‘Thy music was once sweet-who hears it now?’
The Irish just like the Indian people were once proud people, but are now subjects to England the same as the Irish. Derozio, in his poem, uses the word ‘once’ to signify that the Indian people used to have independence and culture, but times have changed. They are now ruled by Britain, and they must free themselves. In relation to the Harp, Derozio is suggesting that Britain has changed India as it used to be a beautiful country. In a way, Britain has cut the strings of the Harp and ruined them that know one can hear the sweet music coming from the Harp. However, by using the word ‘once’ Derozio is saying that his people need to go back to a time when they were really great. The words ‘once’, ‘used to’, or ‘again’ are used in many nationalist slogans, for example, Trumps administration uses ‘Great Again’ in their campaign slogan. The effect that this has on the viewer is that it gives suggests that the present is wrong and that the past was great and better.
‘Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain’
India being a colony of Britain suggests that its Harp has been taken away from them and hence is the reason India is silent. They can not make music and still be a colony of Britain. India must break free from the chains that enslave them (silence them) and become independent. Ireland’s Harp, is not just a musical instrument, but a national symbol. Derozio is suggesting that the Harp can be India’s call to freedom, but the British are trying to silence this call by silencing the Harp.
‘Harp of my country let me strike the strain’
‘Strain’ suggests that Derozio has found a flaw or wound in the stronghold of Britain on India. The Harp is not just a musical instrument, but also the tip of the sword for India. The Harp suggest that India wants to attack their ruler where they are vulnerable.