Parl as Vission Poem

Pearl as a vision poem

The 14th century Middle English allegorical poem, Pearl begins with the story of a precious jewel lost and the consequent quest for the gem, which ultimately becomes a spiritual quest as in the pursuit of the Holy Grail—

PEARL, pleasing to prince's will,
Set ail-too sweetly in clearest gold! ^
A gem such precious worth to fulfill
Ne*er saw I from Orient, that say I bold.
So round, SQjuijrely x^diant still.

Alas I in an arbour it from me rolled ;'
In the grass I lost it, the ground it got ;
I pine, sore -wounded, in love-bonds old,
For that pearl, mine own, withouten spot

Later understood as the lamentation of a father’s heart at the death of a daughter, overpowers the temptation of becoming a heart-rending lament as the poem suddenly takes the form of a dream-narrative. The narrator has the bold vision of a beautiful maiden bedecked in pearl. The lady makes the father aware of the insignificance of worldly loss, as his notion of loss is not regarded in heaven. The grown-up Pearl tutors the father in her present heightened status. That her worldly stature has been transformed is solely because of the fact that she has attained redemption in having been washed by the blood of Christ. She is presently one of the 144,000 virgins, who are counted among the retinue of Christ. The lady tutors the narrator in Christian precepts through several parables and ultimately shows him an image of the Heavenly City of Jerusalem. The narrator attains the manna of salvation even in this verbal encounter which all takes place in a dream. The narrator is taken back to reality as his dream breaks as he attempts to cross the crystal clear stream dividing the earthly and heavenly worlds.

After the narrator swoons in the earthly garden, his mind is unraveled in a garden where the landscape is transformed into a place of natural grace and splendour. The earthly paradise which arises so frequently in medieval literature is seen in Pearl....