The poem begins with Clare’s direct questioning of the maid, something that occurs in every stanza of the poem. Even in the opening, there are clues that what fol...
... middle of paper ...
...make it a little more admiring. This ending directly mocks the notion of romantic and eternal love as traditionally presented by poetry and expresses Clare’s own bitterness toward the world and companionship.
Throughout “An Invite to Eternity,” Clare invokes the traditions of love poetry, only to undermine these conventions, mocking the notions of love and eternity with sad irony and the truth of his own social isolation. The notion of love is nothing but a shadow that covers the truth of ones’ own struggles and the improbable triumph of love over isolation is nearly impossible in his eyes. By complicating his poem through the filter of the maid and the frame of traditional love poetry, Clare’s portrait of isolation and social death becomes even more moving, for it is just as obvious to the reader as it is to Clare that such an “eternity” is unlikely to be accepted.
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