In this poem, George Eliot was so preoccupied with how most of the true love relationship begins and ends by showing six different phases to it. She used a third person point of view and her tone was so full delight and emphasis.
Within the space of a six stanza poem, George Eliot narrated the different phases of a true love relationship. Each stanza is structured to carry six lines where the first four lines of verse/stanza are tetrameter while the last two lines of each verse/stanza are dimeter.
The first stanza of the poem speaks of how two lovebirds begin their love relationship: “Two lovers by a moss-grown spring/They leaned soft cheeks together there” (line 1-2) The second stanza is about how their love relationship has led to wedding. The third stanza is about their honeymoon and sexual union: “Two faces o’er a cradle bent/ Two hands above the head were locked/ These pressed each other while they rocked”. The fourth and the fifth stanza show that the two lovers have become a father. The sixth, which is the last stanza of the poem talks about how the two lovers have finally become aged couples; left with the memory of their love’s genesis.
The poem has the theme of love; in the sense that love led the two young lovers in a marital relationship of a lifetime. The theme of time; in the sense that time made the two lovers witnessed varying stages in their love relationship.
naijapoets.com has observered that the dominant poetic device in the poem is imagery; “a moss-grown spring” “soft cheek” “chair up side-by-side” etc. There are partial repetitions of few lines in the poem (for instance: “the red light fell about their knees” in stanza 4 “the red light shone about their knees” in line 5 “the red light shone upon the floor” in line 6. Alliteration in line 10 and 14 “White petals on the pathway” “Two hands above the head”. Simile is “the air was soft as fanning wings” in line 9. The careful arrangement of the lines made the poem lyrical and it won’t be wrong to say that the poem has a natural family-life setting.
Born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England on the 22nd of November 1819; Mary Ann Evan is Victorian era English poet and novelist. She wrote under the pen name “George Eliot” it is said that she chose the pen name so that people would take her literary works seriously. She died at age 61 in Chelsea, Middlesex, England on the 22nd of December 1880. One among many of her notable work is “The Mill On The Floss(1860)
Two lovers by a moss-grown spring:
They leaned soft cheeks together there,
Mingled the dark and sunny hair,
And heard the wooing thrushes sing.
O budding time!
O love’s blest prime!
Two wedded from the portal stept:
The bells made happy carolings,
The air was soft as fanning wings,
White petals on the pathway slept.
O pure-eyed bride!
O tender pride!
Two faces o’er a cradle bent:
Two hands above the head were locked:
These pressed each other while they rocked,
Those watched a life that love had sent.
O solemn hour!
O hidden power!
Two parents by the evening fire:
The red light fell about their knees
On heads that rose by slow degrees
Like buds upon the lily spire.
O patient life!
O tender strife!
The two still sat together there,
The red light shone about their knees;
But all the heads by slow degrees
Had gone and left that lonely pair.
O voyage fast!
O vanished past!
The red light shone upon the floor
And made the space between them wide;
They drew their chairs up side by side,
Their pale cheeks joined, and said, “Once more!”
O past that is!
Copyright © by George Eliot (all right reserved)
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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)