A Short Analysis of Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s ‘Dawn’

Interesting Literature

The American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) is not usually lauded as a great poet. Indeed, quite the opposite: in his The Joy of Bad Verse, a glorious celebration of ‘good bad poetry’ in English, Nicholas T. Parsons includes a chapter on Wilcox, discussing the bad reception her poetry received among American soldiers during the First World War. However, Wilcox could write not just good bad poems, but passably good ones: see her popular poem ‘Solitude’, for instance. And then there’s the less well-known poem ‘Dawn’. A tender depiction of the moment daylight begins to take over from the darkness of night, ‘Dawn’ is a little gem of a morning poem.

Day’s sweetest moments are at dawn;
Refreshed by his long sleep, the Light
Kisses the languid lips of Night,
Ere she can rise and hasten on.
All glowing from his dreamless rest
He holds her closely…

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