© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
To Melancholy

To Melancholy

by Charlotte Smith

Sadness Theme

Okay, you should have seen this one coming. The poem is called "To Melancholy," so you better believe that melancholy, or sadness, is going to be an important theme. The weird thing is, though, that the speaker of this poem actually seems to enjoy her melancholy. She finds it soothing and refreshing. What's up with that?

Questions About Sadness

  1. Why does the speaker feel sad? How can you tell?
  2. Can you explain a difference between "melancholy" and "sadness"? (Hint: try looking the words up in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
  3. Why does she address melancholy directly? Why not address the source of her sorrow (whatever it is)?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

A-ha! By addressing her "melancholy" directly through apostrophe and personification, the speaker is better able to understand it.

By addressing her "melancholy" directly, the speaker makes her melancholy into a kind of companion, which further emphasizes her loneliness and isolation. Her only friend is her melancholy! And that is just super-duper-sad.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement