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

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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. Man is a creature that rarely gives up, that lives on hope when there is nothing left, and will struggle towards some higher goal regardless of how futile his efforts are. The tone of Tichborne’s poem is one of regret and sorrow that his life is being ended before it’s time and that what is left of his life will be very unpleasant.

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        It seems at first that Raleigh’s poem is more of the same – a poem of despair, telling us that our time always comes to an end and we all end up in a grave, sounding almost nealistic. Yet the last line dashes those thoughts and shows the first and only sign of hope in either poem - ‘The Lord shall raise me up, I trust ‘. This really says it all – there is life after death, something more profound than life itself. As for ‘trust’, Raleigh is showing that he puts his utmost faith in ...

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