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Comparing and Contrasting Two Poems by the Same Author

You will be asked to compare two or more poems in your exam. You will usually be given some of the poems which you must write about, and you might need to choose other poems to compare them with.

Choose two of the poems you are studying to try this exercise (you might need to replace ‘love’ with a different theme, depending on the collection of poetry you are focusing on).

Lyric poems can easily be compared to one another based on certain criteria.

One of these is the compare and contrast essay

The result is two glaringly different poems that goes to prove how very different people are.

"And here may be the best place to note after Dr Phelps that the 'whole atmosphere of Collins's Ode is similar to that of the Elegy. Cf. especially stanza 10,

''And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.'' '
Dr Phelps notes also that Joseph Warton's verses contain some of Gray's pictures, and something of the same train of thought: e.g.:
''Hail, meek-eyed maiden, clad in sober grey,
Whose soft approach the weary woodman loves,
As homeward bent to kiss his prattling babes
Jocund he whistles through the twilight groves.''
add:
''Now every Passion sleeps; desponding Love,
And pining Envy, ever-restless Pride;
A holy calm creeps o'er my peaceful soul,
Anger and mad Ambition's storms subside.''
The latter stanza might well be the form in embryo of the four rejected stanzas quoted infra, n. on . Dr Phelps remarks that ''the scenery as well as the meditations of the Elegy were by no means original: they simply established more firmly literary fashions which were already becoming familiar.''
And certainly if the opening stanzas of the Elegy as we now have them were written as early as 1742, their composition was in no way affected by the poems of Warton and Collins; the same must be said even if the 'autumnal verses' of the letter of Sept. 11, 1746, were the Elegy. The spirit of gentle melancholy was in the air; and in 1746 and 1747 found in three young poets, Collins, Joseph Warton and Thomas Warton, that voice to the world at large which is found again in Gray in 1750. For in 1747 Thomas Warton published anonymously these lines, which he had written in his 17th year (1745):
''Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown pile
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve
Where thro' some western window the pale moon
Pours her long-levell'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r:
''
where resemblance to the Elegy is closest of all.
Between these three poets communication of ideas was probable; but at this date even Thomas Warton, with whom he afterwards corresponded, was an absolute stranger to Gray. And Gray is so far from feeling that in any of these there were 'kindred spirits' who might 'enquire his fate' that he writes, Dec. 27, 1746:
'Have you seen the Works of two young Authors, a Mr Warton and a Mr Collins, both Writers of Odes? it is odd enough, but each is the half of a considerable Man, and one the counterpart of the other. The first has but little invention, very poetical choice of Expression, and a good Ear, the second a fine fancy, model'd upon the Antique, a bad Ear, great variety of Words, and Images with no choice at all. They both deserve to last some Years, but will not.'
So little are men conscious of that 'stream of tendency' on which they themselves are borne."

"And here may be the best place to note after Dr Phelps that the 'whole atmosphere of Collins's Ode is similar to that of the Elegy. Cf. especially stanza 10,

''And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.'' '
Dr Phelps notes also that Joseph Warton's verses contain some of Gray's pictures, and something of the same train of thought: e.g.:
''Hail, meek-eyed maiden, clad in sober grey,
Whose soft approach the weary woodman loves,
As homeward bent to kiss his prattling babes
Jocund he whistles through the twilight groves.''
add:
''Now every Passion sleeps; desponding Love,
And pining Envy, ever-restless Pride;
A holy calm creeps o'er my peaceful soul,
Anger and mad Ambition's storms subside.''
The latter stanza might well be the form in embryo of the four rejected stanzas quoted infra, n. on . Dr Phelps remarks that ''the scenery as well as the meditations of the Elegy were by no means original: they simply established more firmly literary fashions which were already becoming familiar.''
And certainly if the opening stanzas of the Elegy as we now have them were written as early as 1742, their composition was in no way affected by the poems of Warton and Collins; the same must be said even if the 'autumnal verses' of the letter of Sept. 11, 1746, were the Elegy. The spirit of gentle melancholy was in the air; and in 1746 and 1747 found in three young poets, Collins, Joseph Warton and Thomas Warton, that voice to the world at large which is found again in Gray in 1750. For in 1747 Thomas Warton published anonymously these lines, which he had written in his 17th year (1745):
''Beneath yon ruin'd abbey's moss-grown pile
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve
Where thro' some western window the pale moon
Pours her long-levell'd rule of streaming light;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bow'r
Amid the mould'ring caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tow'r:
''
where resemblance to the Elegy is closest of all.
Between these three poets communication of ideas was probable; but at this date even Thomas Warton, with whom he afterwards corresponded, was an absolute stranger to Gray. And Gray is so far from feeling that in any of these there were 'kindred spirits' who might 'enquire his fate' that he writes, Dec. 27, 1746:
'Have you seen the Works of two young Authors, a Mr Warton and a Mr Collins, both Writers of Odes? it is odd enough, but each is the half of a considerable Man, and one the counterpart of the other. The first has but little invention, very poetical choice of Expression, and a good Ear, the second a fine fancy, model'd upon the Antique, a bad Ear, great variety of Words, and Images with no choice at all. They both deserve to last some Years, but will not.'
So little are men conscious of that 'stream of tendency' on which they themselves are borne."

Comparison: Sample Literary Essay, Two Poems - Home - …

"The evening bell still conventionally called curfew, though the law of the Conqueror, which gave it the name, had long been a dead letter. In Shakespeare the sound of the Curfew is the signal to the spirit-world to be at large. Edgar in Lear feigns to recognize 'the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew and walks till the first cock' (III. 4. 103); and in The Tempest, V. i. 40, the elves 'rejoice to hear the solemn curfew.' The mood of the Elegy is that of Il Penseroso and the scene in both poems is viewed in the evening twilight:

''Oft on a plat of rising ground
I hear the far-off curfew sound,
Over some wide-watered shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar.''
Milton, Il Penseroso, 72-75.
Milton's 'far-off curfew' reminds us of the squilla di lontano of Dante, which Gray quotes for the first line of the Elegy. I supply in brackets the rest of the passage; Purgatorio, VIII. 1-6.
[Era gia l' ora, che volge 'l disio
A' naviganti, e 'ntenerisce 'l cuore
Lo di ch' han detto a' dolci amici addio:
E che lo nuovo peregrin d' amore
Punge, se ode] squilla di lontano
Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore.
[Now was the hour that wakens fond desire
In men at sea, and melts their thoughtful heart
Who in the morn have bid sweet friends farewell,
And pilgrim, newly on the road, with love
Thrills, if he hear] the vesper bell from far
That seems to mourn for the expiring day. Cary.
The curfew tolls from Great S. Mary's, at Cambridge, at 9, from the Curfew Tower of Windsor Castle (nearer the scene of the Elegy) at 8, in the evening.
Warton, Notes on Pope, vol. i. p. 82, reads:
''The curfew tolls! - the knell of parting day.''
But we know exactly what Gray wrote, and what he meant us to read."

Compare and contrast the portrayal of warfare in four of the poems studied.

"See note on Eton Ode .
To these two lines it has been objected that they are obscurely expressed, and seem to combine a blessing and a curse as if they were cognate ideas. But Gray defines his melancholy to West, May 27, 1742 'Mine, you are to know, is a white Melancholy, or rather Leucocholy for the most part, which though it seldom laughs or dances, nor ever amounts to what one calls Joy or Pleasure, yet is a good easy sort of state' &c. His melancholy was closely connected with his studious retirement, and its nature is exactly fixed in these two lines. Milton's Il Penseroso is Gray all over, and it is noteworthy that whereas Milton is certainly indebted to the verses prefixed to Burton's Anatomy of Melanchol for his two companion poems, Burton has given to his melancholy man some of the pleasures which Milton has transferred to L'Allegro. Gray might say with La Fontaine:

J'aime ... les livres, la musique
La ville et la campagne, enfin tout; il n'est rien,
Qui ne me soit souverain bien,
Jusqu'aux sombres plaisirs d'un coeur melancolique."

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Comparison: Sample Literary Essay, Two Poems


How to Compare and Contrast Two Poems | The Pen and …

"Milton's words again: -

... ''though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews.'' - Par. Lost, v. 428, 429.

''Together both, ere the high lawns appeared
Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
We drove afield.'' - Lycidas, 25-27.
After this stanza there is the following in the Original MS.: -
Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
While o'er the heath we hied, our labours done,
Oft as the woodlark piped her farewell song,
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun.
''I rather wonder that he rejected this stanza, as it not only has the same sort of Doric delicacy which charms us peculiarly in this part of the poem, but also completes the account of his whole day; whereas, this evening scene being omitted, we have only his morning walk, and his noon-tide repose.'' - Mason.
In a footnote the reviewer of Mason's edition of Gray's Poems, in the ''Gentleman's Magazine,'' June, 1775, says Gray plainly alludes to this stanza and this evening employment when in a subsequent he mentions not only the customed hill, etc., but also the heath."

When you compare and contrast two poems, ..

"Milton's words again: -

... ''though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews.'' - Par. Lost, v. 428, 429.

''Together both, ere the high lawns appeared
Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
We drove afield.'' - Lycidas, 25-27.
After this stanza there is the following in the Original MS.: -
Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
While o'er the heath we hied, our labours done,
Oft as the woodlark piped her farewell song,
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun.
''I rather wonder that he rejected this stanza, as it not only has the same sort of Doric delicacy which charms us peculiarly in this part of the poem, but also completes the account of his whole day; whereas, this evening scene being omitted, we have only his morning walk, and his noon-tide repose.'' - Mason.
In a footnote the reviewer of Mason's edition of Gray's Poems, in the ''Gentleman's Magazine,'' June, 1775, says Gray plainly alludes to this stanza and this evening employment when in a subsequent he mentions not only the customed hill, etc., but also the heath."

Need poems to compare and contrast

"At this point Eton has:

For Thee, who mindful &c: as above.

If chance that e'er some pensive Spirit more,
By sympathetic Musings here delay'd,
With vain, tho' kind, Enquiry shall explore
Thy once-loved Haunt, this long-deserted Shade.
The first of these lines refers back to the second of the rejected stanzas (see n). These two repetitive stanzas, which G[ray]. was to compress into one, are close to T. Warton, Pleasures of Melancholy 17-21, where Contemplation is invoked as follows: 'O lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms / Congenial with my soul; to cheerless shades, / To ruin's seats, to twilight cells and bow'rs, / Where thoughtful melancholy loves to muse, / Her fav'rite midnight haunts.'"

check out tips on how to write a compare and contrast essay)

"At this point Eton has:

For Thee, who mindful &c: as above.

If chance that e'er some pensive Spirit more,
By sympathetic Musings here delay'd,
With vain, tho' kind, Enquiry shall explore
Thy once-loved Haunt, this long-deserted Shade.
The first of these lines refers back to the second of the rejected stanzas (see n). These two repetitive stanzas, which G[ray]. was to compress into one, are close to T. Warton, Pleasures of Melancholy 17-21, where Contemplation is invoked as follows: 'O lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms / Congenial with my soul; to cheerless shades, / To ruin's seats, to twilight cells and bow'rs, / Where thoughtful melancholy loves to muse, / Her fav'rite midnight haunts.'"

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