The Magical Indian Harp

Magical Harp

Henry Derozio does an excellent job at being able to mix up the format of the sonnet he wrote, Harp of India. This disruption of the traditional format of the sonnet, to the “ababbabc…” pattern, provides the image of the large interruption of British rule in India. The decision to use the harp was something that was interesting given that the harp was taken from the Irish having trouble with the British. Instead, the harp is a beautiful instrument in itself, meaning that the music that people used to listen to would often be listening to something magical, which is why the association of the harp representing India is apparent. Derozio uses a reminiscent tone of the loss of India, the music that is no longer being heard: “Thy music once was sweet — who hears it now?”

Mary Louise O’Donnell comments that, the  symbolism behind why the Irish chose the harp was because they connected it to, “a fight to survive through regeneration and adaption in a changing society.” But, the ways in which it was conveyed in Derozio’s, Harp of India, is more of a reason why the message of, “it is time for change,” comes off so strong. This is shown with the last line of the sonnet where Derozio writes, “Harp of my country, let me strike the strain.” Derozio has faith that India will regain what it has lost and that one day, people will gather to listen to the beauty of the melodies it holds.


Ruth Serrano

One thought on “The Magical Indian Harp

  1. This post examines how the poet decides to mix up the usual style in which a sonnet is written. This is a nice direction that the author takes since this subject has rarely been looked at from an academic point of view. This could be improved if the author could have stayed more on that subject more for about another 2-3 sentences.


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