February 14, 2013
English 4A, British Literature and Composition
The Middle Paragraphs
The “Ballade Of Worldly Wealth” by Andrew Lang is a poem of warning. The setting could be any town because the speaker mentions places and things that could be found anywhere, like merchants, soldiers, and priests. Although this poem was written in the 19th century, the audience could be from any period of time because money has always been around, along with the troubles it can bring. Lang’s theme throughout the poem is that there is danger when we seek to obtain monetary wealth. Using rhetorical patterns and a Haiku structure with an end rhyme scheme, Lang takes the readers through a cautionary explanation; Money might be necessary, but too much of it can be dangerous. Lang begins stanza one by personifying money as something that can physically persuade a town, talking control of it. He writes that “money taketh town and wall” (1), meaning that money invades a town and ultimately usurps power. It can do this by disguising itself as “Good” and “Truth” (6). But, as Lang points out, beneath this façade lurks “Evil” (5). Because money is sinister, it can “ne’er bestow Youth, and Health, and Paradise” (7-8). This parallelism that Lang uses in each stanza expresses the notion that money cannot buy or provide these virtues. This imagery continues in stanza two where Lang describes how cunning money is in persuading people to go to war over it. In addition, the idea in “Money maketh festival, Wine she buys, and beds can strow” (1-2) that the objects money can buy are fleeting, with no lasting value. The notion that men would lose their lives in battle over money indicates the power money can have over human reason. When Lang writes of “soldiers marching to and fro” (5), he is demonstrating that the pursuit of money is ongoing. The parallelism of evil remains in the line “Gaineth ladies with sweet eyes” (6), suggesting that there are those who would be attracted to...