Compare and contrast the way pre-20th century poets reflect on the theme of love

The first poem I will be discussing is called Villeggiature by Edith Nesbit, the poem is symmetrical, it has 4 verses with 4 lines, it has a very simple rhyme scheme which is every other line. The title is Villeggiature, a Villeggiature was a place where women with broken hearts or were depressed would flee to, they were usually country houses, from this you can tell the theme of this poem is ‘love’.

In the first verse she writes about her thinking of her lover ‘your ghost last night climbed uninvited’ this shows that she is thinking about her lover and that she fantasises about him coming back for her, this is also a metaphor as she compares her lover to a ghost, this also shows she is fantasising. We can tell this poem is set in spring as the writer mentions pear-tree bloom and pear trees bloom in spring. The second verse starts with ‘your solid self, long leagues away’ this shows that she’s fantasising and in reality her love is a long way away.

She says her lover is ‘deep in dull books, had hardly missed me’ this shows she finds her lover boring and that he is more interested in his books than her, she uses a simile as she compares her lover climbing up a pear tree and kissing her to Romeo. Verse 3 is about her lover trying to convince her that he loves her ‘I listened to you till the dawn, and half forgot I did not ‘love you’, this shows he has talked her back into loving him, in the fourth verse she says ‘oh dear!

What pretty things you said’ this shows that she is thinking about taking him back, ‘what pearls of song you threaded for me! this shows that she is overwhelmed and feels special from what her lover has said, ‘I did not-till your ghost had fled-remember how you always bore me! ‘ this shows that after her lover has gone she remembered before he used to always ignore her when he was ‘deep in dull books’. In this poem there is a lot of comparison to nature there is, pear tree-bloom, blossom, dewy lawn, dawn and pearls, nature is used in the poem as they used to think nature was beautiful that’s why the compare them to nature. There were a few bits of alliteration, deep in dull books and hardly had.

There are a few similes in the poem, she compares her lover climbing up a pear tree to Romeo ‘yet you found this Romeo’s way, and through the blossom climbed and kissed me’ and she compares pearls to what her lover said to her as she thinks it’s beautiful what he had said ‘what pearls of song you threaded for me! ‘. The second poem I have chosen to discuss is ‘First love’ by John Clare, this poem is symmetrical, it has three verses with eight lines in each, it has a simple rhyming scheme which is every other line rhymes.

I can tell from the title that the poem has a theme of love and is a man writing about his first love. In the first verse he says ‘I ne’er was stuck before that hour with love was stuck before that hour with love so sudden and sweet’, this shows he has fallen in love and doesn’t know what to do, in the next line a simile is used, he compares his loves face to a ‘sweet sunflower’, ‘her face bloomed like a sews flower’. ‘My face turned pale as deadly pale.

My legs refused to walk away’, this shows that he doesn’t want to say goodbye to his love. In the next line a rhetorical question is used ‘and when she looked, what could I ail? ‘ this means that when she looked, he went all nervous and felt queasy. ‘My life and all seem turned to clay’, this shows that it felt like time had stood still for him. ‘And then blood rushed to my face and took my eyesight quite away’ this means that his face went red when he saw his lover which shows he is in love.

The trees and bushes round the place seemed midnight at noonday. ‘ This shows that his vision went blurry and that he saw no one but his love. ‘I could not see a single thing, words from my eyes did start’ this shows that he was speechless maybe because of his loves beauty and that he could only think of words to describe her. ‘They spoke as chords do from the string, and blood burnt round my heart’ He compares his loves voice to that off a beautiful string instrument and that his heart was burning as he was madly in love with his love.

The next verse starts with two rhetorical questions ‘Are flowers the winter’s choice? Is loves bed always snow? ‘ the first rhetorical question is used for effect , the second rhetorical question is saying, is love always easy, are there never any hard times you have to go through. ‘She seemed to hear my silent voice, Not loves appeal to know’ here the writer is saying his loves already knows what he is about to say before he has said anything.

The writer then talks about the beauty of his love ‘I never saw so sweet a face as that I stood before’ here he is saying that he had never seen anyone more beautiful than his love. The writer then says ‘my heart has left its dwelling-place and can return no more’ the writer is saying his love has taken his heart away. The third poem I will be talking about is ‘When we Two parted’ by ‘Lord Byron’ from the title I can state that the poem is about a couple splitting up, the poem has a simple rhyming scheme of every line rhymes.

In the first verse Byron talks about his love who he has been seeing his love for years and they have decided to split up and say there goodbyes ‘When we two parted in silence and tears’ this is where he is talking about him and his love splitting up, ‘half broken hearted to sever for years’ here he is saying that his heart has been broken and is still in love with his ex partner and has been since they split up, ‘pale grew thy cheek and cold, colder thy kiss’ here he is saying that the older they got the less each loved each other so they decided to split.

Truly that hour foretold sorrow to this’ here he is saying that he was sad because of there decision to split. In the second verse starts with a reference to nature ‘The dew of the morning sank chill on my brow’ this shows that he meets his lover at a strange time and again refers to his relationship with his lover is a secret. ‘It felt like a warning of what I feel now’ here he is saying that he feels bad and compares his feelings to the dew of morning which is damp and cold which isn’t very nice.

Thy vows are all broken, and light is thy fame’ The writer is saying that one of them who were having an affair was married and that there vows are broken as the couple have split up, he says that ‘light is thy fame’ he says this as there affair has been bought to light, someone has found out about it. He then says ‘I hear thy name spoken, and share in it’s shame`, he says that every time he hears the name of the person who he was having an affair with it made him feel shameful of what he had done.

The third verse starts with the writer saying ‘They name thee before me, a knell in mine ear’ he says this as people keep mentioning the name of the person who he had an affair with and each time he hears it mentioned it hurts him. ‘A shudder come o’er me, why wert thou so dear? ‘ Here he is saying that each time his lovers name is mentioned it gives him a shudder as the people who say his name don’t know they had and affair, when he says ‘why wert thou so dear’ he is saying why were you so lovely and that he still likes them. They know not I knew thee, who knew thee too well’ here the writer is saying that the people he is talking about don’t know that he has had an affair with him and that the writer knows him really well. The end of the verse talks about how he shall not tell anyone about the affair he had ‘Long, long shall I rue thee, too deeply to tell’.

The forth verse is a summary of there affair and what he would do if he saw his love again ‘In secret we met’ this refers to them having a secret affair, ‘In silence I grieve, that thy heart could forget thy spirit deceive’ this shows that the writer kept the pain of loosing his love to himself and that he really wants to forget his love and move on. In the last few lines of the poem the writer talks about what he would do if he met his lover again ‘If I should meet thee after long years, how should I greet thee? With silence and tears’. This shows that the writer met his love again after a few years had passed that he would keep quiet and would be emotional and cry. The forth poem I am going to discuss is ‘So we’ll go no more a-roving’ by ‘Lord Byron’ The poem has 3 verses and a simple rhyming scheme of every other lie rhymes, the poem title ‘so we’ll go o more a-roving’ suggests that the poem is about the ending of a relationship, the theme of this poem is secrets, forbidden love and to keep his lover unknown.

In the first verse the writer is saying that he met his this person at night, ‘so we’ll go no more a-roving s late in the night, this suggests he’s having a secretive affair, and that he still loves this person but has to stop seeing them ‘though the heart still be as loving, and the moon still be as bright’ he compares his on going love to the moon to keep on shining.

In the second verse the writer compares himself to a soldier that fights a lot and says the sheath of his sword will get damaged before his sword and that he as a lot of soul, ‘For the sword outwears it’s sheath, and the soul outwears the breast’ then he says that he wants to put the affair on hold as he wants a rest from it ‘and the heart must pause to breathe, and love itself have rest’.

In the third and final verse the writer says that ‘though the night was made for loving’ this suggests this was when he would go and see his forbidden love, ‘and the day returns too soon’ this is saying that he wishes the night wouldn’t end and that he could spend more time with his love. In the last two lines he says ‘Yet we’ll go no more a-roving by the light of the moon’ this suggests he wants to end the affair, the writer uses repetition of what he has been saying through out the poem ‘Yet we’ll go no more a-roving’ I think the use of repetition has been used to good affect In this poem

The final poem I will be writing about is ‘A red, red rose’ by ‘Robert Burns. This poem is about a man declaring his love for a girl, the poem is built up of four verses of four lines and has a simple rhyming scheme of lines two and four of each verse rhyme. The first verse starts with the writer comparing his love to a newly blossomed summer rose, ‘Oh my luve is like a red, red rose, that’s newly sprung in June’ this is also a comparison to nature, he also goes on to compare his love to a nicely played melody ‘Oh my luve is like the melodie that’s sweetly play’d in tune, these both show that he really loved her.

In the second verse the writer tells us how much he is in love, ‘As fair art though, my bonie lass, so deep in Luve am I’ he also says that his love for her will last forever, ‘And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry’ over all this verse shows us that he has strong feelings and a lot of love and affection for this girl and that he wants to stay with her forever. The writer starts the third verse by repeating the last line of the second verse, ‘Till a’the seas gang dry’ he also adds in ‘And the rocks melt wi’ the sun’ this is saying that he will love her till the rocks melt with the sun (end of time).

He goes on to say ‘And I will luve thee still, my dear, while the sands o’life shall run, here he is stating that he will love her to the end of time, like an hour glass while the sand is passing through it until it stops which he compares to the end of time. In the fourth verse the writer is saying farewell to his love and that he would only be going away for a short amount of time, ‘And fare thee weel, my only luve! And fare thee weel a while! ‘ he then says, ‘And I will come again, my luve’ here is he saying that he will stay true to her and he will return to her, in the last line he says ‘Tho’ it were ten thousand mile! he is saying that he would travel ten thousand miles to see her.

Although the main theme of this poem is ‘love’ I think that there is also a theme of ‘nature’. For example, Burn’s speaks about roses, June, sea, rocks, the sun and sand; all of these words are associated with the natural world. Another theme of this poem is ‘local dialect’. Robert Burns was a famous Scottish poet and this poem has many words associated with is country; for example, ‘my bonie lass’, ‘gang dry’ and ‘Fare thee weel’.