What are figures of speech used in the poem "A Contemplation upon Flowers"?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most heavily used figure of speech in this poem is personification. Flowers, as inanimate objects, can not actually exhibit many of the characteristics they are credited with having in the words of the poet. "Brave flowers...you are not proud: you know your birth" Flowers aren't brave or proud; they don't know when they are born because they aren't really born in any sense.

The poet is contemplating flowers because he has observed so many flowers in funeral and burial arrangements. "How often have I seen you at a bier, and there look fresh and spruce!" The unstated rhetorical question in the poem is asking the flowers for guidance in how to face death without fear.

O that I could my bed of earth but view and smile, and look as cheerfully as you! O teach me to see Death and not to fear, But rather to take truce!...teach me, that my breath like yours may sweeten and perfume my death.

The rhyme scheme of the poem supports the structure of thoughts being expressed and emphasizes the inescapable nature of death. The rhythm and rhyme are maintained throughout the poem in perfect form.



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A Contemplation Upon Flowers

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