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Discuss how the poets you have studied in Best Words and your selection of pre 20th century poetry approach the theme of true love.

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Introduction

Discuss how the poets you have studied in Best Words and your selection of pre 20th century poetry approach the theme of true love. 'Let me not,' 'My mistress's eyes' and 'Shall I compare thee' are sonnets by William Shakespeare. 'Come live with me' is by Christopher Marlowe and the reply to this is by Walter Raleigh. All were written at the turn of the 17th century. 'Let me not,' 'Shall I compare thee' and 'Come live' are all traditional poems of the time - a man praising a woman, especially her appearance - whereas the other two poems are parodies, making fun of the traditional poems and style of poetry. Shakespeare's poems are all written in sonnet form - a 14-line poem with 3 quatrains with an ABAB rhyming schemes, and a final rhyming couplet, containing the rhythm of an iambic pentameter. The other two are written in the freer four-line stanza form with an iambic tetrameter. All are based on the subject of true love, one that was widely written about then and one that is still widely written about today. 'Let me not' and 'Shall I compare thee' approach the subject in a serious way, the parodies in a light-hearted way and 'Come live' is somewhere in between. 'Let me not' is a Shakespearean sonnet and approaches the theme of true love in a traditional way. Shakespeare portrays that 'a marriage of true mindes' cannot be altered and will not be stopped. ...read more.

Middle

. Marlowe is very presumptuous and optimistic in tone, 'we will sit upon the rocks' and presumes that she will want what he is offering and will be his love, though he does say if 'these delights thy mind may move'. Marlowe appears to be telling us that true love can be achieved through gifts to the one that you love. Walter Raleigh replies to this in a poem of his own called 'The Reply'. He uses exactly the same rhythm, stanza form and repeats many of Marlowe's words and phrases. However Raleigh writes as if he is the recipient of the first poem and unlike Marlowe is a realist, not an optimist and realises that time will spoil the things that are being offered to her. Raleigh writes as though he were the girl and only if 'love were young' and lasted then she would consider 'to live with thee and be thy love.' Unfortunately for the shepherd she realises that 'flowers do fade,' and other gifts 'soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten.' Only if 'youth could last and love still breed' would she contemplate living with the poet of the original poem. This poem is a parody of 'Come live' and reverses the traditional style. This poem implies that traditional poems are nonsensical in that they are always too optimistic and never realistic and are too reliant on themselves to be right, never believing that anyone could refuse their poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poem is still being read, hundreds of years after being written and so 'long lives' the poem and it still 'gives life to thee.' Again Shakespeare is sure of the immortality of this poem, and therefore the person who it was written about, he is defying time. The approach to true love in this poem is through a love that is better than something else is, in this case a summer's day, and which is beyond comparison. Although each poem approaches the theme of true love in a different way, either through parodies or through more traditional styles, they are all similar. Except for 'Come live' and 'My mistress' eyes' all the poems use the theme of time and suggesting that true love is eternal. Most use the theme of the beauty of nature, either to compare as in 'Shall I compare thee' or as a gift as in 'Come live'. Except for 'My mistress' eyes' all are specifically written to someone. The two parodies mock the traditional approach, which is often highly praising of someone, 'The reply' which refuses the offer by saying I wont 'live with thee and be thy love' and 'My mistress' eyes' by neglecting the appearance. As already mentioned the theme of love can be approached in a serious way or through a more light-hearted tone, both of which are still used to approach the theme of love today. ?? ?? ?? ?? Josh Weinberg 10 C 11th March 01 1 ...read more.

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