Study Guide

Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount Man and the Natural World

By Ben Jonson

Man and the Natural World

Echo, the speaker of "Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount," must have been one outdoorsy lady. She talks to nature, sings to nature, and uses nature to describe her own emotions. Nature, for its part, is a bit more complicated. While nature seems to participate in human activities (like singing and mourning), there are a number of moments where nature seems to march to the beat of its own drummer. At times, it seems like Echo reads things into nature, or wants to convince herself that nature cares when, in reality, it doesn't at all.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Where in the poem does nature seem most closely tied to Echo? Are there places where nature seems indifferent?
  2. What is the effect of all this personification? Why does Echo keep insisting that nature do things like cry and sing?
  3. What do you make of the fact that Narcissus, a human, gets transformed into a daffodil upon his death?     
  4. Do you think nature is really singing with Echo? Or is it all in her head? How do you know?

Chew on This

In this poem, Echo and nature are one and the same. There is simply no separating the two.

Echo will never get over her grief because she fails to come to terms with the fact that nature doesn't care about her lot.