One of Brooks’s big arguments in The Well Wrought Urn is that you can’t summarize (or paraphrase) a poem and retain its meaning. The poem says something. From ig35 to ig48 Cleanth Brooks was co-editor of The South- ern Review with In addition to these and to The Well Wrought Urn, Mr. Brooks has published. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item : Cleanth ioned.

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Full text of “Well Wrought Urn Studies In The Structure Of Poetry”

The poet must work by analogies, but the metaphors do not lie in the same plane or fit neatly edge to edge.

Milton, one feels, is quite as emphatic in his belief that the aesthetic requires a deliberate act of will as was Immanuel Kant in insisting that the ethical involves deliberate choice. The method of art can, I believe, never be direct — is always ckeanth.

The sun com- parison is able to carry all these meanings, and there- fore goes past any momentary jest. Yet on the whole, most of us are less inclined to force the concept of ‘statement’ on drama than on a lyric poem; for the very nature of drama is that of something ‘acted out’—something which arrives at its conclusion through conflict—something which builds conflict into its very being….

Call her one, mee another flye.

The light symbolism accommodates itself to the change: Brooks instead focuses on the poem’s dramatic context as the source of its power. Surely, it is perfectly clear here that the child, coming upon the world, trailing his clouds of glory, is like the sun or moon which brings its radiance with it, moon- light or starlight or dawn light.

For it is not merely his great imagination and his warrior courage in defeat which redeem him for tragedy and place him beside the other great tragic protagonists: If the poet is to be true to his poetry, he must call it neither two nor one; the para- dox is his only solution. The sexual suggestion of blush brings in the Christian idea that vir- ginity is good in itself, and so that any renunciation is good; this may trick us into feeling it is lucky for the poor man that society keeps him unspotted from the World.

That the selfe was not the same; Single Natures double name. One of the more important elements which works toward our acceptance of the final paradox is the figure of the phoenix, which will bear a little further analysis.


It not only underlies the poem, but something of the paradox informs the poem, though, since this is Wordsworth, rather timidly. We can even anticipate the crux wrouhht the poem in these terms: Lady Macbeth is willing to go to any length to grasp the future; she would willingly dash out the brains of her own child if it stood in her way to that future.

It is true that Gray does not restrict himself to the sculptured figures brookw Memory, Honor, Knowledge; and it is true that he calls some of them by their less flattering names: For the beaux of Hampton Court, though The Case of Miss Arabella Termor in truth they do not need to dread a mortal wound, can, and are prepared to, die.

And its repercussions on the theme if we still want to view the poem as a communication of a theme are important. At any rate, the aell effect of his criticism has been to emphasize the need of a more careful reading of poetry and to regard the poem as an organic thing.

Pope is too fine an artist to have it happen otherwise. Richards has pointed out, necessarily demand metaphor for their expression. And hurled his glistring beames through gloomy aire. John Donne, for instance, frequently has it both ways: But though we see urh going to work, we never see them at their work, just as we do not ever feel the full glare of the sun.

The petition to Mirth To live with her, and live with thee. The urns are not meant for memorial purposes only, though that often seems to be their chief significance to the brools of literature. Nevertheless, I have decided to relegate the more technical parts of this discussion to an appendix where they will be available for those readers who are interested, but will intrude as clfanth as possible on the book proper.

Man must try to predict and plan and control his destiny. For that reason he is almost pathetic when the shallow rationalism which his wife urges upon him fails. For example, there are the Milton references with which the poem, as has frequently been pointed out, is suffused.

It must seem sub- dued to a mood; but more than that, it must present, when seen from every varying vantage-point, an aes- thetic object. The Fair and Innocent shall still believe. We accept it the more readily because the implication that the village-Hampden might have, had fate placed him on a larger stage, been Hampden himself, is not pressed.


If she is a weak opponent, she will yield the lock, and herself, without any stipulation of terms, and will thus become a ruined maid indeed. Shakespeare himself knew of, and wrote plays about, usurpers who successfully maintained possession of the crown.

Moreover, I do not think that I give it undue emphasis. Banquo says in Act I: And if he meant to be funny, to what end? It is not that the poem com- municates nothing. And I do The Language of Paradox g not mean that the connotations are important as sup- plying some sort of frill or trimming, something ex- ternal to the real matter in hand, I mean that the poet does not use a notation at all — as the scientist may properly be said to do so.

It is altogther appropriate, therefore, that two of the apparitions by which their counsel is re- vealed should be babes, the crowned babe and the bloody babe.

In no actual poem is the reader’s response detersnined solely by the prose-sense. Otherwise the poetry of the past becomes significant merely as cul- tural anthropology, and the poetry of the present, merely as a political, or religious, or moral instrument. Symbolically, the town has disap- peared and its mores are superseded. The poem opens dramatically on a note of exaspera- tion.

The Well Wrought Urn

And of those Daemons that are found In fire, air, flood, or under ground. For the moment, it is sufficient to prepare for such a discussion by examining a little further Dr. The poem has her come in with evening into a scene dominated by the moon. There is a further point, and it is one of the utmost importance; the oldest symbol for the hypocrite is that of the man who cloaks his true nature under a disguise. In the first place, it implies the choice of which we have spoken in its very first line.