By yielding to time and participating in the past through memory, man can at least survive through the makeshift devices of his secular imagination, even in a declining civilization. The protagonist of the poem attempts to breakout of the terror of this organic cycle by thinking "of the autumns that have' come and gone," but memory itself takes on the quality of the grass that feeds analogically on the dead bodies. "Muted Zeno and Parmenides" represent the world view which makes such a code possible. active faith." Unless the man at the gate can learn to see the choice between a nature dominated by mortality and a self locked in solipsism as a false presentation of alternatives, he cannot act in any decisive way. Caught in his own naturalistic vision of existence, the speaker presents images illustrating the ravages of time, eventually ending the first strophe with his blind crab image of the "Locked-in ego," signifying his inability to move beyond his solipsism and reconnect himself with the objective world: "You shift your sea space blindly / Heaving, turning like the blind crab." The penultimate stanza begins with a suggestion to speak to the mortal predicament, but the stanza ends in a series of bleak questions. As Tate goes on to say, "To those who may identify the man at the gate with the author of the poem I would say: He differs from the author in not accepting a 'practical solution,' for the author's personal dilemma is perhaps not quite so exclusive as that of the meditating man." The image is an extremely interesting and important one. The struggle between self and death has reached an equilibrium in the protagonist's thoughts. Yet after the Fugitives examined the Ode more closely, they abandoned their early reservations. Tate remarks on the general form of the poem: it is an ode ". The leaves themselves are "splayed," never again to be made whole; they are part of nature's "casual sacrament," an accidental rather than an intentional communion. . However, if you want to, you may know my lineage. The wind-leaf refrain provides the answering strain. Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run, Lost in that orient of the thick-and-fast, And yet these lines suggest how unlike Ransom Tate is, even while he appears to echo him. Tate tells us that the passage in the "Ode" beginning "you know who have waited by the wall" is "meant to convey a plenary vision, the actual presence of, the exemplars of an active faith." . In Tate’s best-known poem, “Ode to the Confederate Dead” (first version, 1926; rev. Obviously, Tate expects his readers to be aware of the nature of the traditional odes, the Pindarics, not of the specific details of their contents, but their tone, which always implies that the poet speaks to and for a society united in triumph. The first stanza shows a natural order that is dominated by the closed system of "the seasonal eternity of death." Good luck in your poetry interpretation practice! But the poem, Tate added, was not simply about the modern Southerner's difficulty in coming to terms with his own traditions and bringing them back to life. . There is surely a suggestion in this passage of what Tate was later to call "the angelic imagination," an ability to penetrate into the essence of things without recourse to their sensual manifestations. What history provides is a memory of "that orient of the thick-and-fast" where action begins; but since the protagonist has been reduced to paralysis, "stopped by the wall" (death) and the "angel's stare" (self), he can only hover over the decaying transition point of the "sagging gate," the threshold of initiation into another life or state. The result is a constant tension between texture and structure: the language, packed and disruptive, the multiple levels of allusion and bitter ironies of feeling, are barely kept in control by the formal patterns of the verse. The "brute curiosity of an angel's stare," which like the Gorgon's turns those who look on it to stone, is trapped in decaying matter, the "uncomfortable" statue assaulted by "the humors of the year." Our knowledge has been "Carried to the heart"; it has destroyed our relationship to life itself, and our most hopeful prospect is that "The ravenous grave" may become our theme, for it is "the grave who counts us all!". Shall we take the act, To the grave? For Tate, the Ode not only explored these complex views of the present but marked the beginning of the twelve-year period recognized by many scholars as the era in which he was absorbed by Southern culture and the history of his own family. Start This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale. Though Tate concretizes his warrior through his list of names connected with the Civil War, he does not limit him to this particular time, for he is the warrior whose heroism results from a view of the world represented by the philosophical system of Parmenides and Zeno. (Besides his correlation of the seasons and stages of historical growth and decay, Spengler's title—literally "Sunset of the West"—offers an obvious parallel.) Traditionally an ode publicly celebrates, in stately and exalted lyrical verse, an aspect of human existence; Tate's ode is not celebrative, public, or exalted. Tate's poetry, she observed, "speaks of the present only in relation to the past, and his view of the past is the epic view, heroic, exalted, the poet's past rather than the historian's." Tate uses history both literally and symbolically, fusing with ease the recent American past with antiquity. Still a modernist influence pervades the poem, and the debt to Eliot is clear. In both Homer and Tate, the leaf image, with its implications of death, is combined and contrasted with a scene of heroism in warfare. . Tate says that the strophe beginning "You know who have waited by the wall" contains "the other terms of the conflict. This is the positive quality of the "Ode." The lone man speaks for himself, and, if what he says represents the thoughts of others, it is their defeat which he expresses, for they, like him, are cut off from the heroic past and the actual present. What he knows that nature does not know is history and the pattern of things that comes through the memory as man's refusal to submit to mere despair. . This plenary vision appears in two main symbols: the warrior and the ancient philosophers, Zeno and Parmenides, The warrior is the traditional symbol of heroism. . "The leaves are falling; his first impressions bring him the 'rumor of mortality.'" What is lacking is any sense of individual continuity that might break out of the terrible cycle. He is trapped more than ever in his mind, with "mute speculation, the patient curse / that stones the eyes," and subconsciously thinks of the image of the jaguar leaping "For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim"—Narcissus come to life in an image of suicide, as the speaker tries but fails to find objective reality in the past. Nevertheless, "Ode to the Confederate Dead" does not offer, as Tate explains in his essay, a "practical solution . Davidson admired the poem, but was annoyed at his friend for reducing the grand themes of Southern history to "personal poetry." There are suggestions of a system of rewards and punishments, such as might make up some mythical order of justice, but nature offers only the salvation that comes with total effacement. The whole passage is a picture of a world with a kind of Spenglerian destiny that ignores the presence of man. Like the "hound bitch / Toothless and dying" in the cellar, modern man can hear the wind only. Since Horat… Such a man, who was obviously Tate, was trapped between a need for religious faith and the reality of the "fragmentary cosmos" surrounding him. The fallen, decaying leaves in the first stanza and throughout the poem recall the "grimy scraps / Of withered leaves" that wrap around the feet of the addressee in Eliot's "Preludes" (1917). 1930), the dead symbolize the emotions that the poet is no longer able to feel. 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