September 26, 2011
The Pain of Love Scorned in Andrew Marvell's “Damon the Mower” Marvell's “Damon the Mower” illustrates the pain of love through its rhetorical structure and voice. It's set up in the way of a tragic romance; there is the lover's lamenting framed by a narrative voice. The narrative voice gives the poem a tone of an epic, an old tale to be told, explaining that love scorned is all-encompassing and is only escaped through death. The first-person voice gives a personal depth to the emotions the poem conveys. The three opening stanzas are spoken by a narrator-type voice. This speaker sets the scene and tone of the piece: that of Petrarchan love, with the topos of an unattainable beloved, whose love burns and pains the Lover. He introduces the characters: Damon the mower, and Lover; and Juliana, the cruel beloved. The narrator expounds Juliana's character and Damon's perception of her, she is one to behold, “Like her fair Eyes the day was fair;” (3). However, the short-lived compliment of her eyes is accompanied with words like stung, complaint, scorching, and fear that exemplify Juliana who is scornful and one to be feared, and scornful. Marvell exaggerates the heat of the day, using it to elaborate the intense and unbearable discomfort caused by Juliana's disdain. The heat of her disregard is unmatched and only intensifies the heat of the day. It was a heat unmatched by the sun, or July, a “heat the Sun could never raise” (17) that “burns the Fields and Mower both” (20). Juliana's scorn radiates on everything in Damon's life and is so intense that the frog “can dance no more...” but can only laze in the water, the grasshoppers seek out shade, and the Snake never needed to emerge from it's den (11-15). The listing of all that is natural: animal, plant, and even cosmic spheres, supports the all encompassing burn of love scorned—nothing can get away from it, it consumes him in such a way that it...