The Glove and the Lions Poem Summary, Theme, Critical Analysis by Leigh Haunt
The Glove and the Lions Summary
The first stanza of the poem “The Glove And The Lions” by Leigh Hunt opens with the scene of King Francis’s royal court. King Francis was a vivacious, energetic king who loved a royal sport of watching the lions fight among themselves. Among his nobles were also Count de Lorge and his beautiful lady whom the king admired. Then the poet describes the violence bloodshed involved in the sport. The lions “ramped and roared” with “horrid laughing jaws.”
The king commented that it was good thing that the noblemen and women were watching from their vantage point safely, rather than being among the beasts below. The lady, Count de Lorge’s love, in order to draw attention to herself and to gain admiration and glory, threw her glove down among the lions expecting to be fetched up by the Count. We find her to be a mischievous girl who entertained the idea that her lover who was “brave as brave can be” would do anything to make her happy.
Then we find De Lorge following her plan exactly. He bowed and smiled at her before leaping into the “lions wild.” The lions were unable to touch him because of his movement which was rapid. Before anyone could react, he was back and had taken his place once again as her lover.
So far, we see everything was perfect and had gone according to her plan. Now we find a twist in the poem. De Lorge found this act of his lover offensive, annoying and derogatory. So this time we see him, not showing love to his lady.
He threw the glove in her face instead of giving it to her in a respectful manner. He stood back with bravery and valour and leaves the place. We find the Count to be a person who appeared to have a positive view of what a relationship should be or how love should be.
He realized that his lover did this more as a method to garner her attention and indulge her vanity than as a genuine attempt to have his love. So he threw the glove at her face and rejected her and her love. King Francis who watched the entire action of the Count, praised him for what he had done and added that it was not love, but vanity, that made the lady give such a task to the Count which could have killed the Count.
The Glove and the Lions About the Author Leigh Haunt
James Henry Leigh Hunt, best known as Leigh Hunt, was an English critic, essayist and poet. He was born on 19th October 1784 and died on 28th August 1859. Hunt’s first poems were published in 1801 under the title of Juvenilia, introducing him into British Literary and theatrical society. Hunt published the poem Story of Rimini in 1816.
Then again in 1818, Hunt published a collection of poems entitled Foliage followed by Hero and Leander and Bacchus and Ariadne. Hunt’s early essays were published by Edward Quin, editor and owner of The Traveller. His other works included Amyntas, A Tale of the Woods, The Seer, oc Common Places refreshed, stories from the Italian Poets etc.
Hunt’s Autobiography was revised shortly before his death, and edited by Thornton Hunt. Hunt co-founded The Examiner, a leading intellectual journal expounding radical principles. He served as the focal point of the Hampstead-based Hunt Circle which included Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt. He was the central figure of the Romantic Movement in England. He produced a large body of poetry in a variety of forms; narrative poem, satires, poetic dramas, odes, sonnets, short lyrics and translations from Greek, Roman, Italian and French poems.
The Glove and the Lions Theme
“The Glove And The Lions” by Leigh Hunt describes the precarious game of love played in the royal court of the king. It also tells us about the outcome or result of going too far in anything. It tells us how the lady who had the love of the Count De Lorge, wanted more glory and fame. So she dropped her glove in to the pit with the lions.
If the Count would have been injured or killed she would gain glory by showing how valuable her affection was to the Count. But it didn’t go that way. The Count recovered the glove and showed his bravery but then he rejected her thus the dame lost her love and respect in order to gain glory and admiration.
The Glove and the Lions Critical Analysis
The poem “The Glove And The Lions” by Leigh Hunt opens with the description of King Francis who was shown as a jovial and exuberant man. He loved a royal sport that is lion fighting. On that particular occasion, he was in his royal court watching one of his favourite sporting activities, lion fighting. He was surrounded by aristocrats, lords and ladies.
There were “nobles filling the benches” and the “ladies in their pride” Here Hunt may suggest the pride of ladies being vicious as the pride of lions fighting below them, because later in this poem we find the young maiden (the Count’s lover) showing this savagery when she dropped her glove in the pit.
Everyone was enjoying and among them was a couple that drew special attention of King Francis. In the midst of the spectacle the poet offers us a glimpse of another more personal battle- the battle of hearts between Count de Lorge and the lady whom he was attracted to. The introduction of the words like pride, gallant, valour and love offer an idea to the readers of the values upheld by the people. The lady love of the Count was the one for “whom the king sighed.”
We see that King Francis was infatuated with her who was the lover of a noble present in the King’s court. It was a spectacular show with all the brave noblemen above and the lions the royal beasts below on the arena. If we move from the centre of this poem to its plot, we are introduced with the description of the progress of the fight. The poet states that it was a “gallant thing” to see the “crowning show.” It was the royal event something which the common people would never had been able to see.
The whole stadium was filled with “valour and love” topped off by the king, who was looking down on the “royal beasts” lions below him. The “beasts” here used may be referred to both the lions and the nobles who must fight among themselves for the king’s favour. Both also symbolize power, bravery and strength. The second stanza of the poem presents a series of powerfully drawn visual images. Longfellow uses alliteration (ramped and roared) and paradox (horrid laughing jaws).
The quick movements of the beasts are shown by short verbs and the repetition of the airy/w/ sounds in “wind went with their paws.” The second stanza of the poem describes the atmosphere of the fight. The lions were quite ferocious and vicious and “ramped and roared” with “horrid laughing jaws.” They began to fight and tear one another.
Their blows were strong like “beams” and the wind seemed to move alongside their paws. The lions were rolling along on the floors and creating a serious commotion. The king from his place, was impressed by the splendidness of this moment. He was able to experience the “bloody foam” that came rushing through the air.
In a distant King Francis amusingly stated that he and those around him, were better off, “here than there” or they were better since they were not in the pit with the lions. In the third stanza we can find how the nobles chuckled at the king’s comments. One of these nobles, the lover of j Count de Lorge was specially entertained by the king’s comment.
So she immediately reacted and turned and looked at the king, then smiled with her beautiful lips and sharp bright eyes. She was perhaps struck by the grandeur and strength of the king. She suddenly felt of testing her own lover, De Lorge to see if he too was brave. She wanted to be proved right that is she wanted her lover to do wondrous things to show her love towards her.
In conclusion, she dropped her glove into the pit with the lions, hoping that De Lorge would jump and recover it for her. She wanted glory, admiration and fame by doing so. In the last stanza we see how after the glove being dropped, De Lorgesmiled at her, bowed and leaped among the savaged lions. His jump was so quick that the lions were unable to touch him. He was back with the glove to his place before anyone could react. But De Lorge we find was not amused by this.
He did not express his love instead he threw the glove at his lover’s face. King Francis praised him and stated that it was “rightly done”. So we find De Lorge having a perfect outlook on what a relationship should be or how a love relation should be. He could well realize that his lover did not actually made the gesture in the hopes of having his love but instead as a way of getting self attention and indulging her “vanity.” So he was not hesitant to reject his lover and her love which was full of vanity. King Francis said that it was not love that had set the Count a task like that, but it was her vanity that gave him so.
The Glove and the Lions Title of the Story
The poem “The Glove And The Lions” by Leigh Hunt is set in an arena where a battle between lions had been organised, in order to entertain the court, with King Francis who is described as a hearty and an energetic king and who is fond of “a royal sport”.
He was sitting down among his nobles to watch the sport. There were his courtesans, other lords and ladies. Among the nobles were also included the Count de Lorge and the one” for whom he sighed” that is the Count’s lover. From the very beginning of the poem, we see the presence of the lions who form the main reason of the spectacular show that was going on in the court.
Then the scene taking place in the pit below brings alive the sights and sounds that one would have witnessed and heard- the blows, the thunderous roars of the lions etc. All these paint a vivid picture of how the royal beasts, the lions were fighting among themselves. In the second stanza we find how the lions with “horrid laughing jaws” “ramped and roared” aloud.
They were vicious and savage. They began their fight and we see how the tore into one another flesh. Their blows were strong as beams which obviously showed their strength and power. The wind seemed to move alongside their paws. They were seen rolling around on the floor and causing serious commotion.
The lions were injured and bloody foam was seen to come whisking through the air. King Francis seeing all these commented that they were in a better place as they were not among the lions. Till now we have seen how the lions have taken an important place in the first two stanzas of the poem. The lions are the symbol of superiority and strength.
But of course the role of this scene in the poem also has a different meaning. It is not only about humans and blood sport but more to set the scene for the other aspect of human nature that the poem is really talking about- vanity, supposed glory-valued by so many feelings that really matter in the end.
Next we find how De Lorge’s lover, turned her face and smiled and reached to the conclusion of throwing a glove among the ferocious, raging lions (who are not only symbols of power and strength but also symbols of danger) in order to test her lover the Count. She aspired for glory and out of her self-conceit she set the fatal task to her lover. She did this not out of love for him. So we find her dropping the glove in the pit amongst the lions with the anticipation of retrieving the glove by her lover.
The device by which the vanity of this dame is shown in the poem is the glove itself. So the glove forms the main weapon around which the theme of the poem is based. We find how the Count with a quick jump among the lions recovered the glove of his ladylove, thereby proving his own valour and also helping his ladylove to attain glory and to gain admiration through this task.
But the lady we find though gained admiration and glory lost the Count’s love who threw the glove at his her face. Again this glove acts as a device to show hatred by the Count to his dame. This act and the attitude of the Count was praised and admired by King Francis who regarded it as “rightly done”.
We find how he ‘quotes’ that ‘vanity’ has set the Count to do fatal task like that in which he could have met death, So from the very beginning till the end, we find the two things important for the poem. The first is the “lions” without the presence of which the Count could not have showed his valour and without which the lady could not have set a task to her lover to test his love for her.
Again through the ‘lions’ and the ‘glove’ we come to know of the human nature -of the lady being callous, self-conceited, full of vanity and lastly an unpassionate lover. From this point of view we can say that this poem by Leigh Hunt has got an appropriate title of “The Glove And The Lions.”
The Glove and the Lions About the poem
The poem of Leigh Hunt deals with the dangerous game played in the royal court of King Francis who loved to watch the lions fight each other in the stadium. So one day while watching this game , he looked around , and noticed a lady sitting with the count de Lorge whom he really admired.
There was blood in the air and King Francis said that it was good that they were up and not down with the lions. The lady beside the Count, hearing the king dropped her glove into the arena among the lions. She did this with the thought that she would be admired if her Count would retrieve it for her. The Count was down and back up in a flash.
She threw it on the lady’s face and rejected her.So we find here how the lady lost her love as she wanted glory.She didn’t do that for love ,but she did that for her cwn glory and admiration for which she lost her love and also everyone’s respect.
The Glove and the Lions Main Point Of The Poem
“The Glove And The Lions”by Leigh Hunt describes the perilous games of love played in the royal court of King Francis as well as the results of going too far.The poem begins with the speaker describing the event. The king has no genuine animosity towards anyone, and his love interest has no pretended hate either.
In the poem,the poet, Leigh Hunt, wants to illustrate how love and the need for attention and approval can influence behaviour and push it beyond what might seem reasonable. The overall meaning of the poem tells how the lady was lucky to have the love of the Count,but she wanted more glory and at last lost her love. The Count rescued the glove which his ladylove threw amongst the lions but he rejected the lady’s love.
The Glove and the Lions Stanzawise Summary
Stanza – 1.
In the beginning of the poem, the poet describes King Francis as an enthusiastic and a hearty king loving a royal sport and seemed to have a decent disposition. He also gives a description of the courtesans who served him, the other aristocrats and their ladies who were all around him seated. He was watching one of his favourite sports events -lion fighting.
Among these nobles, there was a couple-Count de Lorge and his lover who was seen to capture the king’s attention. The poet describes “the nobles filling the benches” and the “ladies in their pride”. The speaker briefly steps away from the love tale that drives this short story’s plot to discuss the fight among the lions. He tells that watching the “crowning show” or a spectacular show was a gallant thing. The king was looking down on the royal creatures. The lions below him, from the top of the stadium set up which was thronged with “valour and love”
Stanza – 2.
In the second stanza, the poet gives a description of the atmosphere of the fight itself. The lions were seen to be roaring and ramping with hideous or horrid laughing mouths. They were extremely ferocious as we see them starting to lash out at one another. The blows of the lions were strong like beams and the wind seemed to move alongside their paws.
They were rolling around on the floor with choking roar. The king we find was impressed by the sublimeness of that moment. He was completely out of harm’s way but was able to experience the bloody froth or foam that came whisking through the air. We find King Francis saying that they were better where they were than the place below where the lions were fighting.
Stanza – 3.
All the nobles probably chuckled at King Francis’ comment but one of these nobles, the lover of De Lorge was specially entertained by the king’s whit. The beautiful dame with the smiling lips and her sharp bright eyes turned and looked at hirri. She suddenly felt as if she should test her lover to see if he too was “brave as brave can be” and she wanted this to be proven right and that he would do “wondrous things” to show his love to her.
She also wanted glory and admiration for herself so she decided to drop her glove amongst the lions. So we can well see that the lady was self-conceited. She was only aware of her own glory, fame and admiration. She was not aware of her lover’s safety.
Stanza – 4.
So as thought, we find the woman dropping her glove into the pit with the lions with the anticipation that her lover would jump and retrieve it for her. De Lorge also did as she intended. The maiden looked at De Lorge and smiled as if to say to bring back the glove. De Lorge jumped among these savage lions and his jump was so quick that the lions were unable to even touch him. Within no time he was back with the glove and was seated on his place. We find him not showing his love to the dame at that moment.
But he threw the glove at the lady’s face. The whole scene was observed by all those who were present there, including King Francis. King Francis praised the count and this action of the count made the king said “rightly done”. He also added that it was not love but vanity that made the lady give such a task to the count. The Count could have faced death. The task could have proved fatal to the count but the lady did not think all these because she only wanted glory and admiration for her.
The Glove and the Lions Linewise Explanation
1. King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
And ‘mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
And truly ‘twas a gallant thing to se that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
The poet Leigh Hunt, in his poem describes King Francis to be a hearty, exuberant and energetic king who was fond of a royal sport-lion fighting. And one day as the lions were fighting, this spectacular show was being watched by King Francis, his courtesans, other aristoctats ! lords, and ladies. The benches and all the seats were repleted with people.
Among them was a couple -Count de Lorge and his lover. As the king watched the people, De lorge’s dame captured the king’s attention. It was a very gallant and brave thing to see the show with “valour and love” or brave nobles and lords and the king above the arena and the “royal beasts”or the lions below it.
2. Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another;
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, “Faith, gentlemen, we’re better here than there.”
In the second stanza, the poet describes how the lions had been fighting among themselves. They “ramped and roared” with hideous laughing mouths or jaws. They bit one another and gave strong blows like beams. The wind appeared to be moving in step with them. They were making tremendous noise and disturbance. The bloody froth came “ whisking through the air.” Seeing this the king commented that they were better they were not among those beasts.
3. De Lorge’s love overheard the King, a beauteous lively dame
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which seemed the same
She thought, the Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I’ll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.
The dame of Count De Lorge eavesdropped the comments of King Francis. With her smiling lips and acute brilliant eyes, she felt her lover who was “brave as brave can be” would surely do wondrous or marvellous things to display his love towards her. She wished this to be proven true and so she decided to throw her glove amongst the lions, which she expected to be retrieved by the Count her lover. In order to prove his love towards her and to gain glory for herself, she did this brutal action.
4. She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smile;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady’s face.
“By God!” said Francis, “rightly done!” and he rose from where he sat:
“No love,” quoth he, “but vanity, sets love a task like that.”
So the dame dropped her glove into the lion’s place to prove the Count’s love for her. She looked at him and smiled with the hope that her Count would regain the glove. De Lorge bowed and in a moment jumped among the savage, ferocious lions and returned back. The lions were even unable to touch him because of his quick movement. Before anyone could react, he was back on his seat once again.
Then he threw the glove on its owner’s face but not with love. He disliked this action of his lover because he understood the purpose of her action (throwing the glove among the lions.) He understood that she did this only for her own self glory and admiration.
This attitude of the Count was praised by King Francis who also shouted as “rightly done.” He rose from his seat and said that it was not out of love that the dame acted in that way, but it was her vanity that had set the Count to do a fatal task like that.
The Glove and the Lions Annotations and Vocabulary
Hearty — enthusiastic; energetic
Mongst — in the middle of
Sighed — emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief or tiredness.
Gallant — courageous; brave; heroic
Ramped — speeded up; expanded
Horrid — unpleasant; disagreeable
Wallowing — roll about or lie in mud or water
Stifled — choked; make (someone) unable to breathe properly
Thunderous — relating to or resembling thunder
Smother — suffocate
Whisking — rushing; hurrying
Wondrous — marvellous
Leaped — jumped
Regained — recovered; retrieved
Vanity — excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements;
Self — conceit