Study Guide

Oread The Command

By H.D.

The Command

"Oread" is a dramatic monologue, spoken by the Oread to the sea. But it's a very specific kind of speech. The entire poem is written in the imperative mood, which is really just a fancy way of saying that the whole poem is a command. Basically, the Oread is yelling at the ocean for the entirety of the poem. She's trying to get it to bend to her will. Does she succeed? We don't really know if the sea ever reaches the forest in real life, but we do know that the sea becomes the forest in her language.

  • Line 1: The poem begins with the demand "Whirl up, sea—." We have a specific speaker (the Oread) and a specific audience (the sea). And the dash at the end of the line tells us that the Oread is not done with her command. In fact, the entire poem is one big imperative.
  • Lines 2-4: The Oread keeps on telling the sea what to do. Okay, bossy nymph, you've got our attention. 
  • Lines 5-6: The commands for the sea to "hurl" and "cover us" seem a little violent to us. Don't you agree? A command is a powerful action in and of itself, and these strong verbs make it even more intense. This nymph knows what she wants.