Analysis Pages

Metaphor in Uphill

Metaphor Examples in Uphill:

Text of the Poem

🔒 5

"wayfarers..."   (Text of the Poem)

The word “wayfarer” comes from Germanic roots: “way” means “road”; “farer” means “goer” or “traveller.” In archaic use, the verb “to fare” was used to signal a departure from life. This meaning is highly relevant to Rossetti’s poem, in which the wayfarers are travellers along a metaphorical road through life into death.

"the darkness hide it..."   (Text of the Poem)

In most literary uses, the duality of light and darkness serves one of two metaphorical purposes. Light and darkness signal good and evil, as well as knowledge and ignorance. In this line and the next, “darkness” may draw on both metaphors. The questioner wonders whether wickedness or ignorance will hide the resting-place at the end of the road from sight. The reply—“You cannot miss that inn”—indicates that we all eventually reach the road’s end.

"the slow dark hours begin...."   (Text of the Poem)

The use of the verb “begins” contrasts the “end” mentioned in the second line. The suggestion is that the resting-place marks the end of the road and yet the beginning of something else. Thus the “slow dark hours” are a metaphor for the afterlife or the transition into it.

"the day's journey..."   (Text of the Poem)

This line reveals one of the poem’s other primary conceits: the course of a day as a lifetime. The journey on the road lasts “from morn to night,” so that the arrival of darkness signals the nearing of the end of life.

"road wind uphill..."   (Text of the Poem)

The language Rossetti uses to describe the road directs our attention to the poem’s central conceit: the road is the path of life. Like our lives, the road “wind[s]” in the sense that its twists and turns are unpredictable. It is “uphill” in the sense that it requires of us ongoing struggle and toil.

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