Elegy For Himself

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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.

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.

In Elegy For Himself we can tell that its verses are sextains - six lined verses with a rhyming scheme ababcc. What is both interesting and unusual in Tichborne's structure is the strength of the caesura in every line - the pause in the middle of a metrical line. The poem has 5 beats and adds to the melancholic feeling with its sad, slow rhythm. When I read this poem and truly hear it, I picture a man huddled in the corner of his cell, awaiting death, listening to the slow plodding sounds of the jailor's feet, who comes to take yet another man to his fate. I also can imagine Tichborne walking slowly to the headsman's block in time with the poem and placing his head on the block. Then comes the sense of finality 'and now my life is done. ' as the axe swings down.

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Tichborne includes a number of other images that represents his short life, such as 'my thread is cut'. Another image Tichborne uses the contrast of his 'crop of corn' to the 'field of tares'. This line contain these contrasting images to add emphasis. the corn represents those who live good lives and the tares represent the evil doers. This line squeezes a lot of meaning into a very short space. 'My feast of joy', another image used by the poet probably refers to the fulfilling religious aspect to his brief life. This 'feast' is an obvious contrast to the ...

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