Patriot Into Traitor ~ Explanation of the Poem

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Patriot Into Traitor ~ Explanation of the Poem

Post by Archer on Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:38 am






It was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day!


Explanation

In these lines the poet says through the mouth of a political leader, when for the first time, only one year ago, on that very day, he came to power, the people gave him a very warm welcome. There were roses mixed with myrtle flowers which people spread on his way through and through. The house-tops were crowded with people and they were moving and swinging like mad people. Also they were so happy as if they were mad. The minarets and domes of churches were shining with light. These churches were decorated with colourful flags. All this was on that very day when the politician came into power and it took place only one year ago.


The air broke into a mist with bells,
The old walls rocked with the crowds and cries.
Had I said, "Good folks, mere noise repels—
But give me your sun from yonder skies!"
They had answered, "And afterward, what else?"



Explanation

When the people were given him a warm welcome they rang bells and raised slogans. These different voices mingled with one another and produced a sort of music. The air became misty and heavy because of the noisy slogans and the ringing bells. The slogans of the crowd were so heavy and loud that the adjacent walls of the road-side houses trembled with various cries and noise of the crowd. These people were welcoming him so happily that if he had told them that mere noise and slogans did not please him. And that they should give him the sun, that is there in the sky far away from them , they would have replied, that was executed (done and what else they could do for him „the leader‟).

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun,
To give it my loving friends to keep.
Nought man could do have I left undone,
And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.



Explanation

In these lines the leader regretfully says that the people did not help him, instead, it was he who leaped at the sun and made impossible, possible for them. He brought the sun down and handed it over to his dear friends (country men). He made them realize that every impossible could be made possible for sincere friends. As such he made every effort and did not leave any thing undone for them. Had he left anything undone, nobody else would have done that for them. But he further says with great sorrow that today when only one year has lapsed and that he is no more in chair, his reward can be seen. It can also be seen what he is reaping as a reward of his deeds. He has been branded as a traitor by the people of his nation.


There's nobody on the house-tops now—
Just a palsied few at the windows set—
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles' Gate—or, better yet,
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.


Explanation

In these lines the poet mourns that nobody can be seen on the housetops to welcome him now. It is quite opposite to the scene when he was received by them. Now there are only a few people, who are rather paralyzed and are standing at the windows. Now they are watching a different sight. This sight is a sort of ridicule and everybody agrees to it. Obviously, the sight is horrible because the leader is now being taken to the slaughter-house, or it can be better said, the leader thinks, that he is being taken to the gallows to be hanged there. It is all the reward of his good deeds. His deeds have been converted into wicked deeds and people are now punishing him for his supposed misdeeds.

I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind,
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.


Explanation

In these lines the poet also mopes over his sad condition. He says that the people are carrying him to the gallows in the rain. They unnecessarily, have tied his hands behind his back with a tight rope. When they are taking him to the slaughter-house, the rope cuts his both hands at wrists. The culprit (the leader) feels that his fore-head is bleeding. This is because everybody in his right sense is throwing stones at him. Everybody feels that he has done nothing for his countrymen. Every person has turned against him and the achievements of his past one year have been changed to misdeeds. This means they have forgotten his service to them and they are now punishing him for his good work for them.

Thus I entered Brescia, and thus I go!
In such triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
"Thou, paid by the World,—what dost thou owe
Me?" God might have questioned; but now instead
'Tis God shall requite! I am safer so.


Explanation


the given lines the poet, through the mouth of the deposed leader says that he was brought honourably to the chair and with great pomp and show but now he is being taken very insultingly to the gallows. He says sometimes great heroes fall from their climax and die. Such has not happened to him. Had he died in the peak of his power, he would have been happy. Further the leader ridiculously says that heroes can not expect reward from God in the next world because they get their reward in this world. In his case people have not done him justice. They have killed him. He says after death he will go to his Lord Creator where God Might question him about his deeds he had done for the people. He would reply that he had done his best for them but they rewarded him with shame. Now he will ask God for a reward because God is just and He would give him the best reward in the other world for his service to his people. He would be safe with God in the world here after.

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