In “The Wild Honey Suckle” Philip Freneau addresses a flower, writing to it, how beautiful it is. He wishes that it should not be damaged. He appreciates the skilfully planted wild honey suckle and its harmonic place within nature. Freneau also expresses his worries about the flower and compares it to those in paradise. He is aware of the flower’s fading and the short time that lies between growing and dying. Structure and Form
The poem is divided into four stanzas. Each stanza consists of four lines, which are composed in cross rhymes. Then, after an insertion, comes a rhyming couplet. The first four lines of each stanza describe the flower and address it. The last two lines show the fate of that flower. The rhythm is regular and iambic with four stressed syllables in each line. All cadences are male, except for those in the rhyming couplets of stanza three and four, which are female. The regularity of structure and form make the poem well-readable. Imagery
Philip Freneau employs a language full of imagery. Especially personifications constitute a main part of “The Wild Honey Suckle”. Moreover, the flower itself is personified. The narrator talks to the flower as if it were a human being. He expresses that the “little branches greet” (line 4), hopes that there will be no “tear” (6) of the flower and advices it to “shun the vulgar eye” (8). The “roving foot” and the “busy hand” (5f) are metaphors of the destruction of nature by men. Nature itself is personified as “Nature’s self” (7) which arrayed the flowers “and planted here the guardian shade and sent soft waters murmuring by” (9f). The waters are personified as well, being smooth and producing sounds like silent talking.