Appreciation of poem Nose versus eyes class 11th

Appreciation of poem Nose versus eyes class 11th

Nose versus eyes poem appreciation class 11th

1. About the poem, poet and title

The poet William Cowper is famous for his satirical work. The poem 'Nose versus Eyes' is such a one gently humorous poem. It pokes fun at some absurd decisions arrived at in jurisprudence when the law is applied without human discretion and thought. The nose and eyes are sensory organs that symbolise human behaviour.

2. Theme

The theme is about typical human behavior in the society which is greedy. People who grab something which is not theirs and depride those who deserve it.

3. Poetic style, language and poetic device

The poem is in stanzas of four lines each, The first and third, and the second and fourth lines rhyme in each.

The sensory organs are personified. The eyes and nose are the parties fighting the cakes, claiming ownership of the spectacles. The tongue is the lawyer ; the ear is the chief baron – The judge. The tongue is attributed with the qualities of skillful argument and learning. The tongue is also given the quality of shifting loyalties and double speak. That is what lawyers do. The ear is spoken of as having good judgement.

The poem has many words and phrases related to the legal field ‘Your lordship' is how the tongue addresses the ear. ‘Decreed, pleaded, arguments ‘are the few words used in the court.

4. Special features

The poem is unique, in that, it is a gentle criticism of the judicial system. Criticism of the judiciary is dangerous and could even land one into trouble.

But the poet has been gently mocking in his style, which does not offend but is completely truthful how the things are being presented.

5. Message / values/ morals in the poem.

The message the poem gives is that the judges verdict should also keep in mind the human values are not just arrived at decisions based purely on law books.

6. Your opinion about the poem.

The poem reminds us about one of the hypocrisy and greed in people to grab what isn't theirs. It shows how the weak are unable to defend themselves. Though they are on the side of right. They are often wrong – the nose trying to grab the spectacles when the weak eyes need them to stand on is the perfect example in the poem 'nose versus eyes'.

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Between Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose, -

The spectacles set them unhappily wrong;

The point in dispute was, as all the world knows,

To which the said spectacles ought to belong.

So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause

With great deal of skill, and a wig full of learning;

While Chief Baron Ear sat to balance the laws,

So famed for his talent in nicely discerning.

'In behalf of the Nose it will quickly appear,

And your lordship,' he said, 'will undoubtedly find,

That the Nose has had spectacles always in wear,

Which amounts to possession time out of mind.'

Then holding the spectacles up to the court,

'Your lordship observes they are made with a straddle

As wide as the ridge of the Nose is; in short,

Designed to sit close to it, just like a saddle.

'Again would your lordship a moment suppose,

('Tis a case that has happened, and may be again)

That the visage or countenance had not a Nose,

Pray who would, or who could, wear spectacles then?

'On the whole it appears, and my argument shows,

With a reasoning the court will never condemn,

That the spectacles plainly were made for the Nose,

And the Nose was as plainly intended for them.'

Then shifting his side, as a lawyer knows how,

He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes:

But what were his arguments few people know,

For the court did not think they were equally wise,

So his lordship decreed with a grave solemn tone,

Decisive and clear, without one if or but￾That, whenever the Nose put his spectacles on,

By daylight or candlelight-Eyes should be shut!

-William Cowper

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