For my literature essay I have decided to write about three poems each showing a different view of love. The first poem I chosen is ‘The passionate shepherd to his love’ written by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), ‘The nymph’s reply to the shepherd’ by Sir Walter Ralegh (1552-1618) and finally ‘Bredon Hill’ written A. E. Housman (1859-1936). I have chosen these three poems because each of them have a different view of love and what each poet is prepared to do for love. The third poem I have chosen is in reply to the second poem and it takes a very different view of love in how it isn’t always good and how it can fade.
Some of the poems are realistic but others are very romanticized. Using these three poems I am going to contrast the view of love taken by each poet. The first poem I have choosen to comment on is ‘The Passionate Shepherd To His Love’ written by Christopher Marlowe. In this poem we see a very romanticized view of how this poet sees love. This poem focusses on the things that the poet can give his love but if you look closely he has promised her things which are impractical and that will soon fade or break. Examples of this are ‘fragrant posies’, ‘fair lined slippers’, ‘bed of roses’ and ‘gown made of the finest wool’.
The poet has done this to show the girl, if she will love him, that their life will prefect and she can have all this but only if she loves him. All through this poem we can see that the poet focusses on nature and that everything he promises her is beautiful and natural. The poet has done this because he wants to keep with the rustic background and show her he is offering her all he can. The poet uses a lot of imagery, he includes lots of adjectives when he is describing things examples of this are ‘craggy’ and ‘melodious’. These create a very personal view of how he sees love and helps the reader get nto the way the poet is thinking.
By picking out lots of natural things the poet is showing the love is natural. The view of love in this poem is rather impractical as the poet only sees the good things and isn’t aware of the problems that they may meet along the way. However, this is not the view taken when Sir Walter Ralegh replies to this poem in ‘The Nymph’s Reply To The Shepherd’. This is the girl replying to the shepherd. You can see that she has taken a very realistic view love and tells the shepherd of all the problems they could face if they were together.
Sir Walter Ralegh has taken all the things the shepherd has promised the girl and shows him how they could fade or die just like their love could. The poet has choosen negative words in this poem for example, ‘rotten’, ‘cold’ and ‘rivers rage’. This poem is not what most people would call a love poem as it doesn’t share the romanitcized view many of the other poets had around the time it was written. The girl then goes on to say that if these things could last she would agree to be with but since they do not she says she can’t love him.
Most typical love poems would have the girl say yes but in this oem it has shown that love is not all sweetness and happiness but that it can fade or even die in some cases. When you compare this poem to what it is replying to its seems very negative but infact it is because the poem written by Christopher Marlowe is very romanticized that is appears like this. Moving onto my third and final poem which is ‘Bredon Hill’ written by A. E. Housman we see that it is a typical love poem about a young couple but at the end there is a twist. This poem tells us the story of a young couple who plan to marry but before they can the young girl dies.
The oet then goes on to say they would lie on Bredon Hill in the summer and listen to the birds and the church bells ringing while they thought of their future. In stanza 3 they ignore the bells calling them to church sunday. Then the poet goes on to say how the bells chiming made him think of their wedding in the coming spring and how the bells will peal in celebration on that day. But it is Stanza 5 when the girl dies the poet expresses this in the metaphor ‘My love rose up so early/ And stole out unbeknown/ And went to church alone’. This time the bell that is calling him to church is one of great sorrow.
The poet starts of very happy but as you move the end of the poem the mood changes as the poet loses his lover. A. E. Houman uses the image of the bells to show how even they can tell a story if you listen closely to them. In stanza 3 they are sounding happy and are celebrating but in stanza 7 the bells tell a different story, they no longer are celebrating but mourning a death. He continues to say that the people are congregated here for a funeral but infact it should be for their wedding. In stanza 6, the final verse the poet refers to the bells one last time and this time he replies to them by aying, ‘I hear you I will come’.
This reply could mean one of two things. Firstly that he will go to church on a sunday or more likely that he is going to take his own life so he can reunitied with his lover in death. This is a typical love story were one of the young couple dies and the other partner takes their own life to be with them for example Romeo and Juillet. In this poem you can sense the pain this young man is feeling and it is clearly seen. The poet has used simple language but the message they are trying to convery is converyed clearly.
Now that I have looked at each of the poems inturn and discussed how hey protray love I can see that I have picked three very different poems. In each of them the view is very different and is effective in their own way. I feel that both Brendon Hill and The passionate Shepherd to His Love are typical love poems but The Nymph’s Reply To The Shepherd is very realisitc as it shows that love is not all beautiful and golden but that it can fade and will be lost. The poet has shown that you dont need to offer expensive gifts to have love. Each poem has its own way of getting its point across and I think that each of them did in their own way.
The first wo poems I looked at were written around the same period but the third poem was written some time later. This is seen very clearly as the first two take a different view on love compared to the last poem. All three poems are similar in that they tell a love story and show how great love can be but the second and third poem go futher and say that love isn’t always great and that there will be many problems. One theme which is common in all three poems is nature. They all talk about nature and the seasons. Some of them are not very graphic but they have a lot of feeling and emotion in them.