Analysis of a Poem:“For That He Looked Not upon Her” by George Gascoigne 

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“For That He Looked Not upon Her” by George Gascoigne explores the complexity of human yearning and the anguish that may arise from it. Throughout his writing, Gascoigne illuminates his main points through the use of diction, imagery, metaphors and connotative words.

The standard sonnet form of the poem supports the speakers’ convincing defense for his actions. The poem follows the classic “ABAB” rhyme scheme, with a perfectly even iambic pentameter, and ends with a rhyming couplet which emphasizes his argument. The speaker begins by addressing a possible ambiguity because his lover may “think it strange” that he does not look at her. Indeed, the reader may be at first mystified as to the speaker’s motivations because, paradoxically, the lover “take[s] no delight” to look at his love, despite the fact that attractive “gleam” “grow” upon her face. However, by methodically presenting the analogies of a mouse caight in a trap and a scorched fly, the speaker explains why he acts the way he does. While this standard and rigid form is effective in proving the speaker’s point and supporting his argument, at first it seems a little too rigid to convey the depths of his emotion.

The speaker, however, does convey the deep hurt he has felt by the use of two images that are comparable to what has happened to him. The first is a mouse that, having been caught in a trap once before, learns from his mistake and rather than suffer the same imprisonment, chooses to hide and is forever more paranoid of any food he eats because it may trap him. Tragically, this analogy suggests that the speaker, having been so hurt by the deceit of his lover, will live the rest of his life in fear of a replication of the tragedy that occured and consequently will never love again because he can never again trust things, like sharing a glance with a beautiful woman, that could subject him to the same torment he endured before.

The next image, that of a “scorched fly” conveys an even more heightened sense of the speaker’s pain. The fact that the fly was physically burned suggests that the speaker himself was wounded, metaphorically, and can never fully recover. Additionally, the speaker expands upon the analogy of his lover trapping him like a mouse by comparing his actions to burning him, a more violent offense. The fact that the fly “will hardly come to play again with fire” gives the reader more insight into what has occured because the speaker suggests that he naively did not realize what he was getting himself into and perhaps at first regarded his growing affection for the woman like a “game”.

However, the lines “Whereby I learn that grievous is that fame/ Which follows fancy dazzled by desire” prove that the speaker, at the cost of his own happiness has learned from the experience and is now no longer naive. The speaker further conveys his pain and sorrow through exaggerated diction and his repeated use of alliteration. He begins by emphasizing hi “louring head so low”, a combination of alliteration and assonance, to reveal the extent of his pain and possible humiliation, He continues to employ alliteration and consonance to emphasize the feeling behind the images he uses and concludes with the most exaggerated and humorous usage of alliteration in lines 11-12, “grievous” and “game”, as well as “follows fancy dazzled by desire”, all of which drive home the extent of his suffering.

Through the methods of formal organization, intense imagery and exaggerated diction, the speaker defends what at first seems to be an incomprehensible sentiment towards the woman he supposedly loves. By the end of the poem, he addresses any ambiguities surrounding his sorrow and provides a convincing and passionate account of his suffering.


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Analysis of a Poem:“For That He Looked Not upon Her” by George Gascoigne . (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-a-poemfor-that-he-looked-not-upon-her-by-george-gascoigne/



What is the meaning of the poem for that he looked not upon her?
The poem is about a man who is in love with a woman but does not want to admit it. The woman is also in love with the man but does not want to admit it.
What kind of sonnet is for that he looked not upon her?
The sonnet is about a man who is in love with a woman who does not return his affections.
What literary devices are used in for that he looked not upon her?
The literary devices used in this sentence are alliteration and personification.
What type of poem is for that he looked upon her?
1. In Gilead, literacy is a threat because it allows people to read and think for themselves. 2. Literacy is also a threat because it allows people to communicate and share information with each other.
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