Stylistic analysis of the poem Beauty by John Masefield.
A poem can stir a world of senses together at the same point of time, and the tone of a poem can range from being happy to being sad and so on and so forth. John Masefield’s poem Beauty is one such poem. The poem is an exemplary example of a Romantic poem.’ Beauty’ encompasses a variety of emotions expressed by the poet by the use of a variety of techniques including metaphors, similes and onomatopoeia. The poem follows a rhyme pattern of abab cdcd.However, what marks out the poem is its musical cadence. It is as though the poet is singing out the song to his ladylove in order to woe her.
The gradual ascent in the tone of the poem as well the gradual shift from a formal address to a more personal and romantic appeal also stands out as yet another credential of the poem. The emphasis on the aesthetics of language and the use of techniques such as repetition, meter and rhyme, which commonly distinguish Romantic poetry from Romantic prose, can also be seen in the poem. The poem also makes a heavy use of imagery and word association to convey emotions in an emphatic manner. The structural elements in the poem include the line, couplet, strophe and stanza. The poem combines the use of language and a specific structure to make it an imaginative and expressive enterprise. The fact that the poem has been written in past tense smacks of a nostalgic reminiscence
The poem marks a prominence of the consonants n/s/l/j: nasal, fricative, lateral and semi-vowel. These give the poem a staccato movement. However it is regulated by the other semi-prominent continuants d: plosive, w: semi-vowel and v: fricative. Besides, there are some other plosives and affricates, b/t. In addition, there are a few consonant clusters such as wn and nd, the clusters giving out a nasal movement that makes the movement of the poem slow. The poem also incorporates a number of strong adjectives such as springing, strange, arched, and liveliest, which may be interpreted as the poet’s impassionate assertion to his beloved. The poem has been written in first person narrative (I), thereby, making it a purely personal poem shorn of mundane issues. The poem also highlights some promising but old images. Interestingly, the poem has echoes of some of Masefield’s earlier works too. ("and April's in the West Wind, and daffodils" –‘The West Wind’), the sea and ship imagery from a number of poems. Masefield seems to be at his very best when it comes to borrowing images from nature but ‘Beauty’ being one of his rare love poems, has a strikingly different significance when it comes down to the use of images in the poem. Masefield is deliberately expediting the use of some of the images he has lauded in other poems, in stating that even these fall short of 'her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.’