Hem of the Wearied Huntress

By: Amber Loper

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Part I

 

Here comes a wearied huntress

As though she’s drunk on ale

A lazy green eye stares at me

I quickly try to bale

 

She follows me out to my camp

At which I turn to say

‘What do you want? My food, my things

I’ve nothing for to pay’

 

‘No goods I need nor food to stomach

Of want I’m very little’

Then there she sat upon my log

Her bones frail and brittle

 

My tent stands perched between two trees

And sun is soon to set

A fire aflame and meal cooks there

This tale she’d here beget
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Thomas Moore’s Goodbye to the Harp of His Country

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By ~ Amber Loper

Thomas Moore was known for becoming overwhelmed with emotions during his own songs and so were his audiences. When reading Dear Harp of My Country, emotions are overflowing from the verses as he speaks to the harp as if it were a lost child that he saved from the streets. The harp of this poem is personified into a representation of a distraught Ireland, that when played, pride and energy is restored. Moore is one of the harpists that are maintaining the tradition of the harp which gives more power to the lyrics, but Moore doesn’t take any credit for the talent and enjoyment that came from him playing the harp. Instead, he gives all credit to the harp, as if Moore was the instrument being played, again maintaining the illusion that the Harp is a being of its own. In the second stanza, Moore is saying goodbye to the Harp, not just goodbye, but he is saying goodnight with “go, sleep, with the sunshine of fame on thy slumbers” (l.11). For the time being, the harp is a celebrated instrument and he is making sure she shall sleep as one. Ireland’s culture was moving away from the Harp at the time and many people believed that when the Harp died then so too dies Ireland’s culture. Moore is saying goodbye to more than just the Harp, he is saying goodbye to Ireland’s culture as well, making this much more personal and political than it may initially seem.

 

Paradise

by ~ Amber Loper

I hike through trees as large as towers

Among the Sierra Nevada’s

And stop where there once were flowers

but now ashen scars divide us

~*~

In every howl made to the moon

In every bear cubs orphaned cry

In every squeak of lost racoon

I hear a truth that cannot lie

~*~

How the refugees must mourn

No politician takes a stand

And the wretched soldiers are torn

From home to unbreathable land

~*~

But some through science do I hear

How youthless men can still deny

True or false, we live in fear

Smoke and brimstone, the end is nigh

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Rest In Peace

abbey

By ~ Amber Loper

On first inspection of Friedrich’s painting “The Abby in the Oakwood”, it is lifeless. The bristled tree’s dropped their last leaf years ago, the ground is lined with crooked graves in unkempt mounds. There’s a single wall of what used to be a church. It is a desolate, hopeless place, with even grimmer weather that never shines the sun. As adults, we can say we have experienced enough death to know what death looks like, but death doesn’t always mean “void of life”. In the poem “We Are Seven” by William Wordsworth, the child that the narrator speaks to would disagree with this initial interpretation of the picture. The word dead, would never cross her mind. Instead, she would see the last glinting beams of light as the sun sets beyond the horizon. Winter is in full swing as the cemetery grounds are blanketed in snow and the deciduous trees await spring to reunite with their leaves. Even from a religious aspect, this is no place of death, but a place of rest and rebirth.

And often after sun-set, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there

This portrait portrays what would be the perfect time for this little girl to eat her supper beside her two siblings beneath the court-yard tree. The child even says, “twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,/ And they are side by side”. This portrait could very well be the view from her mothers door towards her siblings. In a way, it can be interpreted as a portrait of the two siblings who are beneath the court-yard tree.

In true authoritarian manner, as an adult does towards children they deem “less-than”, the narrator believes a child of eight years old could not possibly know anything about death, and can’t wrap his/her head around the idea that a child can be dead, and yet very much alive at the same time. This painting captures this conundrum perfectly. At the right side of the painting, there is the faintest hue of yellow, a remnant of the sun just before its light descends below the horizon, a reminder that this is a time/place of rest, not death, and just as surely as the sun will rise again, this is not the end.

Metal AF

~by Amber Loper

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Romantic  poetry is not the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of heavy metal. Especially not Iron Maiden. However, poetry is at the core of all music with lyrics. Just as there are different genres of music, there are different styles of poetry, and even within those categories there are many many themes. Iron Maidens translation of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner still holds the spirit of romantic poetry, but uses a different method of expressing the message. The most important thing is that between the translation of poem to song it doesn’t lose the message. In fact, it enhances the message, because Iron Maiden is retelling the tale of the ancient mariner, ironically, because the mariner is cursed to retell it for all time, making the singers of Iron Maiden the vessels of the ancient mariner’s tale.

In Coleridge’s poem, he generally sticks to an eight syllable-six syllable consecutive pattern, but it is more of a guideline than a rule, as he frequently adds extra syllables or takes them away wherever he pleases. When listening to Iron Maiden’s iteration, it’s clear that they do the same thing and they mix it into the song by elongating syllables or picking up the pace of the lyrics. Both methods help to add an emphasis or different effect that is more apparent than in a written poetry. Poetry is meant to be read allowed, not silently in our thoughts, so subtle changes in syllables and rhythm can be easily missed. By translating the poem into a song, these subtleties can not be noticed.

Not only is Iron Maiden’s song more like romantic poetry than it appears, but Coleridge’s poem is more metal than one would expect from a poem. In the third part of the poem, the mariner says, “I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,/And cried, A sail! a sail!”. This is something fans dream about seeing on the stage of a heavy metal bands concert. This story is about a ship lost at sea with ghosts, and zombies. If that isn’t metal, I don’t know what is.

British Devils

By: Amber Loper

Equiano lives a life unlike any European could comprehend. The labor and struggles that he suffers through are so beyond comprehension that the best way for Equiano to gain his readers trust, is to use something they already know. Milton’s Paradise Lost, says it best:

“Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace And rest can rarely dwell. Hope never comes That comes to all, but torture without end Still urges.”(Chapter 5)

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Everyone reading Equiano’s narrative would know, this place is Hell. This excerpt is used to describe what Equiano see’s when arriving at a new island, Montserrat. This place is more than just a spot for slave trade, it is as close to Hell as anyone could ever be. Using Milton’s words to say this is important because by doing this Equiano isn’t just saying why this place is terrifying to him, he’s saying that these people managing the slave trade are equals to the fallen angels of Hell. It’s obvious that Equiano’s frequent use of quotes from English literature is to show that African’s can be just as educated and intelligent as Europeans (it’s a slap in the face to anyone who thinks otherwise), but more importantly, he’s using the English texts to show Europeans as antagonists (instead of hero’s) without outright saying so. He is illuminating a truth that they ignore: for people who are supposedly God fearing, and superior, why are they imitating sinful, hellish behavior that only Hell’s rejects demonstrate? The readers of his narrative can pass the blame, but these subtle hints will force them to look inward to their society.

 

Dance, Monkey, Dance

By ~ Amber Loper

It’s the little things in life that make all the difference. A song that must be written about your life. A fictional character that becomes your best friend. A movie that feels just a little too realistic. These are “yet, yet a moment, one dim Ray of Light”(l.1). They are our comfort from the realities of a harsh world. A world that is obsessed with conquering, bloodshed, and superiority. A world, that must “indulge…” in your comforts to feed the “…dread Chaos, and eternal Night!” (ll.2).

Critics: They are everywhere.
Everyone is a critic.
and you can’t hide from them.

A critic’s purpose in the world is nothing, but to bring misery from other’s joy and find the fault in someone’s perfection. Now, they’re not all bad, constructive criticism is great when used to build something up instead of tear it down. Alexander Pope is not talking about constructive criticism in book four of his Dunciad. Dunciad Book Four is very much a response to critics. Not just any critics. The critics who think Pope should do whatever they tell him to…just like a monkey.

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From a modern lens, this caricature of Pope is quite literally saying that Pope is nothing but a monkey, like those found in a circus forced to dance for laymen. This caricature holds the belief that Pope is a writer, and thus must write for pure entertainment, rather than providing deeper thinking, or raising political awareness. In other words: #StayInYourLane. However, Pope knows the problem with restricting any kind of art, even worse, controlling it.

So by each Bard an Alderman shall sit,
A heavy Lord shall hang at ev’ry Wit,
And while on Fame’s triumphal Car they ride,
Some Slave of mine be pinion’d to their side.(ll.131-134)

This comes from the perspective of the critic, with the belief that all poets, free-thinkers, actors, etc, should be observed by a ruling lord, or the government. After all, they would still be poets and bards, but this way they would also be politically correct. Who doesn’t want perfectly politically correct songs and literature? No one. Then it wouldn’t relate to the readers. Emotions wouldn’t be evoked. Catharsis is the goal of any art, and Regulation oppresses catharsis.

The best part about all of this is that this book is his response to the critics, showing them the error of their ways by doing the same thing they were criticizing him for. In his very own way, instead of being the dancing monkey, he said #IAMinMyLane.

They’re the Devil, Bobby Boucher

by~ Amber Loper

I would argue that any cross-cultural exchanges between Rowlandson and the natives are unimportant to the over all message she is trying to convey. By this, I mean, her target audience cares less about a few kind gestures. What matters is that those indigenous people murdered good Christian people. Therefore, validating the idea that Native Americans are savages and are everything that Christian’s are not. Rowlandson says “there was a vast difference between the lovely faces of Christians, and the foul looks of those heathens” (The Sixteenth Remove). There is a belief here, though not explicitly stated, that their skin is somehow affected by not being Christian. White skin is holy, while dark skin is unholy. I digress, what we find missing from Rowlandson’s story isn’t the reaction from her target audience. What’s missing is the countless, innumerable times the indigenous peoples had been massacred, starved, tortured, etc. Rowlandson talks about her endeavors as a victim, and to what she endured I truly do sympathize, but where is the narrative of the Natives who were put through worse? For one second did Rowlandson ever think that maybe she, with her foul white look, was the enemy? While she sits and compares herself to these people, and her audience eagerly eats it up as confirmation that the Natives are the devils,Image result for she's the devil bobby somewhere in the America’s, thousands of Indigenous peoples are being slaughtered by a different definition of devil.
Dryden’s dramatic play “the Indian Emperour” also portrays the arriving Europeans, especially Cortez, drastically different from the Natives. However, he does take a daring step further by letting Montezuma question why he should give up his faith to convert to a God he had never heard of. It is a rather bold choice, because it almost implies that it’s okay for them to have their own Gods that aren’t Christian. But at the end of the day, there continues to be the them-vs-us contrast. Here, the natives are irrational, stubborn, and emotionally unstable. Cortez, being the main European representation, is calm, and level-headed. In order for Dryden and Rowlandson to maintain the superiority complexes they uphold, there must be a blind line between the two cultures. Christians/Europeans will always be the well-meaning victims, while everyone else will always be against them.

 

“The Indian Emperour”, or The Spanish Conquest Propaganda

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By Amber Loper

As a functional piece of literature, I believe the play The Indian Emperour by John Dryden fails to provide any logical grip for catharsis. The emotional bonds, themselves, cannot be analyzed to better understand humanity, like most literature can be, because the characters are written purely for propaganda purposes and are void of logical actions. Only when taken from an historical perspective can this play be properly analyzed. It doesn’t take an English major to see that the love connection between Cydaria and Cortez is outrageous; used to make the Conquerer look like a good guy, therefore, making the audience sympathetic to the conquest. Cydaria’s interest in Cortez is instantly bizarre, considering she seems to fall for Cortez as he and his men are threatening war against her people, but more importantly her father. How charming does a stranger have to be for someone to completely over look threats of death? This, and many other reasons, is why this play is not meant to represent the human condition, as many plays and literature attempt. Instead, it represents something far more devious. At its core, The Indian Emperour, reflects what imperialists want others to see or imagine when they think of the Conquest in the new land.
Now, assuming Cydaria represents the Aztec Natives and Cortez represents the “well meaning” foreign imperialists, then it could be argued that Dryden wants everyone to know that imperialists are ultimately the good guys while the natives are naturally enamored by them, validating their divine conquest. The narrative of this play might as well be a declaration saying “Hey, everyone back home in Europe, no need to worry about what’s going on in the new land, these savage Indians love us, even though there is some shady shit happening from our end, but it’s okay, because we’re awesome, obviously.”
The theme of love and honor seem to be gender oriented. Love is a driving force for the women, while honor is reserved for the men. The men certainly do struggle with love, but honor is the preferred choice for them. For the character Almeria, honor leads her to attempt to kill Cortez up until she (absurdly) falls in love with Cortez for unknown reasons. Then honor becomes a foreign word to her as she’s suddenly willing to kill a friend in the pursuit of love. Cydaria, as well, drops any thoughts of honor to her people (and family) in the pursuit of a strangers love, which is bizarrely irrational as most of this play is. The final woman, Alibech, fights for her people, but her only real purpose is being the object of two men’s affections. As for the men, their true bonds are to honor. Cortez claims that he’s trying to help Cydaria and stall the war for their love, but he puts absolute minimal effort into trying to stop the war, and every action he makes feels purposeful, as if he’s trying to look like equally honorable and loving. Odmar and Guyomar are the two that are truly trying to figure out which is the more valiant pursuit, love or honor, until at one point they’re forced to choose. Guyomar chooses love while Odmar chooses honor, but later Guyomar is jealous or Odmar because they know honor is the most noble pursuit.
I think, Dryden doesn’t explicitly bring Cortez and Cydaria together in matrimony because their relationship closer represents how the two opposing worlds can come together in peace, but there is no knowing what the future holds for their relationship, especially because the relationship is so chaotic and irrational. Or, maybe he purposefully left it open ended because while he wanted to show cooperation between the two for propaganda purposes(love being a popular theme for his target audience), he may also not approve of this inter-racial relationship.

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