Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Allan Poe's poem Sonnet – To Science


  1. ea says:

    Wow, this is a little startling to read in modern times until you realize that a “car” used to be a chariot and that Princess Diana’s namesake is the old goddess of the hunt.

  2. Dino says:

    I just dont get how he coulda written about Dianna, if he means the princess, cuz he lived wayy before her…

  3. Davis says:

    This poem is similar to Wordsworth’s “The Table’s Turned.” It is built on the Romantic commonplace that the scientific spirit destroys natural beauty. Romantic authors were interested in the imagination, emotion, and one’s personal experience with nature. Science takes the emotion out of nature and the world around us.

  4. Eiriella says:

    When i first read this poem, i understood everything until the Diana thing, i know it talks about separtion; taking the wood nymph from the wood, the water nymph from the water and all, but i don’t understand how that fits in with science.

  5. Trevinski says:

    This poem perfectly highlights a struggle going on in my own life right now. Half a year ago I would have said that Science is the greatest good in life and that aquiring knowledge is the only true calling and purpose of man, but this poem and close inspection definitely call that into question. It’s simply a fact that the more you probe, judge, and inspect the world around you the less magical and beautiful it becomes. A tree or a sunset is a work of art layed out before us, but when we start inspecting photosynthesis and the effects of industrial pollution on light refraction the magic has all disappeared. So the real question is, do we keep on quantifying and catagorizing our world, sit idly by while the vulture tears the heart from our breast, or do we stay content to sit in the dark surrounded by beauty but no meaning? What a dilema.

  6. Paul says:

    Yes, MODERN Science is a Vulture on humanity, mostly. It does not HAVE to be so. William Blake knew this also. The industrial world view has smashed our souls to bits, almost literally, if you think of the hydrogen bomb! There are visionary Scientists such as Lynn Margulis, Sylvia Earle, Wangari Matthai, but they often struggle and suffer much. It’s a prescient, prophetic lament of a poem. A girl who is a math and physics student sent it to me! How appropriate, and what a surprise! There is hope for the future generations!!! Also , the mythopoeic mode comes BEFORE science, and science comes in to give flesh on the bones. We can have a Myth of Science, but we can never have a Science of myth. Myth can’t be contained or reduced, though science has tried its damndest, from Marxism to Socio-biology.

  7. asucar says:

    I am a person that loves science and poetry, I also believe that Edger Allen Poe was suggesting that science is or can begin as a poem. Think about it science is a hipothetical situation the only diffrence is that it is later disproven or prooved true, insted of letting others like ourself put our own meanings behind things. then I also agree with Arch

  8. Arch says:

    isn’t the poem referring to science disproving myths and taking out the romanticism in life views? Deeper still, since myth permeates much of who we are as people? No longer gods and godesses, nymphs and centaurs, Diana’s or Zeus’s and Neptunes, we are instead “ugly bags of salty water.” Love is reduced to hormones by science–and Poe is asking how can he, as a poet, can love science and “deem them wise.” Maybe he found the world a lesser kind of place without the old gods.

  9. mel says:

    this poem is weird (no offence Edgar allan poe). I didnt get it at all. Sorry.

  10. katherine says:

    the part about Diana from her car kinda scared me. reminded me of lady di.

  11. brisyl says:

    this poem portrays my own life in ways, after reading this poem it really affected me. edgar allanm poe knows exactly when to get these foo’s out of his grill yo. anyway, its a good poem so if you’r representin the azer to the nazer then give me a whoot-whoot!! holla back at me yo. email is peace fools, big pimpin spendin g’s. i dont want to speak azerbijanian.

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