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Reading Rochester$
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Edward Burns

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780853230380

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317644

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date: 20 November 2017

Gender and Artfulness in Rochester's ‘Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover’

Gender and Artfulness in Rochester's ‘Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover’

Chapter:
(p.6) Gender and Artfulness in Rochester's ‘Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover’
Source:
Reading Rochester
Author(s):

Helen Wilcox

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317644.002

This chapter examines Rochester's lyric entitled ‘Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover’, which caused bewildered interest and the most impassioned disagreement among students. Several issues were raised by the lyric including compassion, art, wit, experience, gender, and voice. The poem is distinctly dramatic, but strangely impersonal. The autonomous young lady in the lyric gives all her energies into making her relationship emotionally and physically satisfying. Rochester's work goes against powerful social stereotypes. The young lady's account of the body of her ancient lover is characterized by metaphors wherein gender associations are blurred and disrupted. The lyric seems to be, at the same time, a searching for an image of the youthful life force and a railing of the male ventriloquist-poet against the vulnerability of his own sex to the frailness of the physical.

Keywords:   Rochester, Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover, lyric, poem, metaphors, compassion, gender associations

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