Compare and contrast how the theme of love is explored in the poems you have studied
Love is a powerful emotion. There are many different kinds of love and it is through different relationships and experiences we get a closer insight of how it feels to love or to lose someone. Love is a wonderful and joyful emotion however, if it is not shared with the right partner, it may lead to heartache and pain. Knowing that you are needed and loved dearly is an amazing comfort although losing someone dear to you can cause a lot of distress and pain and can result in someone being very depressed and heart broken. Love poetry is timeless, as love itself does not change over the ages.So, this type of poetry is just as relevant now as it was when it was written.
Love has been the focus of poetry for many years mainly because it is a feeling which is common to everyone. The first poem is “First Love” by John Clare. He narrates the incident when he first fell in love. The title signifies his first magical moment of falling in love. His first encounter of love is when he sees this beautiful woman for the first time, and she captivates him so much that it leaves him senseless. He is totally bowled over her charm and beauty.
The use of alliteration and similes help to emphasis on his state of awe and amazement.This powerful emotion of love that she managed to bring out in him is reflected in the line ‘with love so sudden and so sweet’, he uses alliteration of the letter ‘s’ to bring out the severe and serious impact she has on him, almost like he is completely swept off his feet at the very sight of her. John Clare uses different comparisons and ideas to stress on how love struck he felt and how his senses had all come to a stand still after seeing her, ‘my life and all seemed turned to clay’ He seems to have changed drastically and things no longer seem to be the same.Lord Byron, on the other hand starts off his poem ‘When we two parted” by recollecting the incident when he and his lover went their separate ways. The title is a recollection of the past. The memories of the past and this relationship bring out the bitter sweet moments he had with his lover.
This title emphasizes more the loss than the love. He stresses the pain they both felt at losing each other. The tone is very self centered and is in complete contrast with ‘First Love’. In the line ‘In silence and tears’ we see the suffering both these lovers underwent.In silence indicates that both were aware but not comfortable talking about the reason for their parting, but some how both underwent the pain and suffering hence the tears.
In the poem ‘Remember’ there is obvious talk of pain and love. It is written by Christina Rossetti, she is an early Victorian poet. In ‘Remember’ Rossetti focuses on a negative concept. The title is very significant as it signifies the message that the poet is trying to convey.
The tone is more of a sorrowful one since the poem is about death and how no matter what happens it is irreversible and is a part of life.Everyone has to experience a death of a loved one; the people had a strong faith although there was a lot of pain and suffering. Here the poet is showing her faith by talking to her lover. In the first half of the sonnet she is very stubborn; she keeps on insisting ‘remember me’. The first line is a typical description of death; remember me when I am gone away’. She explains that when she would die, what she wishes for him to do, or what he can and should do, when he would not be able to tell her anymore of their future together, ‘Only remember me, you understand’, she is emphasizing, the fear and insecurity that death brings.
Her selfishness, all this would bring him pain, and she appears to be selfish and self-centered. The first eight lines are called the octet of the sonnet. She is insisting, telling him not to forget her. In the second part of the poem is known as the sestet of the poem, in the lines ‘yet if you should forget me for a while’, here she uses for the first time the word forget, this shows that she is becoming less selfish and less self-centered.So she is putting herself in the shoes of her lover, ‘and afterwards remember do not grieve’ this shows that she does not want him to feel guilty about him forgetting her for a while, ‘for if the darkness and corruption leave’, she knows how you can be carried away by the temptations of the world, so it displays the typical Victorian attitude. ‘better by far you should forget and smile, than you should remember and be sad’ if forgetfulness bring you joy than it is okay to forget about me, so she shows that she wishes for him to be happy as she can no longer be there with him.
In the sestet her feelings change, she becomes less selfish and as time goes the pain decreases slowly, in the sestet the focus is on the lover, emphasizing how time is a great healer. There are contrasted words and images used throughout the poem, the word forget is contrasted with remember, and smile is contrasted with sad, this is to show the confusion in the poets mind, we see that the poem is passing from immaturity in the octave and mature in the second half, that is the sestet.The first tone shows pain, sorrow, despair and confusion, and in the second there is mellowness and the acceptance of the reality of death. Each poem relates to a different kind of love. In “First love”, the so-called ‘love’ Clare deals with is more of an infatuation since it is merely physical.
He falls in love with a woman who is a complete stranger by just looking at her. There is a lot of exaggeration in his poem to explain what sort of drastic impact this woman had on him “my legs refused to walk away”. Through this line he emphasizes on how useless his body had become so much so that he was even unable to move.He also mentions how he was so blinded by love that he had lost his presence of mind, so much so that he was unable to differentiate between night and day, this can be seen in the line “seemed midnight at noonday”.
The loss here is that he doesn’t realize that this cannot be considered as true love since he doesn’t even know her and if she would return his feelings. Another aspect of loss that could be brought out is the fact that he doesn’t even consider taking any action to make her aware of his feelings towards her.From the line “my heart has left its dwelling place, and can return no more”, Clare makes evident how he has already given his heart to this woman and as a result he may not be able to find someone else in the future to fill that void. In “When We Two Parted”, Byron seems to stress more the loss since he makes emphasizes the pain he went through when separating from his past lover. The very title itself makes it evident that he still thinks of her and that he has not been able to get over their relationship.
There is a lot of bitterness and pain throughout the poem; this is seen in the line “thy vows are all broken”.The hurt and suffering caused by the separation is made very evident and there is frustration and anger . Through this poem the negative aspect of love is well brought out since he shows his state of self-pity and regret for falling in love in the first place “I hear thy name spoken, and share in its shame”, this line brings out his anger he becomes aware that she didn’t have a good reputation and feels embarrassed and cheated for even getting into a relationship with her The poem ‘A Woman to Her Lover’ was written by Christina Walsh.The poem starts off with a question, ‘Do you come to me to bend me to your will? ‘ throughout the poem, the poet’s attitude is clear that she wants equality in the relationship and does not want to be controlled.
Within the first stanza it there is martial imagery relating to the sense of power and dominance. ‘ in drudgery and silence’, she tries to portray how she is helpless to protest, she begins the poem with this relationship, the dominance of man over woman, ‘to make of me a bond slave’ in this stanza she is explaining one of the types of relationships between a man and woman.She also gives out a feeling that if the relationship were as what she described she would be wasting her life, and tries to give out women’s point of view to these types of situations. She seems quite certain of what she wants in life and this does not seem to be it, ‘if that be what you ask, O Lover I refuse you! ‘ And her point is to prove that if that was the man’s view of the relationship that it would not be possible to commit to that..
. The very idea of the man thinking the woman to be perfect and ‘one from heaven sent’ is what she rejects. When she describes women to be perfect her tone is very mocking.A wingless angel who can do no wrong’ she tries to convey that that would be someone who would have no freedom. ‘Go’ this implies how she rejects him if he wishes the relationship to be anything like this as well. The last stanza of the poem is in contrast to all the others.
We see here the tone changes, it softens, ‘But Lover’. She speaks of equality at home and speaks of a partner who will share what life has to offer with the other. She uses the word ‘height’ to show the depth of feelings in togetherness. She gives the impression that she would give herself to him forever ‘I am yours forever’ if he would treat her the way she wishes.She uses musical images as well, ‘bridal march’ ‘music of the spheres’, ‘circling fugue’; they bring out the harmony in the relationship, she wishes for equality, to be equal partners in the journey of life.
And the last line talks of Christian faith, that even God and the universe would be happy with this type of relationship, of perfect equality. It shows what she wants with her lover. The four stanzas speak of four separate different relationships, she analyses here the man and woman relationship she had in her society and what we still have nowadays However in “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning talks about the death of his lover.It was published in dramatic monologue from and it appears as one half of a conversation.
The Duke is retelling the story to a diplomat messenger. Browning mentioned that the portrait of his wife drown by a curtain which the Duke drawn it especially for the visitor. The curtain seems to convey the sense of mysterious. The Duke always portrays the feelings of selfishness and obsession through his comments on his wife, ” Too easily impressed” In a way these lines of comment seems not completed, maybe the Duke is holding back something and rather not to review it all or perhaps he is involved in the death of the Duchess.The use of enjambments helps to convey the negative thoughts and the evil emotions of the Duke. But In “A Woman to her Lover” Walsh has made it clear that she demands the equal right in the relationship.
The emotions expressed are obviously open. It seems like Walsh is reviewing all her feelings and not hiding anything. In the poem “Remember”, Rossetti brings out the depth of love. Though the poem is about death she manages to focus on the positive aspects of love.She manages to bring out power of love and goes on to stress on the fact that love if strong enough between two people can last even after death, this can be seen in the line,” Remember me when I am gone away, gone far into the silent land”.
The very word “remember” shows that she wants the love they shared to live on even if she may die. In the line “better by far you should forget and smile, than that you should remember and be sad”, she brings out the fact that their love is mature and she only wants the best for him since she cares so deeply about his happiness, even if that means forgetting her and the love they shared.The negative aspect here is the pain are made to go through as death is irreversible and that they are unable to live out their dreams they had planned for their future together, “you tell me of our future that you had planned, only remember me; you understand”. Though all these poems, each poet has managed to convey the aspects of love and loss and even though one may feel that love has so many drawbacks, I agree with the saying “it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”, since love is truly a magical feeling and everyone should be able to experience it at least once in a lifetime.