Ut Sementem Feceris, Ita Mates, Voltairine de Cleyre: Summary & Analysis

"UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES" by Voltairine de Cleyre is a powerful and poignant expression of anger and condemnation directed at the oppressive regime and its cruel actions. The poem addresses the suffering of a political prisoner, particularly a woman, being flogged to death in Siberia. Through vivid imagery and a sense of impending justice, the poem highlights the inevitability of retribution for such inhumanity.

UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES

How many drops must gather to the skies
Before the cloud-burst comes, we may not know;
How hot the fires in under hells must glow
Ere the volcano's scalding lavas rise,
Can none say; but all wot the hour is sure!
Who dreams of vengeance has but to endure!
He may not say how many blows must fall,
How many lives be broken on the wheel,
How many corpses stiffen 'neath the pall,
How many martyrs fix the blood-red seal;
But certain is the harvest time of Hate!
And when weak moans, by an indignant world
Re-echoed, to a throne are backward hurled,
Who listens, hears the mutterings of Fate!
UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES

Critical Analysis

"UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES" by Voltairine de Cleyre delivers a searing critique of the cruel actions of an oppressive regime, particularly the flogging of a political prisoner in Siberia. The poem conveys a strong sense of condemnation and a belief in the inevitability of retribution for such brutality.

The opening lines use metaphorical language to depict the gathering storm of anger and retribution. The image of "cloud-burst" and "volcano's scalding lavas" symbolizes the eventual eruption of outrage in response to the oppressive actions.

The repetition of "Can none say; but all wot the hour is sure!" underscores the certainty of a reckoning. The phrase "Who dreams of vengeance has but to endure!" suggests that those who seek revenge must be prepared to endure the suffering that precedes it.

The poem highlights the uncertainty of how many "blows" or lives must be sacrificed before justice prevails. The mention of "corpses stiffen 'neath the pall" emphasizes the human cost of the oppressive regime's actions.

The notion of a "harvest time of Hate" alludes to the idea that the seeds of cruelty sown by the regime will yield a bitter harvest of retribution.

The poem suggests that the voices of the oppressed, even in their weakest moments ("weak moans"), reverberate and gain strength as they are echoed by an "indignant world." The phrase "mutterings of Fate" reinforces the sense of an inevitable and cosmic justice.

"UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES" is a powerful expression of anger, condemnation, and a belief in the eventual retribution that awaits oppressors. The poem's imagery and rhetoric emphasize the inescapable consequences of cruelty and injustice.

Summary

"UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES" by Voltairine de Cleyre condemns the oppressive actions of a regime and the suffering of a political prisoner. The poem expresses the belief that retribution is inevitable, using vivid imagery and metaphors to convey the idea that the seeds of cruelty sown by oppressors will lead to their own downfall.

Themes of the Poem

  • Retribution and Justice: The poem explores the theme of retribution, highlighting the belief that the oppressive actions of the regime will lead to their own downfall.
  • Condemnation of Oppression: The poem strongly condemns the cruel actions of an oppressive regime, emphasizing the suffering inflicted on political prisoners.
  • Voices of the Oppressed: The poem underscores the idea that the voices and suffering of the oppressed will eventually gain strength and be echoed by a wider world, contributing to justice.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Metaphor and Imagery: The poem employs metaphorical language and vivid imagery, such as "cloud-burst," "volcano's scalding lavas," and "harvest time of Hate," to convey the themes of retribution and justice.
  • Repetition: The repetition of phrases like "Can none say; but all wot the hour is sure!" and "Who dreams of vengeance has but to endure!" emphasizes the certainty of eventual retribution.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Condemnation: The poem conveys a strong sense of condemnation and outrage toward the oppressive actions and flogging of a political prisoner.
  • Belief in Justice: The poem expresses a belief in the inevitability of justice and retribution, even in the face of extreme oppression.

Language

  • Rhetorical Impact: The use of rhetorical questions and emphatic phrases strengthens the poem's message of retribution and condemnation.
  • Symbolism: Symbols like the "cloud-burst" and "harvest time of Hate" enhance the poem's exploration of the consequences of oppressive actions.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythm: The poem's rhythmic flow enhances the intensity and urgency of its message, contributing to its impact on the reader.
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