A Harp of Culture

Thomas Moore writes his poem “The Harp of my Country” is written with his patriotism fully present in a poem dedicated to his home country of Ireland. He uses the Harp as a tool throughout his work to represent Ireland as a country and as a cultural symbol. In doing this he represents Ireland’s rebellion and struggle for its loss of power after the passing of the Act of the Union.

Moore uses personification and diction of the Harp in the title and very first line where he addresses it calling it of his country giving it power and importance. He goes on to say in the next to lines of the stanza how “The cold chain of silence had hung o’er thee long,” and how he proudly unchains his “own Island Harp” (Moore, 2-3). The harp, being used for centuries in ireland in religious ceremonies very important to the irish people, holds strong roots in irish culture.  The harp is being used for its culture meaning to the Irish as it remained important and synonymous with Ireland. Thomas Moore is referring to the religious oppression faced by the Irish and culminating in the rebellion. The harp is referred to as being bound by ‘silence’ a contradiction of what a Harp is meant to do. Ireland was unable to fully represent and rule itself with the British parliament denying them right of religious representation in their government. In a country inhabited primarily by Catholics, the restrictions on Catholics in the government denied the majority of the countries people’s representation. Moore also refers to his own harp which represents the inner patriotism he posses. When awakening the harp of the country it in turn allowed the country to fully find itself and act on the silence.

The fourth stanza in the poem takes a turn from admiring the harp to a more somber tone where Moore bids the harp farewell. He says “Dear Harp of my Country! farewell to thy numbers,/ This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine!” (Moore, 9-10). He’s acknowledging at this point the merger of the two countries upon the Act of Union. The harp that has been declared a symbol of the country of Ireland is playing its last song. In the coming together of the two countries the harp, or the country of ireland and its culture, is once again sealed up and silent. The people of Ireland were ready to gain their voice or music from the harp but it was quickly taken away.

 

-Noel Nevarez

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One thought on “A Harp of Culture

  1. I think the most original part of this post was the use of historical evidence (the binding of the two countries). I think as an improvement I would like to see more on how the harp was actually a part of irish identity – how do you know that it was?

    Like

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