When I Heard the Leanrn'd Astronomer

PosterĄG Julie cheng at 21:39:13 11/21/97 from tpproxy3.hinet.net

Sorry for posting this journal late! ! I caught a bad cold and have been very sick for a couple days, but now I feel better and ready to write my journal.
I notice that we've read three of Walt Whitman's poems. There must be much to learn in his rich and valuable poems, for they appear so often in our reading schedule. In the poem, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer," the speaker might be a student, too, like us. He seemed to be bored by the lecture soon. In line 3 and 4, he seemed dazzled by all the columns, charts and diagrams. He was in the position of student, who was supposed to pay attention, to learn and to bear the lecture in mind. He was a receiver, but there was too much information for him, and he couldn't afford to learn it all, so he kind of broke down.
In line 5 it says," How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick." I think the reason he used the word "unaccountable" is because it was a LEARN'D astronomer who lectured, instead of an ordinary or simple professor. And since "he lectured with much applause," the astronomer's lecture must have been remarkable and worth learning. But why the speaker left? He might want to find out the truth by himself, and let nature speak for herself and to him. People always believe in the truth, which we've been told, and seldom doubt and challenge if truth is rally true. Let truth speak for itself. People should not fallow like sheep; they should see with their own eyes, through their own hearts.
The speaker left the lecture-room and joined to nature, to relieve himself. In the last two lines "mystical," "from time to time," and "perfect silence" is mentioned. Nature is mystical and it exists forever. As time goes by, her essence never changes a bit. It represents immortal, as if truth never dies. Nature doesn't speak verbally, but she expresses herself in other ways: to change her outlook in different seasons. Stars also look differently every season. Nature changes silently, and perfectly. She has her own rule to fallow. In the last line "silence" isn't necessarily interpreted as there was no any sounds. It can also mean the feeling of peace and harmony in nature.
The astronomer's lecture sure is a type of art. Astronomers are not only a scientist, they can also be artists. Their investigation lead people to a field unknown. They see things in different angle; they not only appreciate nature, but also try to find out the deeper meaning and some scientific truth. Everyone can observe something if we try, even we're no astronomers. Art (the astronomer's lecture) and nature (the speaker's observation outside) attach to each other; there's a link between them. And people need both of them: to learn and to observe.


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