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"Romantic love, physical love, unrequited love, obsessive love…" Compare the ways poets have written about love, bringing out different aspects of the theme.

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Hayley Smith 10O English Coursework Pre 1914 Poetry Question; "Romantic love, physical love, unrequited love, obsessive love..." Compare the ways poets have written about love, bringing out different aspects of the theme. I have chosen to look at two poems and comment on the comparisons between them. The two poems I have chosen are 'First Love' by John Clare and 'When We Two Parted' by Lord Byron. In each poem there is a lot of emotion shown, for example, "And stole my heart complete" from First Love. This shows how powerful his love for her was, she managed to be able to control him compared to "That thy heart could forget, thy spirit deceive," from When We Two Parted. This shows a feeling of betrayal, as well as spitefulness. These lines alone, show that the poems are very different as one talks of a love so powerful, they are overcome by it, whereas the other talks of betrayal and being deceived. "First Love" is a romantic poem, about new experiences and love over-coming all other emotions. ...read more.


Further down in 'First Love,' it says "My face turned pale as deadly pale", this reminds me of a ghostly figure. Somebody who is no longer in control of their own actions, or emotions, these are also some physical affects of love; the sense of being paralysed by love, with the one you love being dominant. In the 5th line down from 'When We Two Parted' it also mentions loves physical effects. "Pale grew they cheek and cold" It is as though the love he had for this woman/women has turned to stone almost, has become cold, stiff, deadly. His feelings are dying which goes with the idea of being pale, again, it is reminiscent of death. This idea continues throughout both poems until the last verse of each. In the first poem (First Love) the last two lines talk of loss, "My heart has left its dwelling place, And can return no more." I think that this is a way of saying she's got him under her spell, as though losing his feelings and control of himself was minor, now she has taken his heart from where it was to where it is now, with her. ...read more.


This is the opposite to First Love where the feelings between them were untainted. They both mention physical effects of love as well as alliteration to emphasise the authors feelings. For example, in First Love 'With love so sudden and so sweet' this outlines the 's' sound which emphasizes the sweetness of the love as 's' is a very soft sound. The same idea is used in When We Two Parted, 'Pale grew thy cheek and cold' this emphasizes the coldness as the 'C' sound is quite sharp, hard and cold. Throughout First Love, hyperboles are used to exaggerate the way this person is feeling, for instance 'Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower' obviously, a face cannot bloom, but he is trying to say that she is like nature, beautiful in its own way, unique like a flower. This is true also for When We Two Parted, 'Half-broken hearted' peoples hearts cannot actually break in two so this is another hyperbole. So to come to a conclusion, although the two poems are about two different themes, one on love, one on loss, they both have many similarities, they just have different meanings. ...read more.

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