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Compare And Contrast - Elegy For Himself by Chidiok Tichborne And Epitaph by Sir Walter Raleigh.

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Introduction

Compare And Contrast - Elegy For Himself by Chidiok Tichborne And Epitaph by Sir Walter Raleigh Both these poems were written by men imprisoned in the Tower Of London, destined to have their lives cut short as they awaited their imminent execution. As would be expected of the works of doomed men, an element of sadness and despair can be found in both, however these feelings are expressed more strongly by Tichborne. Tichborne was not even thirty when he was executed and his bitterness at his life ending almost before it is begun can be seen. 'And now I die and now I am but made:' He was sentenced to death for being part of a Catholic plot to murder Elizabeth. He wrote this poem just three days before he was to meet with death, and is a poem of lamentation at a life curtailed too early. I wouldn't expect much sign of hope in a poem by a man destined to meet his fate in 3 days, but this is probably the first poem I have seen that is totally despairing. ...read more.

Middle

The poem has 5 beats and adds to the melancholic feeling with its sad, slow rhythm. When I read this poem and truly hear it, I picture a man huddled in the corner of his cell, awaiting death, listening to the slow plodding sounds of the jailor's feet, who comes to take yet another man to his fate. I also can imagine Tichborne walking slowly to the headsman's block in time with the poem and placing his head on the block. Then comes the sense of finality 'and now my life is done. ' as the axe swings down. What we must take into account here though, is that Raleigh was a sixty-six year old man who had lived life to the full, travelling vast distances to places such as America. He had lived a life of fame and glory, riches and happiness, acquainting himself in the highest circles - with her royal highness Queen Elizabeth I. ...read more.

Conclusion

This 'feast' is an obvious contrast to the far smaller-sounding 'dish of pain'. It may be that this has added meaning, as what I feel that the poet is trying to communicate is that though his life was short, and though he hadn't done all that he had hoped to, the huge 'joy' he gained from religion more than compensated for the pain of his execution. Tichborne also utilizes a rhyming couplet at the end of each verse (stanza) to emphasize these lines, which is obviously different to Epitaph, as Epitaph only has one verse (stanza). Elegy For Himself dwells on the past a great deal, bringing about a nostalgic mood, Tichborne lamenting his young life cut short, deprived of any further memories. Epitaph on the other hand, is not a poem reviewing the poet's long life, but instead a poem written by a man who looks to the future, knowing that he will die and waiting for the Lord to give him new life. It shows the wisdom of a man who looks to what the future holds in store for him as opposed to regretting your past. ...read more.

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