Fighting against Oppression

The poem, “Dear Harp of My Country” portrays fighting against oppression through love and hope. The speaker uses apostrophe throughout the poem as they are addressing an inhuman object, “DEAR Harp of my Country! In darkness I found thee” (Moore 1).  The endearment term “dear” demonstrates that the harp has an emotional significance to the speaker by using the affectionate term in the beginning of the poem, which conveys love. By discovering the harp in a time of “darkness,” it implies that the harp is a symbol of hope and happiness. The metaphor “cold chain of silence” illustrates that there were oppression and repression occurring during this dark time. There’s also this paradox because music is anything but silent. The kinesthetic and visual imagery of the cold chain also made me think about the painting, “The Harp of Eden” where the lovely woman had a chain around her waist that held her prisoner to the large rock. The harp seems to have a national sentiment to it which is conveyed by the use of diction, “light,” “freedom” and “song!” (Moore 4).

Moving onto the next stanza,  the hap brings both joy but is also affected by the grief of the Irish, “the warm lay of love and the light note of gladness” demonstrates that the harp has this ability to bring goodness and happiness onto the Irish. However, the personification of “echoes the deep sigh of sadness” illustrates that the harp conveys the grief and oppression of the country. The alliteration of “steal from thee still” emphasizes that the British are trying to take away the Irish people’s joy and hope which is symbolized by the harp.

The harp is constantly representing the abuse and oppression the Irish are facing and their will to fight against the grief and oppression. The refrain of “Dear Harp of my Country” demonstrates the importance of the harp being a representation of Irish unity and nationalism.

-Ana Diaz-Galvan

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