I am going to study three love poems. The first one is called "First Love" by John Clare

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English Coursework

How does poet’s writing before 1900 use language to write about different types of love? Consider three love poems, two of which must be by the same poet.

In this piece of coursework I am going to study three love poems. The first one is called “First Love” by John Clare; this poem is a very simple, sweet poem about a mans first love of his life. The second is called “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning; this poem is about the Duke telling his servant about his last wife, this poem is a poem about obsessive love. The third poem is called “Porphyria’s Lover” also by Robert Browning; this poem is about a man being suspicious enough to murder his love with her hair. This poem is a psychotic poem. Throughout this coursework I will be investigating the poem’s vocabulary, structure and imagery.

        Firstly, I am going to explore the poems vocabulary. The vocabulary in “First Love” by John Clare is very simplistic and sweet, much like what you would find in a valentines card. The nouns found in this poem, like ‘flower’ is just one example of the simplicity that this poem has in it. Even simple adjectives have been included in this poem; there are more words to describe other than “pale”, more complex words could have been used. Clare could have used words like bloodless or cadaverous which are more complex but mean the same as pale.

Although the vocabulary in “First Love” is very simple the vocabulary in “My Last Duchess” is a lot more obsessive. In the poem Clare put forward that no one else has seen the portrait “strangers never read that painted countenance” plus he had a very negative view over the entire positive things about her personality too easily impressed this shows that the Duke is a jealous man and was angry enough to kill her.

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        Whereas the vocabulary in “My Last Duchess” is very obsessive, vocabulary in “Porphyria’s Lover” is possessive and also Porphyria’s lover is very suspicious of Porphyria. “Lake whipped up by the wind”, “Cold room”, and “Sullen wind” are all examples/indications of the menacing love Porphyria’s lover has for Porphyria. Porphyria enters the room and looks like she has come in from a storm, which she has, but Porphyria’s lover makes it sound different. “Her cloak is dripping”. Porphyria’s lover once referred to Porphyria as “mine, mine”, this shows his obsession with Porphyria and shows that he only feels happy when Porphyria ...

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