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The Lie Analysis

Author: poem of Sir Walter Raleigh Type: poem Views: 6

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Go, Soul, the body's guest,

Upon a thankless errand;

Fear not to touch the best;

The truth shall be thy warrant:

Go, since I needs must die,

And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows

And shines like rotten wood;

Say to the church, it shows

What's good, and doth no good:

If church and court reply,

Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live

Acting by others' action;

Not loved unless they give,

Not strong but by a faction.

If potentates reply,

Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,

That manage the estate,

Their purpose is ambition,

Their practice only hate:

And if they once reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,

They beg for more by spending,

Who, in their greatest cost,

Seek nothing but commending.

And if they make reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;

Tell love it is but lust;

Tell time it is but motion;

Tell flesh it is but dust:

And wish them not reply,

For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;

Tell honour how it alters;

Tell beauty how she blasteth;

Tell favour how it falters:

And as they shall reply,

Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles

In tickle points of niceness;

Tell wisdom she entangles

Herself in overwiseness:

And when they do reply,

Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;

Tell skill it is pretension;

Tell charity of coldness;

Tell law it is contention:

And as they do reply,

So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;

Tell nature of decay;

Tell friendship of unkindness;

Tell justice of delay:

And if they will reply,

Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,

But vary by esteeming;

Tell schools they want profoundness,

And stand too much on seeming:

If arts and schools reply,

Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it's fled the city;

Tell how the country erreth;

Tell manhood shakes off pity

And virtue least preferreth:

And if they do reply,

Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I

Commanded thee, done blabbing—

Although to give the lie

Deserves no less than stabbing—

Stab at thee he that will,

No stab the soul can kill.

Submitted by RW


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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The poem\'Soul Errand\' is a poem that dwells on the moral laxity of mankind and the need to re-awaken the consciousness of the Soul as an herald of Truth.The poet himself finds himself in a situation where he has no other option than to appoint his soul on a great mission to\'Give the Lie\'amid fierce opposition and seeming extinction of morality.The soul is a temporary component of the human being that leaves him at death.Thus the poet says in the second line:
\'The body\'s guest\'
The poet intimates us with the ephemeral life man has.He has to immortalize his name while on earth not by making name in the world of materialism.
\'Who in their greatest cost.
Seek nothing but commending\'.
The poem was written on the eve of the poet\'s execution.This creates a perfect platform for him to propagate the gospel truth.This only gospel truth is-Discovering man\'s purpose in life.The poet makes us to know that our society and its doctrines are cloaked in a shroud of hypocrisy which has blinded the human race from the pursuit of the spiritual welfare.
It is instructive that the poem tries to expose the falsehood behind every social ideologies.He says\'Zeal wants devotion\'\'Love is lust\'and others.By this he is not saying that these social virtues are not entirely beneficial,but he is telling us of their pervesion by our social instutions and the society that feeds on them.
The poet exploits a rich amount of imageries and figures of speech to paint the vividness of his message.He mostly used personification to achieve this purpose.Words like\'shinning like rotten wood gives an oxymoronic image of the hypocrisy of court.
He comprehensively personified Truth,Time,Love and others.He gives each stanza an element of rythm and musicality through ryhmes.

| Posted on 2012-09-11 | by a guest

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