Saturday, 10 December 2016

CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF THERE BE NONE OF BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS / STANZAS FOR MUSIC BY LORD BYRON

CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF STANZAS FOR MUSIC
(THERE BE NONE OF BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS)

1. Introduction
(i) Title: There be None of Beauty's Daughters / Stanzas for Music
(ii) Poet: Lord Byron (1788-1824)
(iii) Poetic Genre: Lyrical poem
(iv) Rhyme Scheme: ABABCCDD/ABABCCDD
(v) Meter Check: Iambic tetrameters and iambic trimeters.
(vi) Theme: Magic of Beauty and power of music
(vii) Tone: Expressive adoring beauty.
(viii) Personification: Beauty, ocean, moon, wind
2. Lines 1-2
There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee;
     In these lines Beauty has been personified. Beauty is a female and has many children. All her children are also female i.e. daughters. These daughters are all beautiful women. There is no match of these beautiful women in this world. This Beauty can also be a reference to Helen of Troy in Greek mythology who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. But Helen of Troy had only one daughter, Hermoine.  Moreover, Beauty is like magic: Beauty has the power of influencing others by using mysterious forces. Beauty's magic is superior to all other magic arts because Beauty's charms and spells are the most powerful. 
3. Lines 3-4
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
     These lines describe the personified Beauty as a soprano. She has a very musical, melodious and symphonic voice. Her voice has been compared with the musical sound of the waves of waters. "Waters" here means ocean. It is a powerful imagery. "Beauty like waters" is a perfect simile because water is a standard female symbol in literature. The speaker is mesmerized with the "sweet voice" of Beauty. Beauty here can also be a reference to Minerva, a virgin goddess of music. However, the personified Beauty is not virgin. She has many daughters. 
4. Lines 5-6
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmed ocean's pausing,
     These lines describe the power of the sound of personified Beauty. The sound of Beauty is so robust, prevailing and dominant that it causes the waves of the charmed ocean to pause. The word "charmed" suggests that the waves of ocean are under the magical spell of Beauty. However, this spell is not everlasting because "pause" is a temporary stop in action. Thus Beauty is a mermaid who controls the ocean by the powerful sound of her voice. In short, "when" Beauty sings, it causes to pause all other music in the world. 
5. Lines 7-8
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
     These lines are merely overwritten extensions of an already trite theme - the power of the sound of personified Beauty. The waves of ocean and winds of air are hypnotized by the magical sound of Beauty. The waves of ocean become motionless and gleaming. The winds go to sleep and seem dreaming. "Winds" have been personified here because sleeping and dreaming are human attributes. In short, the sounds of waves and winds cease to sing and become the obedient audience of the powerful and magical voice of Beauty. 
6. Lines 9-10
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep,
     These lines describe that the moon is also under the spell of the magical voice of Beauty. The word "midnight" highlights the atmosphere of calm, peace and quiet. Moon has been personified as a woman who is weaving. In many myths, the moon is depicted as a gigantic spider which weaves the thread of each man's destiny. Moreover, there is a myth of an old woman weaving at moon. This old woman spends her time weaving a never-ending garment. However, here the moon is weaving "her bright chain". It is, in fact, a crater chain - a roughly circular depression on the surface of ocean. The moon is weaving this depression from bottom to top. 
7. Lines 11-12
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant's asleep:
      These lines portray sexual and angelic imagery. The ocean has been personified as a female. Her "breast" is an example of sexual imagery. The words "gently heaving" enhance the impact of sexual imagery. Under the influence of the magical voice of Beauty, the ocean raises her breast in an amiable and tender motion or as an infant's asleep. "As an infant's asleep" is a simile and an other imagery. Infants don't sleep as deeply as adults. Thus the charm of the voice of Beauty on the ocean is temporary. In short, the comparison of ocean's heaving to an infant's sleep suggests that ocean is innocent and guilt free because it is a part of nature and beauty. 
8. Lines 13-14
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
     These lines recapitulate the power of the voice of Beauty. The spirit of ocean, wind, moon and the speaker all bow in submission before Beauty.  "Bows before" is an example of alliteration. When Beauty sings, the waves of ocean pause, the winds go to sleep and seem dreaming, the moon starts weaving. These natural objects and phenomena do so just to listen and adore the melodious voice of Beauty. "And adore" is an other example of alliteration. The speaker's spirit is also showing adoration for the magical voice of Beauty. 
9. Lines 15-16
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of summer's ocean. 
     These lines describe how do others applause the voice of Beauty. The spirit of ocean, wind, moon and the speaker adore the voice of Beauty "with a full but soft emotion". "Full" means that they are praising the Beauty's voice as much as possible and "soft emotion" suggests they are admiring the Beauty's voice with love, affection and devotion. The poem comes to its climax at "swell". Swell is a gradual increase in amount, intensity, or volume. Swell is also a sexual imagery. It is a point at which the sibilance of "summer's ocean" offers a gentle release. 
10. Conclusion
     The poem is couched in feminine references and is most conveniently discussed as a love lyric to a woman. However, there is no physical dimension to the love articulated in the poem. It is famous for its gentle rhythm and the softness of its imagery -- the quiet tone of the poem creates a tranquil sense of peace, whilst the rhythm lulls the reader with its ebb and flow, as if the poem itself has breath of its own. It is written to be set to music, and its musical qualities have bearing upon its theme and structure. In short, the poem is a clever way of intermingling two of the greatest pleasures in life: love and music. With its gleaming waters, dreaming winds, weaving moon, and heaving breast, it is a truly magical poem. 

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