Presentation on theme: "Written the Night Before his Execution"— Presentation transcript:
1 Written the Night Before his Execution aka Tichbourne’s ElegyBy Chidiock TichbourneAn elegy is a reflection on the death someone or about sorrow
2 My prime of youth is but a frost of cares, The poem…My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,My feast of joy is but a dish of pain;My crop of corn is but a field of tares,And all my good is but vain hope of gain; My day is past, and yet I saw no sun;And now I live, and now my life is done.
3 My tale was heard, and yet it was not told, My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green;My youth is spent, and yet I am not old,I saw the world an yet I was not seen.My thread is cut and yet it is not spun;And now I live, and now my life is done.
4 I sought my death, and found it in my womb, I looked for life, and saw it was a shade,I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,And now I die, and now I was but made:The glass is full, and now my glass is run,And now I live, and now my life is done.
5 ContextWritten by Tichbourne - a national terrorist or Christian martyr because he had committed treason by trying to assassinate Queen Elizabeth 1.Under Elizabeth Catholicism was illegal and Catholics could no longer publicly worship and had to be careful to hide their faith. Tichbourne was a minor conspirator in a plot to overthrow the queen and replace her with the next in line, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was a Catholic (the Babington Plot). Life for Catholics was difficult as they had no religious freedom and were kept from positions of privilege or royal favour.The plot did not succeed because of a fellow conspirator turned the rest in to escape punishment himself. All those caught were sentenced to death.Apparently the poem was written on 19th September, the eve of his execution. The next day he was hung but wile he was choking he was disemboweled alive (hung, drawn and quartered).He was between at the time of his death.
6 Last meals were not of nourishment but was that of emotional suffering The poet uses a similar use of antitheses and metaphors to convey his frustration of his life being cut shortLast meals were not of nourishment but was that of emotional sufferingUse of words or phrases to contrast with each other in order to create a balanced effectWritten in first person, ‘I’ and ‘my’ show how he was in a state of complete self-absorption and mental isolation in his last hours –understandable really!He is at the pinnacle of his lifeMAYBE alludes to the Gospel imagery of the painful cup that must be drunk to fulfill God’s will (Jesus) – Last SupperSadness/TroublesMy prime of youth is but a frost of cares,My feast of joy is but a dish of pain;My crop of corn is but a field of tares,And all my good is but vain hope of gain;The day is past, and yet I saw no sun;And now I live, and now my life is done.Never had a chance to enjoy life like other youthsWeedsAgricultural MetaphorNothing truly worthwhile was produced by him in his lifeHis life has come to its endThe only way the poet has benefited in his life is by hoping to make an achievement but has in reality his efforts were al in ‘vain’In this case the contemporary English translation of ‘but’ is ‘just’Last line is repeated in all three stanzas so as to emphasise although he is alive at this precise moment in time his life is virtually overAlthough the poet is young his life is ‘frost’, joyless and full of worries = impending deathFeeling of defeat is heightened when he reminisces and realizes that he actually hasn’t really accomplished anything worthwhile in his short life. Each line contrasts his youthful life, his prime, with the certainty of his death.
7 The poet had a life, his existence is recorded Expressing frustration that his life was not lived to the full..does not have a legacy to leave behindThe poet had a life, his existence is recordedHe uses paradox to contrast between his expectations as a young man and his reward as a traitorCompares life to a tree, he is a fruit hat has ripened and fallen to the ground because his life is about to end. Slight connotation that he is ready for his death even though he is still youngMy tale was heard, and yet it was not told,My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green;My youth is spent, and yet I am not old,I saw the world, and yet I was not seen.My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun;And now I live, and now my life is done.Did not have time to leave a markHis life has not been lived outIn Greek mythology the fates would spin thread to decide how long a person would liveCould emphasize the poet’s inability to escape his executionTichbourne has established in the previous stanza that he had not achieved anything substantial now he is actually realizing that he will never get the chance to make something of himself
8 He never fully trusted life, as he saw it as a ‘shade’-illusory Reference to the origin of his fate, it all started when he was born Catholic. His fate to fight for his beliefs.Everyone is born to dieHe never fully trusted life, as he saw it as a ‘shade’-illusoryHe expected his death, it was decided even before he was bornReference to the way he dies-stomach is slashed open(foreshadow)Common poetical conceit…puns on a man being biblically created on earth and returning to earthI sought my death, and found it in my womb,I looked for life, and saw it was a shade,I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,And now I die, and now I was but made:The glass is full, and now my glass is run,And now I live, and now my life is done.From the point of view of eternity, He feels like his life just started a moment ago and is now already coming to an end but it is okay because his transition to heaven is instantaneousImage of an hourglassPerhaps it can also be that for the first time he is really living because heaven is now on the horizon and he is realizing what life s aboutIn this stanza the poet takes his inevitable outcome as an expected outcome with no other possible alternative options, as though death is the proper thing for him to experience at this moment. Though poet is troubled by how it ends, you can perceive that he did fulfill his earthly purpose and can now die in peace
9 General RemarksAlthough the poem picks up on many images of regret and despair it is in itself not a despairing poem, instead I feel it is one of acceptance and stubbornness to continue on defiantly down this course till the endWith the exception of fallen every word in the poem is of one syllable, this adds to the stark and plain tone of the poem…it doesn’t try too hard he has stripped himself bareThe fact that the poet is writing poetry in his last moments gives him an element of grace and dignity…which is seen in the poem through the use of proper punctuation, caesura and perfect iambic pentameter with a true ABABCC rhyme schemeEach end rhyme pair is significantly appropriate, each being an opposite of the other and yet equated.e.gMy prime of youth is but a frost of cares,My crop of corn is but a field of tares,