In a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Shakespeare wrote the famous quote “the course of true love never did run smooth”. Some poets agree with this statement and some give a more positive view. The two poems that I am going to deal with that agree with the statement are “First Frost”, written by Andrei Vosnesensky and “Our Love Now”, written by Martyn Lowery. Finally the last poem that I am going to deal with is “Sonnet From The Portuguese”, written by Elizabeth Barret Browning. This is a poem that was written in the mid 19th century that gives a more positive view.
The poem “First Frost” is basically about a young girl in a telephone booth upset because her relationship with her boyfriend has just been broken by a phone call. All though the poem the poet emphasises the hurt brought to the young girl very well. At the beginning of the poem he sets the scene by using a lot of good adjectives, “A girl is freezing in a telephone booth huddled in her flimsy coat… ” to start with a telephone booth in not the best or most comfortable place to get hurt. It is a very cold and draughty place of any girl to be.
The poet uses the word “girl” here showing that the person in the poem is very young and to make the reader sympathise more with her because she is so vulnerable because of her age. With the words “huddled in her flimsy coat the poet shows here that the girl first of all was not really dressed for the occasion this again expressing to us that she was young. Secondly the word “huddled” tells us that the girl is so depressed and cold that she is trying to get the most heat she can out of her coat, which is not much at all. The poet then uses the sentence “her face stained by tears and smeared with lipstick”.
This shows us again that the girl is really upset and in a sense the tears spoil her face. The “smeared with lipstick” tells us again that it is a young girl and she is an amateur at putting on make up because she is only putting it on to look older and to impress her boyfriend. In the next stanza the poet says, “She breathes on her thin little fingers”. This again emphasises the cold and also with the word “thin” he is reminding us the girl is very young and fragile, which Vosnesensky keeps reminding us of all through the poem. “Fingers like ice”, here the poet uses a simile to emphasize how cold it is outside.
The poet then describes the beads in the girl’s hair as “glass beads”. “Glass” sounds very cheap and this goes along with the “smeared lipstick ” again making the girl sound very young and vulnerable. At the beginning of the third stanza the poet states the title again, “First Frost”. This is an example of alliteration which emphasizes it, and the poet uses this title because it Is symbolising that it is the first time the girl has ever been hurt in a relationship and unfortunately she will probably be hurt in a lot more relationships, “beginning losses” and “start of winter” tells us that.
All through this poem the poet keeps the length of the liners short, this emphasizes everything he is saying. Martyn Lowery who wrote “Our Love Now” also agrees with Shakespeare’s statement. In this poem there are two angles to each stanza – the males side and the females side. He uses a series of images to emphasize what is going on. In the first stanza he uses the image of a wound. The male says “observe how the wound heals in time”, meaning that something bad and painful has happened in the relationship but eventually it will pass and everything will be fine.
He is honest enough though to say that it will take time “skin slowly knits” but he is absolutely definite when he says, “the cut will mend”. The females side to this is very different, she admits the wound will heal, “appears cured”, but it will never be the same again “always a scar”. The poet then uses a comparison, “such is our love now”, with emphasis on the word “now” – the male never uses “now” in the whole poem. The poet then uses the image of a scald.
He starts with the male saying again “observe the scab of the scald” the use of alliteration again emphasising what he is saying. “It will disappear” this again meaning they can sort it out; this is also a very definite statement. He then finishes with “such is our love, such is our love” here the poet uses repetition to emphasise what the male is saying. The female then replies saying that they will “almost” forget the scar is there and again the poet uses the comparison “such is our love now”, to emphasise. In the next stanza the poet uses the image of getting your hair cut.
The male again tries to be positive but the lady is far more convincing as usual. The last image used is of a storm and again the man is being very optimistic and positive, “the storm is frightening but it will soon be gone”. The lady is as usual the more realistic and convincing “leaves damage in it wake”. Overall the male is trying his best to get the relationship back together but the female is thinking it over more, thinking of the consequences each time. All showing that “the course of true love never did run smooth”.
Finally I am going to deal with a poet that has a more positive view on the relationships, Elizabeth Barret Browning, who wrote “Sonnet From The Portuguese” which she wrote in the mid 19th century. At the beginning of the poem the poets asks a question “How do I love thee? ” and the rest of the poem is spent answering that question. Obviously Browning is talking about her husband Robert Browning. This poem is a very personal one the way she uses the words “thee”, “me” and “you” quite often. The poet also uses the word “love” ten times in this sonnet.
This emphasises her love for Robert. She also uses lines like “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of my soul” to express her love. This is a very definite, incredible statement, which shows that her love is infinite. The poem ends on a very triumphant note, “I shall but love thee better after death”. This shows that Elizabeth Barret Browning has a more positive thought about love. Obviously there are a lot more poems that deal with the subject of love in the world; I have only dealt with three of them.