Australia by A. D. Hope poem analysis, themes, literary devices

Australia by Alec Derwent Hope

A Nation of trees, drab green and desolate grey
In the field uniform of modern wars,
Darkens her hills, those endless, outstretched paws
Of Sphinx demolished or stone lion worn away.

They call her a young country, but they lie:
She is the last of lands, the emptiest,
A woman beyond her change of life, a breast
Still tender but within the womb is dry.

Without songs, architecture, history:
The emotions and superstitions of younger lands,
Her rivers of water drown among inland sands,
The river of her immense stupidity

Floods her monotonous tribes from Cairns to Perth.
In them at last the ultimate men arrive
Whose boast is not: “we live” but “we survive”,
A type who will inhabit the dying earth.

And her five cities, like five teeming sores,
Each drains her: a vast parasite robber-state
Where second hand Europeans pullulate
Timidly on the edge of alien shores.

Yet there are some like me turn gladly home
From the lush jungle of modern thought, to find
The Arabian desert of the human mind,
Hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come,

Such savage and scarlet as no green hills dare
Springs in that waste, some spirit which escapes
The learned doubt, the chatter of cultured apes
Which is called civilization over there.

Analysis of Australia by Alec Derwent Hope

Australia by A. D. Hope is a poem of seven stanzas and twenty – eight (28) lines. In the poem Australia, A. D. Hope explores the landscape, vegetation and culture of Australia. The beginning of stanza one is poetically an eye opener to the vegetation of Australia. A. D. Hope’s description of Australian vegetation is that Australia is “a nation trees, drab green” with however, a “desolate grey colour. A. D. Hope compares these colours metaphorically to what could be seen “in the field uniform of modern wars.” These colours contribute to the darkening of Australia hills and further proffering a view of Australia as “those endless, outstretched paws/Of Sphinx” which has been outrightly “demolished,” or perhaps a “stone lion worn away.”

Read: The Swamp by Derek Walcott

There have been strong speculations or rumours, particularly from people who draw conclusion on Australia by calling “her a young country.” But A. D. Hope disagrees with this by arguing that these people (“they) lie.” A . D hope explains that Australia “is the last of lands,” the emptiest. ” His comparative portrayal of Australia is likened to “a woman beyond her change life”, whose breast/Still tender but within the womb is dry”

To A. D hope, the beauty of Australia is seen and noted only externally, but internally, Australia lacks the beauty noted for. This is described in last line of stanza two: “womb is dry,” which also indicates that Australia is not greatly fruitful as many people thought it to be.

in Stanza three [3], A. D Hope emphasizes on the culture of Australia, which according to him, it is devoid of song – “without song architecture, history.” He therefore sees Australia as a nation without any historical background and culture. The rivers which flows in Australia is drown among inland sands.”

These rivers which A . D hope describes in stanza three [3] as “the rivers of” Australia “immense stupidity” is noted to flow through Australia monotonous tribes from Cairns to Pert respectively. It is also through these rivers that the ultimate men arrive in Cairns and Pert. These ultimate men do not boast that ” ‘we’ live but ‘we’ survive”. These ultimate men are typically Australians “who inhabit the dying earth.”

In stanza five, A . D Hope remarks on the five cities of Australia. These five cities are equally “like five teeming sores.” Each of the cities drain Australia. These cities are explicitly compare to “a vast parasite robber – state” These five cities are occupied by the ultimate men who A. D. Hope describes as “second – hand Europeans.” These second – hand Europeans are screamingly unwelcome to the soil of Australia as many peoples see them as aliens on the shore of Australia.

In the sixth and seventh stanza of the poems, A. D. Hope comments on the modern civilization of Australia. This modern civilization, as A. D. Hope sees it, is purely false imitation of culture which is mistaken by the people of modern civilization.

Literary devices in A . D. Hope’s Australia

Alliteration in A. D. Hope’s Australia

“green” …. “gray” – [g] – line 1.

“sphinx” … “stone” – [s] – lines 4.

“whose” …. “we” … “we” – [w] – lines 15.

Simile in A. D. Hope’s Australia

A. D. Hope employs the use of similes to compare Australia with another thing. For instance in stanza fives he compares the fives cities to teeming sores:

“And her fives cities like five teeming sores.”

Personification in A. D. Hope’s Australia

A . D Hope personifies Australia as a woman. Thus, he poetically uses words that accurately fit into feminine gender category such as she and her to describe Australia. For instance;

“They call her a young country she is the last of lands the emptiest.”

Imagery in A. D. Hope’s Australia

The image conjures in A. D. Hope’s Australia is that of a nation that has trees, old and unfruitful – “womb is dry”. There are images of Australia devoid of culture songs, architecture and history.

Repetition in A . D Hope’s Australia

A . D. Hope employs repetition in his poems, Australia. These words are used to establish emphasis in the poems:

“we” – line -15.

“like” – 17 and 21

“her” – lines -3,5,7,11,12,13,17 and18

Metaphor in A. D. Hope’s Australia

The metaphor employs in the poems is:

“she is the last of lands

Themes in A.D Hope’s Australia

The poem, Australia by A . D hope, is replete with several themes. First, there is theme of Australia been portrayed as barren country. This is noted in stanza two; “a woman beyond her change of life …. womb is dry.” There is theme of lack of culture, history, architecture and song. There is also a theme of alienation. The ultimate men who arrive in Australia through the river are seen as alien to the already inhabitant of Australia.

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