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Examine how poets in the anthology viewed the concept of time and how they presented these views in their poetry.

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Introduction

Examine how poets in the anthology viewed the concept of time and how they presented these views in their poetry. Over the centuries, time, and the concept of it has been a popular topic for poetry. As its use grew, the many different perspectives from which the concept of time can be viewed, became apparent. The perception of time in each poem is dependant on the political and scientific world at the time, as well as events in the life of the poet himself. As the poetry in the anthology spans several different eras, we can see the effect of these and the changes and differences in the presentation and use of time. One of the most common factors time is seen to affect and impact on is youth and aging. Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 73' was the third in a group of four sonnets dealing with age and mortality. While the author was only in his mid-thirties when he wrote it, it is a sad, vivid reflection on his own death. It shows a deep insecurity about aging; the effect of time on his personal and physical appearance. In this poem, Shakespeare sees time as a negative influence, speeding him towards old age and death. ...read more.

Middle

"Desire is found to be quite as ruthless as time1". The narrative voice in this poem suggests that while they can't stop time, they should "make him run". He is defiant of time. This poem is an example of the philosophy of 'carpe diem'. This Latin phrase meaning 'seize the day' is particularly evident in the third stanza of the poem. This attitude perceives time as a negative influence, but as one that can be resisted. One of the common interpretations of 'To Daffodils' by Robert Herrick is that of a carpe diem poem. Herrick used his poems to philosophise about life and this poem compares people to daffodils and the shortness of life. Herrick also comments on the eroding effect of time on beauty. This poem has been likened to another of Herrick's poems, 'To Virgins, to Make Much of Time'. This latter poem is undoubtedly similar to Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress', sharing the ideas of Time and the temporality of youth; a message reinforced in the final quatrain; "Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry; For having lost but once your prime, You may for ever tarry." ...read more.

Conclusion

The poets and through them, the poems in the anthology provide a wide variety of interpretations of the concept of time. These interpretations vary from the positive to the negative to the philosophical to purely reflective. The concerns of the age can be seen though the presentation of time in the poems spanning the different eras. Many of the earlier poems focus on time's effect on love and youth. These poems were written during a time when the courtly love traditions were very popular among poets. Love was therefore a common subject for poetry. The traditional image of love is that it defies time, however not all the poems followed this convention; several were more realistic. As poetry evolved into the Metaphysical era, fathered by John Donne, the ideas presented in poetry became more complex and abstract, while following a logical argument. Time, as a complex and abstract image was greatly explored as was eternity and death, but the wide variety of imagery employed by the Metaphysical poets lead to several different perceptions of the concept of time. Most of the poet's viewed time in relation to its effect on another factor. The presentation of time therefore varied in relation to the perception of this second factor and the personal views of the poet. 1 http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/poetry/soundings/marvell.htm ...read more.

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