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Paraphrasing serves two purposes. The first purpose may be to summarize a text or poem for discussion or for studying the meaning, underlying metaphor and theme, etc. The second is to aid in understanding the text or poem.
Since poems are compressed expressions of thought using non-literal and suggestive language, a line-by-line paraphrase in ordinary language can help break through the difficulty of compressed, suggestive language and help clarify your understanding. Since paraphrasing a poem changes figurative language to literal language, poetic paraphrases are almost always more wordy and longer than the original work. I've provided one possible line-by-line paraphrase of the ironic poem, "Redemption," by George Herbert.
I was for a long time a farming tenant of a rich Lord;
I was not successful, so I decided to be brave
and beg that he grant me
a new smaller lease contract and cancel the old one.
In good faith, I went to speak with him at his mansion.
There they told me that he had recently gone
on business about some land he had purchased
at an earlier date and was ready to take possession of.
I immediately turned around, and knowing his high social position,
logically looked for him in expensive resorts,
in cities, at theaters, in gardens and parks, and at royal courts
Eventually I heard a loud raucous noise and loud laughter
made by thieves and murderers; it was there that I finally found him.
Having been found, he immediately said, "Your request is granted," then died.
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