A dream of spring:
A dream of spring:
- The pronunciation of “different” seems to call for the two-syllable version to match the meter.
- The meter also calls for the word “every” to be pronounced with two syllables, instead of three.
- The tension created by this pronunciation creates a tension which emphasizes those words.
- Note: There’s often intentional archaism in word choice and pronunciation that Tolkien enjoyed.
- The iambic meter has been very regular, so any variation at the fourth stanza would be jarring.
- There is near alliteration between the “v” of “every” and the “ff” of “different” in their feel.
- The stressed syllables are also very heavy, giving them a ponderous feel within the meter. Had the three-syllable pronunciation been used, it would have added an inappropriate triplet feel.
- The ponderous feel causes the reader to slow down, emphasizing the change of perspective.
- The colon after “seen” is also the hardest pause so far in the poem. It also clearly divides the stanza into two halves, with the first thing being the setup, the second being an implied list.
- There also seems to be a relationship between “ever” in stanza three, and the use of “never” and “every” in stanza four, as if there were a transition from one to the other in viewpoint.
- Once again, the “s” alliteration is featured in the first two lines, which draws out the word “so”.
- The “w” alliteration from the previous stanzas is echoed in this stanza in the word “wood”.
- The overall lack of initial letter alliteration serves to make the internal fricatives more central.
- The terminal “ry” syllable in “every” is awkward as an unstressed syllable in the iambic meter.
- Previously, iambs were created using monosyllabic and disyllabic words, and used a pattern where the stressed syllable landed on the important words, led by a previous unstressed one.
- The terminal rhymes of lines two and four echo the strong rhyme in the first stanza, but there is also an imperfect rhyme on lines one and three, like in stanza three, though even closer.
- By keeping distance in between spring and what he’s thinking, he removes himself further.
- The use of the word “for”, which is a conjunction, gives the feeling of a pivot point for the poem.
- “For” implies that there is a conclusion based on what has come before that conjunction point.
- Note: While some teachers claim that it is incorrect to start sentences with conjunctions, this is incorrect, as long as the relationship between that sentence and the previous ones is clear.
- This stanza leads into the final stanzas, as if they will explain the content in the earlier ones.
- The “for” seems to point to the sitting beside the fire and thinking and giving the reason for it.
- While stanza three did not give any winter imagery, the main spring image given is the color green. However, no seasonal details are added, like summer and autumn, as this is in the future.
- Only infinite numbers of shades of green are mentioned, which is one detail he is sure will be.
- The use of “never” in this stanza makes the avoided negative in the third one more concrete.
- If “green” implies new beginnings, but the winter that Bilbo mentioned might be an apocalyptic winter, there may be a sense in which this new beginning maybe a hope of ultimate renewal.
- This hope would then be an act of estel, hoping for that which may be beyond what we will see.
- After the colon, the tense shifts from present perfect to simple present tense, and from future tense in stanza three, which followed past tense in stanza two, so this a return to stanza one.
- The present perfect with “never” can take on a positive or negative connotation, in context.
- Bilbo has retained no hope for himself, and instead is focused on the world at large after him.
- The subject of the stanza is kept vague, shown in the phrase “there are so many things”, but these don’t perform an action. This is true in both independent clauses as observations.
- This makes the second line, observing the greens of spring, as a kind of statement of faith.
- That makes Bilbo’s statement not merely wistful, but an affirmation of belief in a higher hope.
- Note: That is parallel with Húrin’s cry of “dawn will come again” which was not for himself.
- This implies that Bilbo understands that this story, in a bigger sense, is not about him. He has internalized Gandalf’s statement in Bag End that he was only a little fellow in the wider world.
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