Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Arthur Hugh Clough 1819-1861

Our textbook describes Clough as “clever, witty, and ironic.” Clough was humorous in his writings as he began to write early in his career. Clough was a Christian and was concerned that Christianity was starting to lose its ground. Clough wrote about this when he wrote Epi-staruss-ium.
In Epi-strauss-ium, Clough used his irony early on. When he wrote:
Matthew and Mark and Luke and holy John
evanished all and gone!
I believe that Clough is saying that Christianity is gone. I believe that he is saying that the Gospels talked about in the Bible is not true or no one believes in them anymore. As this writing continues, Clough writes:
The place of worship the meantime with light
Is, if less richly, more sincerely bright,
and in blue skies the Orb is manifest to sight
and based on this, Clough is continuing to say that Christianity is no longer.
He continues through this writing, making references that Christianity is not alive and money is now the target of people’s thoughts. In the second part of this writing Clough writes:
Thou shalt one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipped, except for the currency.
I believe in this part that Clough is making reference that in the society of that time, people had started cherishing two gods, the one in heaven, and the currency here on Earth. I believe he says this in the next section.
Clough makes reference to another commandment when he writes:
Thou shalt not kill; but needst not strive
I believe that he is believing that without killing, one cannot strive. I believe that he is making reference here that killing is a natural part of making the function of human.
Finally Clough writes in his ironic way and says;
The sum of all is, thou shalt love,
If anybody, God above:
At any rate shall never labour
More than thyself to love thy neighbour.
This is what some people would say was a snide answer to an end. In the beginning I believed that Clough was trying to say that Christianity was ending and it was the people’s fault when they were not following The Ten Commandments. In this last part, if you love one another, you will prosper.
Clough was very ironic in his writing and this was a good example of his irony. If a person was only to read the first part of this poem, one might just believe that Christianity is dying, but Clough was only showing how during this era, people were getting away from traditional Christian beliefs.

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