Thematic Guide to British Poetry

By Ruth Glancy | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Love

Poetry is often called the language of love. More poems have been written on this theme than on any other, and many of the poems discussed under other themes in this survey—“Death,” “Time,” Carpe Diem,” and “Beauty,” for example—are also love poems because poets are often concerned with these ideas because they love someone. Love, of course, is central to the Family Relations theme. The poems discussed in this section, however, are all expressions of what is often referred to as “romantic love,” a theme that in British poetry has been strongly influenced by the erotic poetry of the Roman poet Ovid, the sonnets to Laura of the Italian poet Petrarch, and the courtly love tradition that began in eleventh-century France. In courtly love poems, a knight idealizes—in fact, worships—a beautiful but unattainable woman. He fights his battles as much to win her favor as to serve his king; he sees himself as her servant or slave, and he suffers agonies of body and soul (the “lovesick” hero) in his unrequited love for her. In contrast to centuries of marriage, where the husband was legally his wife's master, courtly love poems introduced the notion that the lover was slave to his mistress. Many love poems and songs follow such conventions, but others, especially in the last two centuries, have offered complex and powerful responses to “the battle of the sexes.”


SEDUCTION POEMS

Poetry and song have traditionally been in the arsenal of the young man wanting to attract the attention of his intended. The language of poetry is often the language of seduction, glossing over the harsh realities of passion and steeping the man's intentions in the rosy glow of flattery and artifice. Sir John Suckling's “Why so pale and wan” (1638)

-119-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Thematic Guide to British Poetry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 306

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?