Canto is a subdivision or element in a story or epic poem, consisting of five or greater lines such, as a stanza, which can additionally be a canto. The phrase “canto” originates from the Latin word cantus, which means “a song.”
The Italian poets Dante, Matteo Boiardo, and Ludovico used cantos to divide their poems into shorter sections for thematic understanding. In English literature, Edmund Spenser is the primary poet who used this division in his well-known poem “The Faerie Queene.” Lord Byron also used this department in his poem, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.”
Examples of Canto in Literature
Example #1: The Faerie Queene (by way of Edmund Spenser)
“The Patron of actual Holinesse,
FouleErrour doth defeate:
Hypocrisie him to entrappe,
Doth to his domestic entreate.
Gentle Knight turned into pricking on the plaine,
Y clad in mightiearmes and suluershielde,
Wherein antique dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruellmarkes of many’ a bloudyfielde;
Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield;
His angry steede did chike his foming bitt,
As a great deal disdaining to the curbe to yield.”
This canto describes the individual of the knight, who represents all of the qualities of chivalry, inclusive of bravery and fighting spirit. It comprises eleven lines, compared to six or seven strains of Italian cantos.
Example #2: Inferno (through Dante Alighieri)
“One night time, when half of my life behind me lay,
I wandered from the directly lost direction afar.
Through the first rate dark become no liberating way;
Above that darkish was no relieving star.
If but that terrored night time I assume or say,
As death’s cold arms its fears resuming are.
Gladly the dreads I felt, too dire to tell,
The hopeless, pathless, lightless hours forgot,
I turn my story to that which subsequent befell,
When the dawn opened, and the night time was not.”
This is another precise instance of canto, a major phase of Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Here, Dante describes how he loses the right direction while touring via the forest. However, this canto incorporates ten traces as opposed to eleven lines of the primary example.
Example #3: The Cantos (by means of Ezra Pound)
“And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth at the godly seas, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
Circe’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess …”
Ezra Pound has written this poem in 129 parts, and each part is a separate canto. This is the primary component in which he describes a adventure by way of ship, that is loaded with sheep, and is sailing faraway from some hidden place. The word ‘Circe’ is a connection with Homer’s epic, “The Odyssey,” which points to the eerie ecosystem created by way of Pound in this poem.
Example #4: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (by means of Lord Byron)
“I stood in Venice, at the Bridge of Sighs;
A Palace and a Prison on every hand
I noticed from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the Enchanter’s wand:
A thousand Years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a death Glory smiles
O’er the a long way times, whilst many a subject Land
Looked to the winged Lion’s marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!”
This is the fourth canto of “Child Harold’s Pilgrimage,” in which he describes his journey to Italy. It also shows his lamentation at the decay of ancient civilization.
Example #5: Don Juan (via Lord Byron)
“I need a Hero: an unusual Want,
When every Year and Month sends forth a brand new one,
Till, after cloying the Gazettes with Cant,
The Age discovers he isn't the true one;
Of inclusive of those I should now not care to vaunt
I’ll consequently take our historical pal Don Juan;
We all have visible him inside the Pantomime,
Sent to the Devil, particularly ere his time.”
This is the primary canto, in which Lord Byron says that his own age is unable to provide a suitable hero for his poem – the motive that he is the use of an vintage pal, Don Juan, as a hero.
Canto is used as an introduction to a poem, in addition to serves as a unitary prologue to an entire epic. It also allows the reader to understand one-of-a-kind turning factors in the poem. The use of canto divides episodes in a poem to make it less complicated for the reader to apprehend.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw