Spellbound: A Line to Line Explication

The night is darkening round me.

The poet is standing at the edge of a moor. She finds the night turning darker. She gets a sense of being trapped.

The wild winds coldly blow;

Added to the carpet of darkness thickening around her comes to the blowing wind. She feels that there is a conspiracy in nature to assault her. Her fear mounts.

But a tyrant spell has bound me.

The darkness and the blowing wind have now assumed the cruel character of a tyrant. The hell-like spell it has cast on her gives a sense of being imprisoned. The word “bound” is forceful. It shows her helplessness and the degree of cruelty. The end of the first line rhymes with “me” here.

And I cannot, cannot go.

This statement asserts her pathetic condition. She wants to escape, but “cannot”. The repetition is significant because it reflects her lonely and pitiable situation. The words “blow” in the second line rhymes with “go”.

The giant trees are bending.

The strength of the attack on her is shown here by describing that even the giant trees are bending to the force of the tyrant. It also means that she is not the only passive girl, succumbing to the cruel tyrant.

Their bare boughs weighed with snow.

Snow is a symbol of death. The boughs of the trees have stopped resisting the wind and they are now weighed with. There is a feminist tone in the line. Probably the narrator has nothing on her head to protect her from the severe cold.

And the storm is fast descending,

The wild winds mentioned earlier have turned into a storm. It is personified to show its cruel approach to that of a tyrant trying to descend on an innocent girl, probably to ravish her. The sense of fear is thus multiplied here. The words “bending” and “descending” are rhyming words.

And yet I cannot go.

The word “go” rhymes with “snow” in the second line of this stanza. The word “Yet” shows that there is only no change in her condition, but it also worsens. She “cannot go”.

Clouds beyond clouds above me.

The innocent girl trapped in the moor now looks up, for heavenly help. She can find only clouds spread beyond clouds. Her gloom is highlighted with the help of the word “cloud”.

Wastes beyond wastes below;

The next hope is to look down, around her, to see whether anyone would come to her rescue. She finds only vast spaces of vacant land. The sense of wasteland makes her full of despair.

But nothing drear can move me.

Her condition is so miserable that any worse condition than this cannot make any difference. She is caught completely spellbound by the intensity of the assault on her by the tyrant. The oppressive condition of her present life compels her to reconcile with the situation. She is dump like a stone. Nothing can move her into activity. The rhyming word is “me”.

I will not, cannot go.

“I will not” comes from her heavy oppressive conditions. She has accepted her fate. No one should mistake her and think that she is arrogant. Her decision comes from the reality that she just “cannot” go. The word “go” rhymes with the last word in the second line.

This twelve-line symbolic poem is skillfully written by using almost all poetic devices like metaphor, rhyme, alliteration, simile, onomatopoeia, and the choice of apt syllables. It symbolizes all the social, religious, political, and psychological oppression a woman feels in her life. The poem represents the emotions of a young woman at the moment of being ravished by a cruel man.

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