Pre 1914 a* quotations + background info

some info and key quotations to help you along a bit

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  • Created by: Jan
  • Created on: 20-05-11 12:26

On my first Sonne

The main themes are: Life/death-'farewell, thou child of my right hand' - this shows how close the poet was to his son and 'Exacted by thy fate, on the just day'- which shows how the father tries to justify god's choice. My right hand also indicates that he was judged by god's right hand man- Jesus.

Grief-The poet is clearly distressed by the event 'O could i loose all father etc..' and he wishes that he wasn't a father because he had to endure the suffering.

Emotions- The poem moves around in emotions; at the start the poet talks about love and desperation, then in the middle he becomes angry and gives the impression that he is shouting 'envie','fleshes rage'. After this the poem becomes peaceful and subdued using the word 'soft' and comparing him to a fine piece of poetry. He solemnly concludes by saying that he will never love anything for the prospect of it being taken away would be too much.

Remember- It is in heroic cuplets so 10 line syllables (iambic pentameter) with pairs of end words rhyming.

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The Song of the Old Mother

Main themes-Contrast-The poem is about an old woman who works very hard and has done so her whole life. The contrast occurs when the poet writes 'and the young lie long and dream in their bed' and this contrasts her hard work ,'kneel and blow, Bake and sweep'.

LIfe/age- The poem not only compares ages literally but shows how the womans life is nearing the end and makes a comparison to her past life;'I rise in the dawn' so she is born. 'Till the seed of the fire flicker and glow' she grows up and is lively etc. 'then i must scrub and bake' she is now an adult and must works relentlessly. 'Till the stars...' compares the long days she works to her old age. Finally 'and the seed of the fire gets feeble and cold,' which clearly means that the fire is going out after the long day or her light is going out after a long life.

Emotion- She annoyed at the fact that the kids don't do anything and this bring out her good will and will to work.

Remember- Its an anapaetic metre (2 unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one) and its a poetic monologue.

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My Last Duchess Pt.1

Main Themes-Power-The Duke is the person speaking and the poem seems to be revolving around his conversation with someone. He had his duchess killed because in his mind she treated him the same way as every other man and because he loved her so much, could not deal with the jealousy. An expression of his power over matters would be 'I gave commands; then all smiles stopped.' because he was the man responsible. This quotation is very cold and striking.

Authoritarinism- He made the choice to end the duchesses life because he wanted to keep her without  her emotions to spark jealousy inside him. The fact that he she was not as loyal to him as he wanted, meant to him that she did not respect the gift of his ancient name that he gave to her,'My gift of a 900 years old name with anyody's gift.' This quotation shows his importance and also makes us see him as aristocracy.

Egotism-He is very calm about the situation but shows that he isn't particularly bright by saying,'Even had you skill in speech-(which i  have not) and 'Somehow-i know not how' along with the elipses after 'all smiles stopped together.' Also in line 22 he says,'how shall i say?'                                             next page            ->

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My Last Duchess Pt.2

Love and death-The poet also uses this comparison to show the reader that there is little difference to the duke between them which inconspicuously makes him seem mad and frightening.


  • The poem is a dramatic monologue
  • It is based in 16th century Italy
  • The Duchess is 14 years old (this guy is messed up keep that in mind)
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The Laboratory Pt.1

Main Themes-Anger- Because this poem is written in the perspective of a jealous lover, its naturally going to be pretty aggressive. In stanza 8 she shouts,'What a drop! she's not little, not a minion like me.' This is an example of the tone she uses because there are exclamation marks in nearly every stanza. Many Plosive words such as 'Brand, burn up, bite,' and 'moisten and mash' and 'pound at thy powder.' All these phrases are alliterated and also create rhythm in the poem.

Death- It is quite clearly presented in this poem but phrases such as,'To carry pure death in an earing,' or 'should drop dead,' really bring this out.    :)

Colours- Many are used to illustrate the scenes and feelings of the woman. The very first stanza sets the scene with 'faint smokes curling whitely.' She also talks about,'Gold oozings' and 'equisite blue' and these contrast to the texture of the second page where she uses words such as 'shrivelled' and 'burn up.'

Next page          ->

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My Last Duchess Pt.2

Madness- She is very impatient and seems to be taking great pleasure out of potentially ending someones life 'To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,' or 'a mere lozenge to give, and pauline should have just 30 minutes to live!' mwahahahaha! Anyway she is clearly in a rush and use of 'quick' and 'Is it done?' these quotations show her anticipation as does the final stanza,'You may kiss me, old man, on my lips if you will.'


  • It has a melodramatic texture- artificial and over the top.
  • Black humour
  • It is a female writer
  • Anapaetic metre- 2 unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one


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6 pages, of detailed analysis of the poems, enough to benefit the literature do'ers.

Rated 5*

Great Stuff!

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