The article analyzes the romantic vision as well as the human value of the poem.
Lord Byron’s “Ocean of Eternity” : An Analysis
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempest, in all time–
Calm or convulsed, in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving–boundless, endless and sublime,
The image of Eternity, the throne
Of the invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each one
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dreadful, fathomless, alone.
Lord Byron metaphorically alludes to the ocean as a “glorious mirror” of God whose “form” is manifested in the ocean’s state of calmness or convulsion, as well as in its power to generate life forms, including the “monsters of the deep”. The sea is impliedly a mirror of what God feels and wills. The Almighty’s form is said to be reflected in tempests in all time: “calm or convulsed, in breeze, or gale, or storm”.The “dark-heaving ocean” is “boundless”, “endless”, “dreadful”, “fathomless”, “sublime” and “alone”-adjectives which Lord Byron transfers to God and His awesome power. The last adjective “alone” expresses God’s supreme and sole power to singularly handle His business or to impose His will without interference. By describing the ocean with heavy adjectives, Byron imbues it with reverent dimension as if it were a god or deity. By extension, the ocean is seen as a vast expanse of territory whose main resident is the “invisible” monarch of the depths, imagined to be sitting on a throne. Here Lord Byron talks of God in a pantheistic sense. (Pantheism identifies the deity (God) with the various forces and workings of nature. ) To Lord Byron, impliedly, the ocean is a better manifest and evidence of Divine Power or will than are churches or creeds.In the poem’s last line, “each zone obeys thee; thou goest forth, dreadful, fathomless, alone” , the “Almighty” is impliedly conceived to be the law and lawgiver, and being so, all “zones” (countries) bend to His will. Lord Byron conjures a photograph of Eternity, one can almost see God signing His autograph on the ocean’s “dark-heaving breast” . He sees in nature a revelation of Divine Power. This is a product of Lord Byron’s imaginative power and intense lyricism which enables him to pinpoint or “spatialize” God sitting on a throne in the ocean depths.The human value discernible in the poem is the consideration of nature (the ocean) bearing the signature of God. The idea of Eternity is affirmed not by Bible testimony but by the imperishable grandeur of the ocean. That God is not impossible is, thus, the thesis upon which the poem is built. In a sense, Lord Byron seduces the reader to the extreme of pantheistic mysticism. This mysticism explained in terms nature worship proves his writing to be indigenous to the Romantic Age. ###
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