“Song” written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson consists of a simple structure of a quatrain, three couplets and finishes with another quatrain. It has a similar form to a sonnet but does not quite fit the same description. By using this simple structure he shows that his love is not normal but special and has a different form to any other love. It also shows a symmetrical structure, which is illustrating the equal love between him and his lover. There is no rhyming scheme, to again draw attention to the fact that this is not an ordinary sonnet for an ordinary love and there is no obvious pattern.Order now
The poem is divided up into images. The first verse makes reference to red and white; “Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white”. These two colours are significant throughout the entire poem as red symbolises love and passion and white means purity. Both these colours relate to his lover and the feelings he has for her. The references to nature are repeated as Tennyson creates the image of an exaggerated surrounding of richness luxury with adjectives such as; “gold” and “porphyry” and at the same time the romanticism of all the words put together in the context of the verse. The “porphyry font” is highly decorative and by saying there is a “gold fin” in it, it suggests richness and the font is a symbol of purity. The royal and expensive image this creates is symbolic of his enriched and powerful love.
Still creating image, in the second verse, he explains that she leans on him “and like a ghost she glimmers on to me” and compares it to “the milkwhite peacock” drooping “like a ghost”. This suggests that she is white in appearance and that relays back to the reference of white meaning purity. The word “glimmer” also suggests that she shines and twinkles and radiates love.
“The Earth all Danae to the stars” means that the earth is exposed to the stars. He uses this to compare to her by explaining that her heart is exposed to him “all they heart lies open to me”. Using the Earth and the stars as and example he shows the scale of his love and how much of it there is. He is also connecting her with light because she shines and reflects love.
In the last of the couplets, Tennyson uses more comparison; with “the silent meteor” leaving “a shining furrow” to his thoughts “as thy thoughts in me”. The meteor is a shooting star leaving a ray of light behind it. This connects to her thoughts running through his brain, as he obviously knows her so well, he knows what she is thinking. By using the word “thy” and “thou” he his connecting with her as it is a more personal form of the word ‘you’. He again connects her continually to the light: “shining furrow”.
The final verse compares her with a lily, “now folds the lily all her sweetness up”. As the lily folds its white leaves and goes underwater; “and slips into the bosom of the lake”. She relates to this as she curls herself up and leans onto him in an embrace: “so fold thyself” “and slip into my bosom and be lost in me.”
The repetition of the word “me” is continuos throughout the poem as at the end of every verse he uses the word. This is to show that she is all his and the significance of having it at the end of the verse is to illustrate it a symbolic barrier or full stop. It is the end suggesting that they will be together forever.
“A Birthday”, is a lyric written by Christina Rossetti has the simple structure of two verses made up eight lines each. This suggests a simple equal balance of her love. There is a lot of repetition of similes in the first verse and she repeats the line “my heart is like” four times to illustrate continuous love. The rhyme scheme, abcbdccc, is simple and straightforward to compare with a simple love and her straightforward feelings.
The similes in this poem are very simple so they give over the effect of a simple structure and overall effect. However the language is complex, so this creates a contrast and shows that the emotion love is simple, but the feeling of it is complicated and overwhelming.
Imagery is used throughout the poem to create an overall effect. For example the title “A Birthday” is metaphorical, as it is not really her birthday but as she is so overwhelmingly happy about her lover. He is like the best present she could ever receive so it feels as thought it is her birthday.
She uses examples of natural thing to illustrate that her love is completely natural and from the heart; “my heart is like an apple tree”. All the fruit and natural images and references she makes create an over decorative effect. She is happy and to her the world seems in full bloom and beautifully exaggerated and colourful.
An example to illustrate the scale of her love is in: “like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea” the sea is massive but a shell is small, if the shell is rainbow coloured then it would radiate colour and light in a idyllically calm and peaceful sea lightening it up. Like her love and happiness shines and radiates her in and ordinary world. Or on a smaller scale, her heart inside her experiencing such ecstatic emotion.
In the final verse she uses the image of all things royal, exotic, natural, expensive and beautiful “carve it in doves, and pomegranates” – like her love. The throne she would like to create is a symbol of her love.
The finishing line is: “the birthday of my life is come, my love has come to me.” She uses “birthday” to illustrate that she is reborn because she has fallen in love.