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Symbol Analysis

Each of the stanzas takes place during a different season. The poet can't seem to make up his mind what as to what season he'll end up dying in, so he hedges his bets and imagines all the possibilities. In the first stanza, he imagines dying during spring; the third is summer; and the fourth is winter. Strangely, winter isn't the bad guy here – in most poems about death, you'd expect winter, or at least autumn, to play a big role in setting the mood, but that's not necessarily the case here.

  • Line 2: The poet describes the month of May as though it were a bird "flapping" its "wings." This is kind of like personification, only the poet is giving the month of May the attributes of a bird, rather than of a person. We'll call it "birdification."
  • Line 14: He personifies winter when he says that it "sees" the starry skies.

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