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Therefore we envisage how the speaker feels that what Philomela has experienced and suffered is nothing compared to their experience. The monosyllabic rhyme and repetition of the word ‘me’ places emphasis on the fact that the speaker wants us to sympathise with them. The speaker says that their cause is greater than that of Philomela to lament, possibly because she is experiencing the death of love.

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As we progress in our reading of the poem, unlike in the poem Syrinx it becomes clear that the last four lines of the first stanza are repeated again at the end of the second stanza. Also there is a reversed foot from iambic to trochaic at the beginning of the line: ‘O Philomela fair, O take some gladness,’ (line 9) This helps indicate the point of repetition but also places emphasis on the ‘O’ and prepares us for the importance of the last four lines. We here again how the speaker feels that Philomela is lucky compared to them and should take some gladness because: ‘ That here is juster cause of plaintiful sadness.

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Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth;’ (lines 10-11) Here again we see the speaker use Spring as a reference to a new beginning for Philomela. However, the speaker is still suffering and has no new beginning as their earth fades. The last line I feel is the most important of the poem: ‘Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.’ (line 12) I feel this line highlights that the speaker could be Philomela’s sister, as she describes that Philomela is now without thorn. I feel thorn represents pain and anguish and the speaker is once again saying how Philomela may have been raped yet it is over now and she is no longer in pain. However, when the speaker then says, ‘my thorn my heart invadeth.’ We picture Philomela’s sister telling us that her pain has come from her own blood. That her sister Philomela has ruined her marriage and invaded her heart leaving an eternal pain of heart break.

In summation, Sir Philip Sidney’s poem The Nightingale and Amy Clampitt’s poem Syrinx represent two very contrasting views. The Nightingale is a very well ordered poem; it is laid out in two stanzas of equal length and has a regular rhyme scheme and metre. This all helps emphasise the deep and meaningful song of the Nightingale as it expresses grief and anguish. However, Syrinx is a very irregular poem, it is laid out in two equal stanzas with a final short verse paragraph and it has no rhyme or predominant metre. This is all emphatic of the meaning behind the poem, that a bird’s song has no real meaning it is just a set of sounds and nothing more. However, despite this, both poems have links to classical mythology, as well as both being about birds and their songs. Both poems also seem to have some roots in the subjection of females to the threat of rape by overbearing males. Hence they lose their voice literally but also with regards to personal freedom.


Primary Texts Ferguson Margare, Jo Salter Mary, Stallworthy Jon, Syrinx, The Norton Anthology Of Poetry, (London: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, 2005) (Fifth Edition) p.1614-1615 Ferguson Margaret, Jo Salter Mary, Stallworthy Jon, The Nightingale, The Norton Anthology Of Poetry, (London: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, 2005) (Fifth Edition) p.211

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