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Analyse three pre 1914 love poems and explain which you prefer and why Essay

I am analysing three different poems. Two of which are by the same author, William Shakespeare, they are Shall I compare thee? And let me not. The other poem is written by John Clare and is called First Love. All the poems convey a feeling of love. Shall I compare thee? Is a poem in which Shakespeare compares his lover to a summers day. In this poem he does not mention weather his lover is a man or a woman. Shakespeare says that his lover is “more lovely” and “more temperate” than a summers day. He is saying that a summers day is lovely but his lover is more so.

He would prefer to be with his lover than to be in a summers day. He says that summer is “too short” whereas his lover is there all year round. The best parts of summer only last a few weeks but his lover is there all year round so Shakespeare would prefer to be with his lover. Sometimes summer can be too hot and not really pleasant at all. Summer also “declines”, it does not always stay beautiful, unlike his lover who will not “fade” like the summer because the beauty of his lover is superior and will stay for longer. At the end of the poem Shakespeare uses a rhyming couplet.

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He says as long as men are breathing and eyes are seeing, this poem will live so everyone knows what she looked like in his view. This will be all that people have to know what his lover looked like so there is no way that people who are reading the poem can argue with him over what his lover looked like. He is saying that as long as this poem survives so will her beauty because when people read this poem they will know of her beauty. The end of this poem shows that Shakespeare thinks more of his lover than of a summers day because the summers day will fade, while her beauty will always be written down for people to read.

The second poem by William Shakespeare is called Let me not. It is on the same theme of love as the first Shakespeare poem. In this poem Shakespeare talks about love being forever and he uses hyperboles to give the poem extra effect. In the first line of this poem, Shakespeare uses a negative to emphasise the positive. He says “Let me not to the marriage of true mindes” which is saying do not let things get in the way of marriage, with marriage suggesting lasting love. He says that it is important to let the strengths of true love come through.

Shakespeare says things may be done to “alter” true love but he says that love cannot be changed. Shakespeare says that love “is an ever fixed marke” because a fixed mark at something does not move and it is the same for true love because love is always there and the coarse of true love is “never shaken”. He says a star is also a fixed mark because if someone is lost at sea, they look to the stars to find out where they are. A sailor therefore trusts his love on a star just like someone could put their life on true love because both are fixed marks that do not change.

Shakespeare says that “Lov’s not times foole” because love can stand through the obstacle of time. Love is eternal and not just because of beauty. He says that love not only conquers time, but also death. Again this poem ends with its too most important lines. He says that if whatever he has said in the poem is wrong, then he has never written and man has never loved. He ends it in this way because it shows he is completely confident in what he has just said. It is the same as in the other Shakespeare poem because on both occasions he is sure he is right and challenges people to stand forward and argue with him.

He says that if what he has written is found to be an “error” then he has never written, because it will not have been right. He challenges people to prove him wrong because he is sure that he is right and has the poem as his evidence for this. The third poem is written by John Clare and is titled First love. The poem is about someone who has seen someone and fallen in love with them for the very first time. He says that he had “never” been struck before then with something so “sweet”. It had never happened before, this was the first time.

He uses personification to describe a flower because that is what he thinks her face is like. He stuck by her beauty. Clare says how his heart is stolen, not given but stolen which suggests that he had no choice as whether or not to feel this way about her. He says that it is “sweet” so it is not all that unpleasant but he does not say that he wants to feel this way. He says that his face was pale and that his “legs refused to walk away” which makes it seem like an illness that is caused by the theft of his heart. Clare uses verbs like strike and steal which are not pleasant verbs and make it like an unpleasant experience.

It gets worse though because his emotions now are in turmoil as his face turns from pale to red, a total contrast. Clare uses illiteration to add emphasis to this contrast by saying things like “blood burnt”. Clare goes on to talk about how he did not chose to fall in love like flowers choose the summer because the conditions are better. He questions if love’s bed is always made out of snow, but the answer is no because you do not always get the chill of rejection. His “silent voice” is noticed by her which means that she may have noticed him.

At the end of the poem he says that his heart has left its “dwelling place” and it cannot return. He is saying that things will never be the same again and that his heart is stolen and will never return. The poem is based on his feelings for her, while her feelings for him are unknown which leaves you to wonder what the outcome will be. Of the three poems my favourite is First love by John Clare. Of the three I think that it is the easiest to follow and the messages that the poet is trying give you are clearer to see. William Shakespeare’s poems give messages but the poem makes you want to question weather what he is saying is correct.

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