Love means the affection for someone and a strong liking of them. ‘Love is all you need’ is a quote from a famous love song, which shows that without a love, you cannot get through life and succeed. Out of the three love poems that I shall be writing about only ‘First Love’ by Clare is the most romantic because it is aout how a young man falls in love for the first time. He is overwhelmed by the experience and in the last stanza it is revealed that he cannot have a relationship with the woman that he loves.
However, the other two, ‘Porphryia’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ both by Browning are very different and are actually quite sinister. Porphryia’s Lover’ is the most sinister in which a man murders the woman he is having a relationship with because he wants to preserve a special moment that eh ahs with her and he is worried that she will not continue to be faithful to him. ‘My Last Duchess’ tells the story of a powerful Duke showing the father of the next young woman that he wants to marry around his house. He shows him a painting of his last wife, which leads him to revealing what happened to her.
‘First Love’ has three stanzas and a regular rhyme scheme. However both poems by Browing have just one stanza. Porphryia’s Lover’ has an irregular rhyme scheme and ‘My Last Duchess’ has an AABB rhyme scheme. In ‘First Love’ the narrator views love in both positive and painful ways. Clare writes using positive similes. The first one is, ‘her face it bloomed like a sweet flower’. It means that her face was pretty and attractive. He is the winter and she is a flower. The tragedy is that most flowers do not grow in the winter and so they cannot be together. The second one is, ‘They spoke as chords do from the string’. The narrator was peaking about his heart. When his heart beats for her it sounds like music.
Music is a good lobe quality and therefore thoughts about her are lovely and his love for her is true. In ‘First Love’, love seems painful. It seems to affect the narrator oth physically and seems to disorientate him. When the love is painful, he says, ‘blood burnt’. This hurts him and he is emotionally driven. He was physically hurt because he says, ‘blood rushed to my face’. This shows that his love is strong for this woman and he will go to extreme measures to try and make sure that she is his. The narrator seems disorientated in the second stanza.
He says, ‘The trees and bushes roundthe place seemed midnight at noonday. ‘ This is an image of his world being turned upside down. He could not concentrate or get on with anything because all he could do was think about her. In the third stanza the narrator is depressed that he cannot have a relationship with his first love. He says, ‘Is love’s bed always snow? ‘ This is a rhetorical question and it means that he is not just upset but has obviously never fallen in love before and because his love is not reciprocating, he is asking the reader, ‘Is love always this tragic? In the third stanza there is evidence that the woman knows that he does love her.
The reader is told, ‘she seemed to hear my silent voice. ‘ This suggests that the woman knows that he fancies her but he has never spoken to he before because he does not have any confidence to do so. The narrator seems to change his mind by the experience of love in the last two lines. They are, ‘My heart is a dwelling place, And can return no more’. This means that he will always be affected by her and he will never get over her fully because she was his first love.
He will never forgive or forget her because he broke his heart. Both poems by Browning also show the emotional turmoil that love can cause. There is emotional turmoil in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ because of the use of stormy images. The weather at the beginning tells us that something bad is going to happen. The narrator says, ‘elm-tops down to spite’ and, ‘vex the lake’. These are both uses of personification and show emotions and feeling for what is going to happen. A storm shows something bad whereas a sunny image would show something happy.
The emotional turmoil is also obvious because of the way that the narrator watches the woman. He watches her come in, undress from her wet clothing and watches her lighting a fire to warm up. He says, ‘withdrew her dripping cloak and shoal’ and, ‘made the cheerless grate blaze up’. These quotes tell us that he is so obsessed with her that when she is with him, he cannot take his eyes off her. He believes she is too weak to let her emotions go and tell people exactly how she feels about him. He says: ‘Too weak, For all her hearts endeavour, To set it’s struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me forever. ‘ This shows that at that moment she cannot be totally trusted and be his because she has weak emotions. However, when she lets his emotions go strong she can officially become his and he would have complete control over her. Strangely, he murders her to capture a perfect moment. He tells the reader, ‘Porphyria worshipped me. ‘ This showed he knew how she felt about him. He repeats the word ‘mine’, which reveals that he wants her to belong to him and only him. It is strange that in a love poem there is a murder.
He murders hr by wrapping her hair around her neck. He says, ‘strangled her’. This suggests that Browning writes about love in a different way because he believes love can be about obsession and death as well as flowers and chocolates. Just as the ‘love bed’ was ‘snow’ in ‘First Love’, the ending of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is also sad and destructive. Both poems can be associated with unhappiness and tragedy. Clearly the man is a psychopath. He puts her dead body next to him to cherish the moment forever. The narrator says, ‘I propped her head up as before’.
This tells us that he wants complete control over her and he wants nobody else to have her. At the end of the poem he is happy with what he has done. He says, ‘thus we sit together now’. This suggests that it is what he wanted and so he thinks that there is no need for him to feel guilty. He does not feel sorry either. He says, ‘And yet God has not said a word! ‘ This shows that he is obviously a christian and if what he had done was wrong, God would have told him so. But God has not spoken to him so he thinks that nothing is wrong in what he has done.