Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, THE NOBLE LIFE, by ALICE CARY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE NOBLE LIFE, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Noble Life" is a poem written by Alice Cary, an American poet born in 1820. The poem was published in 1854, during a period of great social and cultural change in America. The poem reflects the influence of the Transcendentalist movement, which emphasized the importance of individualism, self-reliance, and the search for truth.


"The Noble Life" is a reflective poem that explores the theme of what makes a life worth living. The speaker describes the virtues of a "noble life," including honesty, courage, and compassion. The poem emphasizes the importance of living a life that is true to oneself and that contributes to the greater good.


The poem is written in free verse with irregular meter and stanzas. The loose structure of the poem reflects the reflective and contemplative tone of the speaker. The poem also makes use of repetition, with phrases such as "noble life" and "true and brave" recurring throughout.

Poetic Elements:

The poem employs a variety of poetic techniques, including metaphor, imagery, and allusion. For example, the speaker uses the metaphor of a ship to describe the journey of life, and the imagery of a "beacon light" to symbolize the virtues of a noble life. The poem also makes use of allusion, with references to biblical and historical figures such as David and George Washington.


"The Noble Life" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the theme of what makes a life worth living. The poem's emphasis on the virtues of honesty, courage, and compassion reflects a Transcendentalist view of the world as a place of individualism and self-reliance. The poem's use of poetic techniques contributes to its emotional impact and reinforces its central message. Overall, "The Noble Life" is a timeless and inspiring work that challenges readers to live a life that is true to themselves and that makes a positive contribution to the world.

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