Literary Devices in Bright Star! Would I Were as Steadfast as Thou Art

Literary Devices Examples in Bright Star! Would I Were as Steadfast as Thou Art:

Text of the Poem 4

"Still, still..."   (Text of the Poem)

The repetition of “still” here takes on two meanings of the word. As an adjective, “still” can mean not moving or making a sound. As an adverb, it can also refer to time spent doing an activity, even now. In the repetition, the speaker says that he lies still in order to continue to hear her breath. In a sense, his only way to combat the progression of time is to make his body as motionless as possible. Notice the subtle irony that underlies this statement: the speaker must become motionless to make the moment last longer; he must mimic death in order to gain the feeling of everlasting life.

"fall and swell..."   (Text of the Poem)

The speaker describes the woman’s breaths as a process of “fall and swell.” In this description, he once again shows the fluctuation between two things rather than the continuous existence of one thing. Notice that within this line the speaker juxtaposes the paradoxically opposing forces that command the moment: his desire to “feel for ever” and the rhythmic breath of his lover that signifies the progression of time.

"No..."   (Text of the Poem)

This line opens with the word “no,” which reinforces the speaker’s claims about how he does not want to be like the star. The word “yet” here marks the beginning of a new idea. The speaker repeats his desire to remain “steadfast” and then goes on to explain what he means by this and why he desires it.

"yet..."   (Text of the Poem)

In a Shakespearean sonnet, line nine signifies the volta, or thematic turn, within the poem. The first two quatrains set up an argument that is then complicated by the final quatrain and couplet. In this poem, line nine marks a volta. However, unlike a traditional sonnet, the first eight lines do not build an argument to complicate. Instead, the speaker begins by stating the theme of the point, digresses to clarify the claim of the first line, then returns to his original point at the volta.