Language and tone in Regeneration

The language and imagery of Regeneration are a long way from the language and conventions of pastoral poetry, and more like Romantic Nature poetry. The language is not difficult but strange - and economical, as was Herbert's. One example is Vaughan's use of the past participle (-ed verb form), such as ‘Storm'd thus', which seems strangely unattached. It needs to be expanded to something like: ‘Whilst I was storming about over my freedom'. Vaughan dispenses with explanations as much as possible. ‘A Ward' is a minimalist statement; we are given no further context: is it meant literally, figuratively?

A sense of progression

There seems to be a strong sense of progression in the poem, rather than just standing meditating. The poet no sooner gets to one place, than he moves off to another: ‘straight I/ Obey'd'; ‘but scarse well set'; ‘my restless Eye'.

The expression has moments of being too simple; at others, being too round-about, as in ‘lent/ Some use for Eares'; ‘to each shade/ Dispatch'd an Eye'. The final few lines are like the poetry of George Herbert in style and voice, though for the rest of the poem, the Herbertian voice only obtrudes occasionally, as in ‘Storm'd thus' or with the unthrift sun image.

Investigating Regeneration
  • Would you prefer more explanation, or is Regeneration full (or long) enough already?
  • Would you agree that certain expressions seem a little awkward?
    • Or would you defend them?
  • Comment on: ‘heaven its azure did unfold/ Checqur'd with snowie fleeces' and compare with ‘The aire was all in spice'.
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