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have some essential point of difference. In this case the difference lies in the fact of the perfect and permanent victory of the sunshine over the rainfall. The polarity between the opposing forces in the rainy day is more definite and stronger than that usually found in life; and the triumph of one over the other is more signal than in the other. The day really accomplishes what the soul is striving to accomplish. What is ideal in life is real in the day. This is the exact point of difference between the soul and the day, and when the soul looks into the day and finds that it has really attained the freedom which it is striving to attain it rejoices in its own ideal freedom. Just this is the esthetic freedom which constitutes the essence of the poem. The soul looks into the day and finds its ideal self-realized, finds the freedom from the bondage of its real. This sense of freedom is the specific feeling which the poem is to awaken.
Thus the rainy day, through its identity with and difference from life, makes effective the tension which the poem seeks to produce. The creative act of the poet was in discerning ideal life mirrored in the real day; that the rainy day, in overcoming its own rain, coldness, darkness, and dreariness, is a type of the ideal overcoming of the trials and tribulations of life.
The elements of this complex primary conception are brought out in secondary figures to increase the effect - the tension. These leading minor figures are as follows:
“My life is cold and dark and dreary.” The poet would have us feel that life and the day are identical in
being cold and dark and dreary. These are death in one case as in the other — identical in effect. This perception sinks life lower, and thus heightens the effect. The identity is affirmed; hence, the figure is a metaphor and is more effective than a simile would have been, since it would have given only resemblance.
“ It rains and the wind is never weary." This is an indirect statement, for the author would have us hold back of the image the idea that as the rain and the wind never cease making the day dreary, so the adversities of life continue filling it with gloom and sadness. Conceiving life in this palpable form serves again to intensify the effect. Besides, the form of statement being allegorical — the minor term only given — increases the effect over the more explicit form of comparison. Of course there is more risk in the meaning not being discerned, for many in reading this statement have only the concrete image without the idea symbolized.
“My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past.” He conceives that thoughts cling to the past as the vine clings to the wall: vine — thought; wall — past. Here a vine is assumed to be identical with a thought, while to all appearances there are nothing but striking differences. They differ in form, size, color, parts, etc., but are identical in the point of clinging. Clinging is clinging, wherever and in whatever it be found. A vine still clinging after it is stripped of its life and verdure is a fit, an effective, symbol for the tendency of thoughts to turn to the past after the bitter experiences of life have saddened and deadened them. The mouldering wall is a fit symbol of the decay and dissolution of our mental structures as they are disintegrated by the frosts of bitter experiences. This concrete conception of thoughts and life further sinks life in sadness and heightens the tension which the poem is striving to secure. The figure here used is a metaphor, but it differs from the other in that the identity is implied, and is thus a still stronger statement.
“But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast.” Here with all their striking differences hopes are conceived as identical with leaves, and they are so since falling equals falling. To conceive hopes as passing away in the concrete form of leaves falling in the blasts of wind and rain still further intensifies the sadness and makes stronger the tension. This figure is a metaphor, as in the foregoing, and is effective because of its quick grasping of identity between hopes and leaves falling in blasts.
Let it be observed that in all these minor figures there is an increase in the feeling of sadness; that they are used for that purpose, and not for the sake of the figure. It is not sufficient merely to classify a figure, but it must be explained in terms of the effect of the whole selection.
While the foregoing figures sink life lower and thus increase the tension, those which follow exalt life and increase the tension through opposition to the former.
“Be still, sad heart !” Emotions personified. Also faded metaphor in “heart.” This is the self-assertion against the downward tendencies of life. The personification is secondary to the imperative command.
“ Behind the cloud is the sun still shining." As the sun is always shining beyond the clouds so there may be permanent cheer even in the present life of sadness. This is the figure which really brings the victory. The complete victory of the day is the assurance of the possibility of the complete victory in life. Here again we have an allegory, the minor term, or the image, only being given, while the major term and the comparison are implied. How much this form of statement contributes to the effect will appear by changing it to some other figure.
“ Into each life some rain must fall; some days must be dark and dreary.” In this conception life and the day are identical in that both have, by their nature, the conflict within themselves; that the law of the day and of life are the same. Each must have its lower turmoil; and since this is the essential nature of each, we should not wish to be rid of the darkness and dreariness of either. To do so would be to destroy both life and the day. Life is in and through tension, and every tension must have the terms between which it exists. Here the identity is implied and the major term given; hence, a metaphor.
It is well to note here how complete is the concrete embodiment; the day as a whole typifying life, and then the elements of the day typifying the phases of life. This not only gives richness and variety to the conception, but also organic unity. It would be difficult to find a poem more pervaded with figurative conception, and at the same time having the figures so interwoven and organized into one spiritual type. This adds to the beauty of simple figures that of organic beauty — variety in unity.
In the first line of the first and second stanzas the polysyndeton is employed with good effect. The repetition of “ands” emphasizes the accumulation of the adversities of life. Let these lines be read omitting the first “and,” and then again substituting it, and the emotional value of this figure will clearly appear.
While the chief literary value of the poem is in its figurative language, still much depends on the sensuous qualities of the language — its euphony and its rhythm. The mere sound of the first line in the first and second stanzas awakens a vague feeling of sadness. This is especially marked in the sound 0. This wailing sound is much used to intensify grief and melancholy.
Especially is the rhythm of the poem an efficient means of intensifying the feeling. Intense emotion is rhythmical, and rhythmical language is the natural language of emotion, and serves, therefore, to heighten emotion. The tension in this poem is made slightly stronger through the alliterations dark, dreary, wind, weary; and especially since these are repeated in each stanza. The rhymes have a similar effect. The rhymes are perfect and successive, the fifth rhyming with the first and second, except in the last stanza. Thus there is effective variety.
The most important fact in the rhythm is the measure of the verses. This is iambic tetrameter, with an occasional anapaestic foot substituted to give variety and a quicker movement when needed. Variety is