What is the poet's message in "From Spectator ab Extra?" How effective is the imagery in conveying the message?what type of poetry

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As I sat at the Cafe I said to myself,
They may talk as they please about what they call pelf,
They may sneer as they like about eating and drinking,
But help it I cannot, I cannot help thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

I sit at my table en grand seigneur,
And when I have done, throw a crust to the poor;
Not only the pleasure itself of good living,
But also the pleasure of now and then giving:
So pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So pleasant it is to have money.

They may talk as they please about what they call pelf,
And how one ought never to think of one's self,
How pleasures of thought surpass eating and drinking, -
My pleasure of thought is the pleasure of thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

The Latin phrase spectator ab extra means "spectator from outside" or an uninvolved observer. The term "pelf" is an archaic way of saying "money."

The message is "How pleasant it is to have wealth." At first it seems that the poet is gloating about his own wealth. When you factor in the title, though, you realize that the speaker is actually the outsider looking in. The speaker is being sarcastic when he talks about throwing a crumb to the poor or sometimes giving them money. He is that poor person to whom charity is sometimes given.

This poem is what is called satirical verse. Now, you decide whether the imagery is effective.

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