The Harp

In the poem, “The Harp of India” by Henry Derozio, the author talks about India through the description of the harp. The first two lines sets the mood of the poem. It goes “Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?/Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain”. It talks about someone who is put down and doesn’t have a voice for themselves. The unstrung harp is India not having their own unique voice and a loss of identity. India was under the rule of British colonization. The British colonized most of India such like their politics, economy, and culture. A part of their culture is poetry. British imperialism created poets such as Henry Derozio. Their poems are not as lively as they should be and shows despair with the situation their country is facing. Derozio states

“Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;

Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,

Like ruined monument on a desert plain”

When a harp is not being played, it becomes silent. When India was overtaken by Britain, they were silenced by them. They became like “ruined monument”. Once beautiful and grand, now in ruins. Derozio wants what India once were, “May be by mortal wakened once again/Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!”. He is trying to tell the people of India that they should wake up and realize what is happening to them and fight back. And to not let others take away their identity. They must once again, play their harp.

-Naomi Van


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