Home > Uncategorized > Week 2 blog revision – Vivian

Week 2 blog revision – Vivian

Important words from Montagu’s:

Wisdom and Merit

Wisdom is used throughout the poem. Normally, we see wisdom as a desirable trait. But here, Montagu seems to be decreasing the value of wisdom. In the beginning, the Doctor tries using his wisdom and wit to joke and charm his way to the lady but that the lady takes no notice of it. What does win the lady’s services is gold. Later she writes “With learning mad, with wisdom blind!” It seems as if she is saying that the wise think that they are always right when they’re not. However, later she clarifies her true point when she writes, “None strive to know their proper merit/But strain for wisdom, beauty, spirit,/And lose the praise that is their due/While they’ve th’impossible in view.” Merit is something that is earned. And back then, I’m assuming that merit was earned with status and money. And in men, status and money seemed to be associated with wisdom, good-looks, and religion.

However, Montagu writes that she’s telling this story “to show the wise in some things fail.” She meant to display Dr. S’s arrogance; he thought of himself as having more merit than he really had due to his ‘wisdom.’ He attempted to pay for the lady’s services with his wisdom and wit, rather than gold. She’s saying Swift views himself as an economical object—that he himself has value and because of that, he does not need to pay for the lady’s services. When she says that “none strive to know their proper merit, but strain for wisdom, beauty, spirit,” it seems like she is saying that the higher up someone is, the more they exaggerate and inflate themselves to be. Thus, they will never realize their true worth. Wisdom is thought to earn you merit, but the wise claim more merit than they’ve actually earned.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.