refers or an animal being hunted. 9.    a. Wild animals, birds, or fish hunted for food or sport.    b. The flesh of these animals, eaten as food. —Source theFreeDictionary.com So the silvan game is some type of forest-dwelling animal being ...


7

Blithe = cheerful, carefree; and trostle = misspelling of throstle = a type of thrush = a songbird. So, given just this line, I think it's meant to be interpreted pretty literally: in which we find [out] how blithe[ly] the [thrush] sings! Edit: Found a different translation which clearly uses "bird" to translate the Polish word: [...] a charade, a ...


7

I'm not sure what it means to be "officially recognized" in English; there is no official list of English words. If you mean appearing in dictionaries, then yes, it is a word. (If you mean being employed in speech or everyday writing without sounding odd, then probably not. Its use is restricted to poetry, as you acknowledge.)


7

Ah, one of my favorite poets. Stevens uses an extensive and sometimes recondite vocabulary, but he is one of the last poets I would accuse of poor grammar. Just remember that on and upon are synonyms, and that in this case upon is an older (not to say archaic) term used to describe the act of playing on an instrument.


7

You might be looking for mimesis (adjective: mimetic). Here's the Wikipedia entry.


7

Poe's poetry isn't old enough to have these words pronounced the same (The Raven was published in 1845). It's a printer's rhyme; so, No, those words should be pronounced normally. Whether poetry like Chaucer's should be pronounced in a Middle-English fashion, or Beowulf in Old English, is another question altogether.


7

I think the Norman Conquest might have had something to do with it. After 1066 Norman French was the prestige language in England for two or three centuries and was a huge influence on the subsequent development of English. It would have been surprising if it had not brought French literary practice with it. As far as I know, there is no tradition of ...


7

It refers to a star falling below the horizon, still present but which cannot be followed in plain sight. Quite how one follows knowledge when it is beyond being thought about is rather more obscure. It's why literary criticism is off-topic, and I'm not going to attempt to analyse Joyce. Or even Tennyson.



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