Beauty

Beauty

by John Masefield

I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills
Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain:
I have seen the lady April bringing in the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.

I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea,
And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships;
But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me
Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.

Literary Analysis

The poem is about a comparison between what is beautiful and what one adores in the world. This poem employs figurative and rhetorical device. The tone is romantic, sensual and appealing to the senses. The use of phrases and words such as “spring rain” and “daffodils” touches the sense of smell of the readers of this poem.

As the poem’s title goes, this literary piece focuses on praising beauty – the beauty of nature as well as the beauty of a woman:

But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me
Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips

The speaker of this poem is John Masefield (the poet himself). The poem’s speaker and the speaker’s beloved are the two characters in this poem. Its setting is in a harbor, as the poet says,

I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea,
And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships

The poem in which the whole scenario is displayed is dawn, afternoon and sunset. The poem opens with a description by the poet of his experiences in nature that shows the influence of romanticism on him by talking about nature and landscapes …. “Have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills”. The reference to Spain brings an exotic touch to this stanza.

There are several figures of speech used in this poem. In the second line, the poet employs a simileComing in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain”. In this line, the speaker makes the readers comprehend the great happiness and satisfaction he feels with the arrival of his beloved by comparing such event to a wonderful music.

The poet uses personification as in the following lines:

I have seen the lady April bringing in the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea

Here, the month of Aril (spring season), the flowers and sea are personified by endowing them with the ability to “bring” something, as well as sing and chant songs.

The poem centers on three types of beauty. The first type is the natural beauty, the second type is the musical beauty that humans can create, and the last type is the beauty of a woman. The poet uses sea and ship imagery in order to highlight his point.

Structural Analysis

There are two stanzas in this poem. Each stanza has four lines. The rhyme pattern is used differently in this poem, which is ABAB CDCD, instead of normal AABB rhyme scheme. The poem is written in trochaic metrical pattern (stressed/unstressed) as given below.

I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills
Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain

A typical poetic device called enjambment is used throughout the entire poem such as “I have seen the lady April bringing in the daffodils,/ Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain”, where the complete meaning of a particular line is only understood after the reader connects it to the line before or after it.

The diction of this poem is both denotative and connotative. Denotative diction involves the symbolic language, such as “But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me/ are her voice, and her hair, and eyes.” In these lines, the poet alludes to his beloved. Whereas, connotative language can be seen in the following lines, “I have seen the lady April” which is an indirect reference to his girlfriend or beloved.

The poet has also created sound effects by repeatedly using phrases as in “I have seen”, which is used in the first and the third line. There is also alliteration in “s” sound such as in “seen”, “sunset”, “solemn”, and “Spain”. On the other hand, assonance is employed in the following words as in “windy hills” (i sound), “slow old” (o sound), and “song of the blossoms” (o sound).

Guidance for Usage and Quotes

This is a perfect example of a romantic poem that takes in a range of emotions expressed by the speaker for his beloved using different techniques. Lovers can use this poem or its lines for their beloveds to praise their beautiful features:

But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me
Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.

Also, they can express their happiness on the arrival of their beloved as:

I have seen the lady April bringing in the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.

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