Increase Your Literary Vocabulary

Have you ever run across a poem or other work that addresses an inanimate object? We see this a lot with more flowery poets. Oh moon! Oh stars! Oh freedom! This is addressing a personified thing rhetorically which is also known as an apostrophe. An apostrophe also refers to addressing a person who isn’t there. So now when you come across someone reading a poem such as the below sonnet by Alfred Lord Tennyson, you can sound exceedingly brilliant by pointing out the apostrophe. Huzzah!

Oh, Beauty, passing beauty!

I

Oh, Beauty, passing beauty! sweetest Sweet! How canst thou let me waste my youth in sighs? I only ask to sit beside thy feet. Thou knowest I dare not look into thine eyes, Might I but kiss thy hand! I dare not fold My arms about thee–scarcely dare to speak. And nothing seems to me so wild and bold, As with one kiss to touch thy blessed cheek. Methinks if I should kiss thee, no control Within the thrilling brain could keep afloat The subtle spirit. Even while I spoke, The bare word KISS hath made my inner soul To tremble like a lutestring, ere the note Hath melted in the silence that it broke.

The Suppressed Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson (Dodo Press)

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One Response to Increase Your Literary Vocabulary

  1. 'Ailina says:

    Ah! So I've learned two words today: "apostrophe" (in its alternative context) and "lutestring"! 😀

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