The Religious Sonnets of Dylan Thomas: A Study in Imagery and Meaning

By H. H. Kleinman | Go to book overview

4
Sonnet IV

. . . and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son . . .

Luke 10:22

Ist Doctor: Another question I ask you yet You said one of these three took flesh and blood And she a clean maid. I cannot believe it. Clean maid and mother never yet in one person stood.

from " Christ and the Doctors, Ludus Coventriae ( II. 178-187)

WHEN WE REACH the fourth sonnet we are confronted, for the first and only time in the sequence, by interrogations: six riddles and two derisive, taunting questions. We might feel about these riddles as Alice does about the Hatter's remark, that it "seemed to her to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English."1 There is always the nagging suspicion that these riddles might have been asked by Thomas in the same manner that the Hatter put his riddle to Alice ("Why is a raven like a writing-desk?") and then have offered, when asked to give the answer, the Hatter's reply: "I haven't the slightest idea."2 It is not so much the answers that are important as the question the reader poses: Why are these questions here? There are no answers to the riddles. The answers to the questions in the octave are

-44-

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The Religious Sonnets of Dylan Thomas: A Study in Imagery and Meaning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Sonnet I 12
  • 2 - Sonnet II 23
  • 3 - Sonnet III 32
  • 4 - Sonnet IV 44
  • 5 - Sonnet V 54
  • 6 - Sonnet VI 74
  • 7 - Sonnet VII 85
  • 8 - Sonnet VIII 94
  • 9 - Sonnet IX 102
  • 10 - Sonnet X 119
  • Notes 131
  • Bibliography 147
  • Index 149
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