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Vocabulary in Solitude
Vocabulary Examples in Solitude:
"Fast..." See in text (Solitude)
The word “fast” refers to the abstention of food, a common practice in certain religious orders. In the context of this line, there is a sense of mutual abstention, that both the individual and “the world” are going on without one another. On a subtle associative level, the word “fast” serves to quicken the world’s going.
"drink life's gall..." See in text (Solitude)
The noun “gall” is an archaic synonym for bile, the secretion of the liver. According to the ancient Greek medical theory known as “Humorism,” bile is responsible for feelings of anger and sorrow. In this context, “life’s gall” refers to the inevitable sources of anger, sorrow, and bitterness we all must confront in life.
"nectar'd wine..." See in text (Solitude)
The image of “nectar’d wine” may be a turn of phrase, evoking a wine that is as sweet to the senses as nectar. More broadly, the wine is a metaphor for a pleasant, pleasure-giving demeanour. The idea is that such a demeanour will inevitably attract people.
"do not need your woe..." See in text (Solitude)
Wilcox may be using “woe” for its archaic connotation, the pun that “woman is a woe to man.” The fact that Wilcox is a woman and that “they” refers to “men” suggests that this stanza may be a subtle account of relationships between men and women. In other words, men want pleasure from women, but none of their woes.
"Rejoice..." See in text (Solitude)
The word “rejoice” can be used in a couple of different, but related, ways. The verb “to rejoice” can mean to feel joyful. There is often a connotation of intent—to rejoice is to choose to express joy. This meaning fits in the context of the poem, which offers a kind of list of opposing choices to the reader. To rejoice can also mean to praise, another fitting definition. It certainly figures that “men will seek” someone who readily offers praise.
"care..." See in text (Solitude)
Wilcox uses “care” in its original sense. The word originates from the Germanic “kara,” meaning “grief” or “trouble.” Thus, the line suggests that the vocal expression of grief literally and figuratively receives no echo or response from the world.
"mirth..." See in text (Solitude)
The noun “mirth” refers to a pleasurable feeling, such as enjoyment, gratification, or happiness. This word has also often been used to specifically refer to religious joy and heavenly bliss. The speaker indicates that the earth must borrow this feeling—presumably from us when we laugh, as indicated by the first line. Laughter and mirth, then, are depicted as representing a kind of spiritual happiness.
"alone..." See in text (Solitude)
The appearance of the word “alone” at the beginning of a poem titled “Solitude” should give readers pause. Titles often provide important context for overall themes in poems. Since “solitude” means the state of living or being alone, then we should look at how the speaker talks about this condition. In this line, weeping is depicted as a personal action, which suggests that something like grief, which can cause one to weep, is something that is felt on a personal level independent of others.