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Analysis

Money and Payment

Symbol Analysis

There's a lot of money in this poem. Not tens and twenties, but things that are just as good as cash: gold and riches. In addition to precious minerals, the speaker also uses metaphors of payment to describe her relationship with her husband (the words repay and recompense, for example). It is a little weird to use this kind of vocabulary, to be sure. Who talks of love as transaction anyway? You'd be surprised.

  • Lines 5-6: The speaker says she prizes her husband's love more than "whole mines of gold" and all the "riches" of the "East." The "East" symbolizes the exotic, wealthy, and strange. (Side note: the East is a region of the world, not a person, so it can't technically "hold" anything. This is an example of personification.)
  • Line 8: The only form of "recompense" the speaker's love will accept is love from her husband. Recompense acts as a metaphor that compares loving relationships to a transaction. Something is given, and something must be given in return.
  • Line 9: The speaker says her husband's love is so great that there is no way she can "repay" it. Again, we just can't shake the notion that this speaker thinks love is a transaction that should even out in the end.
  • Line 10: The speaker asks the Heavens to reward her husband. While we're thinking she's probably talking about spiritual benefits, the use of the word reward definitely has monetary connotations.
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