Materialism is a wakening of shallowness essay

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Materialism is a wakening of shallowness essay

Let us clear our eyes, and break Through the cloudy chrysalis, See the wonder as it is. It is not my aim here to name and to castigate, yet again, the critics who have seen Lampman as a mere dreamer, an escapist, a functionary who sought solace from the city and from himself in an external nature, detailed descriptions of which are his major claim to be that the best of nineteenth-century Canadian poets.

For him, the only acceptable reason for leaving the world of men was to return to it regenerated, with a reformed and reforming humanitarian vision.

I Before proceeding to examine individual poems and particular passages in Lampman's oeuvre where vision plays a paramount role, account must be taken of the fact that the Canadian poet's best and most central poems obtain much of their energy and detail from a coherent cosmology or "world view.

The cosmology is best envisaged as a series of concentric circles, of temporal cycles, revolving around a point of no movement, a point paradoxically in and out of time from which vision is possible. In their increasing circumferences these temporal cycles embody the diurnal movement of the sun, the annual round of the seasons, the ontogenetic movement of individual man's life, and the phylogenetic "progress" of Western civilization, with the whole anchored geographically in the four cardinal points of the compass as conceived, in their associations, from a standpoint in the Northern hemisphere.

The wheels within wheels of Lampman's system served him well, providing a lens to focus the energy of his imagination and furnishing a series of correspondences for each quarter of the day or season of the year which he could either ignore or draw upon for purposes of resonance and metaphor.

Lampman did not, of course, invent the associations and correspondences which comprise his system; rather, he seems to have subsumed several quite traditional organic, cyclical, and linear analogies such as those which link the human lifespan with the cycles of the day and year and the classical Greek conception of the Ages of Man into an intelligible and hieratic, but not Procrustean, pattern which is rendered tangible and individual by Materialism is a wakening of shallowness essay rooted in his own personal experiences of a Canadian nature that is relatively extreme in its daily and seasonal variations.

The concentric circles of Lampman's cosmology divide readily into quadrants, two of which were of special significance to him and, hence, will be of special importance here.

The first, and most important quadrant, is that which radiates outwards from the period surrounding noon, through Summer and youth-manhood, to what, mythologically, is the Golden-Silver age of Man and, geographically, is the South, the region of the most intense light and heat in the Northern hemisphere.

Eliot and Woolf as Historians of the Common Life

This is the quadrant in which Lampman's most celebrated poem "Heat," where the time of day is "noon," the season is clearly summer, and the poet is facing "southward" Poems, pp.

It is the quadrant in which positive visionary experiences -- epiphanic insights in to man, nature, and human life -- are most likely to occur because, to Lampman, sunlight is poetentially and metaphorically the source of both physical and spiritual illumination, For the Canadian poet conceives the "marvellous sun" in the classical tradition the emblem of Apollo,4 in the Christian tradition the type of God's radiance as the source of a creative and spiritual light which at once clarifies, harmonizes, and regenerates the common-day and common-place world, bestowing on the poet lucid and rational insights to the way of that world -- making his "Thoughts grow keen and clear" in the fullest senses of each of those words.

The first is that the effort to comprehend the place of "balanced opposites" within a dynamic circle that is significant and revelatory of the organic unity of all nature requires on the part of the poet very considerable mental and perceptual powers. That is why in "Heat" the poet, intent on making intelligent use of his senses, bends his thoughts and his perceptions to such activities as observing the "idly clacking wheels" of a "hay-cart," counting " marguerites one by one," and listening to the "thin revolving tune" of a "thrush" Poems, pp.

In his search for a comprehensive vision of a unity that includes man the "wagoner" and the poet himselfLampman must seek to discover in the particulars of the world evidence of the cyclical design of his cosmos, must set his mind and senses to find reflections of the organic cycles that, ideally, govern nature and man.

If he is to achieve these ends he must see what is through what only seems significantly the words "seems" is used twice only in "Heat," both times in the first two stanzas, where the poet is struggling to clarify his thoughts and perceptions ; moreover, the poet must experience a sensation of being a part of external nature while yet remaining apart from it and conscious of his rational, human self.

The conditions for achieving such a state of equipoise are that the body be stationary -- a still centre -- in the natural as opposed to urban and non-organic realm and that the mind be active and, hence, able to balance close observation watchfulness with coherent reverie dream.

So it is that in the penultimate stanza of "Heat" the poet states italics added: In intervals of dream I hear The crickets from the droughty ground; The grasshoppers spin into mine ear A small innumerable sound.

And yet to me not this or that Is always sharp or always sweet; In the sloped shadow of my hat I lean at rest, and drain the heat; Nay more, I think some blessed power Hath brought me wandering idly here: In the full furnace of this hour My thoughts grow keen and clear. Indeed, the carefully unspecified "thoughts" that "grow" as if organically under the intense light of the sun suggest that the poet has achieved communion with the world of nature, not by allowing his reason to become impaired, but, on the contrary, as a means of having it sharpened and clarified.

Finally it must be said of "Heat" that for the reader the recreation of the steps to illumination that comprises the poem functions as a simulacrum and a rehearsal for what the human mind can gain through a proper -- which is to say rational -- approach to and understanding of external nature.

Very likely, Lampman would have allowed Roberts' description of the animal story as a "potent emancipator" that "frees us for a little from the world of shop-worn utilities and The intense light and heat of midday are not always beneficent and illuminating, productive of positive visionary experiences, in Lampman's work.

In the realm of the city, the assaults of heat and light contribute to the sense of oppression and lassitude which Lampman saw as negative aspects of urban life. For instance, in "The Poet's Song," a poem which probably owes a debt of imagery, including noon imagery, to Rossetti's "The Bride's Prelude,"8 the unremitting heat has parched the "burning plain" and driven the city's inhabitants "half-mad.

Sometimes with clank of hoofs and cries The noon through all its trance was stirred: The poet sat with half-shut eyes, Nor saw, nor heard.

Materialism is a wakening of shallowness Essay Sample

And once across the heated close Light laughter in a silver shower Fell from fair lips: A far cry this from the light and heat that provoke sharp, clear thought in "Heat" or, indeed, from "the noon" hour at which the Christians set sail South-East from Rome to the ascetic regions of revelation, the "fierce bare places" Poems, p.

It is against such an impaired, unfocused, and torpid state that the poet struggles towards clarity in "Heat"; here now is the first stanza of that poem, with italics added to indicate the weakened powers of observation and thought with which the poet begins his meditation:A description of materialism as a wakening of shallowness; Essays on commitment to public service; The life and accomplishments of al capone; The theme of reputation in platos the trial and death of socrates; An analysis of the army of northern virginia in the american civil war.

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Materialism is a wakening of shallowness essay

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