The Knight in the Wood English Commentary

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The first descriptions in the poem are of savagery, ‘the thing, rough and crudely done, cut in coarse stone,' these are to signify how imperfect the object is, made by an imperfect being thus indicating the objects inferiority. But, conversely these images could also indicate a certain sense of simplicity within the object; it is not needlessly ornate. The next are of disdain for the object, ‘spitefully placed aside, as merest lumber,' the attitude of the collector lends to the idea that they prefer grandioso works of art, and the attitude that beauty is more defining in a pieces value than either historical value or the meaning of a piece. These feelings of discontent and the sense of valuelessness regarding the work are reinforced in the later passages, ‘It had no number, weeded away long since, pushed out and banished.' This is the end of the particular line of thought mainly concerned with the objects value and position amongst other artworks. The poem moves away from the images of inferiority and onto descriptions of works that are vain and hollow in their message, with no body or substance beyond that of physical appearance. ‘Insipid Guidos oversweet, and Dolce's rose sensationalities,' these are shallow works, of which there are many, ‘in a great Roman palace crammed with art,' this is further emphasized in the next few lines, ‘Curly chirping angels spruce as birds', spruce being the indicator that all the representations within each piece are similar in their presentation and appearance. The mood shifts from the paintings and back to the sculpture, the images of barbarity return but the savagery is gone from the descriptions. Instead the focus is more on an interpretation and examination of the carving and its sculptor; ‘this thing ill-hewn, and hardly seen did touch me', the viewer is given a divergent view of the object. While it is a thing of savagery and ineptitude it can still convey a sense of feelings and human emotion, far greater than that of...
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