Love And Poetry Essay

1361 words - 5 pages

Love and Poetry For centuries, poets have incorporated various themes of love into their works. Over the years, although there have been drastic social changes within female gender roles, some traditions in regards to love and marriage still remain. One theme ever present in poetry is that love should not be delayed because time is short. It is the central theme in a poem written in the seventeenth century by Robert Herrick and is also the theme in a twentieth century poem written by Richard Wilbur. In both, the message is conveyed by a male speaker who addresses a female. Though the poems are different in tone and diction, both are meant to forewarn the female of love postponed. Robert Herricks poem entitled "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", was written in the year 1648. This was a time in which woman's role in life was clearly defined. As a rule, a woman was to remain a virgin until eventual marriage. In an admonishing tone, the male speaker of this poem addresses a female virgin by encouraging this tradition but primarily suggests that she not delay in marrying. With effective metaphors, the speaker warns this young virgin of what will happen if she does. The poem's regular rhythmic pattern of abab along with the use of punctuation as an intended pause at the end of each line accentuates the declarative nature of the poem. In the first stanza, the speaker compares the virgin to a flower. This metaphor emphasizes that time is short and beauty does not last forever just as a "...flower that smiles today,/ Tomorrow will be dying." (lines 4-5) These lines humanize the flower and bring forth an image of a smiling young virgin. Immediately following, the image of death with all its certainty provides a disturbing contrast. The speaker makes this same argument in the second stanza, this time by using the course of the sun as a metaphor for a woman's life. "The sooner will his race be run, And nearer he's to setting." (Lines 7-8) These lines reinforce the message that the further the female is in life, the closer she is to the end of life. In the third stanza we learn that the speaker believes that love is best "When youth and blood are warmer;" (line 10) but times grow "...worse, and worst" (line 11) the longer virgins wait to find love. To avoid this prophecy, in the last stanza the speaker commands virgins to "..be not coy, but use your time,/ And while ye may, go marry:" (line 14) This line suggests that soon it will be too late for these young virgins to marry. "For having lost but once your prime,/ You may forever tarry." (Lines 15-16) The speaker believes marriage to be of utmost importance in a woman's life. He believes that if they wait too long they will miss out on what could be the most flourishing stage of their lives and for that loss they will forever be left behind. Richard Wilbur's 20th century poem entitled "A Late Aubade" shares the same theme as Herrick's piece and also has a regular rhyme...

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