Topics: John Milton, Lycidas, Edward King Pages: 4 (1268 words) Published: April 23, 2014
The Great Die Young
In the pastoral elegy, Lycidas by John Milton, the author uses plants and flowers to set the mood of the story and express his sorrows for his lost friend Edward King. The quote, “Live your life to the fullest because you never know if your going to wake up the next morning” describes Milton’s idea that anything could happen at a given instant and nothing is certain. Milton is grieving over his lost friend and uses plants and flowers to represent the mood he is feeling. Edward King’s death has many similarities with plants, since he died prematurely at a young age. Milton uses imagery to let his readers picture the setting as he talks about the death of Edward King.

Milton’s Lycidas sets the mood in the opening lines talking about his grief for his friend. Milton uses imagery using plants and flowers describing the opening scene. “Yet once more, O ye laurels and once more

Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And with forced fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.”
The author is describing to the audience that the berries he is “plucking” from the plant are “harsh and crude.” This means that the berries are unripe and immature to be taken off its plant and be eaten but Milton seems to not care. This represents his friend Edward King’s life because he died too early and “God” didn’t care. Milton is realizing that at any moment something can turn up and end your life without you even saying goodbye. The “laurels” are a symbol of poetic fame and the ability to write. The line, “leaves before the mellowing year” express the death of a potential poet who didn’t get a chance to share his work and gift with the world.

Throughout Lycidas, Milton uses personification to mourn the death of his best friend Edward King from human characteristics to nonhuman things.
“Thee, shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves,
With wild thyme and the gadding vine...

Cited: Milton, John. "Lycidas." The Norton Anthology English Literature. 9th ed. 781-786. Print.
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