Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Poem "Death"

The Poem "Death"

by J.K. James

 Defray Charon's conveyance, perdition hath;
 Empyrean weregilds perfidies, avarice, and wrath.
 Alight the underzeal to Ganga's midnight.
 Temperance lustrates the desecrations forbate;
 Heaved beyond Firmament will the Premier allocate.


The Poem Analyzed

The Poem


 Defray Charon's conveyance, perdition hath;
 Empyrean weregilds perfidies, avarice, and wrath.
 Alight the underzeal to Ganga's midnight.
 Temperance lustrates the desecrations forbate;
 Heaved beyond Firmament will the Premier allocate.

1st line: Defray Charon's conveyance, perdition hath;

Word meanings
Defray:   Provide money to pay (a cost or expense).
Charon:  The ferryman of the dead. Sometimes known as Death (you paid a coin for the ride).
conveyance:  a means of transport. (The ferryman transporting you).
perdition: (in Christian theology) A state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death.
hath:  Third person singular present tense of "have."
line 1: Defray Charon's conveyance, perdition hath;
Paraphrased 1: Having paid the Ferryman (or Death), Hell you have.
Paraphrased 2: Been paid, the Ferryman takes us to Hell. (**The Original Sin, all are damned to Hell)
 In Early Christian belief, it was assumed all went to Hell automatically due to the Original Sin by Adam and Eve.  Following this belief, the first verse is Death's conveyance automatically taking all to Hell as all were born bearing the Original Sin and unless saved, will be the destination (perdition hath (Hell have)).

The semicolon at the end is to link transitional phrases to connect closely related ideas.  Meaning the second line is apart of the first line.

2nd line: (continued from the first line) Empyrean weregilds perfidies, avarice, and wrath.

word meanings
Empyrean:  is the place in the highest heaven.
weregild:  was a value placed on every human being and every piece of property.  If property was stolen, or someone was injured or killed, the guilty person would have to pay weregild as restitution to the victim's family or to the owner of the property.  reparations.
perfidies:  the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal : treachery.
avarice:  Extreme greed for wealth or material gain.wrath: strong vengeful anger or indignation.
paraphrase 1:  Heaven demands reparations for the sins of perfidy, avarice, and wrath.
paraphrase 2:  Heaven demands reparations for the deadly sins of treachery (false witness), greed, vengeful wrath.
Lines 1 and 2 together: Defray Charon's conveyance, perdition hath; Empyrean weregilds perfidies, avarice, and wrath.
lines 1 and 2 paraphrased 1: Having paid the Ferryman (or Death) to Hell you must go because Heaven demands reparations for our sins.
lines 1 and 2 paraphrased 2: Damned for our sins against Heaven, Death carries us to Hell to pay.
 The second line is a continuation of the first line, mentioning Heaven's demand for payment of sin.  The second verse uses "weregild" meaning both a value on every life and reparations for that life.  The use of "weregild" implies first that you owe for the "Original Sin" as your life already has a worth or debt (a weregild).  The second verse continues by listing three of the seven deadly sins.  Meaning you also owe a debt for additional sins you may have committed.

line 3:  Alight the underzeal to Ganga's midnight.

 word meanings
Alight: to descend from or as if from the air and come to rest.
underzeal: fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.  Synonyms: intensity, passion.  To be filled with intense coveting.
Ganga: The River Ganges (India). Explanation: medieval knowledge of a spherical Earth. In the "Divine Comedy," Dante says, sunset at Jerusalem, midnight on the River Ganges (with the constellation Libra overhead there), and dawn in Purgatory.  I.E.  In Purgatory's Dawn, it would be Midnight time at the River Ganges, according to where Dante believed Purgatory was located.  In Medieval times, saying Sunset at Jerusalem or midnight at Ganga was referring to Purgatory.
Line 3 Paraphrased 1: The sinful coveters arrive in Purgatory.
 The third verse speak of being delivered to purgatory.  Dante mentioned, that Pagans whom lived righteous lives, yet did not know about Christ would go to Purgatory.  As they were not sinful or deserving to go to Hell, yet were not cleansed of the Original Sin by Christ to warrant going to Heaven.  So thus, they arrived into Purgatory to be cleansed and made worthy.  Purgatory also is the destination of the underzeal or overly desireful of material things.  Those that that did not commit Cardinal Sins, yet committed smaller sins, coveting, or sinful desires. Matthew 5:26 writes,"I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."  This the grounds for many Christians that they will spend a time in Purgatory (a mini Hell) until they have paid for all their sins and sinful desires.   Death's first destination is to take all to hell, then his next destination is to deliver those to purgatory whom do not warrant the punishments of Hell.

Line 4: Temperance lustrates the desecrations forbate;

 Word meanings
Temperance: moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control.  Temperance or self-control is considered a virtue.
lustrate: Purify by ritual action: "a soul lustrated in the baptismal waters". To cleanse and purify.
desecration: to divest of sacred or hallowed character or office.  defile, violate, dishonor, pollute.
forbate: forbidden.
Line 4 paraphrased 1: Temperance cleanses forbidden sins.
After passing the perils of Hell and Purgatory, one is delivered to Heaven through Righteous means or "temperance."  As one has either led a Righteous life devoid of committing sins and has been cleansed of the Original Sin through Christ.  Or has already passed the Perils of being cleansed through Purgatory and now is ready for Heaven, having paid for their sins the hard way.  Heaven being listed in the last two verses follows the poem's theme as Hell and Purgatory are along the road of which you must first pass or avoid to reach Heaven.

Again, the Semicolon means line 4 is transitional of line 5

Line 5: Heaved beyond Firmament will the Premier allocate.

 Word meanings
Heaved: To raise or lift, especially with great effort or force.
Firmament: the vault of heaven; sky.
The Premier: First to occur or exist.  The Alpha, The Premier is the First One. God.
allocate: to set aside for a specified purpose.
Line 5 paraphrase 1: Lifted into Heaven, God will allow. Line 5 Paraphrase 2: God sets aside a place in Heaven.
Lines 4 and 5 together paraphrased 1: Righteousness cleanses your sin and God will lift you to your place in Heaven.

This poem is a acrostic, where the first letter in each verse are taken from the letters in the title in order spell out a word, phrase, etc..  In essence, Take a word, and write it vertically. Now write the poem "across", using the first letter from each letter of the word you wrote.
In this poem, the title, "Death", each letter in the word D-e-a-t-h begins on each word on each line Vertically.
D - Defray (Defray Charon's conveyance, perdition hath;)
E - Empyrean (Empyrean weregilds perfidies, avarice, and wrath.)
A - Alight (Alight the underzeal to Ganga's midnight.)
T - Temperance (Temperance lustrates the desecrations forbate;)
H - Heaved (Heaved beyond Firmament will the Premier allocate.)

The title, "Death," is also the theme as it applies in Judeo-Christian belief when one dies, they either go to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory (or in limbo in some beliefs).  "Death" formed in acrostic style implies that death surrounds the poem's theme as the lines of the poem mention each place that death brings.  Death begins in each line as death brings us to each place the line speaks of, for Death is all around us and the only way to reach any of the destinations.

I apologize, I am very poor at explaining things and I hope you "got" it.  Or at least, the definitions and brief explanations led you to come up with your own evaluation and conclusion.

© J.K. James

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