Analysis Of The Poem ' Lycidas ' By Paul J. Alpes

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The traditional pastoral poems follow a creative style that romanticize rural life and landscapes, which drifted away from industrialization. The quintessential pastoral poems have been described by Paul J. Alpes as a “double longing after innocence and happiness; that it is based on philosophical antithesis of Art and Nature; that its universal idea is the Golden Age; that its fundamental motive is hostility to urban life.” (10). Some literary critics have made the assertion that Milton’s poem “Lycidas” follows the traditional pastoral conventions, for instance, Samuel Johnson recognized the poem as a traditional pastoral because it depicted an idealized life of rural leisure. Moreover, he claims that Milton’s pastoral poem is “easy,…show more content…
The speaker challenges the customary idyllic landscape like the “laurels” and “myrtles” by destructively picking the flowers and berries off the trees, instead of the speaker being grounded in nature like the other speakers in traditional pastoral poems, he destroys it. Furthermore, Milton turns the pastoral into one of mourning because the speaker’s compulsion for disturbing nature before “season due” all stems from the death of Lycidas who died in his “prime”. As the poem continues, the speaker explains the romanticized pastoral landscape where he and Lycidas were once shepherds: “For were nursed upon the self- same hill, / Fed the same flock, by the fountain, shade, and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appeared” (23 – 25). These lines display how the speaker can reach nostalgia with these pastoral fantasies that distance him away from reality. However, the speaker soon leaves the romantic when he laments about Lycidas: “And old Damoetas loved to hear our song. / But O the heavy change, now thou art gone,” (36 – 37). The speaker being able to come back to reality demonstrates how the Milton is unable to emphasize the traditional romantic pastoral setting of peace and joy because of the emotional anguish the speaker has. Furthermore, Milton alludes to the fact that one must remove themselves from an idealized world for them to grieve properly. The amount of control that the speaker had over his decision to leave his pastoral fantasy is

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