Saturday, October 29, 2005

Men Mind No State In Sickness by Robert Herrick

That flow of gallants which approach
To kiss thy hand from out the coach;
That fleet of lackeys which do run
Before thy swift postilion;
Those strong-hoof'd mules, which we behold
Rein'd in with purple, pearl, and gold,
And shed with silver, prove to be
The drawers of the axle-tree;
Thy wife, thy children, and the state
Of Persian looms and antique plate:
--All these, and more, shall then afford
No joy to thee, their sickly lord.

I decided to write about this poem because I am not sure what it means. The poem has a lot of descriptions about everything but the subject, until the last line. It seems like it is from around the 17th century when people had coaches and lackeys (a male servant, according to the dictionary). At first, I thought this poem was about a woman, since men would come to kiss her hand. Reading on, I realized that it is about a noble man, who is probably part of royalty (I got this from the mules with royal colors). This person is so rich that his coach's axle-tree is decorated with the royal colors and precious stones. The speaker describes the subject's wife and children as being picture perfect. I think that the last couple lines say that all the things that this king has does not bring him any joy, hence being sickly. From the tittle, I'm guessing that he does not mind being unhappy, although he has everything.


Blogger Michael Overton said...

I thought that you were right about what was going on in the poem. Noble men often make the pesants and those lower kiss their hand as a sign of gratitude. And all the stuff this guy has, kinda shows that he is rich. He even has imports form persia it statse in the poem. He has what most people today would call a "celebrity status". I thought the last line of the poem was refering to the fact that he has everything but it means nothing if is doesnt bring you joy. Kind of like that money doesnt bring happiness phrase.

9:54 AM  

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