‘Sonnet 130’ by William Shakespeare is all about love, but not in the usual sense. In this Sonnet Shakespeare speaks of his love in a manure not used by most poets. This sonnet isn’t all roses and love hearts, his vision of love is more real, he describes his love exactly how she is, flawed.
‘If snow be white why then her breasts are dull.’ In Shakespearian times women were supposed to have snow-white skin and breasts, but his love doesn’t have white skin, her breasts are dull. Most poets wouldn’t say this about their love, or even describe somebody in a poem like this, but Shakespeare did. As this is how he saw his love, with all of her physical flaws, but he still loved her.
Another example of this is ‘in some perfume there is more delight then in the breath that from my mistress reeks’. This quotation means her breath isn’t as sweet as perfume, but it reeks. This isn’t something you would say to a lover, he was using it as a statement, that love isn’t always with the most attractive person, but it is real. This idea is backed up by the final couplet. ‘And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare as and she belied by false compare’. His love was real, and with a real woman.
The next sonnet, ‘the Portuguese Sonnet’ by Elizabeth Barren Browning also talks about love, but from a different prospective again. The theme of this poem is not to fall in love for the sake of it, not for looks or money, but for the real person underneath. The poem also talks about not falling in love with somebody for pity, as those feelings would fade in time.
The way this sonnet is written is more conversational then the Shakespearian sonnet as it uses ellipses, and sounds more personal and intimate. But there is a similarity between those 2 sonnets, they both talk about loving for the real inner person, which is quite unique in poetry.
The third and final sonnet ‘the Glasgow sonnet’ by Edwin Morgan is very different from the previous 2 sonnets, as it doesn’t directly talk about love, but an area. It talks about a derelict area of Glasgow, and what’s so bad about it. It talks about a ‘mean wind’, this gives an uncaring edge and also a feeling of nature which is carried out more throughout the sonnet when is talks about how ‘roses of mould grow from ceiling to wall’. Knowing the area used to be populated and urban, now it is empty we get the idea nature is reclaiming the land.
It also says that the children still play there, when it says ‘play-fortresses of brick and bric-a-brac spill out some ash’, they appear to have reclaimed this desolate area for themselves to play in. We then hear 2 people still live there on the forth floor, a mother and daughter. They are called ‘the last mistresses’, which gives a grand image, but not here. We then get an image of the area as its rat infested and there is lots of urban decay. When we then go onto hear ‘the kettle whimpers on a crazy hob’ we get the same effect as the mistress quotation. The idea of a kettle on a hob is quite homely, but here the kettle whimpers on a crazy hob, which brings us back to he urban decay of the area.
Finally the poem talks about a homeless man with nothing, no job and smokes lying on his side on the floor. ‘Air too poor to rob’ which shows the kind f urban decay the area is experiencing. It is a derelict place to be in, but it used to be a good place to be when it was all in working order. This makes me think, taking into account the themes of the previous 2 sonnets, that this is a metaphor for his heart, he used to be in love, when the area was good and working, but he has lost it now and his heart is derelict, like this area of Glasgow.
Each of the sonnets are different as they were written in different time periods, and each has something different to say, but all on the same subject. After reading all 3 sonnets we come away with 3 different perspectives to love, and they show us a lot about each writers experiences and opinions of love.