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The Black Heralds
The Black Heralds
by César Vallejo

The Black Heralds Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Rhymed and Metered in Spanish, Free Verse in EnglishIn the original Spanish the poem has a rhyme scheme, and its meter is pretty regular. Each line except for the third, fourth, and fifth is made u...

Speaker

The speaker of "The Black Heralds" is a first-person singular (we know because they say "I don't know!" all the time). The speaker seems to be trying for a universal identity—we don't know if it...

Setting

The setting in this poem is pretty abstract. We don't get much beyond the religious images, so we might be in some kind of spiritual setting, or they might be part of the speaker's imagination. The...

Sound Check

Really, the sound of this poem depends a lot on what language you're reading it in. Remember that this is translated from the original Spanish, so there are things to listen up for with both the or...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of this poem is like a warning sign. "The Black Heralds" comes from line 8. They're those powerful blows in life that are sent to us by Death. You know, no biggie. Some people think that...

Calling Card

Religious ThemesEven though Vallejo had a lot of criticism of religion in his poetry, that didn't stop him from taking a dip into the communion wine when he needed a metaphor or two. Images like th...

Tough-o-Meter

(3) Base CampThis is a good enough poem to stretch your thinking muscles a bit, but the themes are so universal that most anyone can catch on.

Trivia

Vallejo had his own fair share of suffering, and it was the basis for a lot of his writing. He went to jail, was impoverished, had a chronic illness, and even tried to kill himself over a break-up....

Steaminess Rating

GThis poem is way too busy suffering for sex. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving.

Allusions

Biblical References:Revelation 6:1-8: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. (8)Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23: Jesus Christ is crucified. (9)Historical References:Atilla the Hun. (7)

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