The Harp and A Call to Action

Henry Louis Vivioan Derozio’s “The Harp of India,”  uses the illustration of the harp as a means to comment on and explore colonialism and Irish history. The poem reflects Derozio’s personal position of being mixed race through his idealization of the harp’s beauty and his own reflection of his identity. This reflection parallels the symbolism of the harp in that, historically Irish peoples were labeled as uncivilized by the English and held bad reputations. On this note, the Irish people related their experiences and identities to that of the beauty and elegance of this instrument. Derozio is essentially speaking out against the impact English politics, imperialism, and colonialism had on not only the Irish, but the entire world.

Derozio writes:

“Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;

Thy music once was sweet- who hears it now?”

In these lines the harp is used to symbolize Irish culture; what was, yet what is now impacted by English influence. The harp becomes a political weapon that not only exemplifies grace but serves as a reminder to fight against and speak up against all forms of oppression that destroyed/ tried to destroy what they found to be, such beauty.

Derozio continues to write:

“Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave,

And many a wreath for them did Fame entwine

Of Flowers still blooming on the minstrel’s grave:

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!”

The ending of this poem proves to be an affirmation for the push for political reform as a means to return to original Irish Culture. Derozio speaks to the past, but provides a call of action to his people in the last line to fight for and maintain a sense of national pride.

-Angelica Costilla

Flint Michigan 2019,

A rendition of Willum Blakes’ “London” reflecting how well he capture the sorrowful streets of London.

By Ashley Jackson

Seek I search through each narrow lane

Near the hall of fame

Nay the frame of the fame, failed to persist

For the all left trying to resist


With every smack of the lips

Or beg of the babe

Through the dusted shadows

They all cry out in pain


Oh how the steam puffs nevermore

Even the priest have gone afar

In search of a whore

With a teat full of water


Blasphemy says the orange incumbent

While the children dent their height

Tonight no other shall rest

Till the will for well is recovered

sunset cup water drink

Photo by Meir Roth on

Merced, 2019: Turmoil within a Divided Nation

Samantha Shapiro

(UC) Merced, 2019 – Based on London, 1802 by William Wordsworth

From Project Gutenberg (1)




Wordsworth! thou are not living at this time:
Merced is in need of thee: she is a lost
In stagnant swamps: undrained, lied-to and double-crossed,
Wildfires, ignited populace at its prime,
Rain through student belief in a torrential shower
Of hopeful change. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up in your words, return to us again;
And expose the answers we seek through political power
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst art whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
And as you travelled on life’s common way,
Divided as us, though to impart
The questions that we have today.

Picture of Merced Main Street (2)

  1. Picture from
  2. Picture from


United States: 2019

(A recreation of Percy Shelley’s “England in 1819”)

A corrupt, predatory, untrusted State

Politicians, the worst of us who walk unfazed

Through mass disapproval, tempting fate

Stormed through elections the way they were raised

A call to false patriotism, that could never wait

A hill to die on, narcissism craved

A nations motto gets left behind

Preach liberty bring destruction

As the blind lead the blind

The masses tired of dishonest seduction

Preaching the gospel and yet are misaligned

To the teachings that rebel against their unconscious mind

Yet still, a beast is rising completing its self-production

Realize now the lies or continue to live in corruption

  • Evan Klang

America in 2019

I have recreated Percy Shelley’s sonnet “England in 1819” to fit today’s American society through our current time, space and circumstances.

“America in 2019” 

An old, orange, ignorant, and Soulless President;

democratic or republican, the illusion of a democracy, who enslave

Through mind control, – dirt from Mother Earth’s soil

Rulers who use others to See, Feel and to Know,

But they claim they worked for it themselves

Till they begin to die, to burn alive, without a fire.

The sensitive and the innocent abused, tormented and sacrificed;

An army of mental slaves, mindless and controlled

humanity on our current timeline controlled through

anything that alters our current state of consciousness: music, movies, drugs, and sex

anything that limits how much we See, Feel and Know;

Makes a double-edged sword, laws like Karma coming back

Mind control that cannot be seen with your two eyes – Karma coming back.

A democracy, Time’s best illusion, unveil –

Zombies from a glorious Phantom

Bursted, to ingest the demonic parasites through the

subconscious programming of your mind.

Karma coming back – Wake Up.



  • Brianna Barajas


The City in Political Peril, 2019

For the blog post next Wednesday (4/24), students will rewrite ONE of the following poems for a contemporary audience: William Blake’s “London,” William Wordsworth’s “London, 1802,” or Percy Shelley’s “England in 1819.”  The goal of this mini creative writing assignment is to mirror or recreate the poem’s formal elements as much as the content, but written for the modern world and its modern readers (your peers as well as the wider online audience).  However, you should also remember that all parodies and imitations pay homage (in a negative or positive way) to an earlier historical and literary moment, and your work should convey the sense of its engagement with another time and place.

Title your recreated poem according to a city or town you’re familiar with, followed by “2019.”  Be daring, creative, and, of course, politically provocative!!!

Please categorize your post under “The French Revolution” and don’t forget to create specific and relevant tags.  The post is due by 9:30am Wednesday (4/24).  And please sign your posts so that your TA and I know who wrote what.

Warning: students who don’t submit their post on time or edit their blog post after the submission deadline, will not receive a grade (a “0”).

What Comes Around Goes Around

“Beneath her foot-stool, Science groans in Chains,
And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains.
There foam’d rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound,
There, stript, fair Rhet’ric languish’d on the ground;
His blunted Arms by Sophistryare born, 
And shameless Billingsgate her Robes adorn.
Morality, by her false Guardians drawn,
Chicane in Furs, and Casuistry in Lawn,
Gasps, as they straiten at each end the cord,
And dies, when Dulness gives her Page the word.”

A response to Image 2

Alexander Pope was heavily criticized by many writers of his time-period, the Enlightenment. In Image 2, he is represented as a mutation between a rat and a monkey with his recently published work at the time, The Dunciad. These verses represent the image because Pope claimed that being dull was praised and thus, people, mainly authors and artists, were offended by Pope’s accusation which resulted in the photo.
            Although the mocking images of Pope are inappropriate and unprofessional, one must not forget that The Dunciad is filled with slander of other authors. After Pope anonymously published the book in response to Theobald’s criticism of his Shakespeare edition, a childish back and forth slander between Pope and his criticizers began. While it may be easy to side with Pope because he was not afraid to criticize other writers of lacking skill, therefore ruining literature, he abuses his authorship.
            Not every piece of literature, whether it be in the form of books, essays, articles, magazines, blog posts, etc. we read is going to be enjoyable for us. However, that does not mean it is unacceptable and cannot be published. Why? Because of free speech. There are quite a few books and especially posts (i.e. Facebook or Twitter) that advocate immoral values, such as racism, but every person is entitled to their own opinion and can express it in their own way.
There was nothing wrong in Theobald criticizing Pope. Pope took it too personally and began the back and forth name-calling and degrading between him and the writers of his time. In fact, he should not have been surprised that these pictures of him were created in order to ridicule him.

By Charise Cating

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

“Mary Quite Contrary” by William Apess (BUTTON POETRY TRANSCRIPT)

My lady and sister in Christ, Mary,

We have a common enemy

It is a devil that lives in a bottle

It is no daemon or fairy

Lurks in every pantry

And turns the gentlest soul hostile

It is the color of my skin

And smells of exotic spices

The kind sold among the newly conquered dark isles

But it was your kin

Who turned this into one of our greatest vices

I dare not speak its name

For when I do there are folk who flitter

And pester even if told their efforts are in vain

By even he who has only little

It’s name is a hum

The devil’s hymn and chorus

When the cork is unplugged

There is a crowd that cheers,

“Oh please why don’t you join us!”

It’s name (he whispers softly)

Is rum

Mary, quite contrary

Does your story go

You paint a portrait of savage men

Who’d look for any excuse to strike a killing blow

And steal the brides of the white for the chief’s harem

Whilst they smoke pipes of tobacco

But oh, dear Mary did you also not partake?

Or is the truth only relevant when it is easy to forsake?

Mary, quite contrary

Is the white man’s practice of exclusion

Though why complain to you?

Because it is clear that you don’t think it matters

If a black or Indian

man or woman

Adult or child

Or a follower of the son of the Virgin Mary

Will be pardoned from this exile

Or spends their lives dressed in rags and tatters

By Maria Nguyen Cruz

A System of Convenient Truths

By: Leena Maria Beddawi

Something which may come as a surprise while going through Mary Rowlandson’s narrative piece about her time in Algonquian captivity, are the many ways in which the native people and herself get along, even with her being an English colonizer, she was treated with humanity and even made relationships with some of the natives themselves. The narrative itself acts as a journal of her time in captivity, and this becomes one of the few examples of an “accurately” portrayed relationship which goes beyond the war in which the Algonquian people found themselves in with the English colonizers, due to their abhorrent lack of respect and dignity.

Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. The question, in brief, is…this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.”

― Noam Chomsky

However, that being said, the themes of genocide and sexism raised in Thomas Pham’s earlier blog post portrays almost entirely too well the reality in which we are in today, where the ignorance, misconstruction, or a purely imaginative version of history is easier for future generations to digest, therefore the watered down versions are given platforms to explain the past, and a whole generation of people are remembering and learning history based on entirely false accusations. This was how the American public would grapple with the many atrocities they placed onto innocent people, and how we currently allow ourselves in the age of technology to believe falsehoods because they are simply easier to deal with. Going to war with another group of people merely for something as quintessentially useless as power and land is the history of the world post-Anthropocene.

No matter how much easier it is to paint a perfectly sweet story about the” city upon a hill”, corroborated by evidence among the likes of Mary Rowlandson’s narrative, the history itself should not be erased, glossed over, or romanticized. As depicted in Dryden and Winthrop’s pieces as well, we see this manufactured folksy image reappear as if to show just how tolerant the natives were upon getting colonized, this is unsurprisingly a complete exaggeration of the facts which accurately define how Indigenous and English colonials treated one another. more people saw the success the false narrative genre was receiving and capitalized on said phenomenon. What is equally as successful is the number of counternarratives we see today which push past the propaganda like this and tell a story earnestly and honestly, but this “accuracy” has sadly become so muddled, most of it is subjective, but we believe what we want to believe, nonetheless.