In So, We’ll Go No More A-Roving, explore the ways in which the poet vividly conveys how short-lived love is.
Lord Byron is a man infamous for his numerous affairs and ridiculously lavish lifestyle; his poem So We’ll Go No More A-Roving highlights the diminishing of this way of life and his subsequent ‘loss of love’.
Byron uses imagery to convey the demise of his passion. The metaphor ‘the sword outwears it sheath’ has many interpretations, all highlighting the loss of love. This could represent the metaphysical and supernatural- the ‘soul’ outwears the body- meaning that he’s tired out. His breast or body is only a vessel, a mere representation of him- and he’s trying to convey that he is not as youthful as he used to be. His love (in the most physical manner of the word) is coming to and end: as he gets older, such fantasies become less and less feasible. However, he was only 29 when he wrote this poem, so the loss of his love is greatly exaggerated. On the other hand, the sword and soul could be phallic symbols, and the sheath and breast vaginal symbols that emphasize Lord Byron’s scandalous lifestyle. It presents a very sexist image that depicts Byron’s hegemonic masculinity- women are denoted to be disposable, and men are more resilient in terms of love. This perhaps shows how quickly his love interest has faded away, and how his ‘love’ (somewhat equated to sexual desire) has been lost.
The symbolism of the moon and the different connotations of day and night heavily contribute to the message of the poem. The moon is a romantic image, a symbol of love. Byron mentions the moon twice in the poem: in the first paragraph- ‘And the moon be still as bright’, and in the last- ‘by the light of the moon’. His love is waning, as he will go ‘no more’ a-roving under the moon. The nighttime triggers mysterious, secretive, dark fantasies- and symbolizes unaccepted things- and perhaps Byron is trying to convey the diminishing of this lifestyle. His loss of love may not lie in the loss of emotional love, and may not even indicate the loss of physical acts of love with a particular person- but the loss of his true love and indulgence- that is, his lavish lifestyle. The daytime, however, signifies the return to social order. Byron is now subject to social conformity- and his loss of love lies in the loss of his freedom.
Tone is essential to So We’ll Go No More A-Roving. The melancholic and slightly regretful tone indicates the mourning of his love. The sibilance and soft sounds like ‘sword outwears… must pause…’ contribute to this mournful, tired tone. It further brings out the message that youth is fleeting, and that the body deteriorates with age- and his capability for love subsequently fades. However, the rhyme scheme (which is essential to the tone and mood of the poem) can be interpreted as lively and jolly. It follows an ABAB pattern, creating a bouncy and jaunty rhythm- the juxtaposition of this against the lachrymose message emphasizes how this fleeting loss of love is against his flamboyant nature. It could also bring out his flighty, capricious nature, which explains why his love is so short-lived.
Through the use of a plethora of literary devices, Lord Byron vividly and dramatically expresses the ephemerality of his love.