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An Arundel Tomb Analysis



Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 7

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Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd -
The little dogs under their feet.

Such plainness of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left-hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with a sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.

They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends would see:
A sculptor's sweet commissioned grace
Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base.

They would no guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
The air would change to soundless damage,
Turn the old tenantry away;
How soon succeeding eyes begin
To look, not read. Rigidly they

Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the grass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-littered ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,

Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:

Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

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The poem continue showing time erodes all truth saying “washing at their identity” “time has transfigured them into untruth” Larkin repetitively use these themes to show us we cannot reply on one sculpture to show us eternal love. He ends with “almost instinct” “almost true” we always wish to believe the adjective of “true” that their love was till their dying days but “almost” softly shows, those who are looking, that it is fake, nothing is “almost true”. Forever we wish the last line to be true “what will survive of us is love” but once again Larkin has contradicted it with the previous line. Love never lasts according to Larkin.

| Posted on 2014-12-15 | by a guest




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