"Then take in hand thy lyre,
Strike in thy proper strain,
With Japhet's line aspire
Sol's chariot for new fire,
To give the world again :
Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Jove's brain.
How could we paraphrase this stanza? (the fifth stanza)
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Yes, the stanza is found in Ben Johnson's "Ode to Himself." Given that poetry is open to interpretation, one cannot disregard other's opinions on what a poem means. What one can do is offer alternative readings. Therefore, when reading the poem, I tend to think about Icarus (the son of Daedalus who flew too close to the sun). While I agree that we must make the most of our gifts (as litteacher points out), I think that Johnson is offering a warning here. Johnson tells readers to "strike in thy proper strain." Therefore, I think that while he is telling us to "make the most of our gifts," we need to be careful not to use them wrongly.
In short, I think that this stanza from the poem "Ode to Himself" by Ben Johnson (in case anyone else wants to chime in) means that we should all make the most of our gifts, and try to enojoy life. A lyre is a Greek musical instrument. Take your instrument and play it to your heart's content. Jove, also known as Jupiter, was the king of the Gods.
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