What are some of the poetic devices of the poem "A Contemplation upon Flowers" by Henry King?
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In Henry King, Bishop of Chichester's poem, "A Contemplation upon Flowers," the author uses a poem to serve a specific purpose; it…
...simply seeks to convey emotions or ideas.
King writes this poem about wanting to be more like nature: to know when to live, and then when to die—without fear of death.
There is a great deal of imagery in the poem, and this is first seen as personification. There are many examples, but some include the author's reference to the flowers as "brave;" and then he refers to the flower's ability to "gallant"—used as a verb, meaning to court a lady. "Vain" is also a human characteristic, as well as "You come abroad," "you are not proud," and "you know your birth." Personification continues throughout the poem, seen in "you obey," "look as cheerfully as you," "O teach me," and "my breath / Like yours..."
A metaphor is used in the line, "…your embroidered garments are from earth," comparing the flowers to colorful clothing.
Personification from the first stanza leads into an extended metaphor in the second stanza: the speaker is saying that he'd prefer it to be "Spring," meaning that he would like always stay young. "My fate would know no Winter" continues with the comparison of his life to the seasons, and winter symbolizes the speaker's death.
In the third stanza, "Death" is an example of metonymy:
...a figure of speech which substitutes one term with another that is being associated with the that term
We see this with the use of the word"Death" which really refers to the act of "dying." It could probably be argued that "Death" might also be personification, as if death could be seen, rather than seeing the effects of death, or the act of dying.
Finally, at the end of the last stanza, there is a simile, comparing the smell of flowers to the author's last breath: "then teach me, that my breath / Like yours may sweeten and perfume my death."