'Goblet of Life, The' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Filled is Life's goblet to the brim;
And though my eyes with tears are dim,
I see its sparkling bubbles swim,
And chant a melancholy hymn
With solemn voice and slow.
No purple flowers,--no garlands green,
Conceal the goblet's shade or sheen,
Nor maddening draughts of Hippocrene,
Like gleams of sunshine, flash between
Thick leaves of mistletoe.
This goblet, wrought with curious art,
Is filled with waters, that upstart,
When the deep fountains of the heart,
By strong convulsions rent apart,
Are running all to waste.
And as it mantling passes round,
With fennel is it wreathed and crowned,
Whose seed and foliage sun-imbrowned
Are in its waters steeped and drowned,
And give a bitter taste.
Above the lowly plants it towers,
The fennel, with its yellow flowers,
And in an earlier age than ours
Was gifted with the wondrous powers,
Lost vision to restore.
It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
And gladiators, fierce and rude,
Mingled it in their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued,
A wreath of fennel wore.
Then in Life's goblet freely press,
The leaves that give it bitterness,
Nor prize the colored waters less,
For in thy darkness and distress
New light and strength they give!
And he who has not learned to know
How false its sparkling buhbles show,
How bitter are the drops of woe,
With which its brim may overflow,
He has not learned to live.
The prayer of Ajax was for light;
Through all that dark and desperate fight
The blackness of that noonday night
He asked but the return of sight,
To see his foeman's face.
Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
Be, too, for light,--for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
That crushes into dumb despair
One half the human race.
O suffering, sad humanity!
O ye afflicted one; who lie
Steeped to the lips in misery,
Longing, and yet afraid to die,
Patient, though sorely tried !
I pledge you in this cup of grief,
Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf !
The Battle of our Life is briet
The alarm,--the struggle,--the relief,
Then sleep we side by side.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Goblet of Life: Longfellow's Poetic Elixir of Life
I must confess, dear reader, that I have always been a fan of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poetry. His verses have the power to penetrate deep into the soul and awaken emotions that we thought were long buried. And his poem "Goblet of Life" is no exception. In fact, it is one of my favorites. So, let us delve into this masterpiece and uncover the secrets of Longfellow's poetic elixir of life.
Before we begin our analysis, let us first take a look at the background of the poem. "Goblet of Life" was written in 1841 and was first published in the Knickerbocker magazine. It is a poem that celebrates life and encourages us to live it to the fullest. The poem is divided into six stanzas, each consisting of eight lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABCDDC, which gives the poem a musical quality.
At its core, "Goblet of Life" is a poem about seizing the day and living life to the fullest. Longfellow uses the metaphor of a goblet to represent life itself. He urges us to take the goblet and drink deeply from it, savoring every moment and experiencing all that life has to offer.
The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem:
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Longfellow is telling us that life is like a battlefield, and we must not simply wander through it like cattle. Instead, we must be courageous and face life's challenges head-on. We must rise to the occasion and be heroes in our own lives.
The second stanza continues this theme:
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Here, Longfellow is warning us not to put too much stock in the future. We cannot predict what will happen, so we must focus on the present and make the most of it. We must take action and live in the moment, with our hearts guiding us and God watching over us.
The third stanza is where Longfellow introduces the metaphor of the goblet:
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Here, Longfellow is reminding us that we can make our lives great and leave a lasting legacy. We can be like the great men who came before us and make footprints in the sands of time. And perhaps our actions will inspire others to do the same.
The fourth stanza is the heart of the poem:
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Longfellow is urging us to take action and pursue our dreams with all our hearts. We must be willing to face whatever fate has in store for us and keep pushing forward. We must learn to work hard and be patient, knowing that our efforts will eventually pay off.
The fifth stanza is a continuation of this theme:
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Longfellow is reminding us that life is not a dress rehearsal. It is real, and we must take it seriously. We must remember that we are not just physical bodies, but we also have souls that will live on beyond our mortal bodies.
The final stanza is a powerful conclusion to the poem:
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Longfellow is telling us that our ultimate goal is not to seek pleasure or avoid pain. It is to take action and keep moving forward, so that every day we are one step closer to our ultimate destiny.
In conclusion, "Goblet of Life" is a poem that encourages us to live life to the fullest, to be courageous and take action, and to keep pushing forward, no matter what life throws our way. It is a timeless message that still resonates with us today, almost two centuries after it was written. Longfellow's poetic elixir of life is a potent reminder that we only have one shot at this thing called life, so we must make the most of it. So, my dear reader, let us take up our goblets and drink deeply from the cup of life, savoring every moment and experiencing all that life has to offer. Cheers!
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Goblet of Life: A Timeless Poetic Masterpiece by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century, was known for his ability to weave words into beautiful and timeless pieces of literature. One such masterpiece is his poem, The Goblet of Life. This poem is a reflection on the journey of life and the importance of living it to the fullest. In this article, we will delve into the depths of this classic poem and explore its themes, structure, and literary devices.
The Goblet of Life is a poem that speaks to the human experience. It is a reminder that life is fleeting and that we must make the most of every moment. The poem begins with the lines, "Filled is Life's goblet to the brim; / And though my eyes with tears are dim, / I see its sparkling bubbles swim, / And chant a melancholy hymn / To Death, its mistress grim." These lines set the tone for the rest of the poem. Longfellow acknowledges that life is full of both joy and sorrow, and that we must embrace both in order to truly live.
The poem is structured in six stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, which gives the poem a musical quality. The repetition of the rhyme scheme also serves to reinforce the themes of the poem. The first stanza sets the stage for the rest of the poem, while the second stanza introduces the idea of the "Goblet of Life." Longfellow writes, "And though the goblet's brim may glow / With passion's fiery wine, / Yet still within its depths below / May lies of calmness shine." Here, Longfellow is reminding us that life is not just about the highs, but also about finding moments of peace and calmness.
The third stanza is where Longfellow really begins to explore the idea of the "Goblet of Life." He writes, "And looking o'er the misty rim, / Whence Life's gay bubbles flow, / How many a soul the dregs will skim, / And fearful shuddering drink below!" Here, Longfellow is acknowledging that life is not always easy. There are times when we must face our fears and drink from the "dregs" of life. However, he also reminds us that we have a choice in how we approach these difficult moments. We can choose to embrace them and learn from them, or we can let them consume us.
The fourth stanza is perhaps the most powerful in the poem. Longfellow writes, "Sip, every flower, that you see, / Be it a drop or be it a sea; / The amber-juice will still be there, / And still as sweet, when you come up for air." Here, Longfellow is urging us to live in the moment and savor every experience. He is reminding us that life is short, and that we must make the most of every opportunity. The image of sipping from a flower is a beautiful metaphor for this idea.
The fifth stanza is a continuation of the fourth. Longfellow writes, "Life's cup is full, and though it spill, / It still will sparkle on the hill; / The last drop in the cup will shine / With all the tints of red and wine." Here, Longfellow is reminding us that even when life seems to be overflowing with challenges, there is still beauty to be found. The image of the cup spilling and sparkling on the hill is a powerful one. It reminds us that even in the midst of chaos, there is still light and hope.
The final stanza brings the poem full circle. Longfellow writes, "Then welcome, Life, and all its charms; / I'll take the goblet in my arms, / And drink my fill of joy and woe, / And feel that I am living so." Here, Longfellow is embracing life in all its complexity. He is acknowledging that there will be both joy and sorrow, but that it is all part of the journey. The image of taking the goblet in his arms and drinking his fill is a powerful one. It reminds us that we must embrace life and all its experiences, both good and bad.
Throughout The Goblet of Life, Longfellow uses a variety of literary devices to reinforce the themes of the poem. One such device is imagery. Longfellow uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of life's journey. The image of the "Goblet of Life" is a powerful one, and it serves as a metaphor for the human experience. Longfellow also uses repetition to reinforce the themes of the poem. The repetition of the rhyme scheme and the phrase "Goblet of Life" serve to reinforce the idea that life is full of both joy and sorrow.
In conclusion, The Goblet of Life is a timeless poetic masterpiece that speaks to the human experience. Longfellow's use of imagery, repetition, and structure serve to reinforce the themes of the poem. The poem is a reminder that life is fleeting and that we must make the most of every moment. It is a call to embrace both the joys and sorrows of life and to live it to the fullest. The Goblet of Life is a beautiful and powerful reminder that we are all on a journey, and that we must make the most of it.
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