In the poem "The Creditor to His Proud Debtor," what literary terms does George Moses Horton use?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In George Moses Horton's poem, "The Creditor to His Proud Debtor," there are several literary devices used.

The following includes a metaphor, comparing the debtor to a bird, that struts about in his finery, referring to his "feathers" and "crowing" days.

...strut and boast, 
But think of what your feathers cost; 
Your crowing days are short at most...

The second stanza refers to the "jingle" in his pocket, which might be an example of onomatopoeia.

Repetition is used with some semblance of the line "debts were paid," or "your accounts paid," as well as "with a sheriff at your back." Repetition generally is used to drive an important idea or symbolic message home to the reader.

Imagery is provided especially in the last stanza where the speaker describes how he would look, bringing a picture to the mind of the reader. He will wear a "light cravat," "a bell-crown hat," sitting as a man of means would, "cross-legged on my chair / Within the cloister shade." The word "creaning" in the line…

…And creaning wear my bell-crown hat...

may refer to an archaic use of the word "creancer" which refers to a creditor.


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