Love in the Poetry of the 16th and 17th Century

Powerful Essays
During the 16th and 17th century, many love poems and sonnets were written and most likely circulated for amusement and satire among poets. Though every poem is written about the poet’s undying love for their beloved, they all display different attitudes to love and ways of showing it.

In 130, Shakespeare writes of his dark lady, portraying a real picture of her genuine features. Almost every line at first glance seems like an insult to his mistress, ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;’ however, the reader can understand that he is in fact celebrating her natural beauty. It is known that poems were circulated between poets and the poem attacks other poets who flatter their lovers with false comparisons and ridiculous promises, ‘as any she belied with false compare’. Shakespeare claims that that he loves his mistress so much that he can be truthful about her and not exaggerate a beauty that is not there, which conveys a more sincere and genuine tone than a flattering love poem.

‘And yet, by heaven I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare’

Shakespeare writes with huge emphasis on her less attractive features, ‘But no such roses see I in her cheeks;’ illustrating that in spite of all these flaws, he still loves her for her intelligence and her spirit ‘I love to hear her speak’ and that it is her imperfections that make her perfect for him. He also makes it very clear that he does not appreciate the artificial efforts women make to enhance their appearance ‘And in some perfumes is there more delight’. The phrase suggests that although perfume may have a delightful smell in comparison to his mistress’ breath ‘Than in the breath my mistress reeks’ it is insignificant to him as he is more intereste...

... middle of paper ...

...ed has betrayed and left him. In comparison to the two Shakespearean sonnets, the poem is incredibly different. It is not flattering at all and does not admit to feeling any love at all for his lover. Instead he reluctantly puts aside any feelings of love for her and wishes to just move on with his life

From the three poems I have looked at, I prefer 130 as it seems to me to be the most genuine and honest yet loving sonnet as opposed to Shall I compare thee…? which is much more flattering and almost artificial. Moreover, I love that fact that Shakespeare has written a love sonnet that is just as romantic and passionate as any, yet is so diverse to the typical love poem. As for Since there’s no help, I think that the poem is quite disheartening, sad and does not convey an atmosphere of deep, genuine love and passion that a love poem should do in my opinion.
Get Access