Tennyson, Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white

This is a structurally interesting poem. Every stanza and even one line within the poem begins with the word “Now.” Many other lines, especially in the first stanza also begins with the letter N. Tennyson uses the N words, especially the later stanza “Now” words to create opposition within the meaning of the lines. For example, “Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,/And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.” The first line creates a simile and the second uses the comparison (in this case the ghost) in a different way, changing its meaning. This approach is not continuous as that in some later stanzas, Tennyson continue the thought from the previous line by introducing a metaphor. For example, “Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,/And slips into the bosom of the lake.” The lily is the metaphor for the speaker (this becomes clear in the third line) and Tennyson uses the lily to explain the condition of the speaker.

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