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Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount

Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount

by Ben Jonson

Flowers

Symbol Analysis

As we mentioned in our "In a Nutshell" section, the youth whom Echo loved – Narcissus – eventually died and became a daffodil. Naturally, there are going to be at least a few flowers in the poem, and at least one daffodil in particular. Only, when Echo mentions the daffodil, it is not a symbol of Narcissus' beauty, but of death (it is "withered "). When you add to that the fact that, earlier in the poem, Echo asks the "herbs and flowers" to "droop," it seems that the flowers in this poem aren't your stock and standard beautiful blooms. Nope, they mean death, and all the grief that comes with it.

  • Line 5: Echo says the "herbs and flowers" "droop," in sorrow for the long gone Narcissus. Even the flowers can't escape the loss of the beautiful youth.
  • Line 11: Echo is upset that Narcissus – "nature's pride" – is now a "withered daffodil." While you might think that being reborn as a daffodil doesn't sound like such a bad lot, in this case, the daffodil is withered, making it a symbol of death, not life. The repetition of the "n" in "nature's" and "now" is an example of our favorite sonic sidekick, alliteration.
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