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Compare and contrast how love is presented in 5, pre 1914, poems.
Love is conveyed in many different ways by the different authors of
the poems, ‘How Do I Love Thee?’ (Elizabeth Barrett Browning), ‘First
Love’ (John Clare), ‘Villegiature’ (Edith Nesbit), ‘My mistresses eyes
are nothing like the sun’ (William Shakespeare) and ‘Sonnet 18’
(William Shakespeare). Love is presented using a different number of
themes such as religion, passion, sickness and nature.
The different authors use many different forms of language to present
love. The poem ‘How Do I Love Thee?’ uses many different forms of
language to calculate Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s love for someone.
The author uses imagery to help us imagine the circumstances and her
‘I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach’.
The poems ‘First Love’, ‘My mistresses eyes are nothing like the
sun’, ‘Villegiature’ and ‘ Sonnet 18’ also use imagery. ‘First Love’
creates the image of a young girl with a light flower like face framed
with darkness. It also creates physical imagery such as;
‘pale as deadly pale’.
‘My mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun ’ although it does not
convey a nice picture uses imagery to express the ordinariness of the
dark lady. ‘ Villegiature’ although in a dream world gives us a
‘pear-tree bloom, White-curtained shone’.
‘Sonnet 18’ passion is conveyed through complementing imagery by
creating an angel like image of the man;
‘his gold complexion’
‘every fair from fair’.
To create imagery the poets use a mixture of similes; ‘My face turned
pale as deadly pale’ (First Love), rhetorical questions; ‘How do I
love thee? Let me count the ways (How Do I Love Thee?), caesura’s;
‘yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound’ (My
mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun), metaphors; ‘Word’s from my
eyes did start’ (First Love), and alliteration.
‘How do I Love Thee?
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"The Presentation of Love by Different Authors." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jan 2020
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and ‘Sonnet 18’ are all sonnets. When the sonnets are split into 3
quatrains the three first verses have the same rhyme scheme; they
rhyme every second line. The last two lines form a rhyming couplet;
‘…see’ and ‘…thee’ (Sonnet 18) and in Sonnet 18 the rhyming couplet
applies irony to the poem;
‘I did not-till your ghost had fled-
Remember how you always bore me’
The sonnets have ten-syllable lines and use the iambic pentameter. The
sonnets rhyme scheme makes the poems more romantic as the iambic
pentameter seems like a heartbeat.
In comparison ‘First Love’ and ‘Villegiature’ are formed with
stanzas. ‘First Love’ has three stanzas of eight lines and the poem
rhymes every second line. ‘Villegiature’ contains four stanzas of four
lines and the poem also rhymes every second line. Here the poets have
made the poem flow through use of a rhythmic rhyme scheme. This makes
the reader breathe regularly and therefore softly. This impersonates
The five love poems also incorporate the same themes in different
ways. The poems ‘First Love’, ‘How do I Love Thee?’ and ‘Sonnet 18’
all use false compare to describe their passionate love for someone.
They compare their loved ones to nature, ‘Her face it bloomed like a
sweet flower’ (First Love), ‘Rough winds do shake the darling buds of
May’ (Sonnet 18). By comparing them to nature the poets make their
loved ones seem extremely beautiful and gentle.
The poets of First Love and Sonnet 18 compare their loved ones to
suffering or sadness, ‘blood burnt round my heart’ (First Love). First
Love also shows the effects of falling in love for the first time and
experiencing the agony of losing your heart. This shows us the agonies
of love and how much they love the person. However, they also compare
their loved ones with “wonderfulness”. This is to show the readers how
beautiful their love is and how they will love them in whatever light.
How do I love thee? presents love as a measurable list whilst First
love, although it describes passionate love, shows the readers of lost
love and painful experiences through a narrative account. Sonnet 18
characterises love to appear supernatural and the poet compares the
loved one with nature to such an extent that they appear to be a god.
‘My mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun’ however, rejects all the
usual exaggerations and extreme comparisons. Shakespeare follows no
particular theme except to belittle the false compare by stating that
even though she has her faults he still loves her. Shakespeare makes
the lady sound different from the normal poetic ‘angels’ by comparing
her to reality;
‘If hairs be wire, black wires grow on her head’.
Here Shakespeare is laying out how simple a person she is and he
shows that no matter what she’s like he still loves her. He presents
love as loving people with and for their faults.
‘Villegiature’ is a poem that is entirely different from the others.
It describes a dream involving the poets former lover and it shows the
readers how dreams can let your mind wander. The poet describes the
lover’s actions. She compares him to nature;
‘ …framed in pear-tree blossom’,
and praises him. However, at some point in every stanza she states
that he was ‘uninvited’ or he had ‘hardly missed me’. In this poem the
poet shows love to be all a fantasy and she shows that it is never as
wonderful as one might fantasise it to be.
The three poems ‘How do I love Thee?’, ‘First Love’ and ‘Sonnet 18’
all express the same type of passionate love. Whilst ‘My mistresses
eyes are nothing like the sun’ and ‘Villegiature’ expresses different
kinds of love. ‘My mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun’ expresses
a realistic love whilst ‘Villegiature’ expresses a shortly forgotten
love. The poets convey love by setting out the poems in certain ways
to produce a mood suitable for their kind of love.