Corinnas Going A-Maying Summary Analysis Essay
“Corinna’s Going A-Maying” consists of five stanzas of fourteen lines. It is written in rhymed couplets, and although there is some enjambment, there is none of the conversational authenticity that is sometimes found in the dramatic monologues of John Donne and Robert Browning. This poem has more the nature of a set speech than of an urgent appeal. Its artificial quality is the result of both the subject matter and the form. May Day celebrations and pagan nature worship are far removed from the reader’s everyday concerns, and the complex metrical scheme that is repeated in each stanza draws attention to itself. In every stanza, lines 1, 2, 7, 8, 13, and 14 contain ten stresses, while all other lines are shortened to eight. The effect is one of variety, enhanced by the combinations of iambic and spondaic feet, but it is also one of patterned artificiality.
Anticipating English Romanticism by a century and a half, the speaker perceives the natural world as organic. Consequently, the most prevalent figure of speech is personification. In the first stanza alone, four inanimate objects are endowed with human characteristics: “the blooming morn,” “The dew,” “Each flower,” and “the birds.” In the first line, the morn, imaged as Aurora, is said to be presenting Apollo, the god of dawn whose hair is never cut: “the god unshorn.” Aurora, seen as throwing “her fair/ Fresh-quilted colors through the air,” is a complicated figure...
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“Corinna’s Going A-Maying”
The excitement of a beautiful day in early May heralding the long-awaited arrival of spring with the glowing promise of the warmth of summer is filled with imagery and thematic intent urging readers to recognize the vital significance of seizing the day. An example of a popular genre of the time known as the carpe diem poem, Corinna’s adventure as she takes part in the celebration is a gentle reminder that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and even when it does arrive, you’ll be one day closer to your last tomorrow.
“The Lilly in a Christal”
A poem aesthetics that which proposes that beauty is enhance in even the most beautiful object through skillful manipulation of contrasts in hues and texture.
“Delight in Disorder”
Another poem on the subject of aesthetics and the perception of beauty takes the perspective that in qualities of disorder ranging from disarray to carelessness, there are hidden attributes capable of enhancing or increasing appreciation.
“Upon Julia’s Unlacing Herself”
Ever the intuitive and keen observer, this poem illuminates just how profoundly and inextricably linked as the sense of smell and the stimulation of sexual craving.
“His Farewell to Sack”
An ironic ode marking the end and occasionally a regretful goodbye to one of the poet’s dearest and most constant companions: alcohol. Herrick’s decision to end this relationship was shocking to readers and those who knew him as he consumed in monumental volume.
“Upon Julia’s Fall”
A meditation upon the alabaster quality of the skin covering the legs of the titular female as evidence of the purity of her character.
“His Prayer to Ben Jonson”
The utilization of the word “prayer” in his affection ode to the legendary British writer is thematically appropriate. The poem essentially transforms Jonson from mere mortal to godlike status.
“To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”
Yet another entry in the carpe diem mode that also contains within it suggestions that the advice was really being geared to fathers as a warning about tarrying too long before attacking the task of arranging marriages for growing daughters.
“The Mad Maid’s Song”
The madness of the maid here is the perspective taken by others toward the unpleasantly morbid tone of the songs of grief resulting from inconsolable grief at the death of her brother. So profound is the state of her morose behavior that she has fixated on exhumation as a means of dealing with her loss.
“The Hock-Cart or the Harvest Home”
A celebratory poem lauding the joys of feasting and marking merry during the harvest.
“The Night-Piece, to Julia”
The slightly off-kilter and otherworldly feel of this poem engenders by weird images and an overall tone out of joint with the natural world makes it one of the more tangential and abstract examples of Herrick’s interest in a realm existing somewhere between humans and creatures of a more divine quality.
A more forthright examination of that fairly world which is populated by a horrific title character whose rides at midnight are capable of inspiring terror and dream.
“An Ode to Him”
The him is Ben Jonson and the ode is once again inspired by the greatest inspiration to Herrick’s literary ambitions.
“A Thanksgiving to God, for His House”
A reverential bit of verse that acts to reminder readers of the poet’s day job as a vicar of the local church.
“Upon Jack and Jill. Epigram”
Jack is a poet. Jill is a woman who rejects the romantic view of staring poets as desirable men. Against Jack’s arguments extolling the value of aesthetics and creativity is Jill’s desire to know she will have food in her stomach every day.
“Upon the Nipples of Julia’s Breast”
Yet another poem in celebration of the body of a poetic muse who did not actually exist in real life. On this occasion, the poet attempts to situate his erotic gaze as voyeuristic pleasure of the most innocent nature.
One of Herrick’s best known and most-analyzed verses. The universal consideration that the titular weed is nothing more nor than less a metaphorical representation of the penis seems only to be confirmed by the inexorable repetition of imagery, hyperbole and symbolism that make any interpretation of the content other than sexually grounded simply ridiculous.
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