Comparison Of Love Poetry:
Rememberby Christina Rossetti, How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth
Barrett Browning and When We Two Parted by Lord Byron
The three poems, Remember by Christina Rossetti; How Do I love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and When We Two Parted by Lord Byron,
each explore love and loss in their own unique ways. Remember is, as
expected from the title, a solemn lament which is a farewell sonnet to
her treasured one. How Do I Love Thee? is again a sonnet of love but
is of a love that is present and hopefully will remain forever. The
third poem that will be examined is When We Two Parted which tells of
a lost secret love that has left a scar on Lord Byron's life.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's impressive How Do I Love Thee? is, as you
might suppose, a poem describing the extent of the author's love of
her partner. It is one of her "Sonnets from the Portuguese" which were
written in her Italian days at the Casa Guidi. Like many of them How
Do I Love Thee? takes the form of a patriarchal sonnet which is the
most common sonnet form and is for the most part the more appropriate
form for love poetry over the English or Shakespearian sonnet or the
Spenserian sonnet. Using sonnet form, you would expect the change in
tone after the first octet but in this the change is less pronounced
with a subtle change to a graver side of love. Though it is so
understated it could be debated that it isn't there at all.
The second poem to be analysed is Lord Byron's When We Two Parted.
This is written from a different perspective to How Do I Love Thee?
where the relationship has ended and his feelings can be simply shown
in language. The overriding tone is one of hostility and bitterness
towards his past and this is imprinted in the layout which features an
ABAB rhyme pattern emphasising the separation. This also happens in
First Love by John Clare where this rhyming structure stresses the
fact that they were not as one rather just the one. When We Two Parted
is particularly interesting as Lord Byron is frequently described as a
womaniser yet he seems to express regret at the incident as, for once,
it appears to have harmed him more than the other involved.
The last poem to be studied in detail is Remember by Christina
Rossetti. This is a patriarchal sonnet like How Do I Love Thee? but
tells a different story. Remember is a sombre dirge acting as a departing
message for Christina Rossetti's loved one. Also the separation between
the octet and the sestet is much more evident in this, the first segment
of eight lines is a reminder of the good times and how much she will be
missed. But the second section of six lines acts as a messenger to tell
that the time has come to move on. To live their life without the one
soon deceased. We also know that this poem is genuinely heartfelt as
Christina Rossetti had a recurring illness which was diagnosed
sometimes as angina and sometimes as tuberculosis...