James Thomson

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Can you provide an analysis of "Hymn on Solitude" by James Thomson, including word meaning and figurative language?

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Noting some British and obsolete spellings, the vocabulary to define consists of phrases such as:
obdurate hearts
about thee sports
with her Musidora
meridian fervours beat
faint landskip swim

Metaphor and personification are Thomson's major choices of figurative language in Hymn on Solitude. The tone is pleasantly reverential. The mood (setting, objects, details, language) is cheerful and lush with flowing emotion.

Thomson develops a deep and multilayered metaphor for Solitude. After distinguishing Solitude as the companion of the wise and the voice of innocence and truth, he ushers in the idea of Solitude in a "thousand shapes." His metaphors give each comparison a new persona and locate each. He proceeds to compare Solitude to a philosopher in a dream, the vaulted sky in a vale, a shepherd in a plain, a lover still in the plain with sweet grace and passion, a friendship of Hertford's bloom (Hertford is a place) and finally to Musidora--created in his poem Summer and who swam in a river--who awakens the nightingale.

The final stanza, following two others that continue to draw the virtues of Solitude, he gets to his point with a mild touch of self-deprecating humor. He says that when meditation undertaken in the secret cell of Solitude has "had her fill," his careless eye might fall longingly on the lure of London. The natural progression from thoughts of London is the thought of the crowded life in London under rising turrets in company with crime, care and pain. Here, with that touch of humor mentioned before, he declares that thoughts of London make him turn to hide ("shield me") in the woods of solitude again.

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