The Harp of India by Henry Derozio illustrates the cultural deprivation of the harp because of European colonization. The Irish harp represented the epitome of Gaelic aristocratic culture. However, the tradition was lost after the colonization of Ireland. In The Harp of India, Derozio uses the harp to represent similar absence of culture in India because of British colonialism.
“Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?” (1)
The first line demonstrates the deprivation of the harp tradition. The imagery of the “withered bough” emphasizes the absence of the tradition. Moreover, The narrator personifies the harp through referencing it with a question.
“Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?
Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;” (4-5)
In the fourth line, the narrator personifies the breeze, as it “sighs” because of the silence of the harp, representing the Indian audience. In the fifth line, the narrator personifies silence with “her fatal chains,” representing the British colonialism in India.
“Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,
Like ruined monument on desert plain:” (6-7)
The simile of the harp to a “ruined monument on desert plain,” illustrates the severity of the loss of the harp tradition, representing the loss of Indian culture from British colonialism.
“Those hands are cold — but if thy notes divine
May be by mortal wakened once again,
Harp of my country, let me strike the strain! (12-14)
The narrator illustrates the possibility of the resurrection of the harp, “wakened once again,” and concludes with the narrators aspiration to “strike the strain,” and does through the creation of the poem. The narrator uses the poem to resurrect the “harp of my country.”