Key Love Poems

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Ice and Fire (Edmund Spenser)

Main theme: Unrequited Love    

1) My love is like to ice, and I to fire' Juxtaposition as is full of passion for his lover but she's cold

2) 'But harder grows the more I entreat her?' The harder he tries the more she rejects him and he wants to know why, poses a question. 

3) 'And feel my flames augmented manifold?' he is tortured by his passion for her

4) 'What more miraculous things may be told, that fire, which all things melt, should harden ice' his madness is shown through the oxymoron. 

5) 'Should kindle fire by wonderful device' answers his own question, describes love as being a wonderful mechanism beyond comprehension      Form: Spensarian Sonnet

Structure: regular rhyme & rhyming couplet. Volta is when he answers his own question and begins to gain control over himself. Iambic pentameter. 

Language: constant juxtapositions used to present how love has driven him crazy 

AO4: renaissance poem so uses sonnet form and uses image of ice and fire 

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The Clod and Pebble (William Blake)

Main theme- Presenting the two sides of love, 'two contrary states of the soul' 

1) 'Love seeketh not itself to please' (stanza 1) Clod presented as believing that love is selfless, whereas the Clod says later 'Love seeketh only itself to please'. Clod presents love as selfish. 

2) 'And builds a heaven in hell's despair' Clod believes love creates bliss and happiness even in worst environment. Contrasts to pebble 'And builds a hell in heaven's despite'- destruction and heartbreak even in the most perfect environment. 

3) ''Sung a little clod of clay'' personification of  beautiful harmonious voice, contrasts with 'But a pebble of the brook warbled out' quavering voice shows the change in tone of poem.

Form: Lyric poem, regular rhyme    AO4- nature imagery is a typical aspect of romanticism era

Structure: 4 lines in each stanza. 2nd stanza used as a metaphorical bridge, and 3rd mimicks the 1st.

Language: imagery of clod and pebble. Clod= purity and holy Pebble: Hard, and tough. Speech marks for their dialogue: personification. However Blake remains ambiguous of personal opinion.  

 

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A Birthday (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Main theme: Celebrating her love for her husband AO4- unusual for victorian poet to declare love                                                                                                                                  

1)'Myheart is like an apple tree, whose bough is bent with thick set fruit' beautiful nature imagery, full of life and productivity. 

2) 'My heart is like a rainbow shell, paddling in a halcyon sea' creates peaceful and dreamlike atmosphere, she does not have a realistic view on love

3) 'My heart is gladder than all these because my love is come to me' summary of main theme, her love transcends even the greatest things in life. 

4)'Work it in gold and silver grapes, in leaves and silver fleur-de-lys' uses aspect of pastoral poetry and intricate detailingpassionate shepherd to his love - 'With buckles of the purest gold, a belt of straw and ivy-buds'. Marlowe offered to his lover but,Browning asks her lover for it to wear to her celebration. 

Form- Lyric poem, recited in a way to declare her love 

Structure- mostly Iambic tetrameter, rhythm is used to show how perfect her love is 

Language- used to reflect her immediacy of feelings, constant use of similies Birthday metaphor for love 

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When We Two Parted - Lord Byron (Romantics)

THEME- Love and loss/ unrequited love

1) stanza 1 sets up the parting of the lovers, shows it was not a mutual break up due to 'half broken-hearted to sever for years' byron will be mourning for a long time 

2) cold imagery used throughout next two stanzas to foreshadow 'warning' the breakup and her change in feelings. 'the dew of the morning sunk chill on my brow' 

3) Repetition of 'silence and tears' in the beggining and end shows that he is stuck with heartbreak and he does not overcome his sadness. also he begins the poem with his current situation and in the end is dwelling on the future and how she will not be apart of it. 

4) He is in even more pain because he cannot share the truth of his relationship with other people due to him saying 'in secret we met'. 

Structure- regular rhyme scheme ababcdcd means trying to make sense of his state but falling meter shows his emotional distress is overwhelming

Language- constant use of rhetorical questions, showing distress and anger towards lover 

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To His Coy Mistress- John Donne

Theme- Poem of seduction (persuasive poem)

Persuading his lover to have sex with him and uses the three concepts; tempus fugit: time flies, carpe diem; seize the day and momento mori; reminder of death to urge her. First stanza is the thesis (ideal state) the second is the antithesis- the actual situation, and the synthesis- what should be the conclusion. 

1)  'Vaster than empires, and more slow; a hundred years should go to praise' uses a hyperbole to show that love will be huge, and he will spend all this time praising her and flattering her to show his devotion. 

2) 'But at my back I always hear time's winged chariot hurrying near' establishes the anithesis, reminds her of tempus fugit by literally personifying time as a way to urge her. Reffering to Helios God of the son flying a chariot. (metaphysical theme presented) 

3) 'Now therefore, while the youthful hue sits on thy skin like morning dew' take advantage of their youthful energy because eventually they'll become old 'carpe diem' ''now let us sport while we may' 

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