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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

ROBERT OF LINCOLN, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Robert of Lincoln" is a poem by William Cullen Bryant that celebrates the beauty and vitality of nature through the depiction of a yellow-breasted bird. The poem is notable for its use of vivid imagery and evocative language, as well as its celebration of the natural world.

The poem opens with a description of the titular bird, Robert of Lincoln, who is characterized by his bright yellow feathers and cheerful song. The speaker describes the bird as a symbol of the vitality and beauty of nature, writing that "When the fields are fresh and green, / And every blade is gemmed with dew, / Robert of Lincoln sings in the tree / A song of love and joy to me."

Throughout the poem, the speaker uses language and imagery to evoke the beauty and wonder of the natural world. He writes of "the meadow fair," "the happiness of flight," and "the freedom of the skies, so pure and bright." These descriptions serve to emphasize the vitality and beauty of nature, and to suggest that the natural world has a unique power to lift up and inspire the human spirit.

At the same time, the poem also touches on deeper themes of mortality and the cycle of life. The speaker suggests that, even as we celebrate the beauty and vitality of nature, we must also be mindful of its fragility and transience. He writes, "Robert of Lincoln is gaily drest, / Wearing a bright black wedding-coat; / White are his shoulders and white his crest. / Hear him call in his merry note: / Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, / Spink, spank, spink."

Overall, "Robert of Lincoln" is a powerful and evocative poem that celebrates the beauty and vitality of the natural world, while also acknowledging its fragility and transience. Through its use of vivid imagery and evocative language, the poem captures the essence of the natural world and reminds us of the wonders and mysteries of life. It is a timeless tribute to the enduring power of nature, and a testament to the enduring beauty of the world around us.

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