What are some figures of speech in the poem "Farewell Love and all thy Laws for ever"?

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greenie1138 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many different types of figures of speech. A figure of speech is a phrase or a word that has or gives a meaning different from its literal meaning, like metaphors, similes, or even alliteration.

“Farewell Love and all thy Laws for ever” is a poem written by Sir Thomas Wyatt in an ABBA rhyme scheme. The poem is, as its title suggests, an exclamation by the writer saying that he is giving up on love and turning instead to the world of intellect.

Wyatt relies heavily on metaphors in the poem. In line 2, Wyatt writes:

Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more.

This is an excellent example of a metaphor, wherein Wyatt likens the temptations of love to “baited hooks” that he will avoid the way fish avoid lures. (Remember that a metaphor is different from a simile in that both compare two dissimilar things, but a simile uses the words like or as.) Similarly, he compares learning to not pursue pointless love with climbing rotten trees, in the poem’s final line:

Me lusteth no lenger rotten boughs to climb.

Just as climbing a rotting tree is dangerous and pointless, so is pursuing love.

Another figure of speech is alliteration, which is when several words start with the same sound. We can see an example of this in line 8:

And scape forth, since liberty is lever.

The examples I gave are just a few kinds of the figures of speech you could look for in the poem. You might also be able to find instances of hyperbole, irony, assonance, etc.