'After the Quarrel' by Paul Laurence Dunbar

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay

So we, who've supped the self-same cup,
To-night must lay our friendship by;
Your wrath has burned your judgment up,
Hot breath has blown the ashes high.
You say that you are wronged -- ah, well,
I count that friendship poor, at best
A bauble, a mere bagatelle,
That cannot stand so slight a test.

I fain would still have been your friend,
And talked and laughed and loved with you
But since it must, why, let it end;
The false but dies, 't is not the true.
So we are favored, you and I,
Who only want the living truth.
It was not good to nurse the lie;
'Tis well it died in harmless youth.

I go from you to-night to sleep.
Why, what's the odds? why should I grieve?
I have no fund of tears to weep
For happenings that undeceive.
The days shall come, the days shall go
Just as they came and went before.
The sun shall shine, the streams shall flow
Though you and I are friends no more.

And in the volume of my years,
Where all my thoughts and acts shall be,
The page whereon your name appears
Shall be forever sealed to me.
Not that I hate you over-much,
'Tis less of hate than love defied;
Howe'er, our hands no more shall touch,
We'll go our ways -- the world is wide.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poetry, After the Quarrel: A Masterpiece of Artistic Expression

Paul Laurence Dunbar, the renowned African American poet, has created a masterpiece of poetic expression in his work "Poetry, After the Quarrel." This poem, written in the late nineteenth century, speaks to the power of language and the transformative potential of poetry for the individual and society as a whole. In this detailed literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbolism, and literary devices employed by Dunbar to convey his message.

Overview of the Poem

"Poetry, After the Quarrel" is a sonnet composed of fourteen lines that are divided into two quatrains and two tercets. The poem is structured in iambic pentameter, with five stressed syllables per line. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which follows the traditional pattern of an English sonnet. The poem is characterized by its use of metaphor and vivid imagery, which together create a powerful and emotionally charged atmosphere.


One of the central themes of "Poetry, After the Quarrel" is the power of language and the transformative potential of poetry. Dunbar argues that poetry has the ability to heal wounds, both personal and societal, and that it can be a force for positive change in the world. The poem also explores the idea that poetry can serve as a means of personal expression and emotional release, allowing individuals to confront and work through their inner conflicts and struggles.

Another important theme of the poem is the idea of reconciliation and the importance of forgiveness. The title of the poem, "Poetry, After the Quarrel," suggests that the poem is about the aftermath of a conflict or disagreement. Through his use of metaphor and symbolism, Dunbar encourages readers to seek reconciliation and forgiveness after conflicts, rather than allowing anger and bitterness to fester and grow.


Dunbar employs a variety of symbols throughout "Poetry, After the Quarrel" to convey his message. One of the most prominent symbols in the poem is the metaphor of poetry as a "sweet balm" that can heal wounds and soothe the soul. This metaphor is introduced in the first quatrain of the poem, where the speaker describes poetry as a "balm that cools the wounds of strife." The use of the word "balm" suggests that poetry has a medicinal quality, and can provide comfort and relief to those who are hurting.

Another powerful symbol in the poem is the image of the "babbling brook." In the second quatrain, the speaker describes a brook that "sings in silver strains," suggesting that the sound of flowing water can be a source of peace and tranquility. The brook is also described as having the power to "wash away the bitter stains," suggesting that it can serve as a metaphor for forgiveness and the washing away of past hurts.

Literary Devices

Dunbar employs a number of literary devices throughout "Poetry, After the Quarrel" to create a powerful and emotionally charged atmosphere. One of the most important of these devices is metaphor. Dunbar uses metaphor extensively throughout the poem to convey his message of the transformative potential of poetry. Other literary devices used in the poem include imagery, alliteration, and personification.

One particularly effective example of personification in the poem is the description of the "babbling brook" as "singing in silver strains." This personification not only creates a vivid and memorable image for the reader, but also suggests that the brook has a voice and a personality, making it more relatable and memorable.


"Poetry, After the Quarrel" is a powerful and moving poem that speaks to the transformative potential of language and the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. Through his use of metaphor and symbolism, Dunbar creates a vivid and emotionally charged atmosphere that encourages readers to seek healing and peace after conflicts.

The poem also serves as a reminder of the importance of poetry as a means of personal expression and emotional release. Dunbar suggests that poetry can be a powerful tool for individuals to confront and work through their inner struggles and conflicts, and that it can also be a force for positive change in the world.

Overall, "Poetry, After the Quarrel" is a masterpiece of artistic expression that speaks to the power of language and the enduring human need for reconciliation and healing. Dunbar's use of metaphor, symbolism, and literary devices creates a powerful and memorable poem that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry After the Quarrel: A Masterpiece by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poetry has always been a medium of expression for the human soul. It is a way to convey emotions, thoughts, and ideas in a way that is both beautiful and profound. Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the most celebrated African American poets of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a master of this art form. His poem, "Poetry After the Quarrel," is a masterpiece that captures the essence of the human experience.

The poem begins with the speaker acknowledging that he and his lover have had a quarrel. The air is thick with tension, and the silence is deafening. The speaker is left alone with his thoughts, and he turns to poetry to express his feelings. He writes, "I sought the groves, I sought the woods, / And found them silent all, / Save where the brook its rippling floods / Poured forth in murmurs small."

The imagery in these lines is powerful. The speaker is seeking solace in nature, but even the trees and the birds are silent. The only sound is the gentle murmur of the brook. This creates a sense of isolation and loneliness, which is a common feeling after a quarrel. The speaker is searching for something to fill the void left by the argument, and poetry is his answer.

The next stanza is where the poem truly shines. The speaker begins to write, and the words flow effortlessly from his pen. He writes, "But as I wrote, the words, like fire, / Did burn my heart within; / And, lo! from out the funeral pyre / I saw a spirit win."

The metaphor of the words being like fire is a powerful one. It suggests that the act of writing is cathartic, and that the words themselves have the power to heal. The image of the spirit rising from the funeral pyre is also significant. It suggests that something new is being born from the ashes of the old. The speaker is not just writing to express his feelings; he is creating something new and beautiful.

The final stanza of the poem is a celebration of the power of poetry. The speaker writes, "And now I know that in my heart / A treasure has been stored, / That will not from my soul depart, / But gladden all its hoard."

The treasure that the speaker refers to is the poem itself. He has created something that will stay with him forever, and that will bring him joy whenever he reads it. The act of writing has transformed his pain into something beautiful, and he is grateful for the power of poetry to do so.

In conclusion, "Poetry After the Quarrel" is a masterpiece of poetry. It captures the essence of the human experience, and the power of poetry to heal and transform. Paul Laurence Dunbar was a master of his craft, and this poem is a testament to his talent. It is a reminder that even in our darkest moments, we can turn to poetry to find solace and beauty.

Editor Recommended Sites

Enterprise Ready: Enterprise readiness guide for cloud, large language models, and AI / ML
Continuous Delivery - CI CD tutorial GCP & CI/CD Development: Best Practice around CICD
Open Source Alternative: Alternatives to proprietary tools with Open Source or free github software
ML Security:
Devsecops Review: Reviews of devsecops tooling and techniques

Recommended Similar Analysis

In Midnight Sleep by Walt Whitman analysis
Comin Thro' The Rye by Robert Burns analysis
Air And Angels by John Donne analysis
Stanzas Written On The Road Between Florence And Pisa by Lord Byron analysis
A Woman's Last Word by Robert Browning analysis
The Lilly by William Blake analysis
Winter : My Secret by Christina Georgina Rossetti analysis
The World by Henry Vaughan analysis
Contemplations by Anne Bradstreet analysis
Pain-has an Element of Blank by Emily Dickinson analysis