Love Is In The Air English Literature Essay

As the title suggests, love is in the air, and has been for centuries, as indicated in one of the world’s earliest texts, The Old Testament, when Adam first fell for Eve in the Garden of Eden. Poetry has long been used as a tool to tell a story, sometimes for simply capturing the poets thoughts at the time or more often for creating a record of an experience of which they wished to share with others.

The poems were sometimes in the form of a letter, or a story, or purely a general reflection of an incident significant to the author.

Themes were varied from childhood incidents, witnessed events, character studies, important turning points in life, but more often than not, the most popular theme was love.

Love of a child, love of one’s partner, love of a parent, the bitter sweetness of a first love. Poetry speaks the language of love closest to the human experience.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

These words have become infamous throughout history, a phrase that has served generations with complete flexibility.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning captures the true essence of love in her Sonnet 43.

This sonnet was the second last in a series of 44 sonnets or love poems written to her husband Robert Browning. She called the series, Sonnets from the Portuguese, because he endearingly referred to her, as my little Portuguese, because of her dark complexion.

The subject of the poem was the intense love she felt for her husband, a spiritual passion, which she gave freely and purely.

The poem has 14 lines, the first eight lines or octave, sets the theme of the poem or description of how she loves him. She uses comparisons or imagery as a measure of the intensity of her love. That her love is unchanged by night or day, this image created by mention of the sun and candlelight, and that she gives herself willingly and genuinely, as referenced by a man’s alliance to his faith.

In the last six lines she reflects sentimentally of her life as a child and the love that she has come to share with him will last an eternity, even after death.

The tone of the sonnet is sensitive and relevant to theme of love.

The word choice is appropriate with repetition of I love thee in eight lines of the sonnet, which weaves the mood of love throughout, ending with a persuasive I shall love thee, in the final line to build the emotion. The use of personification is significant to express the strength, honesty and beauty of love, whilst she draws on her religious faith as well, showing commitment and passion to her feelings.

The sonnet is written in a melodic rhythm of 10 syllables per line which reflects the structure of the sonnet and its origins as a little Sicilian song with a rhythm that could be sung along to with musical accompaniment. It also follows the rhyme of ABBA, ABBA, in the first eight lines, with the rhyming of the words: ways, grace, height and sight, then everyday’s, praise, candlelight and right. The final six lines then rhyme in CD, CD, CD. There is also some internal rhyming with depth and breadth in line two.

Overall, this little sonnet is a significant expression of spontaneous love that still is recited in the modern world.

(Sonnet 43)

The work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning follows in the footsteps of another English poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. He is considered to be the greatest dramatist and the finest poet the world has ever known. Many of his words and phrases have become part of everyday speech.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo” and “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”

(The Collected Works of Shakespeare)

These lines from Act II, Scene II of the great tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, are undoubtedly infamous in any language or culture.

In the late 1500’s it became fashionable for English gentlemen authors to write sequences of sonnets. These sonnets generally were autobiographical and followed the sequence of events in the poet’s life. Shakespeare wrote a sequence of 154 sonnets, over a number of years, although the last two are unrelated to the others, and some doubt that they were penned by Shakespeare. The individual sonnets were unnamed and were referred to as a number in their sequence. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man and the remaining 26 concentrate on a brunette woman referred to as the dark lady.

Sonnet Eighteen contains once again some infamous lines and “the darling buds of May” actually became a movie title, so the work of Shakespeare lives on in the modern world.

The subject of this sonnet is an address to a young nobleman with whom he has an intense devotion and contains dominant patterns of imagery, similes and distinct personification as evident in the first line, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

He describes the beauty of his beloved as lasting forever, unlike the passing of the summers’ day.

The words of Sonnet 116 have also lived on throughout history and have been recited by couples exchanging their wedding vows throughout the world. The imagery of the sonnet encapsulates how true love is constant, despite circumstances that are continually changing as we journey throughout our lives. Even thou, superficial beauty fades with age, true love lives eternally.

(Shakespeare’s Poetry)

He wrote the poems in three units of four lines each, concluding with a couplet or two line unit. This is referred to as the Shakespearean sonnet which formed the basis for English sonnets compared to the sonnets of Barrett Browning which followed the basic Italian form or Petrarchan sonnet, with the first eight lines or octave forming the basic theme followed by six lines of reflection. The sonnet rhymes in the pattern of abab cdcd efef gg. This structure or rhyming scheme emphasises certain words and links them to other words. The sonnets follow the traditional meter of rhythmic sounds in iambic pentameter, being a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables which creates the rhythm.

(Sonnets, Poetry Overview)

Today, the literary value of Shakespeare has continued to greatly influence our lives. From modern performances of his works in live theatre and in motion pictures based on his plays to talented young lyricists putting his themes to music and creating worldwide award winning hits, such as Taylor Swift, with Love Story, based primarily on the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

As the title suggests this poetic musical tale tells the story of a forbidden love and like the traditional Italian sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning has a rhythm that has been put to music. However this is not a sonnet, but an example of free verse, in which the length of the stanzas is based on content, rather than convention. The lines of each stanza flows from one to the next capturing the rhythm.

The first stanza sets the scene as an introduction to the storyline and there is repetition of the word Romeo, emphasising the importance of to whom the poem is dedicated.

The technique of free verse is used to imitate the speech pattern as the storyteller is retelling the story around her thoughts and ideas.

There is evidence of a strong metre pattern of 10 – 15 syllables in each line keeping with an alternate strong and weak pattern and this assists in maintaining the rhythm.

In keeping with free verse, the poem has no pattern of rhyme and alternates the rhyming couplet of the last word in the line, from the last two lines in some stanzas to the first two lines in other stanzas. There is a repeated chorus throughout the poem which creates cohesion to the storyline.

(Love Story, Taylor Swift)

Returning to our theme of Love is in the Air, not all modern verse, especially those used as lyrics are examples of free verse, but others are ballads, such as the title of our discussion, was a popular 1970’s hit song, penned by Harry Vanda and George Young. A simple ballad of 4 line stanzas, in ABAB rhythm, that once again has a chorus that is repetitive throughout and brings the storyline together. There are countless examples of love poems, lyrics, sonnets and ballads stretching the length and breadth of our planet.

Every poet has his own way of interpreting the emotion of love and his own distinctive way of recording those sentiments.

Australia’s own Judith Wright, wrote extensively from the 1930’s and expresses her own feminist interpretation of love in her poem The Company of Lovers.

An example of blank verse, with each line leading on to the next to tell the story, the poem discusses companionship and love, and the imminence of death looming to part them. How even a brief interlude serves to escape the materialistic challenges of reality.

There is a contrasting image portrayed by the two distinct parts to this poem. The first part discusses love, ambition and unity in comparison to loss, death and departure in the last two stanzas.

The poem is written in four stanzas with a rhyming pattern of ABCB DEFE.

There is extensive use of personification and imagery in the last two stanzas, talking of death as a leader of an army, rounding up his troops. Describing their footsteps as the inevitable death that is threatening all life. Darkness and the sound of beating drums conjure up images of a death march at an execution.

The lovers are seeking a brief moment of solace together, prior to the unknown timing of their final departure.

A similar poem of blank verse, written by the same poet, expressing the delicate and gentleness of an intimate interlude with her lover was Woman to Man. This poem also uses extensive personification and imagery to describe the moments shared. This poem was also written in four stanzas, but with a rhyming pattern of ABBAA.

(Poetry Analysis, Judith Wright)

In conclusion, the art of expressing love through poetry, in whatever form it takes has engaged the thoughts of many poets across the ages. Many have left an impressionable mark on society with their words, phrases and song and will continue to do so for many more years to come.

As Aristotle once said,” Poetry is superior to history, because it uses words in their fuller potential and creates representations more complete and more meaningful than nature can give us in the raw.”

(Quotes, Aristotle)

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our Guarantees

Money-back Guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism Guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision Policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy Policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation Guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more