The two poems I have chosen on the theme of love are ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ by Robert Browning and ‘Stop All The Clocks’ by W.H Auden.
‘Porphyria’s Lover’, a dramatic monologue was written as a piece of entertainment in Victorian times, it would have been acted out to an audience. The narrative of this poem is that Porphyria was seeing someone below her own social class and no one knew about their relationship. She left the party early to go and see him as shown in the lines “When glided in Porphyria ; strait she shut the cold out and the storm” even they both knew that they could never be together forever.
‘Stop All The Clocks’ is about the death of a much loved partner , The speaker wants all the ordinary thing in his life to stop happening and he also wants the whole world to stop. Now he has lost the love of his life he has no reason to go on any more, as shown in the lines “Stop all the clocks, cut of the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone”
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ a very dramatic monologue as shown in the lines “and strangled her. No pain felt she, I am quite sure she felt no pain.” This shows that there is a use of dramatic language, he did not want her to feel no pain because he loved her, it also emphasises the point that she is dead.
This poem is written as one long story, consisting of one long stanza. The poem is written in first person as if there is an imaginary speaker, the young man. No one knows who he could be, perhaps Browning heard about the story from real life and turned it onto a poem. Although there are very clear descriptions of both of them, as shown in the lines “dripping cloak and shawl” and “laid her soiled gloves by, untied her hat and let the damp hair fall” this helps you to see a reasonable description of how she looked that night.
In Porphyria’s Lover the speaker of the poem is in a deep mood of depression, shown in the lines “the rain set early into the night, the sullen wind was soon awake” this describes the characters mood but it also mirrors the weather and sets the scene of the poem, the young man also seems very lonely and depressed, “I listen’d with a heart fit to break” this shows that the man I very heartbroken and he just wants to be loved by her and he wants to be with her forever as shown in the lines “and give herself to me forever”, but he knows that it will never happen, as shown in the lines “made my heart swell, and still it grew while I debated what to do!”
Throughout this poem there are several uses of alternate rhymes: “awake” and “lake”, “warm” and “form” and “straight” and “grate”. These words help the poem to flow and to unify it.
The poem ‘Stop All The Clocks’ by W.H Auden is a lot shorter and it consists of four equal stanzas and each one consists of four lines. This poem is much shorter and simpler. This helps the reader of the poem to understand the poet’s emotions.
Unlike Browning’s poem this poem expresses there feelings of someone who has lost of his loved one, as shown in the lines “for nothing now can ever come to any good”. The poem does not explain what has happened, it tells you how the man is feeling and about his loss, as shown in the lines “My north, my south, my east, my west” this shows that his loved one meant the world to him, and he now feels directionless and he doesn’t no were to go or what to do. Also about his emotions and that he is grieving, as shown in the lines “silence the pianos and with muffled drum, bring out the coffin, let the mourners come” .The poem explains how the man is dealing with the loss of his loved one.
The writer expresses his feelings very strongly, he thinks that his world has ended as shown in the lines “”pack up the moon and dismantle the sun”. Also that he has no reason to live any more. The speaker uses his feelings to tell other people that may be in his position when they have lost their loved one. As shown in the lines “Let aeroplanes circle ‘moaning’ overhead” the word moaning shows the grief that the speaker is feeling through the use of personification. It also gives the reader a sense of great loss.
The feelings expressed in the poem overall devastation, leaving the reader of the poem in deep sympathy for the man because he seems lost without his long lost loved one, as shown in the lines “my working week and my Sunday rest”. He just wants his life to end, and everyone else to notice that he can’t hack being alone by him self, so lonely, shown in the lines “Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; for nothing now can come to any good”.
The poem has a very sad atmosphere and the metaphors used help to show this are shown in the lines ” He was my working week, and my Sunday rest” This means that their love that they had together meant the whole world to him and he never wanted it to end.
There are several uses of rhyming couplets throughout the poem, such as “doves” and “gloves” and “west” and “rest”, these rhyming couplets helps the poem to flow and to unify it. The rhyme scheme is a, a, b, b.
He then decided that he was going to strangle her to death with her long yellow hair as shown in the lines ” and all her hair in one long yellow I wound three times her little throat around” he didn’t want to strangle her because he hated her he done it because he loved her so much and he knew he could not have her so he decided that no one else could have her either.
The speaker in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is trying to explain that he didn’t kill her out of spite. He says “and I, its love am gain’d instead, Porphyria’s love she guessed not now her darling one wish would be heard” The speaker of the poem is trying to explain that she was not killed because he hated her he killed her because he loved her so much and he could not bare to be apart from her. He could not go on without her. He also knew he couldn’t have her, shown in the lines “Murmuring how she loved me……… from pride, and vainer her dissever, and give herself to me forever”, and that’s why he decided to strangle her, It was the only option left to him, in his mad mind.
In ‘Stop All the Clocks’ the speaker of the poem could be a man or a women, they were grieving about the loss of their loved one, he just wants everything to stop. The speaker of the poem wants everyone to know that his loved one is dead, as shown in the lines “Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead scribbling on the sky the message he is dead”. This line starts with a capital letter to show how important it is to him that his lover is dead. Also the idea of a message being written in the sky by a jets steam is extreme. This shows how deep his love is.
The speaker in ‘Stop All the Clocks’ is being very dramatic about how his life is over as well as his loved one’s, shown in the lines “Stop all the clocks, cut of the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone” this show that he wants all the ordinary things in his life to stop, he even wants time to stop and he also wished that he could put the clock back.
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ was written about 100 years before ‘Stop All The Clocks’. I can tell this because of the use of the language that has been used in both of the poems.
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ was written in 1836 and you can tell this because of the use of the archaic language that has been used, Such as “thus”, “soil’d”, “vex”. This language is very old fashioned and you can tell it’s from the early nineteenth century, compared to the words in ‘Stop All The Clocks’ which is a much more modern poem. You can tell this because “Vex” is the old word for disturb.
Another example of archaic language is “nor could tonight’s gay feast restrain”, the word gay now has a totally different meaning compared to what it used to mean. The word gay used to mean happy and now it means two men being in love with each other.
Also “only this time my shoulder bore”, when this poem was written the poet used the word bore but nowadays it means supported. This is another example of archaic language.
Finally, another example of archaic language is shown in the lines “that all is scorn’d at once is head?” The words “scorn’d” which nowadays means reject, and “fled” which means gone, are now used nowadays
In ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ punctuation is used for effect such as semi colons as shown in the lines “when glided in Porphyria; straight she shut the cold out and the storm.” The word ‘glided’ describes how Porphyria entered the room; she entered in a very elegant and ladylike way. The use of the semi colon makes the reader take a much longer pause when reading the poem; this explains how she entered the room.
Also repetition is used for effect, as shown in the lines “and all her yellow hair displaced………. And spread, o’er all, her yellow hair” this emphasises the fact that her long yellow hair is one of the main things that attracts him to her.
The use of enjambment occurs frequently throughout the poem as shown in the lines “murmuring how she loved me, she too weak, for all her hearts endeavour” the reason for one line leading into another line is that the poet wants the reader to read those lines as a sentence, to connect the ideas.
The woman in this poem is very ‘out of touch’ and old fashioned as shown in the lines”and made her smooth, white shoulder bare, and all her yellow hair displaced” This shows that she was putting her shoulder on show on purpose, she was being very provocative because having your shoulder or legs showing in those days meant that you were being very open and provocative. Whereas nowadays if you did that everyone would not think any less of you and it’s known to be normal. By doing this she made the man think that she wanted him to see all of her flesh and that he felt happy and wanted because of the provocative way that she was acting.
The man in the poem is in a much lower social class to the women and this is why they can’t be together for ever. She is from a wealthy family and her father would have been an important person whereas the man in the poem was just a peasant compared to her family. He knows they would not approve and they certainly would not let their daughter marry him. However in ‘Stop All The Clocks’ which is a 20th century poem nothing is mentioned about their social classes, because people these days don’t really worry about that type of thing.
These two poems are totally different, although they are about the same subject; one is more modern than the other one. In Porphyria’s Lover the poet compares the dead lover to a shut bud. This is very weird as shown in the lines “I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee” , He murdered her, but he did not want to cause her any pain because he loves her. The metaphor a bee in a shut bud is used because a bee could not escape from a shut bud, just like Porphyria could not escape from him, also she was being held gently and a bee in a shut bud is held gently.
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ has a moral to the poem and ‘Stop All The Clocks’ does not really have one. The moral of the Browning poem is to warn young ladies like her not to have a secret relationship with anyone especially if they are of a lower social class than you. The warning is to avoid falling in love with anyone that’s not suitable and don’t disobey and lie to your family about what you’re doing and where you have been or where you’re going. ‘Stop all the Clocks’ is a clear expression of feelings when someone who is loved dies, most people cam relate to how painful death is.
Personally I prefer the poem “Stop All the Clocks” By W. H. Auden; there are many reasons for this. It’s a more modern poem, and it makes more sense to me. I like the use of metaphors and how they show the feelings of the speaker, “He was my north, my south, my east, my west, my working week and my Sunday rest”. This compares the love for the dead person with the points of a compass, which shows how ‘big and strong’ the love was.
However I don’t think that there was no purpose to this poem when it was wrote, even though the words and feelings used to describe the feelings of the speaker do explain a lot and they tend to give you an impression of what has happened and what they have lost, it also tells you what it can feel like to loose someone close to you. Although if the reader has lost someone then they can relate to the poem and the feelings that have been described in the poem much more.
The use of repetition adds impact on the thoughts of the reader, as shown in the lines “my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song”. When repetition is used it forces the message across to the reader, in this case the message was that the heart broken lover who lost there loved one is saying that his lover was only his and no one else’s, also no one else would understand his feelings because o one would understand why he was hurting so much.
The final reason why I preferred this poem to ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is because the heart broken man just wanted everything in the world to stop as shown in the lines “pack up the moon and dismantle the sun” and I can understand that and it made me feel sympathy for him. The reason why he wanted everything to stop was that he had no reason to carry on in life. He has lost the person who was the centre of his world and he is now lost because he is by himself. This poem is a very expressive poem and it explains his feelings and what he is going through.