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Comparing The Burning Babe and I Syng of a Mayden

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Comparing The Burning Babe and I Syng of a Mayden Using the literary and linguistic concepts and approaches of The Burning Babe and I Syng of a Mayden, this essay will be comparing the context style, and structure of the poems by looking at the development of ideas and themes, sound, choice of vocabulary, poetic and grammatical features, form, rhythm and rhyme, and the point of view they are written from. The Burning Babe is written in a ballad style/structure using 4 line stanzas with a regular rhythm of four strong syllables in a line followed by three strong syllables in the next line, for example, in the first and second lines of the poem Southwell writes 'As I in hoary winter's night Stood shivering in the snow.' Again, it is very typical of a ballad to have such a heavy and regular beat, as is the occurrence of the supernatural event and the conversation between poet and apparition. ...read more.


The use of religious connotations and symbols is another way in which the two poems differ as the poem I Syng of a Mayden, is very straightforward in what it is describing, saying very clearly about 'Godes moder be' the 'makeles' 'Moder and mayden' of the 'Kyng of alle Kynges', showing that this poem is very obviously about the of the Virgin Mother Mary and the birth of her Son, Jesus. Whereas The Burning Babe, though still about Jesus, is about, not his birth but his death to save mankind, as is shown when we read 'The metal in this furnace wrought Are men's defiled souls'. To show the reader this Southwell has used very different language to create more real emotions of awe, pity and guilt about the words this apparition speaks. This is done through the use of religious connotations like the 'wounding thorns' and paradox's such as 'Such floods of tears did shed, As though His floods should quench His flames, Which with His tears were fed' very much like those used within religious teachings so again reinforcing this idea of awe and guilt at the appearance and heritage of the burning Babe. ...read more.


Again, these are used to deliver the significance of Christmas and this apparition on 'Christmas Day'. I Syng of a Mayden, however, doesn't use these linguistic features, instead it clearly states, using archaic language, what the theme of the poem is and uses descriptive language only to emphasis the time of year that the conception of Jesus occurred via the Holy Spirit. So they both use language to convey emotions and events within the poems but they also use very different linguistic features to convey these. So, although both The Burning Babe and I Syng of a Mayden are both poems written in a ballad style with regular four line stanzas, and are both based upon Christian events and teachings, but there the similarities end. The Burning Babe is based upon the true meaning of Christmas and uses many linguistic features such as paradox's, personification and religious connotations as well as inverted sentence structures and condensed English. Whereas I Syng of a Mayden is based upon the Virgin Mary and uses few of these linguistic features and the language is archaic with few inverted sentences or condensed English. ...read more.

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