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Poem “The Unquiet Grave”

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The lover of a deceased woman mourns for 1 year and a day at his love’s grave. After this time period, the man is given the opportunity to talk to the dead woman, and he is taught an important lesson.


oFolk Ballad is a song belonging to the folk music of a people or area, often existing in several versions or with regional variations because it is passed down by word of mouth, not written.

oRhythm is the pattern of beats, or stresses, in spoken or written language.

oLyric poetry is poetry in which writers express their thoughts and feelings about a subject in a brief, but musical way.

oTheme is a central message or insight into life revealed through a literary work.

oSymbol is anything that stands for or represents something else,


“The Unquiet Grave” displays its status of being lyric poetry because the author gives his insight on life and that one must enjoy it and not dwell on lost loves. Lines 27 and 28 show this where it says, “So make yourself content, my love, till God calls you away.” However, this poem is also a folk ballad because it was passed down by word of mouth. This is proven because there are other versions of this poem. However, if it was written down correctly, no extra translations should have resulted. Also, the poem contains a rhythm that seems to alternate between lines. The first and third line of each stanza are stressed, but the second and fourth line always seem more resolved and peaceful. These stresses and resolutions shape how the poem is read aloud, creating a musical effect.

Though the most apparent theme of this poem is to enjoy life to its fullest and move on after a death, the death of the woman can also symbolize a missed opportunity. Many people will dwell on a missed opportunity, and thus miss other opportunities. The phrase of “craving to kiss your cold-clay lips” is constantly repeated to show the constant dwelling of the survivor wishing to relive the past instead of focusing on the future. In lines 23-26, the “finest flower” symbolizes the love between the man and woman. Though the love will never be forgotten, it will slowly wither and pass away, but there is the chance it will grow back once the man also dies. With his death, the two will be back together where they will love each other once again.


Recalling main points

1.Was the man faithful to his lost love? Prove your answer.

Yes, he vowed to do as much for his love as any young man would for their love

2.How long did the man vow to mourn at her grave?

12 months and 1 day

3.What was the reason the man gave to sitting at her grave?

He craved to kiss her one more time

4.The woman tells the man to be content with himself until when?

Until God calls him

Critical Thinking

1.In the quote, “I’ll do as much for my true love as any young man may”, why is a young man used to show his love? Explain.

He uses a young man as his comparison because young men are very brave and usually naïve; thus they are willing to risk everything for their love.

2.What does the man’s craving to kiss his love show?

Though he loves her a lot, he refuses to move on in his life

3.What does the woman mean when she says “Your time will not be long.”?

Because if she gives him a kiss, he will want her even more and mourn more, which is not what she wants him to do.

4.What does the “finest flower” represent? Explain your answer

The flower represents their love for each other. This is because when they are separated from living and dead, their love for one another cannot be nurtured and will not grow, but die.

5.What is meant when she says “So make yourself content, my love, till God calls you away.

She is urging the man to move on with his life, and stop mourning at her grave because they will be reunited again after-death.

6.Think of another circumstance in which this poem can symbolize. Explain your answer.

This poem can symbolize trying to get over a missed opportunity. The dead woman can symbolize the opportunity that has been missed, and now the man is dwelling on his missed opportunity at something.

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