“La Figlia Che Piange” – Analysis
“La Figlia Che Piange”, which means “young girl weeping”, is the last poem of T.S.Eliot’s “Prufrock and Other Observations”, the first collection of poems published by him. Even though Elliot wrote a relatively small number of poems throughout his life, he believed that each of them “should be perfect in their kind, so that each should be an event”.
This short poem was written in 1917 and it describes two lovers parting. From the title of the poem we can tell that the content will be an emotional one, even though the origin of it has nothing to do feelings. The title comes from the name of a stele that one of Eliot’s friends asked him to look at when he visited a museum in Itlay. The poem starts with an epitaph in Italian, from Aeneas’ greeting to Venus disguised as a huntress in the “Aeneid”, which is addressed to an unknown lady.
The speaker in the poem plays a double role: he describes his lover and the feelings that overcome him when he remembers her image, but he also addresses her with imperative verbs that suggest strong commands ( “stand”, “lean”,”clasp”,”fling” and “wave”). It appears that the girl whom he is addressing exists now only in his memory, therefore it seems that the speaker is talking to his memory.
From the first stanza we can conclude that the speaker is the one who has initiated the breakup with his lover, an idea underlined by her “resentment”. Moreover, the speaker doubts the intensity of her pain, hence the use of the adjective “fugitive”. Also, the first six lines of this stanza rhyme in the following way: ABA CBC, while the end-word for the first line rhymes with the end-word for the seventh line, giving the stanza a feeling of compactness. The rhythm we encounter in this stanza is an iambic meter, a rhythm that is kept throughout the entire poem.