What are the poetic devices used in the poem "To Penshurst" by Ben Jonson?What are the metaphors, analogies, etc...and what does it represent?


To Penshurst

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linda-allen's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

This is not an easy poem to explicate. I won't list all of the poetic devices Jonson uses, but here are a few examples to get you started.

allusion: there are several references to characters from Greek mythology, such as dryads, Bacchus, Pan, the Muses, satyrs, fauns, etc.

alliteration: in lines 12 and 13 there are the "broad breech" and "taller tree"; in lines 28 and 29 we find "purpled pheasant" and "painted partridge"

rhyme: the poem is a series of couplets that rhyme AABBCCDD etc.

imagery: food, plants and animals

personification: in line 21, the house is spoken of as a host who feasts or exercises friends; in lines 32 and 33 the ponds pay a tribute (like a tax) to the house

You might say that the entire poem is a metaphor for England: just as Penshurst is the ideal, flourishing house, so also England is the ideal, flourishing nation.

I hope this helps you. As I said before, this is not an easy poem!

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