‘November Blue’ by Alice Meynell reflects on the weather in November. The poem talks about how London takes on a dull appearance towards the tail end of autumn, just before winter kicks in.
November Blue Alice MeynellThe colour of the electric lights has a strange effect in giving acomplementary tint to the air in the early evening. —ESSAY ON LONDON.O, Heavenly colour! London townHas blurred it from her skies;And hooded in an earthly brown,Unheaven'd the city lies.No longer standard-like this hueAbove the broad road flies;Nor does the narrow street the blueWear, slender pennon-wise.But when the gold and silver lampsColour the London dew,And, misted by the winter damps,The shops shine bright anew -Blue comes to earth, it walks the street,It dyes the wide air through;A mimic sky about their feet,The throng go crowned with blue.
‘November Blue‘ by Alice Meynell is a poem about the drably weather in November and what people do to feel better about it.
Stanza one begins with an apostrophe. The speaker addresses heavenly color and complains that the season has rid the sky of all its colors. The line that follows is a typical example of personification. There, London is personified. The speaker describes how dreary the weather in November is and how different the season is from the one preceding it. The speaker makes no direct reference; however, for the complaint to come in the first place, it means that the season before made the whole place colorful and the sky bright.
The speaker tells the reader the measures taken to brighten up the whole place; how they resort to using lamps. Then, the whole place begins to shine, and blue comes to earth.
Structure and Form
‘November Blue‘ is a two-stanza poem that is composed of eight-line stanzas, known as octaves. The poem has an alternate rhyme scheme, and this makes it song-like. It reminds one of nursery rhymes- how rhythmic those can be. The poem is made up of two stanzas, with each containing eight lines. The sentence structure and language used are simple.
Even though the lines of ‘November Blue‘ aren’t filled with literary devices, the two employed are worth mentioning. We will start with an apostrophe and then move on to personification.
- Apostrophe: After the introductory quote, the poem is kicked off in earnest by an apostrophe. The speaker begins with “O, Heavenly colour!” This is a typical example of apostrophe because heavenly color (something inanimate) is addressed as if it were right there, listening.
- Personification: Right after the apostrophe in the first line comes (still a part of the first line and then the second line of the poem) personification. Here, London town is assigned the pronoun “her,” as if it were a living thing. As used in the poem, London town is the place, not necessarily the people. The speaker says, “London town has blurred it from her skies.” This is personification in its entirety.
- Anaphora: This is the literary device used to avoid repeating a certain word. Pronouns and verbs are usually employed to achieve this. In ‘November Blue,’ ‘it’ is used to replace so many words after mentioning them once.
The colour of the electric lights has a strange effect in giving a complementary tint to the air in the early evening.—ESSAY ON LONDON.
The poem starts with a quote from “Essay on London.” It is a snippet declaring that in the early evening, with the electric lights on, things seem in place. November is a month in the autumn season in London.
O, Heavenly colour! London town
Has blurred it from her skies;
And hooded in an earthly brown,
Unheaven’d the city lies.
No longer standard-like this hue
Above the broad road flies;
Nor does the narrow street the blue
Wear, slender pennon-wise.
The first actual stanza of the poem begins with an apostrophe. The speaker addresses an inanimate object—heavenly color. This refers to the typical November weather in most parts of Europe and America. In November, the leaves fall, and it is windy, dry, or wet. This is in preparation for winter in December, January, and February. Although it is subject to change, this is the normal weather in November.
The speaker describes London town as ridding heavenly color from her skies and goes on to say that the city now lies unheaven’d. The city, after being filled with the warmth and colors of summer, is now faced with the dreariness of November.
But when the gold and silver lamps
Colour the London dew,
And, misted by the winter damps,
The shops shine bright anew –
Blue comes to earth, it walks the street,
It dyes the wide air through;
A mimic sky about their feet,
The throng go crowned with blue.
In this stanza, the speaker tells us what they do to make up for the dreariness and how they make use of lamps and other unnatural lights. London, in autumn, begins to look colorful once more. In the evenings, when the lights from the lamps come on, the place brightens up—the shops take on a better look, a new look, and blue walks the street. Then, the air is no longer dull, the place is no longer dreary, and the sky attains color. This is a trick, and November is here with its blue.
It’s likely that the weather in November inspired Alice Meynell to write ‘November Blue.’ At that time of the year, it is usually windy and rainy, and according to the speaker, the people in London use lamps to add light and color to the place.
The tone used in ‘November Blue‘ is mostly sad. At that time of the year, the place looks dull, the sky is without color, and the people have to find a temporary solution. When this is done, they become happy once more.
Weather is the major theme explored by Alice Meynell’s ‘November Blue.’ The season of November is described in clear terms, and the speaker talks about what the people in London do to make the place lively once more.
The central topic of ‘November Blue‘ is the weather in November and all it comes with. The poem also talks about the temporary solution to the dullness the season brings with it.
If you found Alice Meynell’s ‘November Blue‘ interesting, you should check out the poems below: