Exploration of the Different Aspects of Love in Poetry
In the Victorian and Elizabethan times there were many poems, which
explored the aspect of love. The metaphysical group of poets explored
the whole experience of man, which was usually romantic or sensual.
The poems I will talk about are "The Flea" by John Donne (1572-1631),
"To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell (1621-78), "The Sick Rose" by
William Blake (1757-1827), "A Woman To Her Lover" by Christina Walsh
in the Victorian era and "Upon Julia's Clothes" by Robert Herrick
(1591-1674). These poems cover lust, an aspect of love, and this was
very controversial in the Victorian and Elizabethan times. Lust was
very controversial in those times as it went against social codes and
religion. Lust and desires are known for being part of the seven
The subject of sex was a taboo and was not an overt subject of
conversation. Poems such as "The Ruined Maid" also include the subject
of a woman's virginity was deemed as precious and a woman was
considered 'soiled' if they had sex before marriage. The poets used
romance as a 'cover' for deeper issues such as politics. The poets
explore these different aspects of love through a variety of poetic
forms like as a sonnet, ballad, dramatic monologues or metaphysical
poems. Metaphysical poems are lyric poems. They are brief,
characterized by striking use of wit, irony and wordplay. Beneath the
formal structure is the underlying structure of the poem's argument.
The range of speakers are usually men persuading a woman to have sex,
or women demanding equality and women's views about losing their
virginity. In the poems with the men persuading a woman to have sex,
there is a use of syllogism, which is a three-part argument, and this
is typical of political speeches.
The poems, which I have chosen, explore lust (physical aspects of love
and sex) as an aspect of love, possessiveness, religion involvement in
love and the ways in which women write about love from men. Out of all
the aspects of love, men's views about the physical side of love,
possessiveness and jealousy interest me. This is because these types
of poems use a lot of imagery by using similes and metaphors,
persuasive language and the use of short lines making the flow of the
poem quicker in pace.
The first of two poems that I will be studying in this essay is Andrew
Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress". This poem was written in the 17th
century. This metaphysical poem is a syllogistic argument to persuade
the writer's coy mistress, reluctant girlfriend, to make love to him.
It uses the Court Pastoral Tradition of writing in a sarcastic,
humorous way, and this was written for aristocrats and the rich. The
narrator's lust for his lover is evident as he tries to persuade his
lover to have sex:
'And tear our...