Literary Devices in Francis William Bourdillon’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

Literary Devices in Francis William Bourdillon’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes Francis William Bourdillon was an English poet and translator.

He was well known for his poetry the most famous of which is the short poem The Night Has A Thousand Eyes. This poem contains many literary devices or elements. They enhance the poem and make it more descriptive.The most obvious device one sees is the rhyme in the poem.

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Rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds at the end of each line in a poem. Rhymes may occur in pairs (aa,bb) or may alternate (abab).  This particular poem follows a skipping pattern that can be represented as a-b-a-b.Example:The night has a thousand eyes (a),And the day but one (b);Yet the light of the bright world dies (a)With the dying sun (b).

The rhyme in the poem is also a true rhyme where the words sound identical.The tone of the poem also stands out. The tone is the attitude with which the writer approaches the subject matter of the poem and/or his/her audience. The poet speaks in a wistful tone in this poem.

The tone may even be considered bordering on sad. This is illustrated by the line:Yet the light of a whole life diesWhen love is done.Also the usage of the words ‘dying sun’ and ‘bright world dies’ to describe sunset and nighttime is an example of the wistful tone permeating the poem.Personification has also been used in this poem.

This literary device brings to life a non-living object. In the poem being analysed, night and day have been personified. This is clear from the lineThe night has a thousand eyesAnd the day but one;The poet says that the night has many eyes. In saying so, he puts forth the idea that the night is a living object with eyes.

He has similarly personified the day.The mind and the heart are also personified as having a thousand and one eye respectively. The one eye of the heart is love.Metaphors are literary devices that are used to make comparisons.

They say that something is something else by way of comparison. Here the linesYet the light of a whole life diesWhen love is done.uses a metaphor. Love is said, implicitly, to be the light of life.

Bourdillon has also made use of a hyperbole in this poem. A hyperbole is an exaggeration that is used to describe some situation. The lineYet the light of the bright world diesWith the dying a hyperbole for the onset of night and the setting of the sun.

The motif of this poem is eyes or sight, since it is a repeated idea or image. The night, the day, mind and heart are all portrayed as having eyes. The eyes of the night are watchful, while the eye of the day is warm. The thousand eyes of the mind are the various points of view that each issue generates in our mind.

Love is the one eye of the heart with which we look at the world and the people around us.Symbolism is a literary device where a concrete object is used to model or represent an abstract idea. In this poem, the object eye is used to represent the abstract concept of love. The eye of the heart is said to be love.

Light is also used model love. The loss of love in a life is represented, as an absence of light is one’s life.The mood a poem creates is the feeling or emotion it evokes in a reader. Francis William Bourdillon’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes evokes feelings of loss and sorrow.

When he peaks of day dying and giving way to night one feels the eyes of the night with trepidation. The light of a life dying or the loss of love evokes sorrow and wistfulness.            

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Literary Devices in Francis William Bourdillon’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes. (2017, Mar 24). Retrieved from