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Lover and Loss

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Introduction

It is often claimed that love poems are soppy and sentimental. Refer to the poems that you have studied in this collection, and find evidence for agreeing or disagreeing with this view. Comment on the language, style and form of the poems you refer to, as well as their content and viewpoint. Love poems are traditionally romantic and often 'soppy' and 'sentimental', however not all the poems fall into these categories. 'First Love' by John Clare, in my view, is one of the more romantic and sentimental poems between it and the other John Clare poem 'The Secret'. There are many emotions in 'First Love', probably because it was written after Clare was taken into Northampton General Lunatic Asylum. It is often exaggerated 'And blood burnt round my heart', making it less romantic and more of suffering, however there is the mention of 'my heart' which is a typical symbol of love. So in a way it is like a valentine's card, with strong imagery 'turned to clay' and philosophical lines 'I never saw so sweet a face'. Clare uses several conventional poetic techniques with similes 'Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower' and 'They spoke as chords do from the string', which adds to the 'soppy' effect. The repetition of 'sweet' makes the content of the poem more positive. The rhetorical questions 'Are flowers the winter's choice?' ...read more.

Middle

The purpose of this poem is to show that women can be brave and stick up for what they believe they are entitled to do and be, and not be bossed around. Walsh used the word love in a different context because instead of it being Eros, physical attraction based on sexual affection/passion; she uses Agape because it involves charity, tolerance and respect for all people. Walsh uses many personal pronouns, 'me', 'I' and 'we' to get across her personal feelings; she has used many more than 'First Love' and 'The Secret' but has also got a lot of second person pronouns which seems to show the poem focusing directly upon the addressee 'Do you come to me to bend me to your will'. In the same way as the first two poems, Walsh has used connectives to extend her persuasive argument 'Or', this might make her sound slightly possessive but it sounds like she is giving her lover options by trying to persuade him. The use of sibilance 'skin soft....supple' emphasises key words in the same way that they are used in 'First Love'. The metaphor 'wingless angel' suggests that she does not want to be idealised because it is shortly followed by a single exclamative 'Go!' Instead of lots of positive vocabulary like the other two poems this uses all negative which makes it no where near the sentimental category. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Sonnet 130' is written in iambic pentameters with quatrains of abab. The use of the personal pronouns 'My' and 'I' make the poem more personal like 'A Woman to Her Lover'. In the third quatrain, he admits that, though he loves her voice, 'music hath a far more pleasing sound' and that, though he has never seen a goddess, his mistress -- unlike goddesses -- walks on the ground. In the couplet, however, the speaker declares that 'by heaven' he thinks his love as 'rare' and valuable 'As any she belied with false compare' - that is, any love in which false comparisons were invoked to describe the loved one's beauty. The use of the couplet is effective because it contains a separate point/image. Instead of being romantic or unromantic, 'To his Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell fits right in between the two categories because it is 'soppy' in a way but for all the wrong reasons because all he wants to do is get her in bed. 'To his Coy Mistress' can be split into three stanzas with the rhyme scheme aabbcc. The use of careful structure in this poem is different from the effective use of structure in 'Sonnet 130' because the quatrains in 'Sonnet 130' make the poem's lines all seem the same in their mood and emotion, whereas, the stanzas in 'To his Coy Mistress' make each section of lines have their own mood, emotions and meaning. In the same way, Marvell uses a metaphor like Walsh which both mention wings 'Times winged Chariot hurrying near'. ...read more.

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