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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

A SONG, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Song" [Fair, sweet and young, receive a prize] is a poem written by John Dryden in the late seventeenth century.


The poem is addressed to a fair and young woman, who is encouraged to "receive a prize" for her beauty and virtue. Dryden celebrates the woman's youth and charm, and encourages her to enjoy life and take pleasure in her gifts. The poem also touches on the theme of love, suggesting that the woman's beauty has the power to captivate and inspire.

Throughout the poem, Dryden uses vivid and evocative language to convey his admiration for the woman. He draws on the imagery of nature and the senses, using the language of sight and sound to describe the woman's beauty and allure. The poem is notable for its simplicity and directness, as well as for its celebration of the joys of youth and love.

Form and Style:

"Song" [Fair, sweet and young, receive a prize] is written in rhyming couplets and follows a simple and straightforward structure. The poem is notable for its use of vivid and descriptive language, as well as for its musicality and rhythm. Dryden employs a range of literary devices, including metaphor and allusion, to create a sense of depth and complexity.


The poem is widely regarded as a classic example of Dryden's poetry, and as a testament to his skill as a lyric poet. It has been praised for its simplicity and its ability to capture the essence of youth and beauty. The poem continues to be studied and appreciated for its insights into the cultural and social context of seventeenth-century England, and for its enduring relevance to contemporary debates about love, beauty, and desire.

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