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Published by mumtaztesan13, 2021-03-29 07:59:49

Theme of Life

Final_Project_Literary

POEMS

THEME OF LIFE

A

Psalm

Of Life

BY HENRY WADSWORTH

A PSALM OF LIFE

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

BY HENRY WADSWORTH

Paraphrase

It is not indulgence or misery that should be humanity's destiny or goal. Rather,
the speaker declares, humans should act in such a manner that creates progress day
by day.

Acts and products of human creativity last a long time; however, time passes
quickly. While human hearts may be strong and courageous, nevertheless they beat
like quieted drums within bodies. Ultimately, with each beat, they bring humans
closer to their death. Therefore, the songs these hearts produce are like funeral
marches.

The speaker then compares the world to a great battlefield. Life, he adds, is like
a temporary camp without shelter. Therefore, the speaker commands, don't be like
silent cattle who are herded about. Rather, be a hero amidst the conflict of life.

Don't place any certainty, the speaker advises, in the future, no matter how
positive the future may seem. Additionally, don't dwell on the past. Rather, the
speaker suggests, one should live in the present, wholeheartedly and in plain view
of God who watches approvingly above in Heaven.

The way that great men have lived their lives inspires and reminds other
individuals to consciously live in a godly and spiritual manner. Moreover, the
speaker adds, when these individuals die, they will leave traces of their lives behind.

These remnants and memories of godly and spiritual lives can go on to inspire
others who might also be progressing over the great ocean of life. These other
individuals might feel miserable, abandoned, and lost in this ocean. However, upon
seeing examples of godly and spiritual lives, they will be inspired and saved.

Therefore, all of humanity, the speaker advises, should seize the day. Moreover,
they must live life wholeheartedly and fearlessly. While making progress and
seeking improvement, humans will learn to struggle and apply themselves, as well
as have patience.

Invictus

BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

Invictus

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.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

Paraphrase

In the very beginning of the poem, the poet says that
he wants to thank God. In fact, he admits that his life has
no ray of hope. Rather his future seems to be as dark as a
pit. But then also he is grateful to God for his
‘unconquerable soul’. He says that no pain can be able to
curve his soul.

Eventually, he claims that whenever he fell into some
difficulty, he always remained unbeatable. However,
situations have tried to destroy him, he always fights back
with courage. In fact, he agrees that sometimes difficulties
have made him bleed and suffer. But he never let himself
to bow before them and cry out of fear.

In the third stanza, the poet says that horror has always
lurked behind him. But it always finds him unafraid.
Whenever menace or trouble has come in his life he has
faced it bravely.

Finally, in the last stanza, Henley says that though the
gate of life is narrow he will definitely pass it with vigor.
Moreover, he declares that he is the master of his fate,
meaning his fortune. Also, he claims that he is the captain
of his soul.

DOGNOOGTENTLETIHNATOT
GOOD NIGHT

BY DYLAN MARLAIS THOMAS

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

BY DYLAN MARLAIS THOMAS

Paraphrase

First stanza: ‘Father, do not allow death to take you without
putting up a fight. Old people, as they approach the end of their lives,
should be filled with fire and anger.’

Second stanza: ‘Even though wise men know, as they die, that it is
fitting for them to die, having lived a long life, they refuse to go gladly
into death because they know that a wise man’s words (about
accepting one’s death) are all well and good, but are useless in
practice.’

Third stanza: ‘Never mind wise men. What about good men? When
they are close to death, crying how all their good deeds came to
nothing, like so many bright glimmers on the surface of water in a
green bay (i.e. beautiful and bright, but frail and of little lasting
worth), rage against their imminent deaths.’

Fourth stanza: ‘Okay, what about wild men, then? They lived their
lives to the full, and learned all too late that such bold and exciting
living only ends in grief, refuse to accept their deaths with meek
acceptance.

Fifth stanza: ‘Serious and sincere men – but also, men who are
shortly for the grave, i.e.“grave” men – when approaching their own
deaths, realize in a moment of terrible insight that their lives could
have been bright and exciting (like the wild men’s lives), and regret
not having taken more chances when they had the opportunity, rage
against their imminent deaths and the loss of opportunity.’

Sixth stanza: ‘And now let’s turn to consider one man in particular
– you, my own father. There, on the edge of death, please show some
sign that you still live and are imbued with all the signs of life – I don’t
mind whether you bless me with your angry grief or whether you
curse me, as long as you do something.’

Introduction

“A Psalm of Life, Invictus and Do Not Go
Gentle Into That Good Night”, these three
captivating and thought-provoking poems share
the same theme about life. A Psalm of life is
written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, this
poem focuses on the meaning of life in the
present which teach us to not worry too much
about lives in the past or the future. While
Invictus by William Henley emphasizes the
human spirit and its ability to overcome
adversity. The last poem, Do Not go Gentle into
That Good Night by Dylan Thomas stresses
about inevitable death that persuades people to
not calmly and peacefully welcome death. In
this E-book, we are going to demonstrate how
the three poems are analyzed.

A PSALM OF LIFE

The first poem that we are going to discuss here is “A Psalm of
Life”. This poem is written by the American poet Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow. He was born in Portland, Maine in
February of 1807. To expand, he was the most popular American
poet of the 19th century. Longfellow attended private schools and
the Portland Academy. He graduated from Bowdoin College in
1825. He was deeply interested in exploring and championing the
feelings of individual life. Longfellow first published “A Psalm of
Life” in 1838 in the New York literary magazine The
Knickerbocker. A psalm is a religious or sacred song or hymn, in
particular any of those contained in the biblical Book of Psalms
and used in Christian and Jewish worship. But here the meaning of
“a psalm of life” is a song of life, where the poet glorifies life and
its possibilities. The theme of this poem is living in the present,
our life is very meaningful that we should seize the day and live in
the present instead of dwelling on the past and taking the future of
grand. In this poem, a persona is a young man who has a strong
ideology in life. He believes life is very meaningful that people
should spend every second profitably. The persona wants to argue
against some of the Psalmist religious’ views that earthly life is less
important than eternal life after death. The tones using in this
poem are encouraging and determined. The speaker has a very
strong point to dispute that life in the present is significant to live.

A Psalm of Life" is composed of a subtitle and nine quatrains, or
four-line stanzas. that rhyme ABAB. For the most part, lines are in
trochaic tetrameter or four stresses per line. A trochee is a poetic
foot that follows a stressed-unstressed pattern. The falling rhythm of
the trochaic meter is less common in natural speech than the rising
rhythm of the iambic meter (unstressed-stressed). Trochaic meter
sounds more forceful and assertive to the ear. This suits the
speaker's perspective, which opposes the established authority of
religious figures ("The Psalmist"). In this way, the speaker advances
a subversive argument that is matched by his inside-out meter. The
poem “Psalm of Life” is very powerful and encouraging. It conveys
about life in the present is more meaningful than life in the past or
the future, so one should seize the day and live in the present
meaningfully. In stanza 2 line 1, “Life is real! Life is earnest!”, in this
sentence, the speaker uses repetition of the word “life” to emphasize
which declares his belief in the reality and meaning of mortal life.
This belief stands in contrast to the Psalmist’s belief in the greater
importance of the afterlife. Nevertheless, the continuants sound of
the word used to contribute to the determined mood which
motivates and encourage readers to do the best in the present and
live in life meaningfully.

INVICTUS

The second fascinating poem we are going to explore here is
Invictus. It is written by William Ernest Henley. To initiate with his
background, William Ernest Henley was a British poet, writer, critic
and editor in late Victorian England. Though he wrote several books
of poetry, Henley is remembered most often for his 1875 poem
"Invictus". He was born on August 23, 1849, in Gloucester, England.
And death on July 11 1903 Working, England. He studied at The
Crypt School, Gloucester. St. Andrews University. St. Andrews,
Scotland. From the age of 12, Henley suffered from tuberculosis of
the bone. The ailment resulted in the amputation of his left leg
below the knee in 1868-69. In the early 1870s, he faced a similar
problem with his other leg. Then he chose to travel to Edinburgh in
August 1873 for treatment under the renowned English surgeon
Joseph Lister. Fortunately, the doctor saved his remaining leg. While
he was recovering, he wrote the verses that became the poem
‘Invictus’. In 1902, Henley fell from a railway carriage that caused his
latent tuberculosis to flare up. For these reasons, the purpose of this
poem depicts the poet’s attempt to motivate himself when there is no
hope at all. When the poet writes this poem, he has already lost one
of his legs. So, in such a situation of mental and physical agony, the
poet tries to lift up his courage. Accordingly, the theme of Invictus
focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome adversity. It
is a rallying cry for those who find themselves in dark and trying
situations, who have to dig deep and fight for their lives. The poet
certainly knows hard times and needs all his strength to battle
against the disease. The overall tone of the poem is optimistic, it
seems as if the poet wrote this poem from the perspective of a
person who is courageously fighting the odds of his or her life in a
dark and upsetting phase.

To boot, using strong imagery in the poem enables the reader to feel
the writer’s Henley has used images appealing to the sense of sight
such as, “black is the pit”; “my head is bloody” and “beyond the place
of wrath and tears”. These images help the readers to feel the pain
and courage that have helped the speaker to overcome his misery.
Invictus, the poem which has a set metrical pattern. Each line of this
poem contains eight syllables and the stress falls on the second
syllable of each foot, a segment of two syllables. Invictus is made up
of four stanzas and sixteen lines, with four lines in each stanza. It
has a set rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH. And, the meter
of this poem is iambic tetrameter. The poem “Invictus” is very
inspiring. The poem shows us the poet’s attempt to motivate himself
when there is no hope at all. So, in such a situation of mental and
physical agony, the poet tries to lift up his courage. In the last stanza
“I am the master of my fate”, and “I am the captain of my soul.”
contribute to the encouraging mood that we are the ones who can be
the reason for being happy in life. Moreover, the poet (William
Henley) uses many figurative languages that make the poem more
colourful and livelier.

DO NOT GO GENTLE

INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

The last poem we are going to study here is “Do Not Go
Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet.
Dylan Thomas was born on October 27, 1914, in Swansea, South
Wales. Thomas dropped out of school at sixteen to become a
junior reporter for the South Wales Daily Post. By December of
1932, he left his job at the Post and decided to concentrate on his
poetry full-time. In 1934, when Thomas was twenty, he moved to
London, won the Poet's Corner book prize, and published his
first book, 18 Poems (The Fortune press), to great acclaim.
Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night” during a
very specific moment in Dylan Thomas’ life. His father, David
John Thomas, had first introduced him to the wonder of
language by reading him Shakespeare before bed at night.
Thomas’ father was a grammar school teacher, but he had
always wanted to be a poet but was never able to realize his
dream. The poem is dedicated to his father and he writes this
poem as a message to his father while his father is dying, he
writes this poem to express his sorrow and urges his father to
fight for life and not gives up facing death. The team of this
poem is death and defiance, the speaker acknowledges that
death is inevitable – everyone dies, sooner or late. But that
doesn’t mean that people should simply give up and give in to
death. Instead, the speaker argues that people should fight,
fiercely and bravely, against death. The tone using in this poem
is pleading, the speaker urges his father not "to go gentle into
that good night" but to "rage, rage against the dying of the light."
In this point, the speaker has been giving examples of various
types of men--wise men, good men, grave men, wild men--all of
whom refuse to believe that their lives have reached fulfilment
and completion. These examples are all used to persuade the
speaker's father that he should continue to fight to live and not
passively resigns himself to death. The type of poem is called a
“villanelle”. Villanelles have 19 lines, divided into six stanzas,
five stanzas with 3 lines, and in the last stanza with 4 lines.

The meter of the poem is an 'iambic pentameter, which means each
line has 10 syllables and every other syllable is stressed. The rhyme
scheme is ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA, - there are only two
rhymes that end all the lines. In addition, the first line and third
line, the refrains, are repeated four times each – the first line
appears at the end of stanzas 2 and 4 and as the second-to-last line
in stanza 6. The poem's third line appears again at the end of
stanzas 3, 5, and 6. Most of the images created are of light and fire,
such as in line 2 “Old age should burn and rave” or in line 10 “who
caught and sang the sun in flight” and also in line 14 “blind eyes
could blaze like meteors”. These add intensity and fighting spirit to
the poem, to encourage his father to fight against the “dying of
light” The fiery images Thomas creates contrasts with the darkness
of death his father is facing. This poem uses simile, metaphor, and
personification. For simile, “Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and
be gay” in stanza 5 line 3, the words “the eyes” are blazing like
meteors burning up through Earth's atmosphere. In stanza 1 line 1,
“Do not go gentle into that good night” the words “good night” is a
metaphor that is compared to death. Lastly, we can see
personification in “frail deeds might have danced”, the words “frail
deeds” are given the ability to dance. The poem “Do Not Go Gentle
into That Good Night” is a heartening poem. The speaker accepts
that death is unavoidably confronted, but urges his father to fight
with it for as long as he can. In this poem, Light and dark play an
important role in this villanelle, as symbols of life and death. In
stanza 6, “And you, my father, there on the sad height”, and “Curse,
bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.”, these sentences have
shown that the speaker encourages his father facing with any
problem bravely and proceed his life gracefully. Notwithstanding,
the continuants sounds of the word used to contribute to the
demanding mood which makes the readers feel urgent to live life
happily before mortality coming.

Conclusion

Ultimately, a number of exquisite poems
contribute to the struggle of life, including
its A Psalm of Life, Invictus, and Do Not Go
Gentle into That Good Night. According to
the quotation said by Maya Angelou, “You
may not control all the events that happen
to you, but you can decide not to be reduced
by them.” From this meaningful citation, we
are able to plan our own lives for how much
we want to have happiness and suffering,
they depend on our arrangements. All of
these situations happening in our lives, we
might gain happier lives if we ready to fight
with the difficulties in life. Consequently,
these three poems distribute to motivate the
readers, inspire the alternatives for their
daily lives and confront the obstacles
resolutely.

https://youtu.be/iEXQWmcQkKg

About Poets

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was
an American poet and educator whose
works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The
Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was
the first American to translate Dante
Alighieri's Divine Comedy and was one of
the Fireside Poets from New England.

Longfellow was born on February 27,
1807 Portland, Maine, which was then still
part of Massachusetts. And death on March
24, 1882 Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.

He studied at Bowdoin
College and became a professor at
Bowdoin and later at Harvard
Collegeafter spending time in
Europe. His first major poetry
collections were Voices of the
Night (1839) and Ballads and Other
Poems (1841). He retired from
teaching in 1854 to focus on his
writing, and he lived the remainder
of his life in the Revolutionary War
headquarters of George
Washington in Cambridge,
Massachusetts.

William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley was a
British poet, writer, critic and editor
in late Victorian England. Though he
wrote several books of poetry, Henley
is remembered most often for his
1875 poem "Invictus". A fixture in
London literary circles, the one-
legged Henley was also the
inspiration for Robert Louis
Stevenson's character Long John
Silver(Treasure Island, 1883), while
his young daughter Margaret inspired
J. M. Barrie's choice of the name
Wendy for the heroine of his play
Peter Pan (1904).

Henley was born in
Gloucester on 23 August 1849
Gloucester, England. And death on
11 July 1903 Woking, England. He
studied at the Crypt School,
Gloucester. St. Andrews University,
St. Andrews, Scotland. between
1861 and 1867. A commission had
recently attempted to revive the
school by securing as headmaster
the brilliant and academically
distinguished Thomas Edward
Brown (1830–1897).

Dylan Marlais Thomas

Dylan Marlais Thomas was a

Welsh poet and writer whose works

include the poems "Do not go gentle

into that good night" and "And death

shall have no dominion"; the "play for

voices" Under Milk Wood; and stories

and radio broadcasts such as A Child's

Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the

Artist as a Young Dog. He became

widely popular in his lifetime and

remained so after his premature

death at the age of 39 in New York

City. By then he had acquired a

reputation, which he had encouraged,

as a "roistering, drunken and doomed

poet". Thomas was born on 27

October 1914 Swansea, Wales,

United Kingdom. And death on 9

November 1953 Greenwich Village,

New York City, United States. when

he was 16, Thomas, an

undistinguished pupil, left school to

become a reporter for the South

Wales Daily Post, only to leave

under pressure 18 months later.

Many of his works appeared in

print while he was still a teenager.

In 1934, the publication of "Light

breaks where no sun shines" caught

the attention of the literary world.

References

A Psalm of Life

A Psalm of Life Summary & Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.litcharts.com/poetry/henry-
wadsworth-longfellow/a-psalm-of-life

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (Mar 20, 2021). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Henry-Wadsworth-Longfellow

Invictus

Fine Analysis. (Aug 6, 2018). INVICTUS BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY: AN ANALYSIS.
Retrieved from https://medium.com/@phoenixac10/invictus-by-william-ernest-henley-an-
analysis-20d3e0beda8

ANDREW SPACEY. (Sep 4, 2020). Analysis Of Poem "Invictus" by W.E.Henley. Retrieved from
https://owlcation.com/humanities/Analysis-of-Poem-Invictus-by-WEHenley

Dandandalandan. (Feb 15, 2019). Paraphrased of Invictus. Retrieved from
https://http71544775.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/paraphrased-of-invictus/

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Summary & Analysis. Retrieved from
https://www.litcharts.com/poetry/dylan-thomas/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night SOAPSTone. (April 30, 2015). Retrieved from
https://prezi.com/fszclffnzv5t/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night-soapstone/?

Humanities and Social Sciences. (July 20, 2016). Retrieved from
http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/html/10.11648.j.hss.20160404.18.html

Dr Oliver Tearle. A Short Analysis of Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’.
Retrieved from https://interestingliterature.com/2017/02/analysis-dylan-thomas-do-not-go-
gentle-into-that-good-night/

417-222 Literary Appreciation

“You can’t go back and change
the beginning,

but you can start where you
are and change the ending”

C.S. Lewis

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