In this assignment I will compare and contrast three poems based on the theme of love. I will look at He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by W. B Yeats, Robert Burns A Red, Red Rose and the Lucy Poems by Wordsworth. I will focus on each poets tradition and culture, the poets use of language and the similarities and differences between each poem. I will conclude the assignment with my personal response. He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven was written by W.
B Yeats. William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin in 1865. He abandoned his painting career after only three years to pursue a writing career with lyrics and plays. He eventually developed his own individual style and his work was known for being particularly Irish. He went on writing for the rest of his life, and eventually died in 1948. In the poem He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven W.
B Yeats expresses his love for Maud Gonne. Gonne was an extreme Nationalist who rejected W. B Yeats and eventually married Major John MacBride in 1903. After this period there is a noticeable change in Yeats poetry, perhaps because he realised his dreams of a life with Maud could never become a reality.
In He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven the tone is calm and peaceful, due to the sibilants used, nasal and L sounds which combine to create a dreamlike tone: Silver light Softly Embroidered cloths To help the tone flow peacefully along there are no exclamation marks, dashes or monosyllables to interrupt the flow. Yeats creates a soft rhyming melody and tune, almost like a lullaby. The natural stress in each word helps to create the rhythm, A B A B C D C D. Yeats use of language creates very clear visual images, eg heaven has connotations of peace, serenity, almost a nirvana. Likewise embroidered has connotations of perfection an infinite array of colours. Throughout the poem Yeats concentrates on colours, especially different shades of blues of the sky, representing the passage of time, seasons changing but that throughout all the changes the sky still remains beautiful yet unattainable.
In the first four lines of the poem Yeats creates a detailed image of heaven and its perfection and beauty. Through this he states his wishes/ In the following four lines he reveals what he would do with those wishes. He lays his soul bare, and shows the depth of his love by declaring his undying love for Maud Gonne. The only person who deserves such wealth as the heavens, is Maud.
If Yeats were God, and owned the heavens, the only one worthy of receiving them would be Maud. He elaborates on this by saying even the heavens would only be good enough for her to walk upon. By stating this, Yeats is exalting his love: she is like a Goddess and he is undeserving of her. He deems himself unworthy and humbles himself.
In the following line Yeats writes: But I, being poor, have only my dreams. Through this, Yeats suddenly becomes more realistic: he knows he is not God and he knows he doesnt own the heavens. The only thing of value and beauty he owns are his dreams. He has made himself vulnerable by spreading all his dreams and desires before Maud, and now she must decide if she will return his love and make his wildest dreams come true, or trample and tear his cloths and shatter his dreams.
The poem ends softly: Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. He is waiting anxiously to see her reaction and is gently pleading that she will not reject him. Through this last line he is begging her to be kind: she has his heart and dreams in her hand; she has the power to decide his fate. This poem is similar to Burns and Wordsworths poems in many ways.
All three sound like a song, a gentle calming lullaby. Each poem creates visual imagery from nature surrounding them. They are also similar due to the language used. None of the poems use complex, elaborate, difficult, language but instead, plain language that is easily understood by all, Burns poem also contains some Scots dialect.
The three poems are also similar as the subject of all three poems is love. In both Wordsworths and Yeats poem the love was unreturned. The most striking thing about A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns is the ScotS dialect used. Burns was born in 1759, as the son of an Ayrshire farmer who was an avid reader and helped in his sons education. Burns work is amoung the best loved in the English language possibly because of the thought and passion he poured into his comic and dramatic poems and verse, and his sense of humour and skill for satire. Burns could also be thought of as the saviour of English poetry because of his ability to depict everyday life in rural Scotland and his use of Scots dialect, this gave English poetry a new lease of life.
He died at the age of thirty seven of rheumatic fever in Dumfries. In the first line Burns compares his love to a Red, Red Rose using a simile. By repeating Red twice he emphasises the depth and strength of the colour to the depth of his love. Burns repeats many phrases eg dry twice for emphasis and rhyming reasons. Every second and fourth line rhyme which succeeds in creating a lullaby effect.
He elaborates: Newly sprung in June This is to show that his love is still young and vulnerable but will keep growing until it becomes full and strong and will blossom into full radiance and beauty. Burns then compares his love to a beautiful song that is sweetly played, again a simile. He is comparing a beautiful tune to a beautiful love that will never age as music never ages. In the following line Burns directly addresses his love for the first time using an example of Scots dialect: My bonnie lass Throughout the poem many examples of Scots dialect are visible and these succeed in constantly reminding the reader that the poem is easier to relate to, the love is easier to relate to. By directly addressing his love he makes her appear more human and the relationship more realistic. Burns actually addresses her six times throughout the poem.
In the second verse, he talks of his deep love for his bonnie. He is in love with her as much as she is beautiful and will continue to love her: Till a the seas dry. This is the same as saying he will love her for all time, she should never doubt the sincerity and commitment of his love. In the third verse he continues to prove the depth of his love by stating again he will love her until the seas run dry and the rocks melt with the sun. Through this he creates visual imagery, allowing the reader to visualise the seas and the sun beating down on the rocks. Burns yet again attempts to show the depth of his love by saying that he will still love her even when life itself is over: Burns begins verse four with: And fare thee weel Again Scots dialect, meaning farewell.
This reveals that he is leaving her, but we soon discover he is not leaving forever, as he promises to return. For the first time throughout the poem Burns includes an exclamation mark, which is another method of declaring and emphasising his true love for her. He also uses another method for emphasis and making his statement more powerful and spontaneous: he repeats the word and. Burns ends the poem on a hopeful and inspiring note. He promises that he will cross any obstacle to be with her again: this is proof of his deep love. The tone of the poem is lighthearted, hopeful and tender.
This is in contrast to He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by Yeats and the Lucy poems by Wordsworth, both of which end in a despairing tone. There is a major contrast between Yeats love, Maud Gonne, who was confident, outspoken and infamous and Wordsworths love Lucy who appears quiet and isolated. In contrast to this Burns bonnie Jean Armour seems human and realistic which makes the relationship seem believe able as opposed to Yeats who put his love up on a pedestal and worshipped her. Another difference between the poems is that at the end of Burns poem the reader is convinced that the two lovers will eventually be reunited, and in real life Burns did actually succeed in marrying his childhood sweetheart. It seems unlikely that Yeats dreams of a life with Gonne will become a reality and in the Lucy poems it is an impossibility as Lucy dies. William Wordsworth was born in Cumberland in 1770, and at thirteen years of age became an orphan.
Wordsworth had a new, modern approach towards poetry which in his time was unheard of, he felt poetry should be about emotions and feelings, it shouldnt be inhibited or stifled by politics or city social life. He looked to nature, the English countryside for inspiration and many of his most famous poems involve nature. Wordsworth changed the direction of English poetry and his influence is still visible today. In I Travelled Among Unknown Men Wordsworth begins by personifying England. He addresses it directly as if it were alive.
He speaks of his departure from England and how alone he felt among strangers. It was only when he left England that he realised how much he loved his homeland. In the second verse he compares his time abroad to a bad dream through the use of a metaphor and to emphasise this he uses an exclamation mark: Tis past, that melancholy dream! He makes a defiant promise to himself that never again will he abandon England, and for the second time personifies it and using strong, resolute, vivid language to show his love for England: To love thee more and more. In the third verse he uses visual imagery to conjure up an idyllic image of his love sitting at her spinning wheel beside a glowing fire among the English hillside. This is the first time he introduces his love and we can tell by his description of her that he cherishes and admires her and wants to protect her. It is a very patriotic image, being secure and comfortable in England, while also showing the strength of his love.
Wordsworth then links his love for England with his love for Lucy, a dual love. The reader begins to learn more about Lucy. She is portrayed as a quiet, lonely girl who is not valued and hidden away from the outside world. The reader is lulled into a false sense of security by the first two lines in verse four. They sound gentle and English, almost like playing a musical instrument, then suddenly the reader is shocked and saddened: And thine too is the last green field that Lucys eyes surveyed. This evokes a personal response from the reader.
We feel great sympathy for Wordsworth as his love has died. We can now understand why Wordsworth made his defiant vow never to leave England, to leave England would be to leave Lucys memory behind, Lucy and England have become intertwined in his memory. In She Dwelt Among The Untrodden Ways Lucys solitary nature is pursued. He compares Lucy to a violet hidden behind a mossy stone, Wordsworth uses visual imagery through nature. He then compares Lucy to a solitary star, a solitary and unique person. The last verse takes on a sad, melancholy tone as Wordsworth expresses his deep sadness at her death.
Lucy lived and died unknown to anyone. Her death didnt matter to anyone except him. Her death has evoked pure emotion and vivid responses. She completely changed his life and he will always remember her: The difference to me! The final poem A Slumber Did My Spirit Did Seal has a mood of serenity and peace. The pace is slowed down by the language used. When Wordsworth sleeps in that semi-conscious state Lucy is with him and in his mind she is still young and to him she always will be.
Suddenly Lucy no longer seems hidden away or forgotten because she will always be remembered by him, in his mind she is untouchable. Wordsworth has lost his love but in English nature and his dreams he is reunited with Lucy. Compared to Yeats and Wordsworths poem Burns poem, A Red, Red Rose seems less powerful and somehow his love doesnt seem as strong, although it is much more realistic and human, and it actually ends optimistically. In Wordsworths poem the more I read the better my understanding of it, the more powerful it became and the more I could empathise with it. It too reveals much suffering and pain. From the three poems I examined I was most greatly affected by He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by W.
B Yeats. The emotion and power in the poem, and Yeats humbling declaration of his undying love for Gonne was overwhelming. It was heart wrenching to imagine Yeats spreading his dreams beneath her feet and knowing that, in the end, she rejected him. It is also a poem for today because it is a poem about unrequited love which everyone can empathise with.