A Litany in Time of Plague by Thomas Nashe
- LITANY – prayer / recital / petition
- poem is like a prayer (litany)
- main theme: inability to escape death
- main symbols: sword – symbol of death
flower – symbol of beauty
- published in 1600 (English renaissance)
- 16 century was a time of many plagues
- poem has 6 verses
- major characteristic: at the end of the every verse, one line is repeated –
„I am sick, I must die. Lord, have mercy on us!“; which is ANAPHORA.
- certain characters from „The Illiad“ by Homer are mentioned
- poem starts of with a goodbye, and also with the author's acceptance of death. He does say that no one can escape death („None from his darts can fly“).
- In the next 4 verses, poet makes sure that we understand that it does not matter how much money we have („Gold cannot buy you health“), how beautiful we are („Queens have died young and fair“), how strong or smart we are („Swords may not fight with fate“), will not help us avoid death and he also stated that death does not listen to reason („Hath no ears for to hear“)!
- In the last verse though, author takes more positive outlook and he accepts that he has to die. We see that in „Earth but a player's stage“ he sais that Earth is just the stage (a game) and we are to move on to the something greater. He understands that that is his destiny and what has to happen to him. In this verse, a repeating sentence („ I am sick, I must die. Lord, have mercy on us!“) sounds more positive and accepting whereas it was dark and depresing in the previous verses.