Vocabulary in On Monsieur's Departure

Vocabulary Examples in On Monsieur's Departure:

On Monsieur's Departure 10

" Or..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

The poem concludes with an intricate branch of possibilities, bound together by that magic word, or. The dualities and contradictions that launched the poem at the outset remain as it reaches its end. As it develops, the poem does not reach for clarity so much as a more perfect expression of confusion.

"content..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Content” serves as a double entendre here. The word refers to both a contained object as well as a state of contentment. Also, the word creates a sharp contrast with the first line with its admittance of her “discontent.” The speaker hopes to move away the state of “discontent” that defines the poem’s emotional landscape.

"lies..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

The word “lies” is central to the poem’s structure and style. On the physical plane, “lies” gives the image of the shadow self lying down alongside the speaker. Yet the second self also “lies” in the sense of telling untruths. Indeed, the speaker’s two selves have different senses of the truth. The tension of dual truths gives life to the poem, full as it is of starts and stops, negations, antonyms, and words with multiple meanings—including “lies” itself. The only truth the speaker can pin down is the existence of that tense feeling of multiplicity.

"care..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

The word “care” is multifaceted. While “care” suggests an act of affection, the word comes from the Germanic “kar,” meaning grief, illness, and suffering. The word “care” contains the duality introduced in the poem’s first two lines: the inseparable nature of love and grief. “My care” is the speaker’s love for the beloved as well as the unavoidable suffering that accompanies love.

"turned...."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

The word “turned” entertains several interpretations. On a fundamental level, the line describes a multiplication from one self to two selves. The verb “turn” allows for that multiplication to occur in various manners. First, “turn” may refer to a rotating movement, a turning away from the first self to embrace the second self. Second, “turn” may refer to transformation, a changing from one self into a new self. Finally, “to turn” is “to create,” suggesting that the speaker is building her second self through an act of volition. Taking a step back, the poem itself is an act of “turning”: Queen Elizabeth has “turned”—created—both the poem and the selves that appear in its lines.

"stark..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

The phrase “stark mute” is intriguing. “Stark” here takes the adjectival form, calling into question whether it is an adverb modifying “mute.” “Stark” means “strong,” which seems to be her stated exterior state. Pursuant to the poem’s antonymic structure, with its dense framework of contradictions, “stark” finds its antonym in “soft” in stanza 3.

"suppressed..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Suppressed,” from the verb “to suppress”—to forcibly put to an end or prevent expression of—has strong political connotations. Governments suppress uprisings, dissention, and actions that will “harm” the nation. In using this word to describe the eradication of her feelings, the speaker suggests that there is something politically threatening about her feelings. The passive construction of this line furthers the political connotations of the suppression: she has little direct control over the restraint of these feelings, they simply “will be suppressed” by an unnamed source.

"rue..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Rue” is a verb that means to bitterly regret something, to show sorrow, distress, or repentance over something. “Rue” carries a very strong, even violent connotation: the speaker is angry about these feelings.

"doth..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Doth” is the archaic third person singular form of “to do.” Essentially she is saying that her “care” which behaves like a shadow does “what I have done.”

"prate..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Prate” is a verb that means to chatter or talk foolishly or with little purpose, to prattle. Prate has a negative connotation that makes the speaker appear as foolish as their chatter. In this context, the narrator speaks about her inner feelings as ridiculous, useless chatter.