To My Mother

To My Mother

 by Edgar Allan Poe

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother,”
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
My mother—my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

Summary of To My Mother

  • Popularity of the Poem “To My Mother”: This poem was written by Edgar Allan Poe, a great American writer and editor. ‘To My Mother’ is one of the famous poems about a mother’s love. It was first published on the 7th of July in 1849. The poem exhibits the heartfelt emotions of the poet for his biological mother, mother in law and his wife. It also illustrates how he connects this sacred relationship with divinity. It is also common for a man to look for his mother’s quality in his life partner.
  • “To My Mother” As a Representative of Motherly Love: This poem is an expression of love. The poet expresses his gratitude and intense feelings for his actual mother and mother-in-law. He describes the universal meaning of ‘mother’ and believes that this word has been derived from the angelic world. He imagines that angels might have coined this burning term. He also adds a touching tribute to his mother-in-law, to let her know that she possesses the highest place in his heart and mind. She supported him after his mother’s death and allowed him to marry her daughter, Virginia. Moreover, he expresses his intense love for his wife claiming that his love for Virginia will never fade. What, however, stays in the minds of the readers is his unbound love and attachment with his aunt.
  • Major Themes in “To My Mother”: Motherly love, death, and infinite love are the major themes of this poem. The speaker talks about three precious relations of his life: his biological mother who died when he was a child, his aunt (mother in law) who looked after him after his mother’s demise and his love, who happens to be his wife, too. He shows emotional love for his aunt who enabled him to lead a better life. Also, she gave him the love of his life, Virginia. For this reason, the word mother is not an ordinary term for him. Rather, it is a sacred name coined by angles.

 Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “To My Mother”

Literary devices are tools used by writers to express their idea, feelings, and emotions. It also makes the text appealing to the readers. Edgar Allan Poe has also made this poem superb by using such devices. Here is the analysis of some literary devices used in this poem.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /uh/ in “Can find, among their burning terms of love”.
  2. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. For example, ‘my mother’ is repeated in the ninth line of the poem to emphasize the poet’s love for his mother and mother in law.

My mother—my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you.”

  1. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /w/ in “By that infinity with which my wife.”
  2. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /l/ in “Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life” and the sound of /n/ in “Can find, among their burning terms of love.”
  3. 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,

“By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.”

  1. Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a device used to exaggerate a statement for the sake of emphasis. For example, at the end of the poem where he exaggerates about his love for Virginia,

“And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “The angels, whispering to one another”, “In setting my Virginia’s spirit free” and “My mother—my own mother, who died early.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “To My Mother”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Sonnet: A sonnet is a fourteen lined poem usually written in iambic pentameter. “To My Mother” is one of the famous sonnets.
  2. Couplet: There are two constructive lines of verse in a couplet, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme. This sonnet ends with a couplet, which usually reveals the central idea of the poem.
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABAB rhyme scheme and the couplet at the end goes with the AA rhyme scheme.
  4. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make a stanza melodious. For example; “life/wife”, “above/love”, “me/free” and “early/dearly.”

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful in a speech to talk about the value of the mother. These could also be used to illustrates how God has created mothers with a touch of divinity.

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother,”