Assignment of first paper option read and analyze one of the

Assignment of First Paper Option

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Read and analyze one of the following two poems for its lyric features: Dante’s

Assignment of First Paper, T1, FA15.docx 

Assignment of First Paper Option



At least double-space 3 pages.


Be certain also to quote andanalyze relevant passages from the poem in your paper and use the correct parenthetical reference after every quotation (page and line numbers in parentheses for the Dante poem in the anthology, line numbers only for the Shakespeare poem since it’s not in your anthology).  Recall also, my emphasis on using introductory phrasing before all quotation. That phrasing is too good an opportunity not to take for you to comment on what follows, offer an interpretation, or make the passage taken from its context clear and grammatical.


On this and every brief paper, I expect you to rely solely on what you’ve learned from class lecture, discussion, and my handouts.  Do not use any outside sources (printed, internet-available, or otherwise). See the Style Sheet for further instruction on quotation and parenthetical reference format.


The Topic:


Read and analyze one of the following two poems for its lyric features: Dante’s “Guido, I wish . . .” (p. B359)or Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” (below)—also called “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” since it was given no title, and some editors just use the first line.  While you may include an explication of this poem (your interpretation of the poem’s meaning) in your analysis, that is optional. Be sure, however, that you do what the assignment asks and analyze the poem for its five lyric features: 1. subjectivity (first person point of view), 2. emotion, 3. brevity (meaning that the poem is typically no more than twenty lines long), 4. imagination (literal and/or figurative imagery), and 5. melody  (poetic features).  Refer to the “Mastering the Lyric” to help you find the relevant lyric features and “Mastering the Sonnet” to help you find the poetic features like rhyme and metrical length; you cannot manage this assignment without understanding the instruction there.




Sonnet 18, by William Shakespeare


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May;

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.                    And summer’s lease . . . : summer’s term has too short

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,                     a duration; eye of heaven: sun

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,                        every fair from fair: every attractive thing from beauty

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:        untrimmed: disarrayed

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;                        owest: possess

Nor shall Death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou growest.                       When in eternal lines to Time thou growest: when mylines

  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,                     (poetry) make you as eternal as Time itself

  So long lives this, and gives life to thee.


CAUTIONS, HINTS and FURTHER EXPLANATIONS:  Many students have failed this assignment for failing to follow instructions. It may be they mistrust the topic because it is so straightforward.  This is an expository (explanatory) essay, for the most part.  I’m asking you to explain how the poem chosen from above is or is not a lyric.  Make sure you understand the nature of the assignment.  Ask me if you don’t.  I do not want only explication of the poem’s content.  In fact the topic does not require any explication, but allows it as an option.  Refer to the Style Sheet for tips and advice as well as format instruction.  Again, DO NOT use any sort of outside published material (electronic, print, or otherwise) in this paper.  I want this paper to contain your ideas based on concepts and terms we have been learning in this class. 


The topic asks that you analyze one of two poems as a lyric.  Your choices are Dante’s “Guido, I wish” in your anthology or Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” which is not in your anthology but given above.  As the “Mastering the Lyric” lecture makes plain, a lyric has five features.  You need to look for each of them and show where or how each feature occurs in the poem.  You must quote and analyze relevant passages from the poem for some of those features. Dante’s poem is awash in first person pronouns; Shakespeare’s is no less of a lyric, but it has only one first person pronoun.  Other pronouns like second person you, your, ye, thou, thee, thy or third person like he, she, it, they, their, his, her have absolutely no relevance to the poem’s status as a lyric.


You do not need to write a paragraph for each of the five lyric features. Since both of these poems are sonnets, they are necessarily only fourteen lines long and thus obviously meet the lyric requirement of brevity. You still must mention that brevity in passing, but you do not need to spend more than a few words on it. You may find that the lyric features of, say, imagination (imagery) and emotion may be treated together in one paragraph. That’s fine. There’s no definitive way to organize your analysis. Just don’t jumble everything into one giant paragraph in your paper’s body.


Make sure you at least mention all of the five lyric features, no matter how obvious, and be prepared to write at greater length and with passages analyzed from the poem in support of your observations for more important features like emotion or imagination or subjectivity.


The Shakespeare poem is in slightly modernized English spelling, but the Dante poem is of course a modern English translation of the medieval Italian original.  As we’ve discussed, some of the poetic features tend to be lost when the poem is translated from its original language, but this translation of “Guido, I wish” nevertheless has some poetic touches.




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