in the poem Raleigh was right By William Carlos Williams what is the theme

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This poem is a reference to Walter Raleigh's poem "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" (which is a reply in turn to Marlowe's poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"). In Marlowe's pastoral poem, a shepherd begs his mistress to savor the delights of nature with him. In Raleigh's response, the nymph argues that a blissful, pastoral existence is not possible in a world in which people grow old and flowers fade.

By agreeing with Raleigh in the title of his poem, William Carlos Williams states his belief that nature does not offer a blissful respite from worldly cares. Instead, he writes that even violets are nested among "lance-shaped leaves," symbolizing the ways in which violence (represented by these lance-shaped leaves) lurks even among the beauties of nature.

Williams doubts that nature ever offered the beautiful respite that poets wrote about years ago, and he's sure that it doesn't now. The theme of his poem is that blissful ignorance in today's world, even among the delights of nature, is impossible. Instead, today, love is similar to "a flower with roots in parched ground," as our world lacks the means to foster love. 

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