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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

GRAVE OF HOWARD, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Grave of Howard" is a poem written by William Lisle Bowles, an English poet of the late 18th and early 19th century. Bowles was known for his romantic poetry and his appreciation of nature.

Context:

The poem was written in the early 19th century, during a time of great social and political change in Europe. John Howard was an 18th century English philanthropist and social reformer who worked to improve conditions in prisons and hospitals. Against this backdrop, Bowles offers a poetic tribute to Howard's life and work.

Content:

"The Grave of Howard" is a reflective poem that meditates on the life and work of John Howard. The poem describes the peaceful setting of Howard's grave and the sense of peace and serenity that it evokes. Bowles uses the story of Howard's life to express his admiration for Howard's work and his own sense of the importance of compassion and empathy.

Form:

The poem is written in rhymed couplets and is composed of four stanzas, each containing eight lines. The poem's form is simple and elegant, which reflects the clarity and simplicity of Bowles' reflective style. The use of rhymed couplets also creates a sense of balance and harmony in the poem, emphasizing the peaceful and reflective tone.

Poetic Elements:

Bowles makes use of a variety of poetic devices in "The Grave of Howard." One of the most striking is his use of imagery, in which he presents the setting of Howard's grave in vivid and sensuous detail. He also employs a variety of rhetorical devices, such as repetition and rhetorical questions, to create a sense of rhythm and musicality in the poem.

Summary:

Overall, "The Grave of Howard" is a tribute to the life and work of John Howard, as well as a meditation on the importance of compassion and empathy in society. While it may seem sentimental or idealistic by modern standards, it should be understood in the context of the romantic literary movement of its time. The poem is a testament to Bowles' skill as a poet, showcasing his ability to use language and imagery to create a powerful emotional impact. The poem's use of imagery and rhetorical devices creates a sense of peace and serenity, inviting the reader to reflect on the importance of social reform and compassion in the world.


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