Gitanjali Poem 8 Summary and Analysis

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The child who is decked with prince's robes and who has jewelled chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play; his dress hampers him at every step.
In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust he keeps himself from the world, and is afraid even to move.
Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keep one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.

The child who is decked with prince's robes and who has jewelled chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play; his dress hampers him at every step.
Gitanjali Poem no. 8

Summary

      The plea for a simple, austere style of poetry is carried on in this lyric. Tagore says that like a child who is hampered at playing due to the heavy and ornate dress, that is fit for a prince in which he is outfitted and the chains of gold and other jewellery he wears, his poetry is hampered if it has too much decoration. The child also stops himself, due to his fear that his ornate dress may become dusty or torn. He stops himself from playing and mingling with others. He is afraid even to move. Tagore then addresses his mother as a child would, that all the the decorations and ornaments are useless if these are to keep him away from the dust of the earth, the simple life, close to nature and if it de prives the child of all joys of entering into common human life.

Critical Analysis

      Tagore in this lyric makes a plea endorsing simplicity and in this make use of the imagery of a child over-decorated by his mother. This lyric emphasises the need for a poet to live a simple life close to Nature and among the common people rather than the luxurious life. Because a child wearing fine, magnificent clothes cannot play due to his clothes and jewels hampering his movements, also his fear of ruining these fine things, so a poet who depends on too luxurious, ornamental elements cannot compose pure and simple poetry. As Tagore has compared the poet to a child, he has compared human life to fair. He says that a child or the poet who is thus decorated is at a loss, there is no gain in being bound by finery if it stops the child / man from living the common life of enjoying all the sights to be found in a fair. Thus, Tagore condemns material wealth as impediments in life.

Annotations

      Decked: heavily decorated with ornaments. Hampers: stops Frayed: worn, old and torn. Bondage: slavery. Healthful dust of the earth: simple life, close to nature.

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