'It is not Always May' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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No hay pajaros en los nidos de antano.
The sun is bright,--the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing.
And from the stately elms I hear
The bluebird prophesying Spring.
So blue you winding river flows,
It seems an outlet from the sky,
Where waiting till the west-wind blows,
The freighted clouds at anchor lie.
All things are new;--the buds, the leaves,
That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest,
And even the nest beneath the eaves;--
There are no birds in last year's nest!
All things rejoice in youth and love,
The fulness of their first delight!
And learn from the soft heavens above
The melting tenderness of night.
Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme,
Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay;
Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime,
For oh, it is not always May!
Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,
To some good angel leave the rest;
For Time will teach thee soon the truth,
There are no birds in last year's nest!
Editor 1 Interpretation
It is not Always May: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Have you ever read a poem that made you feel like you were in a different world? A world so beautiful and serene that you never want to leave? That is exactly what It is not Always May by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow does to its readers.
This poem is a perfect example of Longfellow's incredible talent for weaving words together to create a masterpiece. It is a piece that is filled with vivid imagery, powerful emotions, and thought-provoking themes that have made it a classic over the years.
In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will examine the poem line by line, exploring its meaning and analyzing its techniques. So, sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of It is not Always May.
The First Stanza: The Arrival of Spring
The poem opens with the lines,
The sun is bright,--the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing.
These two lines immediately set the tone for the rest of the poem. The use of words like "bright" and "clear" creates a sense of freshness and newness, implying the arrival of spring. The mention of "darting swallows" adds to this imagery of spring, as these birds are known to migrate during this time of year.
The first stanza goes on to describe the beauty of spring, with lines like,
And from the stately elms, to which
The poet's soul is like a bird,
Gleam and flutter pennons of silk,
And starry blooms of snow-white flowers.
Here, Longfellow is using personification to compare the poet's soul to a bird that is free to soar among the stately elms. The stately elms are also personified, with their leaves and branches appearing like flags and banners fluttering in the wind. The starry blooms of the snow-white flowers further emphasize the beauty of spring.
The stanza ends with a line that serves as a warning that this beauty is fleeting:
The coral-petalled daffodil
Shall bloom as brightly as of old.
This line is a reminder that the beauty of spring is temporary and will not last forever. It is a theme that is repeated throughout the poem.
The Second Stanza: The Arrival of May
The second stanza begins with the lines,
Yes, every thing is glad and free,
Life's tide beats high--and merrily
Here, Longfellow is continuing the theme of the arrival of spring. The use of words like "glad" and "free" convey a sense of joy and happiness that is associated with this season. The mention of "Life's tide" beating high implies a sense of energy and vitality that is present during this time.
The stanza goes on to describe the arrival of May. Longfellow writes,
All nature feels the charm of May,
And every bird's a minstrel gay;
Here, the poet is using personification to suggest that nature is affected by May, and every bird is performing a song to celebrate this. The use of the word "minstrel" is significant because it suggests that nature is creating music, which is a way of celebrating life.
The stanza ends with a line that is similar to the one that ended the first stanza:
The flowers shall fade, the woods decay,
And Autumn choke the public way.
This line is a reminder that the beauty of spring, as well as life itself, is temporary.
The Third Stanza: The Arrival of Love
The third stanza marks a shift in the poem's tone from the celebration of spring to the arrival of love. Longfellow writes,
But love is indestructible--
Its holy flame for ever burneth,
Here, the poet is suggesting that love is eternal and will never fade away. The use of words like "holy" and "indestructible" emphasize the significance of love.
The stanza goes on to describe the arrival of love, with lines like,
From heaven it came, to heaven it returneth;
Too oft on earth a troubled guest,
At times deceived, at times opprest,
It here is tried and purified,
Then hath in heaven its perfect rest:
Longfellow is suggesting that love is of divine origin and that it returns to heaven after being tested on earth. It is also a reminder that love is not always easy and that it can be troubled and oppressed. However, it is through these experiences that love is purified and eventually finds its perfect rest in heaven.
The Fourth Stanza: The Arrival of Sadness
The fourth stanza of the poem marks a significant shift in tone. Longfellow writes,
It soweth here with toil and care,
But the harvest-time of Love is there.
Here, the poet is suggesting that love requires effort and dedication, but the rewards of this effort will be reaped in heaven.
However, the stanza goes on to describe the arrival of sadness:
Oh, when a mother meets on high
The babe she lost in infancy,
Hath she not then, for pains and fears,
The day of woe, the watchful night,
For all her sorrow, all her tears,
An over-payment of delight?
The mention of a mother meeting her lost child in heaven is a reminder that love can also bring sadness and pain. The use of words like "woe" and "tears" convey a sense of sadness that is associated with the loss of a loved one.
However, Longfellow is also suggesting that the joy and happiness of being reunited with a lost loved one in heaven will outweigh the pain and sadness.
The Fifth Stanza: Conclusion
The final stanza of the poem marks a return to the theme of the arrival of spring. Longfellow writes,
The world is bright with the delusive blaze
Of love, that fades so soon;
And dreams of youth that vanish in its rays,
Like the dew-drops from the moon.
Here, the poet is reminding us that the beauty of spring, as well as love, is temporary and fleeting. The use of words like "delusive" and "fades" convey a sense of impermanence that is associated with these things.
The poem ends with the lines,
But, like the rain-bow, fades
The bright promise of May;
God gives us, from some gentle hand,
A cup of love to drink.
And, oh! we drain it to the dregs,
And mournfully we think
Of all the friends so linked together,
We have seen around us fade,
Like rain-bows in the sky.
These lines are a reminder that life is temporary and that the beauty and love that we experience in this world will eventually fade away. However, it is up to us to savor these moments and drink from the cup of love that God has given us.
In conclusion, It is not Always May is a beautiful poem that explores the themes of spring, love, sadness, and impermanence. Longfellow's use of vivid imagery, powerful emotions, and thought-provoking themes have made this poem a classic over the years. It is a reminder that life is temporary and that we should cherish the beauty and love that we experience while we can.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has always been a medium of expression for human emotions and thoughts. It has the power to evoke feelings, inspire, and move people. One such poem that has stood the test of time is "It is not Always May" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This poem is a beautiful reflection on the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of change.
The poem begins with the line "The sun is bright, the air is clear." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It is a beautiful day, and everything seems perfect. However, the next line, "The darting swallows soar and sing," hints at the transience of this moment. The swallows are darting, moving quickly, and singing, which suggests that they are enjoying the moment, but it is fleeting.
The next few lines of the poem describe the beauty of nature. Longfellow talks about the "soft green turf" and the "fragrant air." He also mentions the "blossoming trees," which are a symbol of new life and growth. However, he quickly reminds us that this beauty is temporary. He says, "Life is short, and time is fleeting," which is a reminder that everything in life is temporary.
The next stanza of the poem is where Longfellow really drives home his message. He says, "And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave." This line is a powerful reminder that even though we may feel strong and brave, we are all marching towards our inevitable end. The metaphor of the "muffled drums" adds to the somber tone of the poem.
The next few lines of the poem describe the beauty of youth. Longfellow talks about the "rosy cheeks" and the "bright eyes" of the young. He also mentions the "laughing lips," which are a symbol of joy and happiness. However, he quickly reminds us that youth is also temporary. He says, "And youth is fleeting, beauty fades, And all the joys of life decline." This line is a reminder that even though youth may seem eternal, it too will come to an end.
The final stanza of the poem is a call to action. Longfellow says, "So be it, then, the poet's themes, Their joys, their griefs, their hopes, their dreams, Shall henceforth be my themes no more." This line is a reminder that we should not dwell on the past or the future, but instead focus on the present. Longfellow is saying that we should live in the moment and enjoy life while we can.
In conclusion, "It is not Always May" is a beautiful poem that reminds us of the fleeting nature of life. Longfellow uses vivid imagery and powerful metaphors to convey his message. He reminds us that even though life may seem perfect at times, it is temporary, and we should enjoy it while we can. This poem is a timeless reminder to live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of life.
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