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Commentary on Easter Wings by George Herbert

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Lord, Who createdst man in wealth and store, 1 Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more, Till he became Most poore: 5 With Thee O let me rise, As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day Thy victories: Then shall the fall further the flight in me. 10 My tender age in sorrow did beginne; And still with sicknesses and shame Thou didst so punish sinne, That I became Most thinne. With Thee Let me combine, And feel this day Thy victorie; 18 For, if I imp my wing on Thine, 19 Affliction shall advance the flight in me. 1 store: many goods, abundance. 5 The length of the lines decreases to reflect their content it symbolise a diminished man 10 Herbert alludes to the paradox of the "fortunate fall" or felix culpa. Only by sinning with Eve, and being cast out of the Garden of Eden into a world of labour, pain, and death, did Adam enable the second Adam, Christ, to redeem man and show a love and forgiveness that otherwise could never have been. ...read more.


Additionally, he forces the aspect that each line is important by capitalizing the first letter on each line. However, his line design of having longer lines at the beginning and end of each stanza as compared to the middle lines does more than just create a visual image, it enhances the idea of giving the poem a flow that feels as though the work itself is contracting and expanding, much like the opening and closing of the wings represented in the visual image produced by the layout of the poem. It may also seem the contracting and expanding of man's heart. The middle four lines of each stanza are reduced to four syllables on lines four and seven, and only two syllables on line five and six, as compared to ten syllables in each line that forms the cap and base of each stanza. Additionally, in each stanza, it is important to note that each line is shortened by two syllables until only two syllables remain in lines five and six, at which time each line is lengthened by two syllables, giving it a syllabic pattern, per line, of 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, per stanza. ...read more.


* Fortunately, there is hope. In the rising part of the stanza, Herbert talks of himself rising with Christ. The alliteration of 'the fall further the flight in me' reinforces the paradox of the 'felix culpa' or 'happy fault' which teaches that the fall of humankind actually had a positive outcome because it resulted in the coming of Christ to bring human beings into a new relationship with God. Herbert is now applying this hope to himself. * The second stanza is parallel in its form, and uses a number of words and phrases from the first. It is more specifically autobiographical, and could be seen as a summary of Affliction I. * Herbert talks of afflication, sickness and shame as punishmnets sent by God to warn sinners to mend their ways "afflication shall advance the flight in me" the crosses born to "pay" for sins and ultimately improve through suffering the ways of evil. The request to "imp my wing on thine" asks for support and a close bond to God. The use of "thee" is used to direct to God. The 'Lord' is adressed by the speaker creating a dialogue between Herbert and God. ...read more.

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