George Coope’s somber poem presents a conceit of the heart as a toiler, whose hammer strokes become the pulse (“And every beat/ He doth repeat/ Repeat with little hammer that he swings.”) Coope seems to rely on the etymology of the word “toiler,” which finds its origin in the Latin words “tudiculare,” to crush with a small hammer, and “tundere,” to pound. Isolated in his labor, the toiler’s only friend is his tool. The conceit ends with the toiler finishing his labor and laying down his hammer.
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