MONEYWILLIAM HENRY DAVIESWhen I had money, money, O!I knew no joy till I went poor;For many a false man as a friendCame knocking all day at my door.Then felt I like a child that holdsA trumpet that he must not blowBecause a man is dead; I daredNot speak to let this false world know.Much have I thought of , and seenHow poor men’s hearts are ever light;And how their wives do hum like beesAbout their from morn till night.So, when I hear these poor ones laugh,And see the rich ones coldly frown—Poor men, think I, need not go upSo much as rich men should come down.When I had money, money, O!My many friends proved all untrue;But now I have no money, O!My friends are real, though very few
Everybody has different interpretation about Money written by William Henry Davies. In my opinion the first and the second stanzas has a connection. They are still telling what happened to the ‘I’ in this poetry. Here are my interpretations line to line.
This stanza explains about the ‘I’, the main character in this poem, who has a bad past experience when he was rich.
When I had money, money, O! - In this sentence, the ‘I’ is starting to tell his past when he had money.
I knew no joy till I went poor; - this sentence is telling what the ‘I’ felt when he was rich. He felt that being rich or having money has no happiness, but it’s just different when he came to be poor. It sounds that the ‘I’ regret that he did do nothing when he was rich.
For many a false man as a friend - the ‘I’ is explaining who his friends were when he was rich. The ‘I’ felt that they are fake and pretending to be good for him. In this sentence, I think it’s the cause why the ‘I’ felt regret in the second line. The author also used the word ‘many’ and ‘a’ at the same time.
Came knocking all day at my door. - The ‘I’ is telling what are those men pretending as his friend did when he was rich. They didn’t just came and knocking. I think, it’s not just that simple, maybe those fake men asking for some loans to the ‘I’ or other thing about money and I’s wealthy. This line supposed to explain the more reason why the ‘I’ felt no joy when he was rich.
This stanza is explaining about the reason why the ‘I’ felt like he has no joy when he was rich.
Then felt I like a child that holds – there is a word ‘child’ in this sentence. I think ‘child’ here means a person who cannot do what he wants freely, such a child who cannot do anything without having permission from their parents. So the ‘I’ felt like he was being controlled by the person who will be explained in the next line.
A trumpet that he must not blow – this line still has a connection between the first and the third line. Trumpet in this line, I think, it’s symbolizing the freedom in I’s life. So this line means that the ‘I’ cannot enjoy his wealthy and his life. It can be seen in the last part of the line “must not blow”. Normally, trumpet will make a sound if only the user blows it.
Because a man is dead; I dared – the first part of this line, I think, means the unproductive or unprofitable persons who control his life. It’s more explaining that those fake friends are parasite for him.
Not speak to let this false world know. – This line is the continuity of the last part of the third line. The ‘I’ felt that he’d be better not to speak or saying anything to let the world know that he didn’t like of what they did to him.
This stanza, I think, doesn’t have any connection with the stanzas before. I think this stanza is telling a new story about also poor men that the ‘I’ had ever seen or ever known.
Much have I thought of life, and seen – in this line, the ‘I’ is also starting to tell another story that he had thought and seen. It seems like he had already seen much things about wealthy, poverty, or something like that.
How poor men’s hearts are ever light; – this sentence is the first part of another story which also tells about poverty that doesn’t have any connections with the first story which tells about the ‘I’s experience. This new story, I think, tells about the ‘I’ has never seen any poor men who ever have happy and good lives. It can be seen from the word ‘light’ in the last part of this sentence. I think that word refers to the happy life.
And how their wives do hum like bees – and this line means that the family, not just their wives I think, of poor men are always doing mumble or always not satisfied with what their husbands have from their works. It can be proved by seeing the words ‘hum like bees’. Even though they are doing hum, but I think there’s no bee’s hum which sounds beautiful and nice. Normally bees’ sounds are like very crowd and very not orderly. So if it represents human’s angriness and unsatisfied.
About their work from morn till night. – This line is the continually of the previous line which tells about what the wives of poor men do. I think this is also the further explanation of what those wives mumbling about. They mumble about the work of the poor men.
I think this stanza is telling about the poor men who always work hard from morning till night but they are still poor. And also, I think, it’s telling about how’s the condition of poor men’s households. Their wives are not satisfied of what they have.
This stanza, I think, is telling what happened exactly between poor men and rich men. It seems like they have a big gap in the middle of their relationship.
So, when I hear these poor ones laugh, – this line is continuing the further story about poor men’s lives which the ‘I’ had ever seen and known. The ‘I’ in this line tells that the other story when he saw the poor men got laugh or in this case laugh can have another meaning. Laugh perhaps means happiness or a celebration of something which makes someone felling a joy or happy.
And see the rich ones coldly frown – I think this last part of the sentence means that when the rich men see the happy poor men, they will, well it’s not jealous I think, have such a bad sight to the poor men. maybe because the rich men have mainstreams that every poor men won’t ever be happy. It can be proved by the words ‘coldly frown’.
Poor men, think I, need not go up – this line is the hope of the ‘I’. He hopes that there will be no more poor people in this world. It can be seen in the words ‘poor men – need not go up’. I think it’s a hope which means that poor men don’t need to be increased anymore.
So much as rich men should come down. – and this sentence is the opposite of the previous line. He hopes that the rich men will be poor. Perhaps his aim of saying this is both poor and rich men can exchange their position. Just like the wheel of life. Nobody could stay in the up for their whole lives.
This last stanza, I think, is the conclusion of the whole previous stanza.
When I had money, money, O! – This line is repeating the first line of the first stanza.
My many friends proved all untrue; – this line is telling that his fake friends are showing their fakeness to him. This happened when he had money, when he was rich. This line has a relation with the first stanza.
But now I have no money, O! – and this line is telling that the contrasted of the first stanza which telling the time when he was rich.
My friends are real, though very few. – this line shows the effect of being poor. He feels like his real friends are only few. Only some true friends want to accept him. Nobody wants to accept the poor men.