Talk: On the Other Side of the River
On the silent riverbed, she stood
Scene = riverbed, mood = silent, tranquil, forlorn
Where the softer wind had blown
Wind represents the trail wind of people bygone, meaning she’s somewhere secluded from the rest of the world. Plus, she’s an angel, so she’s literally separate from the world.
Against the ground, she glistened the star’s light
Shines like a star against the grass by the riverside.
And eclipsed nature’s splendor grown
Her shine upstages nature’s beauty at night
Yet beauty tempted not my interest
The speaker was interested, but because she is beautiful.
Though her allure gleams upon thrones
Though her beauty is queen; though she is indeed beautiful.
But a sorrowful sound out her breath
But by her sad voice…
Revealed a sorrow unknown
She revealed a sadness the speaker was not aware of.
With the edge of elegy, she sung
She sung sadly. Edge of elegy refers to the degree of sadness abstractly, as well as, the fact that she’s lamenting something.
A celestial kiss of tone
Despite the sadness, which is represented by sharp, icy coldness, her voice is as soft as heaven’s kiss, which is warming, fulfilling, and lovable.
Heard angelic gentle melodies
By hearing her angelic song…
And had my bleeding heart sewn
The speaker had his bleeding heart, previously injured or void of blood/emotion, sewn together and fixed. Essentially, her song fills that void and the speaker falls in love with her.
A mortal, mortally mesmerized
Speaker’s a mortal, who is capable of being mortally injured/hypnotized by her angelic, but deadly, song
My reality away thrown
Lost sight of the real world and succumbed to a foolish lust for an angel.
In fanciful fret, fraud my own heart
In that unreal confusion, the speaker tricked himself into believing…
To lust for a heart of stone
That an angel (with a heart of stone) would feel the same.
Was she a more perfect life than He
Questioning why an angel would be on earth.
So to have been disowned?
Because she was more perfect than God himself, he banished her. This is also the reason for her elegy, referring to “edge of elegy” line. She’s lamenting her banishment.
Belle of heaven, curse my tenderness
The most beautiful of heaven, damn the speaker for his feelings.
But let me join in atone
But let the speaker correct his sins with you on the other side of the river (her sin was being more perfect than He and the speaker’s were foolishness in lusting for something you cannot received.)
In that frigid callousness of night
In cold night…
Her divine shine has shown
Her shine (or presence there alone at the riverbed) has shown.
That the saddest thing for an angel
That the saddest thing an angel (to her) can do is to be banished from heaven OR (to the speaker) be lonely and sad at night…
Is for her to shine alone
(to her) shine as in repenting OR (to the speaker) to be beautiful and not share it with anyone.
This poem represents the speaker (or “I”) as slightly selfish, which is a trait of mortals. However, it also shows the downside of being an angel, something absolutely perfect. As a result, a sort of paradox is created: nothing can truly be perfect–there is always something flawed.
Moral: It’s okay not to be perfect!
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