What are the figures of speech contained in the poem "The Village School Master"??

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here's the poem:

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The days disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he:
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd:
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declar'd how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too:
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e'en the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill,
For e'en though vanquish'd he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thund'ring sound
Amazed the gazing rustics rang'd around;
And still they gaz'd and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumph'd is forgot.

Alliteration: "terms and tides"; "rustics rang'd"

Anaphora: "Full well they laugh'd"; "Full well the busy"

Analogy: it's a part to whole.  The schoolmaster (part) is compared to the village (whole)

Imagery: 3 types

  • setting-based  imagery: "straggling fence"; "noisy mansion"; "little school"
  • intellectual/educational imagery: "Lands"; "terms and tides";  "small head"
  • rhetorical/linguistic imagery: "words"; "jokes"; "story"

Rhyming couplets: pairs of rhyming lines ("spot" / "forgot")

End-stopped lines (punctuation "." or "," or ";" at the end of a line)

Caesura: punctation in the middle of a line ("Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,")

Speaker/Tone: loves the school master; poem is a dedication to him