“Silence is not Golden”

The poem “The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls” written by Thomas Moore evokes emotional appeal as it personifies the harp -giving it human attributes- specifically that of Ireland’s.

Referring to the Ireland’s nationalism, Moore, on the third line of the first stanza, says:

“Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls.”

The use of the word mute, technically meaning silent, is making reference to Ireland’s inability to express cultural pride any longer.  During a time when the Irish people were under oppression by British society, it makes sense that their culture evolution would be in a state of non-progression, “as if that soul were fled” (first stanza, line 4).

Moore, so far, in the poem, has extended the Irish history, setting the tone of grief and loss.

According to: “Harp Spectrum’s: Exploring the World -’Ireland’s Harp: A Story of Survival and the Shaping of Irish Identity,’” the history behind the harp is a “story of a fight to survive…”

That fight is in regards to the Irish crucially attempting to hold on to their identities as they were forced to assimilate into the British government.  

First stanza, lines 5 and 6, “So sleeps the pride of former days/so glory’s thrill is o’er” truly indicates the depression the Irish were feeling. While the poem is using sleep as a metaphor to indicate that there is no longer any pride, and “glory,” it could also be taken literally as sleep is a common reaction to feeling sad, or with lack of hope.  

Moore, moves through the poem, as if moving through the body of the Irish, mentioning the word “heart,” stating that there is “pulse no more”(first stanza, line 8) and “the only throb she gives/is when some heart indignant breaks/to show that she still lives”(second stanza, lines 6-8).  This heart that Moore speaks of is the Heart of the Irish, alluding to the notion that, despite their state of oppression, and that their pride may have been in a state of slumber, there is still hope that lies within the beat of their harp.

-Maricela (Marcy) Martinez


One thought on ““Silence is not Golden”

  1. I think the most original part of this post was its very strong use of textual evidence for all points it made. I think as an improvement I would like to see more than just saying that mute directly refers to the irish losing their cultural identity. There has to be more evidence there than just being silent


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