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Journey of the Magi-Analysis

Journey of the Magi"

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Here, Elliot pictures a tale told by one of the wise men on the trip to Bethlehem.The journey was made during winter. Line 1 "A cold coming we had of it"

The magis were out on a journey, searching for something,in fact the camels were tired.

" And the camels galled ,sore footed, refractory

Lying down in the melting snow"

The animals did not enjoy the journey. They regretted having left summer palaces on slop

" There were times we regretted.

The summer palaces on slopes,the terrace"

Apart from the animals and weather,the camel men were also problematic. The poet uses parralelism to emphasize the difficulty of the

"And the cities.......

" And the villagers.....

But at the end of stanza 1,we discovered inspite of all the difficulty the men were determined to continue the journey and find answers.

In stanza 2 however,the situation is beginning to look more favorable

"Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley

With a running stream and a water mill"

Here the poet uses imagery "temperate valley" which suggest peace and "water mill which represents life. However in the midst of this peace there is an image that is contrary

" And the three trees on the low sky"

These represent the threw cross at Golgotha. So in the images of life there are also images of death,the persona tries to show the proximity between life and death.

They later moved to a tavern which symbolizes hospitality or rest.

In stanza 3,he recalls the journey and he would be pleased to go on the journey again

" I should be glad of another death"

This also symbolize death itself, that whenever death comes, he is ready to die

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