Pre 1900 Love Poetry- a comparison of 8 different poems.

Essay by girlfairy28 April 2006

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Studying Pre-1900 love poetry was not as boring as I thought it would be, considering the origin of the poems. In fact they were very fascinating to read and to study. My image of love poems differed heavily: I expected something utterly romantic and filled with exaggerated promises. However, after reading them, I now know that love is not only about compliments and red roses, but also about complaints and prickles. The more I studied them, them more interesting they became. Poems changed a lot through the ages. As time passed by the contents, the structure and the meaning of love poems changed.

Poems at first were all about compliments: the poets praising their loved ones a lot. As time went by, romance was not the only theme in the poem. However in the 300 year period the compliment stayed the same: Roses still resemble love because of the soft texture and their lovely colour-red.

Shakespeare compared his loved one to a 'summers day': something that brightens everyone's life and "thou art more lovely and more temperate". The poets praised what they saw, picture which was not much due to the ways the women dressed. Another reason may be that praising the female humps- breasts and bottoms- would be seen as vulgar and not decent.

Andrew Marvell in 'To His Coy Mistress' praised her 'thine eyes' and 'thy forehead' because that was all he could see! However, the more recent ones praise their lover's personality, like today. Marvell praised the coyness of his girl and Lord Byron in 'She walks in beauty' praises both the "heart whose love is innocent" - personality and "Cheek so soft, so calm, yet eloquent"- physical feature. He might have used this technique of praising the personality because this is what sounds good and pleases...