But You Didn't by Merrill Glass and My Mistress by William Shakespeare

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But You Didn't by Merrill Glass and My Mistress by William Shakespeare

Both poets are writing about their lovers but wrote them for different reasons. Shakespeare wrote the poem for other poets of his time, to make fun of the comparisons they used in their poems, which he thought was "false compare" which "belied" the ladies being described.

Merrill Glass wrote her poem to help her to get over the death of her lover. She writes as if she is talking to him but at the end she says

"And there are so many things

I wanted to tell you when you

Returned from Vietnam…

But you didn't,"

The words in each poem show that they were written in different centuries. Shakespeare uses "hath"
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He follows the rules for a sonnet exactly except for one line:

"And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare".

He did this deliberately because he wanted to stress the word "rare" meaning special, highly valued. He wanted to make clear that he loved his woman very much, which he had to do because the images created of her in the quatrains are not very flattering.

In "My Mistress' Eyes" Shakespeare compares his mistress to images found in other love sonnets of the time. For example," Coral is far more red than her lips red".

At first it sounds as if he is saying her lips are pale, unattractive but as you read on, you realise it is not her he is criticising but the image created by the other poet. He is suggesting that it is not realistic, it is " false compare" which "belies" misrepresents because coral is a bright substance and no one has bright red lips.

In another line he says, " If snow be white why then her breasts are dun".

At that time only the upper classes could stay indoors and remain pale because most people worked on the land so it was fashionable to be pale, and other poets described their ladies as having skin as white as snow. Shakespeare makes fun of this by saying if white describes the colour of snow then his Mistress has brown, sun touched skin because no one literally has skin the colour of snow.

In "But You didn't,"

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