The poem, “Apostrophe to the Ocean,” is one of the most renowned masterpieces of George Gordon Byron, which conveys the author’s love for nature by including his unique, romantic style of writing. As this poem is entirely dedicated to the mighty ocean, the main subject of this work is about man versus nature. George Byron also discusses his views about the industrialization; throughout the poem, he hints on the deleterious effects of human exploitations. Therefore, the poem, “Apostrophe to the Ocean,” paints George Byron’s view of the concept – man versus nature – by revealing his belief: the power of nature is insurmountable.
To begin with, unlike the other romantic poems that were written during his era, this poem is entirely focused on the wild beauty of the ocean that the author finds fascination in, rather than on his beautiful, loving woman. The title of the poem also indicates its subject; the first literary device used is portrayed by the title. The apostrophe is “when the writer speaks to an absent or dead person as if they were present or personifies an inanimate object as a person not present” (Chrisholm). In this poem, Byron speaks to the inanimate object, the ocean, about his feelings toward this mighty part of nature and its powers that can easily dominate human beings.
The poem consists of seven Spenserian stanzas; the Spenserian stanza is composed of “nine iambic lines where the first eight are iambic pentameters and the ninth is an iambic hexameter; its rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc” (Spenserian stanzas). Thus, this work has a rather complicated form. Following this form, every stanza includes deep and thorough meanings that subsequently convey the author’s notions.
The first stanza underlines the author’s feelings toward the ocean. He describes his rapturous fascination and his overwhelming love for nature. The writer notes: “There is a rapture on the lonely shore/ There is society where none intrudes/ By the deep Sea, and music in its roar/ I love not Man the less, but Nature more” (2–5). Furthermore, he reflects his perplexing thoughts about humanity because he cannot conceal his overflowing emotion toward the nature in front of the progressive industrialization.
The second and third stanzas discuss the major conflict of the poem: man versus nature. In these parts, Byron concludes that man has ruined the land; he says, “Man marks the earth with ruin – his control/ Stops with the shore; - upon the watery plain” (12–13). Even though the humanity has exploited the land, according to Byron, it cannot reach the vast depth of the ocean. Byron also utilizes many poetic devices such as similes and imageries to contribute to the effect. Against the water, a person is just “like a drop of rain,” who can do nothing but “sink into its depths with bubbling groan.” Furthermore, the author portrays his hatred toward civilization by personifying the ocean; it states, “The vile strength he wields/ For...