Hopeful Harps

The association of the harp with Irish history bares the mark of a strong identity. The harp was once used to mark social status, or rather a high social rank, and was the tool used in comparing the pain Ireland faced from being colonized. The harp creates an easy comparison to the darkness the Irish faced and the beauty that came from making such sweet music. In Henry Derozio’s poem, “The Harp of India”, the harp’s importance is used to portray how England’s colonization drastically affects the way the harp was used.

For example the lines,  “Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain; / Thy music once was sweet — who hears it now?” can be used to link Ireland’s inability to have belonging in England’s colonies. Times prior to being colonized, life was This is further supported with the lines, “Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain; / Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,”. These lines mimic the Harp of Erin painting we looked at in discussion. A painting of a woman who cannot speak, and even if she could, she is chained to a place where no one could hear her.

However, what I do find interesting is the last lines tone of hope, “but if thy notes divine May be by mortal wakened once again, / Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!” The narrator creates this notion that the harp’s presence, regardless of the problems outside of the instrument, is enough to create hope in one person.

  • Elizabeth Dominguez

One thought on “Hopeful Harps

  1. I think the most original part of this post was its use of the other harp of erin poem, which was another nationalistic poem. I think as an improvement I would like to see better transition between your quotes in the second paragraph. They need more introduction and unpacking, I think.


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