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Compare the ways in which Lord Byron's 'So No More We'll Go A-Roving' and John Clare's 'I Am' convey their feelings about getting older/mental illness. Comment on language, rhythm, form and structure, as well as the content of the poem.

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which Lord Byron's 'So No More We'll Go A-Roving' and John Clare's 'I Am' convey their feelings about getting older/mental illness. Comment on language, rhythm, form and structure, as well as the content of the poem. Both 'So We'll Go No More A-Roving' by Lord Byron, and 'I Am' by John Clare are poems displaying feelings on the subject of feeling older and isolation. In 'So We'll Go No More A-Roving', Byron describes his realisation that he is getting too old for his extravagant lifestyle. Clare, on the other hand, conveys his isolation and sadness as he grows old in a mental asylum. Both poets use various techniques to convey the subject matter in alternate lights. In 'So We'll Go No More A-Roving', Byron displays a positive attitude towards his decision to isolate himself from society. This is reflected by the language in the poem which is fairly light, airy and simple. For example, the use of words such as 'loving', 'bright', and 'breathe' suggest that Byron is not resentful about slowing his life down. Clare, on the other hand, uses negative words to convey a bitterness towards his situation. ...read more.

Middle

As noted before, Clare believes his life has been a complete ruin, and now he has been left to age in this miserable environment. The line 'Where there is neither sense of life or joys' conveys how he has become desensitised and empty from his surroundings. This institution is the cause of much frustration and sadness. Comparatively Byron's repetition of the words 'be still' conveys how everything in his surroundings is still as wonderful, even though he has chosen to no longer be a part of it. Therefore Clare's negativity towards his isolation stems from his situation, he did not choose to be committed and therefore resents it. However, Byron has made his own decision to isolate himself and consequently has a different, more positive attitude. Clare expresses much self pity in his poem, conveyed through the title, 'I Am', and the frequent use of the term 'I Am' throughout the poem. Considering his desperate situation his pity is not unjust. Through this abundance of self pity Clare emphasises how alone he is as there is no one to feel sorry for him, and no one cares. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poet's opinions are further reflected by the form and structure of their poems. Both are written in the first person. This is especially relevant in 'I Am' as it emphasises Clare's self pity. In 'So We'll Go No More A-Roving' the structure reflects Byron's positive attitude as the simple ABAB rhyme pattern, and the simplicity of the language gives the poem a light hearted, lyrical feel. It is fast and upbeat and has a flowing quality to it. Comparatively, in 'I Am', Clare's use of long lines, more complicated language, and words with three to four syllables, makes it have less of an easy flowing quality. The rough rhyming scheme of ABABCC also hinders the flowing quality, unlike the simplicity of the ABAB rhyme in 'I Am'. This structure and uneasy flow reflects Clare's resentment and negativity towards his situation as the poem is in some ways a struggle to read, and this part in Clare's life was also a struggle. In conclusion, Byron and Clare's diverse attitudes towards isolation and growing older are mainly due to a difference in situation. But however dissimilar their attitudes, both poets have effectively used various techniques to convey their feelings and make their poem successful. Emma Kent 12:3 ...read more.

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