Review for Bad Men by John Hookham Frere
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"Bad Men" by John Hookham Frere is a didactic poem that offers sage advice on the perils of placing trust in deceitful and unscrupulous individuals. Through vivid imagery and succinct language, the poem delivers a cautionary message about the dangers of aligning oneself with base and unreliable characters.

Frere begins by warning against the allure of persuasive individuals with ulterior motives, cautioning readers against placing their confidence in those with crafty minds and base intentions. The poem highlights the futility of seeking assistance from such individuals in times of trouble, as they are unlikely to offer genuine support when faced with danger or adversity. Instead, they are depicted as opportunistic and self-serving, unwilling to share blessings or honor obligations to others.

The contrast between "brave and gallant hearts" and "baser minds" is starkly drawn, with the former portrayed as loyal and dependable allies who honor their commitments and express gratitude, while the latter is characterized as unreliable and ungrateful, quick to abandon their obligations and seek personal gain.

Frere's use of metaphorical language, such as comparing cultivating alliances with base individuals to scattering grain on the waves or cultivating the surface of the sea, effectively conveys the sense of futility and absurdity inherent in relying on such unreliable allies. The imagery of the sea, with its unpredictable and unproductive nature, serves as a powerful symbol of the inherent instability and unreliability of base individuals.

In conclusion, "Bad Men" serves as a timeless reminder of the importance of choosing allies wisely and avoiding association with deceitful and untrustworthy individuals. Frere's poem imparts valuable lessons about the true nature of loyalty and friendship, urging readers to prioritize relationships with those who demonstrate integrity, loyalty, and genuine goodwill.

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