What are the elements of the poem "The World"?

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The elemental parts of any poem are the words and language techniques it is comprised of. One language technique that Vaughan uses repeatedly is the simile. For example, he says that eternity is "Like a great ring of pure and endless night," and he says that time moved "Like a vast shadow." A ring seems an appropriate comparison for something that is endless, as a ring is also endless, and time being compared to a shadow is also fitting because time, like a shadow, is immaterial and insubstantial.

Throughout the poem, there is also frequent use of imagery connoting light and dark. For example, in the fourth stanza, we have on the one hand images like "dark night," "grots and caves," and "dead and dark," all of which explicitly or implicitly refer to darkness; on the other hand, we have images like "true light," "tread the sun" and "More bright than he," all of which connote light. This light/dark motif reflects the thematic contrast between the knowledge and clarity that the speaker says is offered by God and the ignorance and sadness of human life when cut off from God.

Vaughan also uses a range of techniques to help to create the poem's steady, pulsing rhythm. For example, there is the alliteration of "silly snares," "weights and woe" and "dead and dark," and there are also rhyming couplets in every stanza, such as "rust/dust," "enslave/brave," and "provide/bride." The poem is also written in an iambic meter, meaning that every second syllable is stressed (e.g., "The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe"). All of these techniques in combination produce a repetitive, forceful rhythm which perhaps reflects the endless, steady pulsing of God's light.

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