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Thou shalt keep them, 0 Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever."
Conceptually, the poem has four separate stanzas, each with the rhyme scheme of ababcdc. It is structured in the form of the Shakespearean or Elizabethan sonnet. Verbal introductions (e.g. Help, left, standeth, seeks, etc.) serve to move the poem in a melodious way. In fact, reading this poem one is almost caught with it as a sermon or oration. Many of the words have a harsher, or staccato-like timbre, a sharp contrast to the love sonnets of the era (bitter, wicked, pierce, fear, etc.). This sharpness, combined with the oratorical style serves Bacon's purpose of slightly arguing, slightly full of angst, and slightly arrogant -- towards God. This, too, echoes much of the Biblical Job.
The poem does not read as if it was contrived, testament to Bacon's clear genius with language as well as his intelligence and ability to work within the stylistic nature of his time. Listed below are some of the literary devices that appear in the poem:
Phrase or Word
Wicked's den (I:i)
Symbolic representation for Hell
Noble Gold (III:vii)
Gold is noble because it is pure and untainted with sin due to passing through fire.
To invade and scour (III:iii)
Harshness in God's wrath against Hell
Now for the bitter…I will no more forebear (III:i-ii)
Hints at events to form climax
Confidence of truth; lying loud (II:iv)
Confidence and lying are human qualities; Bacon gives them over to adjectives.
"Help Lord" and the problem of the Microcosm and Macrocosm- it is almost as if Bacon needed some sort of a transitional medium between his scientific works, political life, religious and occult studies, and the humanities. There was a duality in Bacon that is often expressed in his scholarly works vs. his more personal works. and, debate continues about his own sexual preferences, his loyalty to the Crown, and his nature and pinining for money and respect. This duality is certainly present in the poem, "Help Lord."
In the Elizabethan Era, European philosophers considered the world to be a macrocosm hosting millions of individual microcosms: people. The term microcosm signifies the creation of the human being as a complete world. In contrast, macrocosm refers to the idea of the whole universe outside humanity. This idea that an individual person is a world unto himself, yet still part of the chain of being, provided some interesting philosophical debate. Even within the body of humans the same patterns were seen. The head was the sun-king-lion-eagle-gold of the little world of the human, the godlike part which was the seat of reason. Thus, in the microcosm of the body was figured the macrocosm of the kingdom, and of the universe itself. The beehive, with its orderly division of roles and a single queen bee, was an ideal symbol as a microcosm of the ordered human state (Best).
For the Elizabethan's, the combination of the Great Chain of Being and Microcosm/Macrocosm organized and framed their own picture of humanity. Humans had a hierarchical organization; they knew what station they were born into, what field of endeavor and what they might expect out of life. Fate and Destiny were part of the puppet-master God who planned for a series of events to occur that would change a person's life -- all as it should be. Even if, as in many of the plays of Shakespeare, one small action could change the outcome of the entire story (e.g. The delivery of the note in Romeo and Juliet, a glance or bit of proof in Othello) the stars predict what it is that will happen. For Bacon, however, we can see his struggle with this duality in the way he phrases opposites: "fears… seeks to please; flatter… with a cloven heart" (Gaukroger, 101-2)
Similarly, the twin themes of micro and macro-cosmos were part and parcel of the literature, philosophy, and even political/economic views of the time. This view was, of course, left over from the Renaissance, and while many popular historians see the Elizabethan Era as a time of change and intellectual revolution, it was only a few forward thinkers that challenged the view of the dual nature[continue]
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