John Clare - First Love English Literary essay on love poetry

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This poem hit the spot. Mentally that is. Why? Well, when I first heard of the assignment I knew immediately what the poem had to convey: first love. There is nothing sweeter, more captivating than that first glance at love. It had to display the awkward feelings of love, the power of looking at each other, a poem that would describe the ye oulde 'butterflies in the stomach ' but in a closer to life way. In addition, it had to pack a sort of negative outcome of first love because it is not always perfect. When I began my search I must admit I avoided any sonnet or love filled poem written by Mr. Shakespeare. He has reigned with his sceptre long enough; moreover I don 't really like his sonnets. True, they are full of beautiful imagery and…show more content…
And stole my heart away complete"

Although the poem could have this happy end, it could conclude with the rejection of first love (see section images of nature).

On a side note I just wanted to say that this poem reminded me of a poem we did last year or the year before called La belle dame sans merci. Both poems deals with the same theme, unanswered love. Only they each tackle the topic in a different way.


First Love used a non-traditional yet simple form. This might be because John Clare came from poverty and was not educated and therefore could not use a sophisticated form. He also uses a non-traditional form because his feelings are all over the place. It also uses a simple a, b, a, b rhyme scheme. This unison simplicity in combination with the directness of his emotions makes it such a powerful love poem. It is pure, and recognizable. Like Pim Fortuyn supposedly said what the people always thought but never said; John Clare shows us what we all have felt but could never describe. The simple rhyme scheme also displays a form of tranquillity: a minimalist, calm, layout in contrast with a disorientated content.

Images of Nature

The poem also uses images of nature. John Clare uses the line "are flowers the winter 's choice?" Here he could be comparing his rejection by her to the coldness of winter. While many love poems choose summer as an image of an everlasting beautiful love, Clare shows us the opposite. So the poem sort of rebels against what
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