THE turtle on yon withered bough,
That lately mourned her murdered mate,
Has found another comrade now–
Such changes all await!
Again her drooping plume is drest,
Again she’s willing to be blest
And takes her lover to her nest.

If nature has decreed it so
With all above, and all below,
Let us like them forget our woe,
And not be killed with sorrow.
If I should quit your arms to-night
And chance to die before ‘t was light,
I would advise you — and you might —
Love again to-morrow.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Philip Freneau's poem Song of Thyrsis


  1. Roxanne Rimonte says:

    This poem is very inspirational and optimistic, which are very different to me. It encourages us to have faith and not give up on the loss of someone special, because it is likely that we will meet someone better suited for us. We should not be hung up on our past; we should learn to move on and accept the painful reality. It is not the end, as said in the poem, “Love again tomorrow.”

  2. Xiayi Zhang says:

    I can’t move my eyes from that line, “Love again tomorrow.” It touches my hidden part of heart. Romantic people have more sensitive feelings and perspectives. We should take our time to see this beautiful world, to feel the wonderful love. Love will never be too much. A simple short peom can wake people up to love. That’s the beauty of poem.

  3. Louie Merced says:

    Losing something or somebody who we value and love so much is a painful and difficult experience. But we all have to learn to accept that death, failures, separations and letting gos are bitter truths of life. However, as Freneau tells us through the poem, we should never dwell on our down moments. We should not allow our sorrows and frustrations to control us for we still have a life to live. True, mourning over a loss or death is a part of the process, but we should not cling on to it for too long. We should still learn how to get up and pick the broken pieces, move on, and learn to live and love once more. I like the verse on loving once more tomorrow. Love is meant to be shared. Everyone deserves to be happy. Everybody deserves to love and be loved. Death and separation should never stop us from feeling and giving out our love to others.

  4. Cho Tol- Tol Park says:

    Philip Freneau is such a romantic poet! His poem seems smooth and lovely in a way he expresses. Personally I love the last line, “Love again tomorrow.” Isn’t it beautiful? (^_^) I agree to other people’s comment! It gave me positive thinking which is more likely to smile on my face. Everything depends on the thinking I suppose. And it reminded one of my favorite quotation which is, “Words can be beautiful. So can dreams. So can hopes.”
    Reading at his poem (the Song of Thyrsis), gave me glimpse of little research about who is Thyrsis? Because when I first read the poem, I couldn’t get the connection with the turtle and Thyrsis. So, I have some of my own analyzation that maybe the turtle was owned by Thyrsis or Thyrsis’s (the sheperd) lost in the singing contest gives similar feeling of sorrowness or sadness like what experienced by the turtle’s mate who was murdered by someone else. Im sure everybody once experienced sadness or sorrowness in ones life! This poem has a connection with the life of Philip Freneau, it said in the history that he had a financial hardship because of his father’s financial losses and death. Moreover Philip did not want the social turmoil and war happenings in his country where he decided to find happiness to the other place. Where he spent some of his life in writing the beautiful poems which he really love to do. I think this poem gives “Chances and Hopes” to everyone who read this poem~

  5. Lianne Gonzalvo says:

    I definitely agree with Judith and Kim – that this poem of Freneau is very optimistic in nature. Today, many find it hard to be optimistic and be happy with life. I find it weird that some people need to go to comedy bars to make themselves happy, at least for a while. But Freneau, through his poem, proved that we can be happy when we are optimistic. I love how he used the feeling of love to capture the hardships of the people because it is a very catchy emotion and because we all can relate to it. All of us experienced love and maybe experienced a love that is lost – love for a friend that is lost, etc. Moreover, I love the human in him. Though he talks about optimism, he also talks about sorrow, which humans definitely undergo every now and then. For me, that is the best way to send across the message of optimism.

  6. Jane Kimberly M. Camarse says:

    This is one of the most inspiring poems I’ve ever read. Philip Freneau have successfully showed how life, although it could be miserable and sorrowful, things will always fall back to their right places. It shows a great deal of optimism in one’s perception of life.

  7. Jane Kimberly M. Camarse says:

    this is one of the most inspiring poems I’ve ever read. Philip Freneau have successfully showed how life, although it could be sorrowful and miserable, it could always be sweet and that things will always eventually fall back to their right places.

  8. Judith Ochengco says:

    I like the way Philip Freneau uses analogy as he refers to human life and dealing with sorrow.

    He uses the turtledove that mourns the death of her mate; but eventually goes with another comrade, willingly taking the chance to be happy again.

    I think Philip Freneau tries to tell us, readers that come a time when grief arrives, we should not dwell on that negative feeling. Instead, we should move on with our lives, face tomorrow and be happy again. I believe that this optimism is a great tool for living a contented life; however, I also want to add that what Philip Freneau’s message is easier said than done.

    The character of Thyrsis (Virgil’s Eclogue 7), from what I’ve found out in the Internet, was a sheperd who lost who lost a singing contest. Just like the turtle, Thyrsis has found himself in a lamentable situation. I think Freneau uses Thyrsis for his title because: (a) Thyrsis’ character reflects what Freneau tries to convey in his poem, about being able to overcome losses and moving on, or (b)in a sense, we are all the character Thyrsis, having our own difficult times; this poem is our song, telling us not to linger on despair but to “love again tomorrow”.

  9. Ellen Johansen says:

    Albert Tepper created a lovely piece of music based on this poem for chorus and piano. Professor Tepper is from Hofstra University in Hempstead New York. He has written many wonderful pieces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Philip Freneau better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.