Pre 1914 poetry

info for the english literature exam form pre 1914


On my first Sonne- Ben Jonson

Jonson's child has died at the age of seven and has gone to write a poem about his grief and how God had lent the son to him and has had him taken away. He feels that he cared for his son too much and that is why he died. He ends by saying "for whose sake, hence-forth, all his vowes be such, As what he loves may never like too much" meaning all future children to come, he will love them dearly, but cannot like them too much incase they get taken away in death too. Three sections of the poem represent sadness, anger and finally, acceptance.

1 of 4

My Last Duchess- Robert Browning

A duke who had had his wife killed after she was too annoying when everything made her happy, even simple things. It's about a painting of the wife he keeps behind a curtain, as he wants to still keep control of her even though she is dead. It is as if he controls when she is to be seen by placing the curtain infront of the portrait as the guests walk around. He is to re-marry, so he is telling of what he has done because he wants what happened to his previous wife to be a warning to the new wife that she should 'behave herself'.

2 of 4

The Laboratory- Robert Browning

About a woman going to an apothacary for poison to kill off the love rivals of her husband. She wants the revenge for his affairs so she does this, and enjoy's every bit of it. She asks questions about the work of the poisons and wants her potion to be sweet to the taste, but deadly to drink. She is a very wealthy woman and has gone to extreme lenghts to make sure that affair will end once and for all. She can afford for such work to be done.

3 of 4

Sonnet 130- William Shakespeare

This is the oppostite to most of his other sonnets, as they are to do with the elegant beauty of the person. This sonnet however, is revealling how the love is, and how the person is nothing like a goddess. It states how coral is more of a red than her lips, and music is far more a pleasing sound than the speech being recited from the breath that "reeks". Even though this poem is about the opposite to what she is and stating that she is too plain and almost ugly, he still loves her despite that she is no goddess she is just a human being.

4 of 4


King Harkinian





thanks for the summary :)



you're welcome :)

jessie junior


ooooh interesting

Edward Pinches


Also v good :) cheerz

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »