A Contemplation Upon Flowers Notes Essay

2203 words - 9 pages

A Contemplation Upon Flowers

A Contemplation Upon Flowers

Brave flowers that I could gallant it like you,
And be as little vain!
You come abroad, and make a harmless show,
And to your beds of earth again.
You are not proud: you know your birth:
For your embroider'd garments are from earth.

You do obey your months and times, but I
Would have it ever Spring:
My fate would know no Winter, never die,
Nor think of such a thing.
O that I could my bed of earth but view
And smile, and look as cheerfully as you!

O teach me to see Death and not to fear,
But rather to take truce!
How often have I seen you at a bier,
And there look fresh and spruce!
You fragrant flowers! then ...view middle of the document...

So why fear death when it is just another step on our cycle called “life”.

LITERAL MEANING
The name was given to the poem because the poet shows that the speaker is studying the poem. This poem "A contemplation upon flowers by Henry King" is about a man who wants the flowers to teach him to become humble. The comparison of the life of a simple flower is made to the life of a human, in the sense that we both are born, we both live, and we both must die. Majority of people fear death, but the flowers accept death with open arms and a smile. This poem by Henry King praises flowers for not only their humble lifestyles but also for their acceptance of death. 

Instead, the flowers taught him three lessons. 

Stanza one centers on the characteristics of flowers.  They are gallant, humble, etc., and they return to the earth (figuratively, they die every winter--but this isn't revealed until later) after putting on a show. His first lesson that he learnt was to become brave and to remember the place where the flower came from, as referred to line 1, 5-6 " Brave flowers that I could gallant it like you "The persona wishes that he could be as brave as the flowers, who are aware of their allegiance to the earth. "You are not proud you know your birth for your embroidered garments are from earth." They know their place and obey the order, or cycle, of life and death. The persona wishes that he could be this way because he is the opposite, he wants to live forever. The persona wants the flowers to teach him NOT to fear death, but to accept it. Line 1 can also be identified as a literary device known as personification because brave flowers cannot gallant which only living things such as animals or humans can do. Also in line 5 and 6 can be identified as Biblical allusion another literary device because the bible in the books of John and Mathew Jesus talked about the lilies in the field where they are created and their birth place. 

Stanza two switches focus to the speaker:  he would rather it be always spring, so he'd never have a winter (again, so he'd never die, but this doesn't become clear until later:  winter is often used as a symbol of death).  He wishes he could go to the earth (his grave), and look as cheerful, and smile, as the flowers do when they go to their earth. The second stanza the speaker learnt the second lesson which was to accept nature and their selves for today the flowers in the field may be beautiful and blooming but tomorrow the flowers know their beauty will not last forever where they may withered away and torn to pieces. In line 7 and 8 "You do obey your months and times, but i would have it ever spring;" metaphor can be found in the sentence. 

In stanza three, the focus on the speaker in stanza two combines with the focus on the flowers in stanza one, as the speaker asks the flowers to teach him to not fear death; to teach him that his breath may sweeten and perfume his death, as the flowers' breath sweetens...

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