D. H.

Lawrence
Snake
A snake came to my water-trough On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, To drink there. In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree I came down the steps with my pitcher And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me. He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of the stone trough And rested his throat upon the stone bottom, i o And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness, He sipped with his straight mouth, Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body, Silently. Someone was before me at my water-trough, And I, like a second comer, waiting. He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do, And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do, And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment, And stooped and drank a little more, Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking. The voice of my education said to me He must be killed, For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous. And voices in me said, If you were a man You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off. But must I confess how I liked him, How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless, Into the burning bowels of this earth? Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured? I felt so honoured. And yet those voices: If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole. how vulgar. what a mean act! I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education. And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air. And slowly. . Overcame me now his back was turned. He drank enough And lifted his head. Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face. my snake. I put down my pitcher. But even so. I stared with fascination. For he seemed to me again like a king. unseeing. I looked round. and was gone Into the black hole. Now due to be crowned again. Seeming to lick his lips. the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front. I thought how paltry. And I thought of the albatross And I wished he would come back. honoured still more That he should seek my hospitality From out the dark door of the secret earth.And truly I was afraid. But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste. very slowly. And as he put his head into that dreadful hole. in the intense still noon. And looked around like a god. and entered farther. I was most afraid. And slowly turned his head. uncrowned in the underworld. And immediately I regretted it. At which. A sort of horror. Writhed like lightning. dreamily. Deliberately going into the blackness. And I have something to expiate: A pettiness. I picked up a clumsy log And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter. Like a king in exile. And as he slowly drew up. And so. so black. as if thrice adream. I think it did not hit him. as one who has drunken. into the air. I missed my chance with one of the lords Of life. and slowly drawing himself after. snake-easing his shoulders.

uncrowned in the underworld.. Personification. ALliteration and ASsonance i) “Strange-scented shade” AL ii) “for he was there at the trough before me” P iii) “slackness soft-bellied down” AL iv) “long body” AS v) “flickered. black snakes” iv) Stanza 11: “I was truly afraid. and the desires the people often hold. pacified” AL ix) “dark door” AL x) “Seeming to lick his lips” P xi) “uncrowded underworld” AL xii) Enjambment is present as the poet frequently runs over lines. or accepted attitudes.” But the symbolism of the snake cannot be ignored and suggests that Lawrence may have been exploring something other than simply this snake.. e) The poet uses dense imagery at certain points of the poem. He uses similes and metaphors. Fear and fascination take control as he is left with the internal struggle between rational and his natural feelings. Associated with evil and Satan..A sort of” vii) Stanza 18: “Like a king. his education prevails and the speaker throws at the snake. but he can't.. The rhythm is slow in stanza 12 but picks us in stanza 14." The poem seems to reveal not only that Lawrence is attracted to the animal.forked. He doesn't want to harm it because he “liked him” and was glad “he had come like a guest in the quiet. he immediately regrets it and thinks himself “paltry”. The poem develops around the speaker's unexpected meeting with a snake.from” AL vi) “mused a moment” AL vii) “bowels of the earth” P viii) “peaceful.H Lawrence a) The poet frequently uses repetition: i) Stanza 1: “On a hot. “vulgar”.” Immediately he despises himself for his action and feels a need to make amends. the snake assumes a more ominous meaning. Lawrence's "Snake": An Analysis In his poem "Snake. In the end.Poem 1: “Snake” by D. I was most afraid” v) Stanza 12: “slowly.Like a king” b) There is no rhyme scheme.hot day” ii) Stanza 5: “as cattle do” iii) Stanza 6: “the black.. The snake has from the burning bowels of the earth and Lawrence uses simile to say it is “Like a king in exile. c) The author uses Enjambment." DH Lawrence examines the conflict between education. very slowly” vi) Stanza 13: “A sort of. Lawrence uses a repetition and imagery to show that it is a really hot day... The narrator "knows" that the snake is dangerous because “in Sicily the black. but also that humans are naturally attracted to evil and corruption.” His education tells him that he should destroy the snake. black snakes are innocent. It highlights the difference between our natural feelings and what is socially acceptable or learned. and “mean. However. d) The constant <s> sound reminds the readers of the slithering of a snake.. . the gold are venomous.

He has repaid his debt in a painful way. he envies them as they do not go through all the sorrows of life. ask'd. yet age? Rest in soft peace. “On My First Son. Jonson writes about his son as though he were a seven-year loan which was never meant for this world. It was the son’s fate t o be alive only for a short span of seven years. from now on. He changes his tone while lamenting the fact that he is no longer a father. Death is the only escape from the cares of the world. He doesn’t feel sad of the dead. 2. Seven years tho' wert lent to me. thou child of my right hand. say. The son’s name is his best legacy. lov'd boy. He describes his innocent and sinless son as his best creation. death may destroy all human achievements. O. and I thee pay. but while its role as final peace is respected. He writes the poem in honor of his son. has died. it is not genuinely longed for by most. and. 3. My sin was too much hope of thee." For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such. could I lose all father now! For why Will man lament the state he should envy? To have so soon 'scap'd world's and flesh's rage. the “sin” mentioned in the poem. Instead. the child is no more. And if no other misery. He mourns while writing the poem. It seems unlikely that the poet truly wishes for death. “Goodbye. . Poem 7: “On My First Son” by Ben Jonson The poem is an elegy: a dedication to his late son. As what he loves may never like too much. Exacted by thy fate.Epigrams: On my First Son BY BEN JONSON Farewell. and they have escaped the difficult task of growing old. and as a result. and joy. he vows to his late son that he will never be attached. but a father’s perfect love for his son is an immortal thing.” Ben Jonson 1. Moreover. my closest child!” He had expected too much out of his child. The child himself is “his [father’s] best piece of poetry” (line 10). The two imperfect rhymes both come when the poet is speaking more directly of death. a young boy. "Here doth lie Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry. on the just day. The poet’s son.

thou child” (line 1). The poet may be referring to his son’s tombstone. but a memorial of this kind could be legible for hundreds of years. “[l]oved boy” (2). the poet seems to promise himself that he will never love this deeply again. 5. “[h]ere doth lie” (9). It does not seem clear when the speaker expects anyone to wonder who is buried in his son’s grave. The title strongly implies that he will have other children. saying that at least his son has “’scaped world’s and flesh’s rage” (7) and will never grow old. as the loss of such a love is too painful to bear. and if he truly thought it a blessing that his son didn’t make it to puberty. “[r]est in soft peace” (9). 7. Several phrases establish this poem as an elegy: “Farewell. he surely would take pains not to have children in the future. the speaker seems to long for death. The boy is seven years old when he dies (“Seven years thou wert lent to me” [line 3]). but does not succeed. The speaker seems to want to be comforted by the fact that his son has escaped the difficulties that come with age. . if anyone wants to see who is buried beneath. 6. In the last two lines.4. they will consult the inscription: “Here doth lie / Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry” (lines 9-10) (Ben being the name of both father and son).

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