Exploring Love Attitudes in Poetry
The poems that I have chosen are: 'To his coy mistress' by Andrew
Marvell. 'Sonnets 18 by William Shakespeare, and 'To the virgins, to
make much of time' by Robert Herrick.
All the above poems are poems about the subject of love. Each poem is
very passionate and complex in nature when you initially read it for
the first time and consequently they have stood the test of time and
lasted hundreds of years. This portrays a conclusion to what some
poets say because they express how the poems will last forever. There
are many various themes used throughout the poems. Time, beauty,
praise for the beloved and how love can be confused by lust are all
reoccurring themes in these poems and sum up many pre-18th century
love poems. However, two themes that are central to this form of
poetry are 'Carpe diem'- seize the day - and how the incessant march
of time contributes to the fading of beauty.
'To his coy mistress' - perhaps the most controversial of the poems,
deals with the theme 'carpe diem' but focuses more on lust than love,
'To the virgins' once again deals the theme of 'Carpe diem' and urges
the young to enjoy themselves, this is also significant in it's title.
'Sonnet 18.' Shakespeare wrote a series of sonnets which were probably
addressed to a noble young man for whom he felt deep love and
admiration. 'Sonnet 18' is the eighteenth sonnet in the series where
he deals with love and the problems of time.
The use of the powerful Latin phrase 'Carpe diem', interpreted into
English roughly as 'To seize the day', used in the context of
literature I would imagine is used to explain away certain behaviour
or the loss of morals, i.e. live for today (as it really doesn't
matter about tomorrow).Marvell relies strongly on the idea of carpe
diem, his theory that if they had all the time in the world he would
spend "two hundred (years) to adore each breast". However he
contradicts this in the second and third stanzas and shows his change
of tone with a 'but'. This implies that something is not quite correct
and then proceeds to explain what is wrong. He insists that if his
mistress does not take her chance now, it will forever be too late,
stating "Thy beauty shall no more be found" and that there will not be
any affection after death. Once again the theme of this poem reminds
us that time waits for no man and as if by stealth catches up with us
all, its passing is unavoidable. Time is "hurrying near" and while she
is still young and attractive, Marvell's' mistress should
"sportâ€¦..while (she) may"
In 'To the virgins" Herrick also strongly emphasis on the theme of
'Carpe diem' However, he is unconcerned with having sex, he wants the
subjects of his poem to Marry and have children. He is anxious that
when the youth pass their...