Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Death of Love in the Forsaken Garden

Swinburne's use of language and rhyme scheme creates a vivid image of the decay in his poem, "A Forsaken Garden." The imagery in the second stanza illustrates this, "So long have the gray, bare walks lain guestless, / Through branches and briers if a man make way" (13-14). To imagine a garden where the only thing that grows is briars. Clearly the poet is languishing over a failed romance when he alludes to the roses that once grew in the garden, "The thorns he spares when the rose is taken; / The rocks are left when he wastes the plain" (21-22). His love has withered away much like the garden and all that remains is thorns. The poem twists and turns and pulls you on through the use of internal rhyme, like a fleeting romance. "Love deep as the sea as a rose must wither, / As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose" (51-52). There will be no more romance for the poet, for there are no more roses in the garden. The imagery of the sea could be an allusion to all the love's lost, as he stands in the garden regretting past mistakes, awaiting death.

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