I will be comparing and discussing two poems written by two different people at two different times on time and change. The subject of time and change is part of our everyday lives, affecting our behaviour and attitudes. The first poem I will be studying is “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” which I will refer to a poem by Robert Herrick in the 16th Century. The title of the poem makes the reader think that it has a sexually-orientated meaning to it.
The second poem is “I Remember, I Remember,” which I will be referring to as poem two by Thomas Hood in the 18th Century. The title of this poem suggests to the reader that it is a personal poem based on the poet’s own life experiences. Both poems talk about time and change in different ways. Poem 1 is written to instruct young people on what to do with their time, and poem two is written in the first-person narrative and talks about how different life is. Both poems encourage you to read them and put the same message across to enjoy what you have while it lasts.
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I think the time and change topic is critical, and by studying and analyzing each poem carefully, you can see a new perspective on life. A theme is something that you can find throughout a poem, play, book etc. It lets the reader/audience know what it is about and lets you understand the piece’s meaning more clearly. The themes of the two poems look at the concept of the changes between being youthful to growing old and discuss how time passes quickly in your life. They both convey nature as other elements of themes. Both poems express the poet’s views on life, and its youth should be spent/enjoyed and their opinions on time and change.
As well as similarities, both poems have strong comparisons. Poem 1’s central theme is giving instruction or advice to the reader regarding age and is directed at “the virgins.” Poem 2 is a reflective poem of the poet’s own experiences, memories, and views on his life then and now. It is easy for the reader to see that he has happy childhood memories. He also mentions his family “…where my brother set…”. However, when the poet talks about the present, he seems depressed/glum sad and bitter about how much his life has changed, for the worse rather than, the better it would seem.
It focuses mainly on the opposing sides of growing older and talks of how different life is when you grow up. The poet often slates his own childhood beliefs, as he talks of the fir trees’ tips “close against the sky” as a “childish ignorance.” This suggests that he has moved on from things that pleased him as a child. He talks about what he believed in and the joy of a child’s imagination and possibilities for their life. The poet also reflects on his state of mind on lines 23,24 and conveys feelings of hope. Both poems were written at different times and had different meanings for that particular time.
Poem 1 was written in the Elizabethan era, which was socially relaxed. Because people lived for a short period, it is written to remind women that their time is short and tell them that “while ye may, go marry.” Poem 2 was written in the Victorian era, which was very different from the Elizabethan era. When the poem was written, women were not encouraged to express themselves, and this poem seems to be encouraging them to enjoy the assets they have while they still have them. Line 13, “be not coy…” goes against the society of that time, as women were not brought up in that way. They had a strict moral code, and your reputation was everything, so many secrets were kept.
The language used in poem 1 is instructive/advisory and is aimed at young women. The old language used (e.g. “and while ye may…”) reflects the century that it was written in and conveys its target audience with the language. Even though the language used consists of some old English, the theme still has a certain amount of relevance for audiences today. It is more poetic than conversational and creates imagery that is associated with nature and humanity. The poem is very straightforward/direct and is constantly giving advice throughout. It uses a mixture of personification, metaphors and figurative language.
An example of a metaphor in the poem is “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” this gives the feeling that the poet is trying to tell young women to make the most of the time they have and not to waste it. The language in poem 2 uses some forms of old English e.g. “but now ’tis…”, metaphors, personification and figurative language. Poem 2 is written in the first-person narrative and is a reflective poem of his life. It is in the directive and gives the impression that it is a dark reflection of how his life was. He uses personification to describe things that were important to him and enhances the poet’s experience for the reader.
The poet’s constant use of “now” emphasizes the fact that the past was better which helps the reader understand more about the changes that had occurred in his lifetime. The use of descriptive language used throughout the poem makes the account more personal and is in strong contrast to poem 1’s use of language and the way it is directed at the reader. The poet’s attention to detail conveys the feeling that when he was younger, he took pleasure in all that was around him and what he feels now is in contrast to the past, which draws the reader in deeper.
The differences in the language used in the poems are mainly the way they use words to attract the reader. Poem 1’s language is light with straightforward advice and encouragement. Poem 2’s language seems dark and in directive drawing the reader in to decipher some of the poet’s hidden meanings, e.g. “often wish…borne my breath away,” suggests that the poet wishes for death to put an end to his life. The imagery used in the poems enhances our images and the way we see the poems. They both use nature to describe people or essential things and talk about how time passes in different styles.
Poem 1’s reflection on time is to enjoy life while young and have a lot to offer people. Poem 2 refers to the time that has passed and how bearable life is when you are youthful. They both use figurative language to create images of youth being the most fantastic time of your life. An example of figurative language in poem 1 is “Glorious lamp of heaven,” and means that you are full of life and as bright as the sun when you are young. It shows youth as being a wonderful thing full of light, wonder and beauty.
The structure of the poem is instructing or advising young women what to do throughout the poem. The poet also gives reasons for the advice he gives, e.g. “Youth and blood are warmer” is the poet trying to tell women that when they are young, they are full of life, warm and bright, but with age, you become cold dead-like inside. The rhyming scheme in the poem is regular couplets and has a regular rhythm with four lines per stanza. The stanzas are divided into different sections but are still describing the same thing. All stanzas describe the subject matter of ageing and telling young women to live life to the fullest.
The poem’s structure supports the theme as it is mentioned throughout the play in the same context, using metaphors and personification to make the meaning clearer. Unlike poem 2, the poem has no repetition of words and repeats the theme and meaning of the poem in every line. Poem 2’s structure is different from poem 1 in many ways. It is structured into the poet’s past, present and has eight lines per stanza. The poem has no rhyming scheme or rhythm but has a similar pattern in each stanza.
Each stanza starts with “I remember, I remember” and continues with his memories from the past, the house where he lived, his beliefs etc. The stanzas end with the poet returning to his present state of mind. He compares his life from child to adult, and the title of the poem suggests it is a dark reflection of his childhood bliss/ignorance from the perspective of his adult maturity, now he has discovered the true meaning of life. In the last stanza, the poet describes how he feels “further of from heaven than when I was a boy.” This suggests the distance from heaven is a physical quantity or spiritually emotional.
The way he describes each memory in detail helps the reader imagine his feelings at the time, which are in strong contrast to the poet’s feelings at the end of the poem. Each poem is constantly putting the idea of time and change across in its own, unique way. Poem 1 is telling people not to waste youth and to make the most of the assets young “virgins” have. Poem 1 is describing his own personal experiences and what seems to be a dark, bitter present. They both talk of ageing and time changing. Both poems talk about youth being the best time of anyone’s life and that when you are older, you let yourself go, become cold, bitter, dull, unlike youth.
The tone in each poem is different and has no similarities. Poem 1 is has a minor reflective element unlike poem 2. The main tone of poem 1 is instructing, telling people who to live their lives and marry while they can. Poem 2 is a melachonic tone and is more reflective of the poet’s life and his experiences. My personal feelings towards the poems are very different. I like poem 1 more as it is personal and allows the reader to dive into the poet’s life and understand what he describes. Because it is a personal poem, it feels more real, and you can understand it more. It is a reflective poem, comparing the ignorant bliss of childhood, to the maturity of adulthood.
I can tell that the poet doesn’t like his present much as throughout the poem he dwells on the happy times of his youth. I think the death of his father when he was a young boy may have inspired Thomas Hood to write the poem. Poem 1, I feel, is a little too authoritative. It is always instructing young people what to do with their time and how to spend it, as well as instructive advice. I feel the poem repeats its message too many times but this helps to put the point of the poem across more strongly for people to understand what it is about.
I think both poems put the point of time and change across strongly in their own, unique way and it helps people to understand what the actual subject matter means and is trying to demonstrate. The poems are written well and both discuss how ageing affects you. Poem 2 makes me think of my childhood and my most precious memories whereas poem 1 makes me think of my future and what could happen. Both poems have the impact to make you think of the past, present and future and lets you know that all three are different and it’s down to you as to what you do with your life and time.