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In a Detail Analysis of Sidney’s ‘With How Sad Steps’ and Larkins ‘Sad Steps’ Compare and Where Appropriate Contrast the Way In Which the Two Poets Exploit Elements of Language, Structure and Form To Convey Atmosphere and Meaning.

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Introduction

IN A DETAIL ANALYSIS OF SIDNEY'S 'WITH HOW SAD STEPS' AND LARKINS 'SAD STEPS' COMPARE AND WHERE APPROPRIATE CONTRAST THE WAY IN WHICH THE TWO POETS EXPLOIT ELEMENTS OF LANGUAGE, STRUCTURE AND FORM TO CONVEY ATMOSPHERE AND MEANING In his poem, 'With how sad steps' Sydney is addressing the issues of love together with rejection and depression. He has adopted a Shakespearean sonnet form, which immediately indicates that the poem is about love. It is apparent from the first line that the speaker in confiding in the moon. The speaker is expressing his own emotions through the moon and we can understand that because the moon is climbing the skies with such 'sad steps', that he doesn't want to be seen. The exclamation mark shows that speaker has a sudden realisation that the moon reflects himself and perhaps it is he who wants to 'climb[st] the skies' in order to elevate himself to a place closer to God. The poem is very regulated but is also broken up by the large amount of punctuation, which perhaps indicates the speaker's confusion about love and his feelings. Personification is incorporated when the speaker talks of how the moon 'climbst the skies'. ...read more.

Middle

He is trying to rationalise his love and is actually debating with himself on this subject. Enjambment is used to keep the sentence flowing and to build up to the question. When the speaker 'read[s] it' in the moon's, he is actually revealing is own feelings and expressing them through the moon. He claims that the moon has a 'languisht grace' and therefore he must feel as like the speaker does. The speaker maintains that it is the moon who must want to '[decry]'. However it is obvious that it is the speaker who feels the need to make a proclamation and criticise love. The speaker is seen as reading everything to be sad and depressing, even the moon's 'languisht grace'. This refers to his 'sad steps', which can either been seen as beautiful and graceful or as something dejected. The speaker considers the moon to be another forsaken lover, and claims that they have 'fellowship'. He shows his desperation when asking the moon if faithfulness is considered stupid in heaven. He is very confused and attempts to understand where he went wrong in love and therefore asks the moon if it is wrong to be faithful. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas Sydney's speaker finds comfort in the moon, this one is 'startled by the moon's cleanliness'. This moon is not symbolic of forsaken or even virtuous love. We can assume that this speaker has never experienced long term love and does not feel and connection with a moon, whose purity possibly reminds him of his unsuccessfulness in love. He feels unease at the thought of 'rapid clouds', which is perhaps because he fears the passing of time and wants to make the most of his life. The 'wedge-shadowed gardens' can be seen as a lace of security and privacy, but they are contrasted by 'cavernous, wind picked sky' that they lie under. This indicates that in his own little world his feels safe and happy, but one he is in the real world he feels threatened and exposed. The 'laughable' aspect is possibly the way nature is behaving like art, with a moon that 'dashes' and 'clouds that blow loosely as cannon-smoke'. It can also indicate that the speaker sees all this as insignificant, therefore laughing at Sydney's speaker who considers the moon and sky to be very important. The 'cannon-smoke' can be symbolic of women and the love the speaker shared with them. This type of smoke is momentarily and therefore shows that the speaker has experienced very little low in his lifetime. ...read more.

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