Allen Tate: Blooms Major Poets: Comprehensive Research And by Harold Bloom

By Harold Bloom

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Extra info for Allen Tate: Blooms Major Poets: Comprehensive Research And Study Guide (Bloom's Major Poets)

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But in the final version, Tate mitigates the starkness of this effect by allowing his speaker to merge the soldiers with the nature in which they rest. Nature and the memory of the men are transformed together. The personification is suitable to his solipsism, and his reverie does seem more philosophically satisfying than that of the first speaker. But this gain is bought at the risk of seeming slightly sentimental. ” The passage which follows, common to all versions of the poem, brings in spiders, owl, and willows.

It implies a parody of human consciousness and human creativity. Perhaps he can sing, but only with a voice which emphasizes, even more than the voice of the screech-owl, his sterility. The figure of the jaguar follows appropriately in his meditation because he is obviously post-Darwinian in thought. It implies the individualism that must result from his skepticism—an individualism that is ultimately self-destructive. The final version of this section employs the same figures, somewhat rearranged: We shall say only the leaves whispering In the improbable mist of nightfall That flies on multiple wing; Night is the beginning and the end And in between the ends of distraction Waits mute speculation, the patient curse That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.

The gray lean spiders come, they come and go; In a tangle of willows without light The singular screech-owl’s tight Invisible lyric seeds the mind With the furious murmur of their chivalry. The varied end rhyme scheme, repetitions, and internal rhymes lend momentum and inevitability, and the oxymorons (“verdurous anonymity,” “furious murmur”) give these lines the force of the irrational and undeniable rightness of language. Tate, at his best, displays a technical ability that is not merely virtuosity but the genuine poet’s instinct for language that is true because of its sound not its content.

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