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Analysis

Roving

Symbol Analysis

That's what this poem is all about: roving. Or rather, it's about deciding not to rove anymore. Roving means wandering or roaming; it is associated in this poem with youth and symbolizes a host of youthful or childish activities that one outgrows. Since this is also a poem about death, roving also is a stand-in for life itself; the speaker intimates that he's getting older, and that eventually he will die and have to stop roving. Gee, it sounds like roving sure has something to do with living to us.

  • Lines 1-2: The speaker says he'll go no more a roving so late into the night. In other words, he's not going to stay out late getting crazy anymore. Roving here symbolizes youthful and purposeless activities. The internal rhyme ("no" and "roving") here shows us that denial ("no") and "roving" are very closely associated in this poem, even at the, ahem, sonic level. (No, we don't mean the hedgehog.)
  • Lines 11-12: The day returns too soon, and the night was made for loving (9-10), yet the speaker will go no more a-roving. Roving again symbolizes youthful activities, anything that you can get tired of basically. As before (1-2), the internal rhyme ("no" and "roving") associates denial and roving.
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