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DANAE, by                 Poet's Biography

 

The poem "Danae" by Thomas Sturge Moore was published in his collection of poetry titled "The Vinedresser and Other Poems" in 1926. The poem is inspired by the Greek myth of Danae, a beautiful woman who was imprisoned in a tower by her father, the king, to prevent her from having any male suitors. However, she is impregnated by Zeus, who comes to her in the form of golden rain, and gives birth to Perseus, a hero who goes on to slay the Gorgon Medusa.

Content: 

"Danae" is a meditation on the power of beauty and desire, and the ways in which they can lead to both joy and pain. The poem begins with a description of the tower in which Danae is imprisoned, which is "brilliant with bright brass" and seems to mock her captivity. However, the tower also serves as a symbol of Danae's beauty and the desire it inspires in others.

The poem then moves into a series of reflections on the nature of desire, and the ways in which it can be both wonderful and destructive. The speaker describes how the sight of Danae's beauty can inspire both love and violence in those who see her, and he meditates on the power of beauty to transform and transcend the limitations of the physical world.

The poem ends with a vision of Danae giving birth to Perseus, who is described as "a million moving waves." This image suggests the idea that beauty and desire can give rise to something new and transformative, even in the midst of confinement and limitation.

Form: 

"Danae" is a poem written in blank verse, with lines of varying length and meter. The use of blank verse gives the poem a sense of formal elegance and structure, while also allowing for a greater degree of flexibility and freedom in the rhythms and sounds of the language.

Poetic Devices: 

The poem "Danae" makes use of several poetic devices, including metaphor, allusion, and personification. The tower in which Danae is imprisoned is personified as "brilliant," and the speaker uses metaphors to describe the effects of Danae's beauty on those who see her. There are also allusions to the Greek myth of Danae and the story of Perseus, which add depth and richness to the poem's themes.

Summary: 

"Danae" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the complex relationship between beauty and desire, and the ways in which they can both inspire and torment us. Moore's use of vivid imagery, poetic language, and allusion create a rich and multi-layered poem that speaks to the enduring power of myth and the human experience.

 

Poem Snippet:

 

Still, brilliant with bright brass, the tower derides

?Ocean and earth, nor fears the bitter tides

That fawn and gnaw their base: alone, secure,

?It hears the horns of gods, the gods' impure

And sweet caresses, till the hours retire,

?And, to its mate the steadfast flame of fire

Yields up the fortress, and each mortal stair,

?And every hall and balcony of air,

To the great stars; and Danae lies asleep

?In the arms of one who does not laugh nor weep.

 


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