When I was One-and-Twenty (RHETORICAL SITUATION (He thinks over some…
When I was One-and-Twenty
The tone is cynical; the content of the poem is too heavy to be considered ironic. The narrator and the wise man do believe that love is a waste of emotion and should be avoided at all costs.
The tone can be considered remorseful. The narrator has been hurt by the loss of the relationship, and he rues the day that he rejected the wise man's advice.
The references to pearls, rubies, and crowns paints a visual picture of items of high value. Since the poem is about giving away emotional feelings like an item on the market, this imagery supports the argument that the heart is something of high value.
Lined 13-14 further suggest that love is similar to economics in that anything can be bought and sold for a certain price. The price of selling your heart away is emotional pain and endless regret.
In lines 3-4, the wise man giving advise suggests that a heart, much like a crown, can be weighed and sold for a certain price. He suggests that the value is too high and should not be for sale.
This is reinforced by lines 5-6.
The audience includes all people who are considering giving their heart away to someone else. The narrator is clearly troubled by his choice, and this poem is a warning to others to follow the advice given by the old man or else they will suffer the same fate as the narrator.
The narrator is engaging in self reflection.
He thinks over some pieces of advice given to him by a wise old man. He advises the narrator to never give his heart away because the emotional pain of the loss of love is much more expensive than the cost of any other item he could give away.
When the narrator was 21, he rejected that advice and gave his heart away.
Now that the narrator is 22 and has lost his love, he realizes that the man was right all along and has experienced deep emotional turmoil.
A man who has recently turned 22 and has experienced emotional pain tied to the loss of a romantic relationship is the narrator.
The heart represents love, emotions, and everything that is given away when someone commits to being in a relationship with another person.
The crowns, rubies, and other high ticket items represent every non-committal item that the narrator could give instead of his heart.
The notion that these items could be given away in the same way a heart could suggest that there is an economic feel to commitment and love. These symbolize the cynical opinion towards romance that had been developed by society.
When the narrator was 21, he was told by a wise old man not to give his heart away because the value is too high. Selling his most prized possessions would be less costly than to give his heart away.
The narrator rejects that advice and falls in love anyway. When the relationship does not work out, he experiences emotional pain in the form of regret and sorrow.
Now, at age 22, the narrator reflects back on the experience and decides that the wise old man was correct. The experience was not worth the pain, and now he is wiser than when he was younger.