This is a copy of my first draft, I find including and posting it important since I would have hoped someone could have taught me about the freedom of writing multiple drafts when I was in high school. But it didn't quite work that way, so for now, here is my first draft, and then final, although there will be many drafts in between. If there are any middle or high school students, that perhaps are reading this, just sit down and write. As many times as you need to, just sit down and empty your mind on paper, you are completely free to change words, misspell, move paragraphs around, change your thesis, topic sentences, etc etc etc. Just sit down and write!
English 495 ESM
My Most Precious Epitaph:
Explication of “Jenny kiss'd Me” by Leigh Hunt
Relatively simple in form and rhyme scheme, Leigh Hunt’s “Jenny Kiss’d Me,” can seem to be fall into a part of what was considered “The Cockney School of Poetry,” in which Hunt was written off by his critics and referring to his works it was “hard to believe that anyone ever took…seriously” (Mullen 332). Hunt was heavily criticized because he lacked a “proper” upbringing, and in FACT WAS CONSIDERED LOWBRED, Hunt himself recollected that his first memories at THE AGE OF 3, was that of prison, AS HIS FAMILY WAS IN DEBTORS PRIOSON. Thus Leigh Hunt was dubbed the “WIT OF THE DUNGEON,” and was more familiar with a “PRISION THAN A PEN.” His works were further criticized as SIMPLE lacking A MORE THROUGHOH DICTION AND FORM, but, conversely the contrary can also be argued. Although simple in form and scheme, “Jenny Kiss’d Me,” is first read as a straight forward love poem, however, based upon the writer’s personal injection IN TO HIS WORKS, a more throughout reading can reveal themes of finding and keeping love against specific struggles such as capitalism, health, time and death.
At first reading “Jenny Kiss’d Me” has a simple form and lyrical rhyme scheme, composed of a single stanza of eight lines and scheme of ABABCDCD, reminiscent of a pop track one can pick up on a top 40 radio station. In the opening line, “Jenny kiss’d me when we met,” the spelling of the word “kissed” is notable as it is written without the “e,” indicating a causal other than a more formal tone, and supporting a more lyrical-music approach in the reading (SMITH PAGE). The first two lines introduce the reader to Jenny and the speaker, who are possibly pre-adolescent, as it is revealed that Jenny “jumped from her chair,” unable to control her excitement (SMITH PAGE). This can also suggest the first stages of love, as it is still child-like and innocent and possibly even free of sexual complexities. Lines three and four move on to another stage of love, implicating that both the speaker and Jenny have now become married or at the least live together, and have begun to grow old; the speaker personifies chastises time as a thief, who steals the “sweets,” the physical attributes of beauty from Jenny, recording it on a list of time (SMITH PAGE) Recorded or the very act of recording one person at any given moment, is the next day, aged by one day, and one day less beautiful than the day before. Time steals the attractiveness of a young body, the sweetness of being young and in love and the human form slowly withers.
Lines five and six further reveal the next stage of love, as the speaker reveals that he is “weary,” and shows some minor lament over not having prioritized the pursuit of wealth or for that matter having taken high regard for their own health, or even implying their own physical health and appearance, because of his love, or state of love. The interesting word in these two lines is “sad,” as this would indicate, as both Jenny and the speaker have grown old and have deteriorated in health, it seems that Jenny has succumbed to time and has passed away.
The first two lines implies a young state of love and uncontainable energy, the next two lines, mark the thievery of time, and how it takes days away from the individual, leaving them will less of a fortune of time. Lines 6-7 have a tone of lament over never having earned great wealth or recognition, or never having focused on the speakers own body, beauty and health. Although the speaker laments all these aspects of the decay of the human form, lost opportunities, experiences and ultimately a lost love, the speaker has no regret over the decisions made in choosing to remain and nurture his love and relationship with Jenny. Lamenting over all other things missed or lost, are all minor in comparison to having received the love at one time of the revered Jenny, or in the least, having lost opportunities and other experiences, it was all worth having received a single kiss.
Although simple in form, tone and scheme, Hunt creates a work imbedded with thematic struggles which have created conflicts between man and woman, and how they will form a bond and yet still find a way to navigate the realities of the world while still maintaining that bond. Life, death, health, beauty, recognition and wealth are all captured an encompassed in this very simple love poem which is culturally universal, as the name “Jenny” can easily be replaced with any other name, or also “she,” and still capture the same experiences and trials each couple would face in a lifetime, particularly the male. Indeed it is the last two lines, 7 and 8 that not only culminate the certainty of the speaker’s affection for Jenny, without hesitation and regret, but also are akin to a final epitaph on a tombstone; throughout the lifetime of the speaker, no greater achievement completed or not pursued, is of any greater achievement than that of having found Jenny, and having received her love and that kiss.
Capitalism vs love?
Social/personal health vs. love?
Time vs. love?
Death vs live (love)
Formal and literary elements
Use of white space
Two sources MLA