Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now

by A. E. Housman

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Analysis of the depiction and significance of nature in "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now"


In "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now," nature is depicted as a symbol of life's fleeting beauty. The cherry blossoms represent the transient nature of existence, emphasizing the importance of appreciating natural beauty and seizing the present moment. This underscores the poem's theme of the brevity of life and the urgency to cherish each experience.

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What is the poem 'Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now' about?

This poem is about the beauties of nature, represented by the cherry tree, and how the poet feels he has really not enough time to appreciate this beauty, because, like all living things, he is fated to die.

The first stanza is a straightforward description of the cherry tree in all its spring-time magnificence, which the poet sees in the wood. It is whimsically described as 'wearing white for Eastertide,'(4) as if it too, like humans, is celebrating a religious festival.

In the second stanza, the mood changes and the focus shifts from the tree to the poet himself, as he falls to musing on the inevitability of death. Casting up the sum of his years, he estimates that he has about fifty years left to live, as he is already twenty; this fits in with the idea, found in the Bible, that the human lifespan equates to about seventy years. So again there are religious overtones here, although now tinged with melancholy at the thought of death, and, significantly, despite the religious references, the poet does not seem to particularly believe in life after death. This undercuts the earlier mention of Easter, which of course celebrates resurrection.

The final stanza expresses the poet's feeling that fifty more years are still much too few to appreciate the beauties of nature. Therefore he decides that he will come to look at the cherry tree not only when it is in full bloom, but also in the dead of winter when it is 'hung with snow'(12). The use of the word 'snow' at the very end of the poem is particularly effective; it refers literally to winter conditions, but also harks back to the first stanza, when the tree was 'hung in bloom'. Thus the natural life cycle is summed up, from springtime and the bloom of life through to death and decay. In spring the tree is clothed in the white of bloom, in winter in the white of snow. 

The poem thus celebrates the beauties of nature in all seasons, as well as quietly lamenting the inevitable passing of youth to death for all living things. But the poet does not despair. Rather, he determines to make good use of the time that he does have, and to enjoy the beauty of nature as much as he can. 

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What does the poem "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now" mean?

It means, basically, that life is short and you will soon die so have fun and enjoy your life while you can.

In this poem, Housman is talking about how it seems like life is really short.  The speaker is saying this even though he is only 20 years old (that seems young to me now).  The speaker is basically saying "I'm 20 and that means I have only 50 years left to enjoy my life."  The speaker says "since that's all I have left, I'm going to go out and look at the beautiful trees."  In other words, since my life is going to be over before I know it, I want to make sure I have lived it to the fullest.

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How does the poem "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now" reflect the beauty of nature?

"A Shropshire Lad 2: Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now" is a poem by A.E. Housman. Housman was both a poet and a classical scholar. Many of his poems, including "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now," touch on themes of the inevitability of death. Many of them also celebrate the beauty and youthfulness of nature.

This poem is filled with descriptions of the cherry tree, which is in bloom for the spring. Housman also talks about the "woodland" in which the cherry trees can be found, so we know there are other trees around, and we can begin to imagine the scene.

Now, how does Housman use language to present this as beauty? I believe the answer to that comes mostly from the first stanza:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

He uses diction such as "loveliest," which has a very positive connotation. He also personifies the cherry tree by saying that it's wearing white for Easter. By presenting this image, we may imagine a white dress, and we can begin to compare the tree to a beautiful woman.

Other phrases, like "bloom along the bough," paint a picture of how the tree looks covered in flowers and can help us visualize the cherry tree as something light, bright, and beautiful.

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How is nature depicted in "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now"?

In Housman's poem, nature is presented as lovely. The speaker wanders through the woodlands in early spring and is enchanted by sight of blossoming cherry boughs. Every bit of imagery he uses to describe them is beautiful. For example, he says the blooming trees seem to be wearing white in celebration of Easter. Later, he also states that a cherry tree looks as if it is hung with snow.

The entire poem is a celebration of nature and the joy it brings. The speaker says that since he is twenty years old and can expect to live to seventy, he has only fifty springtimes left to see the cherry bough blooming. To him, that is not much time, so he plans to drink in the sight of cherry blossoms while he can.

This is a carpe diem or seize the day poem. Life is short, it says, so enjoy nature's beauties while you can.

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How is time portrayed in "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now"?

If you mean "by what means" is time portrayed, it is portrayed by the image of the trees and their flowers.  If you are asking what time is portrayed as, it is portrayed as something that is fleeting and quickly gone.

Time, in this poem, seems to be measured by springs and by the flowers that come out at this time of year.  The speaker talks about "springs" many times in the poem.  So if you are asking what the speaker uses to mark time, it is spring.

But what is time like?  Well, the main thing going on here is that time is flying and will fly by quickly.  Time is something that you have to hold onto as hard as you can because it will soon be past.

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