Dear Ireland, You are Greatly Missed

Thomas Moore’s “Dear Harp of my Country” illustrates the feelings of loss, patriotism, and repression connected with Ireland and the Irish harp. The very first line, just the title repeated with an exclamation point followed by “in darkness I found thee,” conveys these feelings. The exclamation of those words convey both surprise and excitement that the harp still exists, but the reference to “darkness” reveals that Ireland and its harp have been repressed, with the spotlight of their people on things other than their beloved harp. This reflects the fact that after Ireland had been defeated by the Danes and then the English, many harpists had abandoned their home, and those who were left were very few. To find the Irish harp after its depressing history brings the narrator feelings of patriotism and joy that such a symbol of Ireland does yet exist. Similarly, in the second half of Part I., the narrator tells that the harp has played so many hymns of sadness that even in its joyful tunes the sadness rings through. This is how the Irish think about the harp. It is a symbol of their people, but harpists and Irishmen have suffered so much and had so much sadness to sing of that their past cannot be forgotten no matter how happy they are. Part II. shows how true these things are by relaying that the narrator must put away the harp with the hope that one day someone who can do it justice will find it again. The harp went in and out of style for hundreds of years after Ireland was defeated, and it was well known that the attempts to revive its popularity felt more like the last concerts that would ever be played with the instrument. The narrator’s own fervor for the instrument cannot keep him playing it. As he says in the final line, “all the sweetness I wak’d was thy own.” The artistry with which harpists of Ireland’s past played was legendary, but since that time, the beauty of the instrument had been overshadowed by the lack of interest in playing it. Ireland is a reflection of its harp since its defeat. Irish citizens were being overlooked by the rest of the world, and their own culture was being lost to that of England and the rest of Great Britain. “Dear Harp of my Country” is an homage to Ireland’s lost autonomy, a tribute that had been often sung before but lost to the dominion of England.

-Meredith Leonardo


Harp and Symbolism

The harp was an importance to the Irish, the same way a flag or song has an importance to a country and group of people. There had always been an importance for the harp, it was a political symbol to the people and cultural symbol as well. However, because of what it meant politically, it got banned and started to lose what it meant to the public.

In the poem, Dear Harp of My Country, there is pride and a sense of joy when talking about the chords and the “love and the light note of gladness” that it played. The harp was a very big representation of who people believed represented the country the best. Those words were used to express how everyone felt about the harps which was pride of their own but also rebellion against England. However, as the harp popularity began to decline, it can be seen expressed in the way Moore writes, towards the end of the poem. He says “this sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine”. He mentions the way it was well known and very popular, “the sunshine of Fame on thy slumbers” and the way it will be remembered again but it will not be as important. It is a way of saying goodbye, it has been a symbol of who he, and others, were. It has finally come to an end, an end that he is okay with. In few words he was able to express what the people felt when it came to the harp, from the beginning and end of its impact.

  • Sandy Morelos

Rock is Poetry

Though at first it may seem that Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is nothing like romantic poetry, there are actually similarities between the two versions. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s original poem may be seen as a classic and interesting piece of work today, but during his time, Romantic language and poetry was frowned upon. During its origins, Romantic literature was seen as vulgar and it did not make sense to a lot of people. This draws a parallel to the rise of rock music. When rock emerged in the 1950s and 60s, it was also seen as vulgar and it ended up creating a type of social revolution. Iron Maiden’s version of Coleridge’s poem is not unlike romantic poetry because it still reflects the poem in the same manner as Coleridge did. The difference is that Iron Maiden’s version was modified to fit society during their time while Coleridge’s version reflect the writing during his time. The same message is given. The difference is in the manner in which it was delivered. Coleridge uses a beat within his poem so that the words could flow and be appealing to his readers. His poem consists of imagery from the “mist and snow” to the ship that was

“As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean”.

The language is also poetic and reflective of the 18th century. Similarly, Iron Maiden uses poetic language as the basis for the lyrics of the song. Iron Maiden adds modern originality to the original poem, but the band also quoted the poem in their lyrics when they sang,

“Day after day, day after day,

We stuck nor breath nor motion

As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean

Water, water everywhere and

All the boards did shrink

Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink.”

Parallel to how important beats are to poems, a rhythmic beat is essential to the composition of any song and Iron Maiden does that. The song can be interpreted any way one chooses to connect with it and that it how poetry works as well. A poem (and a song) can be heard and read by multiple people, and it will hold a different meaning to each individual because of its deeper purpose. Songs and poems both go through the poetic process of conveying emotion from the listeners and ultimately, they will find a way to connect it with their consciousness. Each person interprets the subject of the writing in a different context, but they each contemplate the meaning in regards to their own life. There are different variations of romantic language integrated into modern literature. Similarly, rock and roll has had a lasting effect on the music industry since there are all types of music genres that originated from it and are used everywhere today. Rock music and poetry were both creations that were once rejected by many people, but they eventually began to have an impact on society and they became integrated with the changes of the times, thus, creating a lasting impact.

-Maria G. Perez

Equiano’s Rhetorical Strategy

In his autobiographical work, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano integrates a portion of Thomas Day’s “The Dying Negro” into his writing. “The Dying Negro” was an abolitionist poem published in 1773 that sought to express sentiment against the institution of slavery. Similarly, Olaudah Equiano’s slave narrative was another form of literary work that contributed to the abolitionist movement. While aboard a ship, Equiano has a frightening experience and states that “[he] called on death to relieve [him] from the horrors [he] felt and dreaded, that [he] might be in that place”. This statement reflects the fear that Equiano felt in that moment and how death felt like a better fate than whatever was to come after. Right after that statement, Equiano references Thomas Day’s poem and writes that he wished to be

“Where slaves are free, and men oppress no more.

Fool that I was, inur’d so long to pain,

To trust to hope, or dream of joy again.”

This part of the poem is mentioned by Equiano in order to demonstrate that he was able to draw parallels between other works of literature and his own life. Equiano longs to be free and live in a place where he could dream of joy, but he knows that because of his situation, it seems foolish. Equiano also continues to cite the poem and substitutes Day’s words stating

“No eye to mark their suff’rings with a tear;

No friend to comfort, and no hope to cheer:

Then, like the dull unpity’d brutes, repair

To stalls as wretched, and as coarse a fare;

Thank heaven one day of mis’ry was o’er,

Then sink to sleep, and wish to wake no more.”

The use of this part of the poem highlights the misery that slaves faced and Equiano is able to verify Day’s words by attaching them to his own story. The fact that Thomas Day was white was significant because it meant that even white people knew that the actions taking place during that time by their fellow brethren was wrong. Using Day’s words is meaningful because literature was considered to be an important attribute of civilized and respected people. Equiano is demonstrating to the readers that just like any white man, he was able to read and write just like them – reducing the differences between them and suggesting that he was literate and trustworthy (just like the white man). Furthermore, Equiano is making it clear that he understands English literature perfectly and he is using it as a rhetorical strategy to bring the white readers to his side in order to ultimately make them agree that slavery should be abolished. Equiano continues with his narrative and once he reaches land, he continues to use Day’s words as a description of the thoughts he had when he saw those

“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.”

Thomas Day never experienced slavery himself, but the fact that he was able to depict the situation so vividly and accurately enough for Equiano to use his words to detail his own experience as a slave is significant. Therefore, Equiano is using Thomas Day’s literature in order to prove the point that even free, white males can relate to Equiano and feel his suffering without having to actually live through the same experience. Thus, compassion and sentiments opposing slavery do not have to be expressed by only those who have gone through the same circumstances. This allows Equiano to use his own slave narrative as a literature of power in order to move his readers and persuade them subconsciously to fight against slavery just like Equiano and Day.

-Maria G. Perez

An Exchange in Criticism Between Pope and His Bullies

In Alexander Pope’s The Dunciad, Pope criticizes the writers of his time who (in his eyes) were stupid, unoriginal, and dull. Within his poem, Pope writes,

“None need a guide, by sure Attraction led,

And strong impulsive gravity of Head”.

Though the poem was difficult to understand, Pope may be stating that the Sons of Dulness rule themselves and they need no instructors because they consider themselves to be right in every path they take. Therefore, since they are self-ruled, they are unable to see their own flaws. The second image of Pope, where he is portrayed as a monkey or rat type of creature with his head and a crown illuminates this verse. Similar to what Pope insinuates about the Sons of Dulness, Pope’s critics put an actual crown on Pope’s head. The crown atop his head is like the crown of the actual church Pope, portraying the idea that Pope thinks of himself as superior in his writing. While Pope is saying that those individuals can’t see past their own flaws, Pope’s critics are portraying the same thing about him. Pope continues his satirical criticism as he presents a flipped world where actual intelligence is looked down upon and stupidity is praised. Pope continues,

“Who false to Ph bus, bow the knee to Baal;

Or impious, preach his Word without a call.

Patrons, who sneak from living worth to dead,

With-hold the pension, and set up the head;

Or vest dull Flatt’ry in the sacred Gown;

Or give from fool to fool the Laurel crown.

And (last and worst) with all the cant of wit,

Without the soul, the Muse’s Hypocrit.”

Baal was the enemy of the Israelites, or the children of light, because he was a false god in the Old Testament. The connection between Baal and the individuals in Pope’s poem create the possible idea that Pope might be suggesting that like this false god, the new Whigs and political leaders are the true enemy of the people and ultimately, a threat to original, honest forms of literature (since plagiarism was also occurring during this time). These new political and cultural individuals who began to rise with the changing times Pope witnessed brought forth “cant of wit” – or emptiness/lack of interest.

The image is a retaliation to Pope’s satire, but instead of criticizing his work, his bullies criticize his physical traits by illustrating his body as an animal’s. In the sketch, there are words that mean “know thyself”, which criticize Pope for criticizing others. Before going on to suggest that the writers around him were unoriginal and dull and that the changing times were going downhill, Pope’s bullies are sending the message that one should be completely aware of their own work and their own flaws before they go and criticize the works of others. The verses provide insight on how one should interpret the images because the call for criticism is more clear. When reading Pope’s satirical work and noticing his criticism, there is more understanding as to why Pope’s bullies decided to illustrate those images and why they were so offended. The specific verses illuminate the small details within the image. While Pope’s satire is embedded into a form of literature, his bullies integrate their satirization of Pope into a publicated drawing so that anyone who came across the image could see that Pope was a fool. The verses also provide insight on how the images should be interpreted because they hold political and cultural criticism. When there is an attack on politicians, leaders, and individuals of large communities, it can be expected that the retalliation will not always be so subtle and that is demonstrated. Once Pope made his criticisms clear, his bullies criticized him back in a bigger manner. While Pope’s writing couldn’t be accessed or understood by everyone, the satirical image of Pope that was published was able to reach bigger audiences and anyone could see that it was offensive (even if they were not familar with Pope’s The Dunciad).

-Maria G. Perez

Narrow Principles: A Critique of England

In Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the narrator goes through captivity by royalty multiple times, and his narrative is one of awe for both Lilliput and Brobdingnag. On page 125, Gulliver describes an episode during which he expects that the “Opinion of the English Reader” will be lessened in regards to the King of Brobdingnag. This very scene is a harsh criticism upon the human race in Europe for delighting in machines of war and injury. Gulliver, in offering to make gunpowder for the king, is refused in what he calls his “nice unnecessary scruple” that would have made the king the “Master of the Lives, the Liberties, and the Fortunes of his People.” Although the character of Gulliver is aghast at this refusal and believes that any European would never have turned down such an offering, the author in no way believes such a refusal to be the result of “narrow Principles and short Views.” Swift is pointing out the cruel bloodlust and thirst for power that the monarch and nobles of Europe have at this time. Unlike the utopian fiction of the time, Gulliver’s Travels at face value presents England as an utopia in comparison to these fantastical lands, but this interpretation is completely misleading. The complete surprise and disgust of Gulliver when he realizes that the king is faithful to his people and does not wish to have complete power over them is total irony intended to show that Swift is not criticizing the made up country of Brobdingnag, but England itself. When he describes the small minded principles of the king and criticizes his preference of swift justice and mercy opposed to drawn out political scandals, a very clear picture of England’s political problems is presented. Using the ideas of utopian fiction and captivity narratives, Swift completely turns these works of literature upside down and points to the flaws of those in England being awed and upset by the images of so-called savages and barbarians. Describing an, albeit fictional, foreign society in which political games and power plays appear to be crimes is Swift’s way of presenting his readers with a society that is better than their own. Gulliver is the exact type of Englishman Swift despises, and it is his criticisms and small mindedness that our author is warning to be detrimental to society in this passage.

-Meredith Leonardo

Swift’s Satirical Parallels

In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift satirizes Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative. The satire begins in the first chapter, after Gulliver is shipwrecked onto a strange island. When he makes it to the island’s shore, he falls asleep, but when he awakes, he is bound by ropes. When he tries to break free from the bondage, he is shot with hundreds of tiny arrows and he “fell a groaning with Grief and Pain” (Swift 24). After Gulliver learns that it is best to remain calm and do as he is told, the people of Lilliput feed him “Baskets full of Meat” and drinks that “tasted like small Wine” (Swift 25-26). Because the people of Lilliput are small (around six inches), the amount of food they give to Gulliver is significant. Though he is supposedly their captive, they still feed him well and give him shelter. This resembles Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative because she is taken captive and is physically hurt during the act. However, after she begins to do as the native’s instruct, she is never harmed again and she is also given food. In one particular instance, Rowlandson is offered her peas and such when the native people were suffering from the same sense of starvation as her. The experience Gulliver has with the people of Lilliput reflect’s Rowlandson’s experience with the natives.

Furthermore, when he is explaining everything that occurred in writing, Gulliver integrates words from the Lilliput people. He mentions words such as “Borach Mivola”, “Hekina Degul”, “Peplom Selan”, and “Hurgo”. Though at first, he did not understand the meaning of those words, he eventually began to learn what some of those words meant. Gulliver states, “he cried out three times Langro Dehul san (these Words and the former were afterwards repeated and explained to me) (Swift 25). This reflects Mary Rowlandson’s writing in her captivity narrative because she also includes Native language words and she makes it clear that she learned the meaning of those words. Rowlandson created an unspoken bond with the Natives and despite her efforts to make it seem otherwise, Swift’s writing reflects her experience (in a more comical manner).

Gulliver is taken to meet the leader of the people – the same way that Rowlandson was taken to meet King Philip. Gulliver becomes more amicable with the people of Lilliput even though he is considered to be their captive because they do not exactly mistreat him. Gulliver sees the people as strange because of their physical features and that is parallel to the way that Mary Rowlandson (and white colonists) saw the Natives – as otherworldly. The parallels continue throughout the novel, but in this specific part, there is much similarity between Rowlandson’s writing and Swift’s fictional tale.

-Maria G. Perez

The British Imperialist: A Dream of the Future

In Dryden’s The Indian Emperor, the story of conquest is not the focal point of the play. The many elements, including love stories, competition, revenge, and suffering all interact with one another and make the story confusing to follow. However, these story elements are meant only to further present the British audience with the idea that when they begin to build their empire, it will be one of peace, honor, respect, and love. These attributes are presented in the character of Cortes. Despite his Spanish origins, Cortes is meant to represent England in the sympathy and respect he shows for Montezuma and the other indigenous characters in the play. The love between Cortes and the princess Cydaria transforms Cortes from a man concerned about his mission to one who despairs of the war he must wage. To find happiness, Cortes must watch many of his comrades and the innocent native people he came to convert die. While Cortes represents the peaceful and merciful imperialist ideals of the British people, his love with Cydaria does not mean that Dryden is supporting the intermixing of British and Native American people in matrimony. Conversely, this relationship, though romantic in the play, is meant to prove that many cultures can live together in peace, just as the British idealize for their own empire. Cortes and Cydaria do not get married because their role is not to challenge classist or racist tendencies that the European world at this time very much exhibited. To have this Spanish conquistador marry the Indian princess during the play would be repelling to the audience, not to mention scandalous outside of the theater. The character of Cortes is a Spanish Catholic, and while the conquest of religious differences is supposedly an ideal of England, British society at that time was very much against the spread of Catholicism. In addition, Cydaria’s character is a member of the polytheistic Indian religion; both of these creeds are in opposition to the Church of England and Puritanism. To stage the wedding ceremony of Catholics in the play, or to present the idea that the honorable Cortes would turn his back on the Christian Lord to become a polytheistic believer would not be taken well by the audience. The Indian Emperor is full of dramatic and fantastical scenes to awe the audience, drawing them into the story in such a way as to allow them to ignore any faults of Cortes and to make them forget their racism toward the Spanish and non-Europeans. Dryden ends the play with Cortes promising a grand funeral in remembrance of the great king Montezuma because such words would not spark controversy within the theater, and leave the play out on a note of peace and mercy.

-Meredith Leonardo

Disagreeing on how to Rule the World

Dryden’s preamble to the play begins with an immediate contradiction. The narrator claims to have “neither wholly followed the story, nor varied from it”, but this statement is both entirely accurate and completely inaccurate. The play itself is about conflicting ideology.

It is completely ahistorical, and and the creative liberty Dryden took makes the conquest Cortez led appear more superficial by portraying the general as a staunch and one-dimensional hero bound entirely by honor, but this one-dimensional superficiality is precisely that much more indicative of what colonialist ideas were at the time. The conquests Spain led were entirely one-sided and done under a guise of enlightening savages. The namesake Indian Emperor, Montezuma, was in direct opposition to Cortez, but rather than be foils to one another, the two men leading their respective factions were indelibly staunch in their principles and refused to concede them. This ultimately led to Montezuma’s demise and Cortez’ continued glorification. By humanizing the natives, Dryden serves to criticize this glorification and in turn not only criticize the effects of colonialist Spain, but emphasize a sense of moral superiority within the English audience.

The hero of the play is infallibly honorable, and although Spanish, by being infallibly honorable the English theater audience are able to both empathize with and criticize his character. They are able to promote their own notions of building an empire under a misnomer of honor, while simultaneously criticizing Spain’s atrocities. This is why Cortez and Cydaria were given an ambiguous ending to their relationship. Despite a requited romance, the two were on juxtaposing sides and cannot be together unless they entirely reconcile their differences. Similarly to how England and Spain clash ideologically, so too do the Aztecs and Spanish. Because motivations and execution differ so dramatically, the two cannot reconcile and the audience is forced to accept this.

-Kevin Martinez

As the Worlds Turn

Dryden’s The Indian Emperour, is a dramatic play on the history of Mexico’s conquest at the hands of the Spanish. In a highly dramatized version of the events that occurred, Dryden managed to turn the conquering of the indigenous people of Mexico by the Spanish, into a soap opera. Of course, this play had to take a massive amount of liberties, it must appeal to the noble class, and those who find entertainment in the theater. Dryden does a well job adding suspense, and interesting love triangles into an already tense situation of a soon to be conquered people. Credit where its deserved, Dryden has created a heroic play, with couplets paired with iambic pentameter, which gives him credit in the poetry world.

Where he doesn’t deserve credit is closed-minded Eurocentric thinking and writing of the play. In Scene 1, Act 1, Cortez, Pizzaro, and Vasquez talk about the potential bountiful of food they can grow on the land, almost as if it was granted to them by God. The conquering by Cortez is hidden by love triangles, and dry romances that lead nowhere.

Cortes’s change of heart isn’t a change of heart, but a fear of the supernatural. A curse brought upon the ‘gold’ and riches of the empire. His attempts to be charitable to Montezuma, who was his enemy is in vain, he’d rather choose death than to receive charitable help from the Spanish. Honor plagues this play, whether it be to the Gods, or for country, honor dictates this play.

Cydaria’s attempts to curtail Cortez’s campaign are useless. Cortez choose pride and country, he conquers for a flag, for Spain, for God.

Nationalism, Patriotism, Imperialism plague this soap-opera of a play, I might even call propaganda. It diminishes the power of the indigenous people who were conquered, as the Spanish got off with seemingly no punishment, hell, they even got a play dedicated to their greatest bounty.

: Robert Morales