Get help from the best in academic writing.

Truth in Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn and Cummings’ since feeling is first

Truth in Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn and Cummings’ since feeling is first

Truth remains a mysterious essential: sought out, created, and destroyed in countless metaphysical arguments through time. Whether argued as being absolute or relative, universal or personal, no thought is perceived or conceived without an assessment of its truth. In John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and E.E. Cummings’ “since feeling is first” the concern is not specifically the truth of a thought, but rather, the general nature of truth; the foundation which gives truth is trueness . Both poets replace investigation with decision, and that which would be argumentation in the hands of philosophers becomes example and sentiment in their poems. Each poet’s examples create a resonance within the reader, engineered to engender belief or provoke thought. Employing images of unconsummated actions on an ancient urn carved with scenes from life, Keats suggests that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”; Cummings, on the other hand, offers emotion as the foundation of truth, and supports living life fully through diction, theme-suggestive syntax, and images of accomplished action.

Cummings’ “since feeling is first” compares the beauty of emotion and the inadequacy of mental analysis. In line three, attention to “syntax,” synonymous with literary construction and order, ruins emotional spontaneity, symbolized by a kiss. “Wholly to be a fool while Spring is in the world” ignores social convention in seeking pleasure while “fool” and “Spring” complement each other and suggest the blossoming of love. Line six, “my blood approves,” focuses on the physical root of life and evades the hackneyed connotative baggage that arrives with the word “heart.” Cummings then swear…

… middle of paper …

…ing reality and easily equated to the story told by the “Sylvan historian.” Thus, the urn as historian provides the truth spoken of in the final line. Literally, the truth of the urn (its representation of life) is its beauty. The derived equivalence of truth and beauty allows the concluding statement: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” Through similar rhetorical features, “since feeling is first” celebrates love and extols the virtue of intuitive, spontaneous emotion. Cummings’ use of sensual imagery discounts methodical analysis and offers emotion as truth. Both poems arrive at seperate conclusions and reflect the diversity of perspectives regarding the nature of truth.

Works Cited

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn. New York: Harcourt Brace Johanovich, 1975.

Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1991.

Love in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 128 and Gibran’s The Prophet

Love in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 128 and Gibran’s The Prophet

William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 128” suggests a rather playful and sensual approach to love, while an excerpt on love and marriage from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet has a didactic and intellectual tone. Shakespeare revels in lustful possession of his lover, but Gibran advises leaving space between partners in their relationship.

Well-endowed with imagery, Shakespeare’s sonnet evokes the vision of a woman swaying back and forth playing a spinet, and the poet sitting back smiling and enjoying her movements, aroused by her music and charm. Master of double entendre, Shakespeare writes “Sonnet 128” as a sexual conceit. He compares her playing beautiful music on a “blessed” wooded instrument to her playing his blessed wooden instrument (phallic symbol). In fact, he sees the woman as his playtoy and object of possession for him to exploit for his own sexual enjoyment, misinterpreting his selfish lust as love.

The poem has an atmosphere of licentiousness, and Shakespeare employs many sexual puns and innuendoes to provide for this tone. His diction exhibits an earthy element: “playing music on blessed wood,” “sweet fingers gently swaying,” “wiry concord,” “jacks nimbly leaping,” “reaping a harvest,” “wood’s boldness,” “change of state when tickled,” “dancing chips,” and “fingers walking with gentle gait.” An interpretation of any of these preceding phrases could describe either his lover playing a spinet or performing a sexual act with consequent gratification. “Change of state when tickled” indicates the achievement of an erection. “Reaping a harvest” represents his sexual climax and ejaculation. “Wiry concord” makes reference to another poem in …

… middle of paper …

…roit: Gale Research, Inc., 1994. 25:


Boyce, Charles. Shakespeare A to Zóthe Essential Reference to His Plays, His Life and Times, and

More. New York: Round table Press, 1990. pp. 607-610.

Colum, Padraic. “Commonplaces from the Arabic.” Saturday Review. 20 May 1950: p. 21.

Otto, Annie Salem. The Parables of Kahlil Gibran: An Interpretation of His Writings and His Art.

Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1963.

Pequigney, Joseph. Such Is My Love: A Study of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Chicago: University of

Chicago Press, 1985.

Sherfan, Andrew Dib. Kahlil Gibran: The Nature of Love. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1973.

Williamson, Sandra L., and James E. Person, Jr., eds. Shakespearean Criticism. 31 vols. Detroit: Gale

Research, Inc., 1990. 10: p. 177.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.