Imaginary Over Real
“Lycidas” by John Milton and “The Garden” by Andrew Marvell are both poems where the author questions the idea of the “imaginary” being superior to the “real” in life.
“Lycidas” is a religious poem that addresses the elegy of the author himself. The elegy uses art as a symbol of the “imaginary”. Andrew Marvell in the work “The Garden” conveys the value of symbolic colors, imaginary figures and their actual worth.
“For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.” (ll. 8-9). The poem “Lycidas” starts off by the author mourning the loss of a friend, which one later finds out is himself. In this piece of literature, John Milton uses an imaginary force to command the forces of nature, the art of his words. “I come to pluck your berries hard and crude, and with forced fingers rude shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.” (ll. 3-5). He uses the words in his poems to make his life infinite. “With lucky words favor my destined urn,” (ll. 20). Milton displays his belief of art being long, and life being short. The author often compares art and women to each other, both being dangerous. Words, women, and love can turn on you. Coming to the middle of the poem,
Milton writes about wild, sexual creatures and wild places with no sign of humanity.
“Rough satrys danced, and fauns with cloven heel” (ll. 34), fauns being untamed, erotic
animals. Line thirty-nine, “Thee, shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves,” (ll. 39) exemplifies a desert as a place of undomesticated, feral territory. Milton visualizes and brings to life these commodities through imagination, art, and words. Imaginary comes from within ones own thoughts, therefore, one makes life and objects what they want them to be.
Andrew Marvell uses representations of symbolic figures to show the importance of “imaginary” over the “real”. The real in this poem is the actual ink on the page, whereas the imaginary is the symbolic colors of love, the soul, and the light of the mind.
“No white nor red was ever seen so amorous as this lovely green.” (ll. 17-18) . The white and the red in this poem are symbols of love, the green meaning vegetable love, or organic love; love without the pressure of anything but nature. Vegetable love is a natural process with the outcome of something wholesome. “When we have run our passion’s heat, love hither makes his best retreat.” (ll. 25-26), meaning that after