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The yellow violet


             Anyone reading Bryant's "The Yellow Violet" gets the point (stated without the typical poetic diction) in the last two stanzas. The yellow violet teaches the speaker humility. It is small, unobtrusive, and easy to ignore, even when not dimmed by the show of other flowers. The speaker admits having forgotten poorer friends once he became wealthy. Now he realizes that those friends, though less flashy than (one presumes) his richer friends, have value easily missed. One gathers that the speaker will not again make the mistake of ignoring his less glamorous friends.
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             Were it not for the moral at the end, this poem would perhaps suggest one of Wordsworth's lyrical ballads (without the artificial poetic diction). Aside from the needless personification of birds, spring, the sun, etc., and the poetic "thee" and "thou," the poem has some subtly to it and celebrates the commonplace, the beauty of the ordinary. In that sense it is romantic. Wordsworth announced in the 1802 "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" that he sought to use the language of real people and the emotions produced by ordinary events. This poem comes close to those ideas and the general poetic theory expressed in the "Preface.".
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             You might also pay some heed to the music of the poem. Every line offers a pattern of alliteration, assonance, or consonance. Note, for example, "beechen buds," "woods . . .
             warble," "Peeps . . . last . . . leaves below.".
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             "Inscription to the Entrance to a Wood".
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             The idea and the diction of this poem may seem trite to us now, especially since .
             Emerson and Thoreau said of nature things more profound and said them much better.
             In this blank-verse poem Bryant asserts that Nature, since it fell not so far from God as did Man, can heal the tormented soul of the worldly person.
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             "Oh Fairest of the Rural Maids".
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             This is a very bad poem because its meter never varies in its nursery-rhyme rhythm and the diction is always predictable.


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