at 7:14:59 3/14/98 from 184.108.40.206
|Jonathan Swift, a poet of eighteenth century, an age of adventures,
discoveries on geography, and development of science, is also a poet in
the age of satire.
Byron, a poet of Romantic age, emotional and ideal, is very different from Swift. Here are a pair of poems of them, writing about women, "She walks in beauty" and "On Stella*s birthday".
The beauty in Byron*s poem is his cousin who is compared to the night, so graceful and soft. Starry skies and the night are used as metaphors to describe her. Every part of her is admired; her eyes, her hair, her face, her cheek, her brow, her smiles are attractive to Byron. Thus in this poem, she is more like an fairy than a mortal. Byron also used many adjectives to tell us how beautiful she was, far above any woman in the world. It seems that we are with Byron, standing in a distance to admire this beauty, too nice to be true.
Byron liked her of course, but we cannot tell how intimate they were, merely know from the background that they were relatives. Byron described her as an unachievable goddess; a great distance kept her from us. We only know her appearance and nothing further.
However, Stella is different. We know she was a thirty-four-year woman and had all the problems women have: worrying about aging problems, the increasing size of body, the fading of beauty. She is like someone we know in our lives, so familiar.
In Swift poem, Stella*s age is doubled, so was her size and wit, but Swift was still very fond of her. From here, we know more about their relationships than Stella herself as a woman. Swift used a playful tone to say his love never changed though Stella was no longer young, his love cannot separate into two for two Stella if she wanted to divide herself into two. Of course we cannot measure a woman like this, but Swift use this specific way to describe a woman*s change thus suggest humor in this poem.
When a woman*s age doubled, it*s usually sad. However in Swift*s poem, we saw a man*s opinion on a woman*s age, quite reasonable and logical.
What if Byron wrote about his beauty if her age is doubled, too? I think again he will use a lot of adjectives to show his emotion and says how his love toward her never changed. Still, she is a goddess.
We may doubt Byron*s description of his beauty, for no one sees a girl so fairy. But in our experience, we all know how a woman changes when her age doubles. Swift and Byron see women from different aspects which shows the great differences between Romantic Age and Age of satire.