BM1 - Introduction to Literature - Assignment 1

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Please address the following five tasks and questions. You may write up to three pages of text, according to the formatting specifications of the style sheet. Longer Assignments will not be accepted.


1. Describe the speaker’s position and the communicative situation in this poem.

2. What are the themes of the poem and how do they develop in its course? (Can you identify sections?)

3. Comment on metre and rhyme scheme.

4. Find and analyse at least one metaphor in this poem and give examples of two other figures of speech from the poem.

5. Briefly comment on the sonnet in relation to the other poems you have dealt with.


Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) Astrophel and Stella: Sonnet I

    Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That the dear she might take some pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,
    I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.
    But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay;
Invention, Nature's child, fled stepdame Study's blows;
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
        Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite
        "Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write."


(vocabulary:
Invention – the power of mental creation or construction [actually a term from rhetoric, referring to the activity or the power of 'finding things to say']
Stepdame -- stepmother
Feet – i.e. metric units
Throes -- pains
Truant – wandering around or away