Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Vaughan’s subtleties in limning God in his poems of the divine

Henry Vauhgan was one of the more important poetic icons of the 17th century. Born in 1622 in Breconshire, Wales, he eventually became a bright student of Oxford University (Bateson 346). After a few years, he pursued Law for beginning his poetic enterprise. As a poet, one of his greatest contributions was his anthology of poems which leaned on occult and spiritual themes –Silex Scintillians or the Fiery Flint (Vaughan 12). His works evidently have a religious tone, very distant from his initial inclination as a writer. Vaughan also became identified with a group of writers called the metaphysical poets.These poets of the 17th century mostly wrote lyric poems about abstract things – things that cannot be seen or touched, or simply do not have a concrete form (Harvey 255). Things or concepts like death, the human spirit and God were some of their more prominent choices of focus. Aside from that, the metaphysical poets are also much more distinguished for their incorporat ion of a metaphysical conceit in their work s (Craig 133). A metaphysical conceit is an elaborate comparison that makes use of two seemingly farfetched objects in establishing connections or similarities.The usage of unusual pair of images heightens the effect of the comparison and gives more emphasis to the point of comparison. In Henry Vaughan’s â€Å"Cock-crowing† and â€Å"They are all going into the world of light,† the employment of a metaphysical conceit can be spotted under a close scrutiny. However, this was not the only literary device which Vaughan used to make his two works par excellence. He also utilized different kinds of figures of speech to cloak his expression with a beautiful subtlety. In â€Å"Cock-crowing,† he used the image of the sun to allude to, if not overtly represent God.He characterized God through the sun and through allusion to the sun’s attributes. In that sense, the character of God was carefully assimilated in the poem through the characteristics of the sun where it was compared. Through this juxtaposition, the image of the sun and the hard emphasis put on it was used to foreground the image of God. The poem begins with the exclamatory call to the Father of lights, most probably referring to the sun. The first paragraph, in fact, is an apostrophe to the sun. The persona in the poem looks up to the sun with its might and greatness.It understands the sun as having control over the living things: â€Å"What glance of day hast thou confin’d into this bird, (Vaughan 109)† as it radiates with its domineering light upon them. While the sun was the central image in the openings stanza, it was merely being used as a symbol for God. Like the sun, God is also almighty and great, as He is the provenance of all living things and has control over all of them. In the second stanza, we will see how the people depend on and long for the might of the sun and the light it emanates. We also see the introduction of the element of night, an opposition of the element of light.The pronoun â€Å"their† refers to the people as they â€Å"watch for the morning hue,† and â€Å"expel night. (Vaughan 109)† It was made clear that the people favor the light over the night, sun over the absence of sun. If we follow the previous idea that the sun alludes to God, then we will also be led to the idea that the people also favors God over another element –perhaps the absence of a God, or the non-recognition of the presence of a God. In the third stanza, the element of light which is linked to the image if the sun was further highlighted. It was implied that the sun was the source of light which the people favors.By doing that implication, the image of the sun was also rendered desirable. The fourth stanza continues the glorification of the image of the sun. The sun’s star can be a source of power and strength: â€Å"So firm and longing can empower. † T he sun does not only pervade and do so for the sake of pervading. It also disperses an aura of power, or vigor. This vigor can be drunk upon by the people and give theme energy as well. Towards the end of this stanza, the character of God was already openly included but still maintaining the image of the sun.At this point, the operations of driving home the point have become dual: one operates under the pretext of the image of the sun and the other by reference to the newly–introduced character of God. The line â€Å"O thou, immortal light and heat (Vaughan 109) â€Å"which comes right after the introduction of the character of God only hammers out the comparison of the two and the central message that is being forwarded using the comparison. The sun was said to have immortal light and heat – perhaps the same way that God has immortal providence and guidance to all of us.As we can see, the juxtaposition has become more obvious as we get nearer to the end of the poem. This may be intentionally done to elucidate the message of the poem. In the second to the lasts stanza, we continue understanding the pervasiveness of the sun’s reach: â€Å"†¦shines through all this frame. (Vaughan 109)† Then, we were led to the idea of our interdependence with the sun and its light. The sun resides in us as it empowers and inspires us while we reside in it too as we imbibe its power and radiance. In the last stanza, the final exaltation of the sun was made.The persona in the poem enounces that without the sun, they would arrive at death, or a total absence of light, which is a daunting scenario. Without the light, the people will reach a state of disorder. By implying that, the poem also instill to us that without God, our lives will be dark and perilous, as the absence of His guidance is a very crucial thing. Like the absence of light, perhaps even more than that, we will be forsaken in the dark and eventually, through death. In this first poe m, we can see how Henry Vaughan used certain literary devices to render his message.He put the character of God to the background and relied instead on the characterization of the sun which he used to allude to God. The image of the sun was the one used to develop the message of the poem – the omnipotence of God and the infinite scope He owns in governing mankind and their world. In that sense, the sun has become a symbol for God – it was used to imbibe the traits of God and make it manifest in the poem. Meanwhile, in â€Å"They are all gone into the world of light,† we will first notice the presence of a fixed rhyme and meter.The rhyme scheme was abab cdcd efef ghgh and so on and so forth. The first and third lines and the second and fourth lines of each stanzas rhyme. The meter was ten syllables for the first and third lines, eight syllables for the second line and six syllables for the last line. The effect of these fixed patterns in rhyming and metering is t hat they call on the repetitiveness of the poem. The repetitive character of the poem makes it easier for the readers to recall the poem, read it easier and comprehend its message more easily.After reading, they can also more easily remember the poem and the message it spoke to them. This technique is more apt if the poem lingers in one central thought which it emphasizes and conveys in various ways. In this poem, the theme was the lure of the light –clarity and meaning – and how one feels deprived of it only to know its germination. The poem begins with three stanzas of juxtaposing the contrasting elements of light and dark. In the first stanza, the persona seems to bemoan how the people went to the place of light while he was left in the dark.While the others are being â€Å"fair and bright, (Vaughan 134)† he was filled with sad thoughts. In the second stanza, while others have glowing and glittering things all around them, the persona was left with a gloomy g rove. The persona was left with faint beams, as the sun is removed. In the third stanza, the persona keeps on vocally expressing his envy towards the other people who were already feasting on the light and its â€Å"air of glory† while his days are â€Å"dull and hoary, mere glimmering decays. (Vaughan 134)†The first three stanzas were primarily used to underline the two contrasting situations in the poem: one is the situation of the others (note the â€Å"they† pronoun in the title) and the situation of the persona. They were celebrating the presence of the light while he was groping in the dark, and envying those who feast on the light. The persona was aware of the difference and he knows that he deserves pity for being in that situation. In the fourth stanza, he began imprecating on an unseen being. He was calling for hope, calling on the heavens above.In the fifth stanza, the concept of death was introduced and the mystery that comes along with it. In the si xths stanza, the bird’s nest symbolizes a piece of clarity. At this point, we can see that the poem has built a situation that will await its own resolution. We saw the persona seemingly moping for being put on a despicable situation. The potential for death – with all of its uncertainties and threats – arrived out of nowhere, serving as another challenge for the man to overcome. Then, in the thick of all the ruckus and risk, he found the bird’s nest –a consolation, a piece of clarity.After that, we were brought to the resolving sequences. Using metaphysical conceit, the poem made us see how the man can get into the place of light as well. The character of angels was used and they served as divine representatives. They were introduced to bring the possibility of having brighter dreams. The angles which are the representative of the divine, poke the persona’s unconsciousness, ultimately leading the him from darkness to light. Here, the divine introduces us new things, it makes our â€Å"thoughts transcend wonted consciousness,† make us break free from the customs where we have familiarized ourselves into.As we get out of the confines of our previous customs, we got a piece of glory as well – the light we have been pining for so long. In the penultimate stanza, God was openly implored to, explicating the light that can be achieved through the Divine – through the presence and ministrations of God. It is through His help that the persona can plunge into â€Å"true liberty. (Vaughan 134)† Ultimately, in the last stanza, he recognizes that God can take away the haze and bring him into the light of things.What we seen in this second poem is a more complex metaphysical conceit that unravels itself more complicatedly and hence, more beautifully. The angel gives brighter dreams which go the same as God giving the key that unlocks the passage from darkness to light. The persona, upon the revelation of that elaborate metaphor, got to leave his current state of abandonment in the dark and relish the presence of light. The angel was a symbol for God, giving clues before its foreclosure. The theme of both poems centers on God and spirituality. God and His Divinity raise the spirits and give us a higher state of spirituality.This is faithful to where Vaughan has been known for – the cultivation of our spiritualities by accepting the bestowals of a higher being. WORKS CITED Bateson, Frederick Wilse. A guide to English literature. Garden City: Anchor Books, 1965. Print. Craig, Hardin. A history of English literature. New York: Collier Books, 1962. Print. Emmet, Dorothy Mary. The nature of metaphysical thinking. London: Macmillan, 1961. Harvey, Paul ed. The Oxford companion to English literature, 3rd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1946. Print. Vaughan, Henry. Poetry and selected prose. London: Oxford University Press, 1963. Print.

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