In the quote, Derozio uses the metaphor of a ship. What is its significance and relevance to "To India My Native Land"?Well—let me dive into the depths of time And bring from out the ages, that...

In the quote, Derozio uses the metaphor of a ship. What is its significance and relevance to "To India My Native Land"?

Well—let me dive into the depths of time
And bring from out the ages, that have rolled
A few small fragments of these wrecks sublime
Which human eye may never more behold ...

Asked on by sidmufc

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

My country! In thy days of glory past
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow
and worshipped as a deity thou wast—

The meaning (i.e., significance: meaning expressed), and thus the relevance (i.e., pertinence to subject), of the quote you ask about lies in the quoted lines directly above. This sonnet--with concatenated rhyme at lines 3-4 with 5-6 and 7-8 with 13-14, thematically connecting the first two quatrains and the couplet--focuses on the past splendor and glory of India. Then, the poetic speaker--presumably Derozio himself--determines a way to pay homage to India's glorious past.

The three lines beginning "My country!" reveal the glory that was India's, with India described as having a gold halo around its personified brow, "A beauteous halo circled round thy brow." India's glory was so great that it was worshipped as a deity. With colonization (not explicitly mentioned but implied), the mighty "eagle pinion" (a metonymy and a literal pinion feather) that was "tied down" in captivity is now seen "groveling in the lowly dust." (This is a metaphorical allusion to falconry's imprisonment of birds of prey.)

In the passage beginning "Well--let me dive," the speaker declares how he will reclaim a small fragment of India's past glory and extol it to the world. He presents this aspiration as a metaphor describing salvaging the treasure from a ship wreck. This metaphorical allusion compares salvaging to the act of writing the sonnet that will immortalize India's past splendor. This follows a traditional sonnet theme immortalizing things the poet values, like love and beauty, in the ink of a sonnet, such as in Shakespeare's Sonnet 63.

The relevance (i.e., pertinence to the matter at hand) is that the speaker's native land will not go quietly into the oblivion of subjugation in colonization. What concludes the sonnet is the speaker's declaration that his guerdon (i.e. reward, recompense) shall be that some reader might grant "one kind wish" for his immortalized India.

ravinderrana's profile pic

ravinderrana | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

The poem is "To India- My Native Land" by Henry  Louis Vivian Derozio.

The poem is a sonnet written during pre-independence era. The following lines are a part of the sestet.The poet is sad to see the deplorable condition of the country India which was once the fountain head of the world. Under the foreign yoke, the eagle-pinion is chained and it lies grovelling in the dust.

Thus the poet exhorts the countrymen to rise from their slumber and to work for the "resurrection " of the country. The use of metaphor of a ship is appropriate.He wishes to dive into the depth of time and bring out from the abyss of India's glorious past heritage, some small fragments of "sublime wrecks". Derozio means to say that if the Indians could behold great and wonderful stories of courage and fortitude displayed by people who immortalised themselves and emulate them, there is a possibility of this "resurrection".

The example of this metaphor is to infuse a spirit of patriotism among Indians-one quality that had declined resulting in the country's fall.   

futurejairaj1's profile pic

futurejairaj1 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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The metaphor of the eagle, symbolic of power and freedom, is brilliantly used by the poet for the country.

"The eagle pinion is chained down at last". The eagle whose wings are chained reminds us of India which became slave under the British rule.

The metaphor of THE SHIP FOR THE COUNTRY used by the poet reminds us of the forgotten glory of the country. The wrecked ship reminds us of the vanished glory of the country.

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