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Very Like A Whale Analysis

Author: Poetry of Ogden Nash Type: Poetry Views: 1089

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One thing that literature would be greatly the better for

Would be a more restricted employment by authors of simile and metaphor.

Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,

Can'ts seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have

to go outof their way to say that it is like something else.

What foes it mean when we are told

That the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?

In the first place, George Gordon Byron had had enough experience

To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot

of Assyrians.

However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thushinder longevity,

We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.

Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleamingin purple and gold,

Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wolf

onthe fold?

In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there

area great many things,

But i don't imagine that among then there is a wolf with purple

and goldcohorts or purple and gold anythings.

No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actuallylike a wolf I must have some kind of proof;

Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red

mouth andbig white teeth and did he say Woof woof?

Frankly I think it very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say,

at thevery most,

Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohortsabout to destroy the Hebrew host.

But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had

toinvent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate


With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers

topeople they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot

of wolves dressedup in gold and purple ate them.

That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets,

from Homerto Tennyson;

They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison,

And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket

after awinter storm.

Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket

of snow andI'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical

blanket material andwe'll see which one keeps warm,

And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly,

What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.


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