Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.
Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.
No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!
Summary of Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun
- Popularity of “Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun”: Taken from the play Cymbeline, “Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun” is a suggestive poetic piece. Published in the 16th century, the play recorded the tragedy of the King of Britain. In this poetic piece, William Shakespeare says that dead souls should not fear the things occurring on the earth. To him, the dead should be glad they are done with their job. The poem, however, became popular because it revolves around the conventional and universal ideas of life and death.
- “Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun” As a Representative of Reality: This simple poem explains that the dead souls are not worried about anything once they are gone. To him, they should not fear the scorching heat of the sun, or the harsh winter because they are gone back to their eternal home. While addressing the dead, the speaker touches on the keynote that everyone ranging from the highest born to the lowest born and the weakest must taste death. He adds the good thing about being dead is that the gone spirits are beyond the approach of the tyrant’s rule. They do not need to worry about clothing and feeding themselves and others. Moreover, they do not have to face criticism from the people as happy and sad times stay behind once you are dead. In the final stanza, the speaker talks about supernatural creatures and says that no power on earth can disturb the sleep of the deceased. Thus, everything becomes meaningless in the hands of death.
- Major Themes in “Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun”: Death, eternity, life versus death and satisfaction are the poem’s major themes. This profound poem displays established realities about the dead. Death is not presented as something cruel, horrific, or terrifying in this poem. Instead, the speaker presents death as an antidote to our life’s troubles. To him, it liberates a person from the clutches of woes and miseries. He catalogs different problems humans face in life and presents a counter-argument on how death ends all those sufferings. Furthermore, no power on earth can bring people back to life. Through this poem, the writer suggests that one should be optimistic even though standing on the verge of turbulence and destruction.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /e/ in “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” and the sound of /o/ in “Thou thy worldly task hast done.”
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /t/ in “Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages” and the sound of /r/ in “Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke.”
- Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example;
“The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.”
- Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. This is an ironic poem because it shows the departed souls’ worry, neglecting that the dead have no connection to those living on earth.
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. William Shakespeare used imagery in this poem, such as; “Fear no more the lightning flash”, “Thou hast finished joy and moan” and “No exorciser harm thee.”
- Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects different in nature. The poet uses death as an extended metaphor to show how it releases all the tensions and lets the departed souls rest in peace.
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols, such as death, confession, troubles, and life versus death.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows a descriptive, simple, and poetic diction.
- End Rhyme: It is used to make the stanza melodious. Shakespeare has used end rhyme in this poem, such as; “sun/done” “must/dust” and “stone/moan.”
- Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABCBDD rhyme scheme, and this pattern continues till the end.
- Sestet: A sestet is a six-lined stanza borrowed from Italian poetry. This sonnet shows the end part as its sestet.
- Sonnet: It is a fourteen-lined poem. This poem is a sonnet.
- Tone: It means the voice of the text. This poem shows a bold as well as tragic tone.
Quotes to be Used
The following lines are useful to comment on the transience of life. These can also be used during lectures and sermons to define the fragility of life.
“Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.”