Written the Night Before His Execution - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Written the Night Before His Execution

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  1. Written the Night Before His Execution ChidiockTichbourne

  2. ChidiockTichbourne1558-1586 • Born a Roman Catholic, Tichbourne suffered during Queen Elizabeth’s Protestant reign. • In 1583 he was interrogated about relics he had gathered while traveling abroad. Three years later he joined the Babington conspirators who were plotting to kill the queen. • The elegy is a letter to his wife while he, age 28, awaited execution in the Tower of London. • He was disemboweled as he hanged. The death was so gruesome, that the queen chose to have the others killed before they were mutilated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4Fbn3PmwlA&list=UUAiABuhVSMZJMqyv4Ur5XqA&index=36

  3. My prime of youth is but a frost of cares; My feast of joy is but a dish of pain; My crop of corn is but a field of tares; And all my good is but vain hope of gain. My life is fled, and yet I saw no sun; And now I live, and now my life is done. My spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung; The fruit is dead, yet my leaves be green; My youth is gone, and yet I am but young; I saw the world, and yet I was not seen; My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun; And now I live, and now my life is done. I sought my death, and found it in my womb, I looked for life, and saw it was a shade, I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb, And now I die, and now I am but made: The glass is full, and now my glass is run, And now I live, and now my life is done.

  4. Structure • The antithesis used throughout the poem makes quite an impact. • The clarity of the poem is aided by the monosyllabic words that comprise it. • The poem is comprised of four six-line stanzas. • Since it concerns the speaker’s approaching death, it is an elegy • The rhyme scheme of ABABCC is simple to reflect the starkness of the poem. • Use of end-stops reflect the sorrowful mood of the poem.

  5. Speaker reflects on his short life, one which ended before he could truly live. His continued repetition of personal pronouns (“my”) reveals his personal agony. Speaker feels as if acts that brought him joy and acts that he thought were good brought him nothing but an early death. My prime of youth is but a frost of cares; My feast of joy is but a dish of pain; My crop of corn is but a field of tares; And all my good is but vain hope of gain. My life is fled, and yet I saw no sun; And now I live, and now my life is done. Metaphorical image of farming alludes to the impermanence of things. Other images are angry ones. “But” means “just.” REFRAIN

  6. Antithesis continues in second stanza and creates a paradox that highlights the speaker’s predicament. My spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung; The fruit is dead, yet my leaves be green; My youth is gone, and yet I am but young; I saw the world, and yet I was not seen; My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun; And now I live, and now my life is done. Farming images continue in first two lines. The world was not given a chance to “see” him properly. Abundant use of caesura creates a parallel structure with each coordinating conjunction and enforces a pause to stress his losses. Allusion to mythological fates who spin thread to determine the span of one’s lifetime.

  7. Speaker moves from pronoun “my” to the more present “I” to reflect his immediate fate and to show his acceptance of it as predetermined since birth—“womb…tomb.” Second “glass” symbolizes the hour glass of time. Also serves as allusion to Psalm 23:5: “Thou arrangest before me a table, Over-against my adversaries, Thou has anointed with oil my head, My cup is full!” I sought my death, and found it in my womb, I looked for life, and saw it was a shade, I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb, And now I die, and now I am but made: The glass is full, and now my glass is run, And now I live, and now my life is done. “Glass” symbolizes the fragility of life. Repetition of “now” shows the immediacy of his sentence. Repetition and caesura continue in final stanza to accentuate the speaker’s upcoming death.

  8. Tone The poem is filled with images of despair, but at the same time, Tichbourne’s references to his fate since birth (the “womb”) reflect his belief in his Catholoicism and thus, his cause. Regardless, the tone of the poem is one of despair and regret.

  9. Final Words to His Wife “Pray for thy dead husband, and be of good comfort, for I hope in Jesus Christ this morning to see the face of my Redeemer, in the most joyful Throne of his glorious kingdom.”

  10. Works Cited http://literatureencore.net/?p=74 http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/english/schools/poetry-bank/tichborne hhttp://www.docstoc.com/docs/127947816/Tichbornes-Elegy_-written-with-his-own- hand-in-the-Tower-before-his ttp://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/chidiock-tichborne