first love

Essay by abbielrj October 2014

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'First Love'

'First Love' is a poem written by John Clare which tells the poets experience of falling in love for the first time. It is rejoicing the love that Clare attained for a woman named Mary Joyce. However within the poem there is sadness and a feeling of dissatisfaction hinted in the background.

The first stanza of this poem begins with first person pronoun which suggests a romantic or confessional mode. We discover in this stanza that Clare is attempting to emphasise how unexpected and sudden the feeling is to Clare as before this moment he was "ne'er was struck before that hour. " "ne'er" is archaic language and also emphasises how unusual it is for Clare to have been "struck" by these feelings as he has never been in love before or experienced any feeling of the sort. This tells us that before the sight of Mary Joyce, Clare had never experienced or come close to the feeling of love.

This conforms to the confessional mode that is presented within using the first person pronoun. It also conveys to readers a sense of innocence in the situation and also allows some context as we can entail that Clare isn't the type of man to fall in love easily as he hadn't already before "that hour ". This is also followed by the sibilance alliteration of "and so sudden and so sweet " to further underline the unexpectedness of the situation and the overwhelming feeling that Clare has been overcome with.

The poem continues to describe how Clare physically felt in this that moment as the poet states that his "face turned pale as deadly pale ". This contrasts the typical conventions of love as normally when one falls in love with another the blood generally runs to their...