Ñomparing Several Poems

I will compare A Women to Her Lover by Christina Walsh, How Do I Love Thee? By Elizabeth Barrett Browning, When We Two Parted by Lord Byron, Remember by Christina Rossetti and Villegiature by Edith Nesbit. The poems I have chosen, four are written by women and one by a man and I think that this is a representative romance as women are more romantic. The only man I have chosen is Lord Byron. There is a common theme in these poems which is the theme of love. In two of the other poems I have chosen Villigiature and A Woman To Her Lover the theme of love is related to powerful and equal love.
I think that Remember and How Do I Love Thee? are representatives of the Romantic movement because they stimulate many aspects of the theme of love and the poets do this by showing their love through the poems and I think that A Women to Her Lover, When We Two Parted and Villegiature are not representative of what we believe to be typical of the Romantic movement as they write with very bitter words in their poems which could hardly be romantic in the most common sense.
The first two I will compare is A Woman to her lover and “How Do I Love Thee? and “A Woman to Her Lover”. This is about a woman who is fighting with her lover telling him that she is not a slave and she will not sit in the house all day looking after his children. She gives ultimatums to the man. She does not want him to expect her to be “a wingless angel who can do no wrong”, i. e. the ‘perfect wife’ who’s place is in the home. At the end of the poem she says “But lover, if you ask of me/That I shall be your comrade, friend, and mate”. This shows that the woman is ready to love him and be loved but on a very equal footing.

A very modern perception and not one attached to typical romantic writings “How do I Love Thee? ” is about the feelings that a woman has about her lover; assuming that this poem was written for Robert Browning, her husband, the poet is almost treating him like a God. “For ends of Being and ideal Grace”. She talks mostly about God. Christina Walsh in “A Woman To Her Lover” also talks about God at the end of her poem “Until we reach the very heart of God” however she wants her lover to be passionate about love and through that passion they would reach ultimate heights together.
She is asking for equality but Elizabeth Barratt Browning just talks about how she worships her husband. “A Woman To Her Lover” is a non-reflective poem, portraying a female perspective of love. The moment we read the title of the poem, we think of the word ‘lover’ as portraying equality with relationship; the woman is talking to her lover whereas in most romantic themes, women are either talked about or to. “How Do I Love Thee? ” is also portraying a female perspective of love however this time it is towards her husband. This poem has deep love from the wife without rational reasoning.
It is the opposite of “A Woman To Her Lover”. “How do I Love Thee? ” shows the male as the dominant and she worships her husband, Robert Browning unlike Christina Walsh’s message who put across is that women should be equal to men, which could be seen as shocking for its historical context. Other implications of this are the relation of ‘lover’ to cohabitation, which is becoming increasingly common in this day and age.
This highlights the key theme of the poem, whereby she is getting her message across of demanding equality in a relationship; ‘No servant will I be If that be what you ask, O lover I refuse you! in the first stanza, emotions are strongly evident but very different from the romantic period. She introduces ‘conditional love’ and as a result, she is demanding equal rights. Alongside this, ‘physical love’ is also suggested. The word ‘lover’ tends to bring out the physical aspect of the theme; there is a sense of passion, however there is no reference to marriage where a man had rights over his “woman’s” body. She quotes: ‘my body supple only for your sense delight,/Oh shame, and pity and abasement’. This brings out her bold and daring nature.
She uses words like “comrade”, “friend” and “passion”, which put across a completely different tone, showing her more demanding side to the relationship. ‘Woman of our time’ Following that, ‘hand holding hand’ also is written without gendering to imply belief of equality in a relationship. There is also less evidence of a male dominance in the relationship but in “How Do I Love Thee? ” I think that the male is more dominant because Elizabeth Barratt Browning “falls to her feet” in the poem. The poem “A Woman To Her Lover” is written in free verse but “How Do I Love Thee? ” is in a sonnet form.
The structure of “A Woman To Her Lover” reflects the narrator’s tone, as she is determinedly commanding freedom and equality, without being restricted by the social constrictions of her time, whereby the norm was that of a male dominated relationship. The sophisticated writing shows traditional contrast to the seemingly modern topic. Her long syntax causes an empowering tone whereby we can tell she is fixed in what she wants. Her strong character is amplified by her use of powerful language, for instance, words like “bend”, “bondslave” and “drudgery”, show her fearless character and also how strongly she wants equality.
She alliterates these words in ‘bondslave to bear’. The structure of her syntaxes also conveys a sense of resolution, for example she confidently uses caesuras: ‘Go! – I am no doll’. This also portrays a conditional balance since it is a direct answer to the solution she aims for. Walsh also uses a lot of figurative imagery; and these different types of imagery help amplify the effects the power that love can have on people. Such as use of personification in the last stanza: ‘our co-equal love will make the stars laugh with joy’.
Also the words “stars” and “spheres” suggest how love with equality exceeding other characteristics of love. Only in the last stanza we see her address her lover as ‘husband’, whereby we immediately sense the change of tone, with greater respect towards the one she is addressing. The last line of this stanza consists of the terminology fields of religion, which she portrays by use of divine imagery, as she ends the poem with an overjoyed height of happiness: ‘until we reach the very heart of God’. There was a frequent reference to religion in the romantic period context.
This shows the nature of the narrator is very believing. She believes in: herself, God, and the way she is treated by her lover can change, despite her social environment. However, on the other hand, Browning is worshipping her husband and she is willing to do anything for her. Browning lived in a society that was dominated by men, this effected her writing a lot. In the poem “How Do I Love Thee? ” she compares her love to one thing or another “I love thee with the passion put to use”, she is comparing her love to intensity equal to that experienced during the day.
She also refers to the death of her mother and her brothers, “In my old griefs” her “old greifs are her mother dying then her brothers.. Villegiature by Edith Nesbit gives the impression that she’s lost interest in her husband, telling us that he “bores me” and she dreams of a romantic love, and one that she indulged herself in with a fling whilst she was away from home. The poem starts with a light-hearted and peaceful mood but the poem “Remember” has a sad and melancholy tone to it.
The speaker in “Villegiature” wants a stereotype, but she wants one that is found more in literature and poetry than in real life whilst the speaker in “Remember” wants the love of her life to remember her when she dies. Nesbit uses romantic clichi??s to say that she wants a man who will treat her more lovingly; she alludes to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet because Romeo has the quality she is looking for. The man in her life is far from what she wants; she illustrates him sitting at a desk “deep in dull books,” using alliteration to show how repetitive and drab the man is.
This poem deals with stereotype of realistic men. In the poem “Remember”, from the starting stanza which quotes ‘Remember me when I am gone away’, implies a loving, yet sad, request. One of the aspects of the theme of love evident in this noble sonnet is ‘imperfect love’. This idea is based on the frequently used theme of religion in her work, since Rossetti was devoted to her Christian faith and love of God. At the end of the poem she says “Better by far that you should forget and smile/Then that you should remember and be sad”.
Here she is telling her lover that she rather him forget her and be happy and live his life then to be sad. There is a notion that death is about to tear them apart however this is not immediately clear, since it is vague as to whether she is choosing to leave the person she is addressing, or dying. Death is never named, but is alluded to in the opening lines through the distant, ‘silent land’, although we are left uninformed of how much time she has left. This highlights the theme of a parting in love: absence.
Villegiature” can also be compared to “When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron because they are both in a way, harsh towards their lover. Byron uses imagery to describe the “morning dew” and how it reminds him of the “shame” he is in. His tone is shameful and his conscience is already getting to him. He portrays her as cold “pale grew they cheeks and cold,/ colder thy kiss”. He begins with this description of her at their separation; his description of her begins with the physical mention of her cheeks.
This beginning admits the foreshadowing of continued sorrow throughout the poem when the speaker says “truly that hour foretold/ sorrow in this. ” This gives a negative connotation to the word “you” from the very beginning. How they all 3 compare! Loss. These poems all have the theme of loss. In the poem “When We Two Parted”, Byron loses his lover and he is hurt by that “Long, long shall I rue thee,/ Too deeply to tell”. In Villegiature Nesbit has lost interest in her husband and has a fling with another person “Your solid self, long leagues away,/ Deep in dull books, had hardly missed me”.
In “Remember”, Rossetti refers to death and dying and she is telling her lover to move on after she dies “Remember me when I am gone away,/ Gone far into the silent land”. All of these poems have a continual theme of love however, love is not the same; there is a demand for equal love “To live and work, to love and die with you”, a worshiping and devoted love “I love thee with the passion put to use”, a time to move on “Remember me when I am gone away”, a reminiscing of better time “I watched the still and dewy lawn”, and a loss of love “A shudder comes o’er me/ Why wert thou so dear? . The poems “Remember, When We Two Parted”, and “Villegiature” are all poems about loss and reminiscence but the poems “A Woman To Her Lover” and “How Do I Love Thee? ” are about love with a positive outlook. “A Woman To Her Lover” has the theme of a powerful and equal love but in “How Do I Love Thee? ” there is strong passion and deep love for the lover and he is almost venerated as a God. “Remember” deals with the theme of pain, life and joy for the past but “Villegiature” has a different theme of reminiscence of a distant time when the poet was having a better time.

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