Precious Cargo throughout the ages

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Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

--"Cargoes 1902" by John Masefield

Although Roberts discusses the imagery found in this poem in Chapter 8, when I originally read this poem, I didn't read the poem's imagery as imagery--I saw it more as allusions. Now, this may have been because there were so many footnotes in the first stanza; however, I do see where Roberts is coming from in terms of imagery. Masefield paints a pretty picture. In my mind, I can see the ship rowing its way across the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, I still think that the allusions are what make this poem meaningful. I have to admit that without the footnotes, I would've been a little lost, but with the help of that trusty guide, it was easy for me to understand the meaning behind the poem: Even though the three ships are from different times in history, they all share a common goal--trade. The items being traded didn't change very much over the centuries either. Whether it be ivory, gold or coal, the idea remains the same that these ships held precious cargo.

I'd like to make one more note about this poem. I'm taking Western Cultural Traditions I right now, and I just finished learning about the Assyrian culture. I love when my coursework overlaps between classes, because it just proves that the liberal arts education is beneficial to all students. 

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This page contains a single entry by Jessie published on October 13, 2009 1:29 PM.

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