Pre-1900 Poetry Anthology Summary

  • Created by: 15KiteR
  • Created on: 09-03-22 09:18

Whose List to Hount- Wyatt

Themes: wealth and status as a barrier to love, futility of this hunt for love, love and suffering, love as illusory, love as ambitious, love as destined for failure, destructive nature of love  

'helas, I may no more'

'The vayne travaill hath weried me so sore'

'I ame of them that farthest cometh behinde'

'she fleeth afore'

'Faynting I followe' 

'Sithens in a nett I seke to hold the wynde'

'written her faier neck', 'Cesars I ame And wylde for to hold though I seme tame' 

1 of 14

Sonnet 116- Shakespeare

Themes: idealistic love, love as ambitious, the intensity of love, love and loyalty 

'Let me not to the marriage of true mindes admit impediments'

'Love is not love which alters when alteration finds it'

'O no, it is an ever fixed marke'

'It is the star to every wandring barke'

'Lov's not Times foole, though rosie lips and cheeks within his bending sickles compasse come'

'beares it out even to the edge of doome'

'If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved' 

2 of 14

The Flea- Donne

Themes: social expectations, love as indulgent, conflict between love and morality, love and sex 

'in this flea, our two bloods mingled be', 'Thou know'st that this cannot be said a sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead' 

'And pampered swells with one blood made of two

'three lives in one flea spare, where we almost, yea more than married are' 

'This flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed'

'three sins in killing three. Cruel and sudden, hast thou since purpled thy nail in blood of innocence' 

'then learn how false, fears be'

'Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me, will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee' 

3 of 14

To His Coy Mistress- Marvell

Themes: Social expectations, love and time, conflict between love and morality, love and sex, love and indulgence/ selfish love

'Had we but World enough, and Time, this coyness lady were no crime. We would sit down, and think which way to walk, and pass our long Loves Day'

'My vegetable Love should grow vaster than Empires, and more slow' 

'An hundred years should go to praise thine eyes, adn on they forehead gaze. Two hundred to adore each breast', 'And at the last age should show your heart' 

'But at my back I alwaies hear Times winged Charriot hurrying near'

'then Worms shall try that long preserv'd Virginity: and your quaint Honour turn to dust; and into ashes all my lust. The grave's a fine and private place but none I think do there embrace' 

'Now let us sport us while we may'

'And tear our pleasures with rough strife, thorough the iron gatres of life. Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run' 

4 of 14

The Scrutiny- Lovelace

Themes: love and sex, love and loyalty, male entitlement 

'Lady it is already morn, and 'twas last night I swore to thee that fond impossibility' 

'Have I not loved thee much and long, a tedious twelve hours' space?'

'I must all other Beauties wrong, and rob thee of a new embrace'

'I must search the black and fair like skilful mineralists that sound for treasure in un-plowed-up ground' 

'if when I have loved my round, thou provest the pleasant she'

'I laden will return to thee, ev'n sated with variety' 

5 of 14

A Song (Absent from thee)- Wilmot

Themes: love and loyalty, sincerity, love as indulgent, conflict between love and morality 

'ask me not, when I return'

'The straying Fool'

'Dear, from thine Arms then let me flie'

'That my Fantastick mind may prove, the Torments it deserves to try' 

'When weried with a world of woe, to thy safe bosom I retire' 

'Lest once more wandring from that Heav'n I fall on some base heart unblest; faithless to thee, false, unforgiv'n, and lose my everlasting rest' 

6 of 14

The Garden of Love- Blake

Themes: Changing nature of love, love and time, social conventions and love, unattainable love, complex love, love as illusory 

'I went to the Garden of Love, and saw what I never had seen'

'A chapel was built in the midst, where I used to play on the green'

'And the gates of this chapel were shut, and 'Thou shalt not' writ over the door'

'so many sweet flowers bore'

'And I saw it was filled with graves, and tomb-stones where flowers should be'

'And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds, and binding with briars my joys and desires' 

7 of 14

Song (Ae fond kiss)- Burns

Themes: Pure love, the intensity of love, love and suffering 

'Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; ae fareweel, and then for ever!' 

'Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee' 

'Who shall say that Fortune grieves him, while the star of hope she leaves him: Me, nae chearful twinkle lights me; dark despair around benights me'

'I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy, naething could resist my Nancy'

'But to see her, was to love her'

'Had we never lov'd sae kindly, had we never lov'd sae blindly!

'Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest! Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!

'Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee' 

8 of 14

She Walks in Beauty- Byron

Themes: beauty and character, innocence of love, love as illusory, idealistic love 

'She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies'

'all that's best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes'

'One shade the more, one ray the less, had half impaired the nameless grace'

'Where thoughts serenely sweet express how pure, how dear their dwelling place' 

'tell of days in goodness spent, a mind at peace with all below, a heart whose love is innocent!' 

9 of 14

Remember- Rossetti

Themes: Love and time, sincere and compassionate love, selfless love 

'When you can no longer hold me by the hand'

'Remember me when no more day by day you tell me of our future that you planned'

'Yet if you should forget me for a while and afterwards remember, do not grieve'

'Better by far you should forget and smile than that you should remember and be sad' 

10 of 14

The Ruined Maid- Hardy

Themes: Love and social improvement 

''O didn't you know I'd been ruined?' said she'

'You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks'

''And now you've got gay braceess and bright feathers three!'- 'Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined''

''Your talking quite fit 'ee for high compa-ny'- 'Some polish is gained with one's ruin''

'you little gloves fit as on any la-dy!'

'at present you seem to know not of megrims or melancho-ly!'

'I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown, and a delicate face, and could strut about Town!'

''a raw country girl, such as you be, cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined', said she'

11 of 14

At an Inn- Hardy

Themes: empty relationships, love and social expectations, inability to move on from a relationship 

'Veiled smiles bespoke their thought of what we were'

'Us more than friends'

'swift sympathy with living love which quicks the world'

'Moved them to say, 'Ah, God, that bliss like theirs would flush our day!'

'Yet never the love-light shone between us there!'

'chilled the breath of afternoon, and palsied unto death the pane-fly's tune'

'Love lingered numb, why cast he on our port a bloom not ours? Why shaped us for his sport in after-hours?'

'And now see seem not what we aching are. O severing sea and land, O laws of men, ere death once let us stand as we stood then!' 

12 of 14

La Belle Dame sans Merci- Keats

Themes: Love as destructive, love as illusory, love and suffering 

'Alone and palely loitering', 'O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, so haggard and so woe-begone'

'I see a lily on thy brow, with anguish moist and fever-dew, and on thy cheeks a fading rose fast withereth too' 

'Full beautiful- a faery's child, her hair was long, her foot was light, and her eyes were wild', 'She looked at me as she did love, and made sweet moan' 

'I set her on my pacing steed, and nothing else saw all day long'

'honey wild, and manna-dew, and sure in language strange she said- 'I love thee true' 

'she wept and sighed full sore, and there I shut her wild wild eyes with kisses four' 

'I saw pale kings and princes too, pale-warriors, death pale were they all; they cried- 'La Belle Dame sans Merci thee hath in thrall', 'starved lips in the gloam, with horrid warning gaped wide' 

13 of 14

Non Sum Qualis- Dowson

Themes: Destructive love, yearing and frustration, intensity of love, love and loneliness, lost love

'There fell thy shadow, Cynara!' thy breath was shed upon my soul between the kisses and the wine'

'Yea, I was desolate and sick of an old passion, yea, I was desolate and bowed my head'

'I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion'

'Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet; but I was desolate and sick of an old passion'

'I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind, flung roses, roses riotously with the throng, dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind' 

'I cried for madder music and for stronger wine, but when the feast is finished and the lamps expire, then falls thy shadow, Cynara!' 

'hungry for the lips of my desire' 

14 of 14


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Love through the ages resources »