What are the figures of speech used in A. E. Housman's "Terrence This Is Stupid Stuff"?I need this for a demo in our class : ,

1 Answer | Add Yours

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I'll list the poetic devices Housman used, define them for you, and give you a few examples. Then you can look for more on your own.

Rhyme: the use of similar sounding words, usually at the end of the sentence. It is very easy to identify the rhyme scheme of this poem, because it is written as a series of couplets, or two lines that rhyme. For instance, the first four lines are:

‘TERENCE, this is stupid stuff: You eat your victuals fast enough; There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear, To see the rate you drink your beer.

So the rhyme scheme here is AABB.

Consonance, or the repetition of consonant sounds. For instance, in line 13, the letter m is repeated: "Moping melancholy mad."

Repetition, repeating words or phrases: "The cow, the old cow, it is dead."

Allusion, a reference to history, literature, or mythology, appears in the last stanza with the tale of Mithridates.

The tone, or the feeling the author wants the reader to have, begins rather humorously with the speaker poking fun at Terence's poetry: "But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,/ It gives a chap the belly-ache." Then the speaker becomes serious and tells his friend:

It should do good to heart and head         55 When your soul is in my soul’s stead; And I will friend you, if I may, In the dark and cloudy day.

This is followed by the strange story of Mithridates, which serves as an object lesson that sometimes when people set out to hurt you, they are actually hurting themselves instead.

Mood is the feeling the poem creates in the reader. You will need to decide what the mood is for yourself.

We’ve answered 318,916 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question