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Compare the ways poets have written about love, bringing out different aspects of the theme

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Compare the ways poets have written about love, bringing out different aspects of the theme There are endless ways in which love can be portrayed and occur. There are numerous types of love, whether it physical, emotional or romantic love. I intend to expand upon and highlight the various ways in which love an loss is portrayed in 5 selected poems: John Clare's 'First Love', John Keats 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', Robert Browning 'My Last Duchess' and Christina Rossetti's two poems 'Birthday' and 'Remember'. All of the poets portray love the concept of love or loss or both in relation to some; they all attempt to capture and express the presence of love and loss in the closest way possible. In 'First Love', the poet (John Clare) situates his poem as if telling a story. The story of a young boy who sees a beautiful young girl and falls in love with her the first time he sets eyes on her. The poet sets the scene and mood for his poem in the first few lines; an over whelming emotion of love which has overcome the young boy (John Clare as a child) as his eyes wander over to the beautiful young farmers daughter; whose complexion is like nothing he has seen before. "I ne'er was struck before that hour With love so sudden and so sweet." The poet continues to complement this princess like figure whom he adores and loves compassionately; "Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower And stole my heart away complete." It is made clear to the reader that the poet has fallen deeply in love with this young girl with out even getting to know her; totally dumbfound by her beauty. The young girl whom the poet falls instantaneously in love with is probably unaware of how compassionate this young boy feels towards her; thoughtlessly she waves away his physical state and walks away. ...read more.


As the poem progresses it is made clear to the reader that the emissary is here on behalf of his master to arrange the marriage between the duke and his rich master's daughter. The way in which the poet portrays the dukes last wife in the opening passages is in a loving, compassionate way; creating an image of an affectionate relationship between the two in the way their relationship is described by the duke, "...But to myself they turned (since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I)" At this point he reader gets the impression that the duke's last wife is still special to him. However as the reader progresses through the poem there are things the reader finds out which the duke has been trying to hide and has been doing so for a long time; "...She had A heart - how shall I say? - too soon made glad." As the duke carries on some of his bitterness and jealousy start to surface; as much as he tries to hide it; emphasising on how she smiled freely with every one of all statuses, the duke almost describes it as flirting. "Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere." The poet continues to hint at the duke's jealousy as the poem progresses; "She thanked men, - good! But thanked Somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift." Regardless of the dukes efforts; his last duchess did not realise the duke's attempts to impress her. At this instant the reader fells almost sympathetic towards the duke. Despite the dukes ill relationship between himself and his last wife he still took the liberty of placing (or leaving) a picture of her on his wall; this maybe out of care and affection or in a controlling possessive aspect; 'he' chose to place a picture of 'her' on 'his' wall, remembering her by the respectable elegance which the painter managed to capture and magnify. ...read more.


is telling her lover not worry about her as id to rest in piece as she is near dearth herself; and she doesn't want him to remember her grieving; and to get on with his life. This last part is almost in reference to herself whom mourned her lover's absence or had got over him and moved on in her life. In contrast to the earlier poets ideas who all felt victimised with their loss; whereas Rossetti has come to live with her loss even though she may feel a little saddened by it. Both poems could be intertwined talking into consideration the theme they were written; 'A Birthday' may be the beginning of a doubtful relationship and 'Remember' a considerably time has passed since the relationship has ended. This can only be an assumption as we have no real insight on the poet's private life style. Furthermore the moods in the poems differ considerably; in 'A Birthday' the atmosphere is joyful and ecstatic whereas in 'Remember' is sad and dull. In conclusion; all four poets express their unique ideas towards love at the time their poem is set. In 'First Love' the young boy whom is known to be a younger John Clare; fells the incredible sensation of love for the first time in his life, in reference to the poems title 'First Love'. Whereas in John Keats' 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' the role character a knight who was left love struck by woman whom could be in relation to the lady of the lake as the bank of a lake and the final male poet Robert Browning whose poem 'My last duchess' emphasises on the love for control, wealth, arts and pride. The final two poems both penned by Christina Rossetti 'A Birthday' and 'Remember', each poem apposes the other, 'A Birthday' resembling the joy of love and 'Remember' signifying the loss of not just love but life as well. All five poems begin with a joyous atmosphere of love, but eventually all end bitterness one way or another. English Literature: Pre 1914 poetry 1 Hassanain Ali ...read more.

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