Metaphors

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Nicholas Hemann
English 1302
Dr. Hawley
5/9/2013

Herbert’s Metaphors
George Herbert wrote the poems: “Alter” and “Windows” that have a good use of metaphor throughout each poem. Herbert has a good use of metaphor in these two poems that greatly enhances the meaning of them both. The metaphors used have affect over the connotation and the denotation of the adjectives and the analogies that are made with the use of the metaphors “Alter” has a great use of metaphor in not only the words but also the shape of the poem its self. The altar Herbert is erecting to God in this poem is also made of "broken" material, not actually out of stone, but "made of a heart, and cemented with teares" (“Alter” line1). This is similar to a psalm of David in the Bible, where David sings, "For thou desirest not sacrifice: else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:17-18 KJV) In this respect, Herbert is building a sacrifice that is pleasing before God...an altar made of broken material, but the brokenness is from within, and the altar and offering are himself. The next two lines refer to the hardness of the material. The juxtaposition between a hard heart and a soft heart is still part of our culture today. A "hard-hearted" person is uncaring or unfeeling towards others. It could be a person who has been deeply wounded, and thus refuses to allow themselves to be hurt in such a way again. We refer to such an emotional process as a hardening of the heart. In contrast, a person with a soft heart is tender to feelings, and more open to others. Herbert makes the claim in his poem that "A heart alone

Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy power doth cut."(“Alter” 5-8)
The meaning here is more ambiguous. Does he mean that a heart alone from other hearts is hardened? Does he mean that no other kind of material is so resistant to influence, other...
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