“They Are All Gone into the World of Light!” (the poem is known by its first line), consisting of ten rhymed (abab) stanzas, is at once a lyrical expression of faith and an elegy for friends who have passed away. A meditation on death, it juxtaposes the world of light that follows death with the world of darkness that is the fate of the living. It culminates with a two-stanza prayer in which the speaker requests that God renew the fallen world and either give him spiritual insight here or take him to heaven, where there are no impediments to vision.
In the first four stanzas, the speaker establishes and develops a contrast between the fortunate dead who live in a world of light and his own unfortunate life in a world of darkness, a contrast at odds with the reader’s usual associations of life with light and darkness with death. The speaker, however, looks beyond death, merely a transitory stage in this poem, to life after death. Despite the imagery of darkness, bondage, and blindness, the poem reflects the speaker’s faith—there is no real tension, no uncertainty, no doubt. Even though he has “sad thoughts,” the speaker’s thoughts do “clear”; the memory of the departed “glows and glitters in my cloudy brest,” lending some light or “beams” to his obscured vision. The dead walk “in an air of glory,” but his “days” (his life, the times, the temporal) are “dull,” “Meer glimering and decays,” reflecting the...
(The entire section is 512 words.)