Study Guide

All in green went my love riding Stanza 3

By E.E. Cummings

Stanza 3

Lines 6-8

Fleeter be they than dappled dreams
the swift sweet deer
the red rare deer.

  • And now our speaker spends some time loving on the deer. In fact, he's so into them that he spends three lines discussing their beauty. 
  • Once again, there's some inverted syntax at play here. We mentioned it in lines 1-3, but we'll say it again for good measure: a typical sentence might say that "They (the deer) are fleeter than dreams." Instead, Cummings inverts the subject and verb yet again. We're still in Ye Olde Englande, folks. (You'll see all sorts of inversions throughout the poem—in fact, we challenge you to find one sentence that isn't inverted. If you find one, write it on the back of a $100 bill and mail it to us right away.)
  • Notice how lines 7 and 8 have exactly the same structure? In fact, the only difference between the two is the adjectives the speaker chooses. If it seems a little bit over-the-top, well, that's the point. The deer are so super-terrific-amazing that the speaker just has to talk about them… at length. The adjectives in each pair are slightly different from each other, as well. The first adjectives, "swift" and "red," each describe physical characteristics of the deer. The second, "sweet" and "rare," are more like assessments of the deer as they might appear to humans. Why the combo? Well, it helps position the deer both in the scene and in our assessment of them. 
  • The image of the deer here is idealized, to be sure. In fact, our speaker dwells on them for so long that we wonder if the deer aren't standing in for something, like the rider—or maybe even the speaker. 
  • Finally: notice how alliterative the speaker's descriptions are? "Dappled dreams," "sweet swift," and "red rare deer make the tongue trip over itself, almost as if it's rushing off on a race, or even a ride. All this play makes us feel like the rider, trying to hang out as all these sounds jumble through in the lines. (Check out "Sound Check" for more on this poem's sounds.)

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...