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Bring out the contrast between childhood and adulthood in the poem "Regeneration" by...

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baabi | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 12, 2009 at 2:01 AM via web

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Bring out the contrast between childhood and adulthood in the poem "Regeneration" by Henry Vaughan.

answer should be in simple language and brief

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 12, 2009 at 4:41 AM (Answer #1)

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As a metaphysical poet of the 17th century, Vaughan expresses his ideas in an emotional context in  "Regeneration."  Vaughn's poem communicates his perception that as a child grows, he moves away from God, but as he becomes older he seeks this renewal of unity of the human being with the Divine Being.

In stanza one the youth "steals away" from God in the Spring (his childhood), but

Yet was it frost within/And surly winds/Blasted my infant Buds, and sin/Like clouds eclips'd my mind

The inner winter of sin continues into the second stanza, but the child now becomes a pilgrim who, wondering what he has gotten out of life, realizes that he has not kept his values.  In the Biblical allusion to "Jacob's Bed," --Jacob turned from his brother Esau and saw a ladder to Heaven-- the speaker has a "vision," too:  his spiritual enlightenment.

In the fifth stanza, then, the speaker feels "a new Spring" with "flowers" as his spiritual enlightenment brings life/Spring to his inner winter.  In stanzas seven and eight, the speaker who is near the "Fountain" seems to go through a type of baptism and arrives at a field of flowers where there is a wind, a wind much like that alluded to in Acts 2:2 on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit entered the apostles giving them spiritual rebirth and understanding.

In the final stanza, the speaker asks to "die before my death"; he wishes to die to his youthful, sinful self before he physically dies at the end of his life.


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