Praise Poetry Analysis

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Praise poetry can tell us a lot about the relationship between poet and patron back in the medieval era. In Celtic society patron and poet lived in a symbiotic relationship and both needed each other to validate themselves. The patron needed the poet to sing his praises and add to his good reputation so his tribe could see him as a worthy leader. The poet needed the prince’s rewards of gold, land and prestige for this service. As long as the poet continued to do a good job and show the tribe of the prince’s worthiness, the tribe would remain united and prosper under his leadership. The poet used a selection of techniques, one of these being the panegyric code to portray these praises to his tribe so they would see him as their ideal and loyal…show more content…
The poem itself opens with “One man’s arm can halt in Ireland” which is the name of the poem but also shows the king as a warrior which sets the tone and shows us it is indeed praise poetry. The first stanza also refers to him as “scion white footed, a bright heart which offers aid” portraying his beauty, courage and his helpful nature towards his friends. Verse 2 continues with this strong sense of panegyric code: “Renowned his generosity and reputation, his prowess in the haunts of the deer, hero of the house of mighty Tara, smooth-palmed youth, Ireland’s sacred tree.” The poet in the first line of this verse is showing his audience that their king is a good host and is renowned for this generosity. This contrasts with the last line of the verse which is used to show his youth and wisdom by comparing him to a tree. Tree’s were common symbolic images and were used to represent wisdom, knowledge, fertility, family and even divine kingship by relating him to the earth and his surroundings. By the poet using this image, he is painting a very reputable, positive image of his patron to his tribe, therefore doing his job well by validating the king’s position. Just from these two verses alone we can see poet and patron during this era lived in a very symbiotic relationship where both sides needed the other and got along
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