Developing Themes in Poems
Poetry has always been known as a form of writing incorporated to express feelings and thoughts that discusses certain themes that affect societal standings. Emily Bronte and Michael Drayton are two ideal poets who have expressed their thoughts concerning love and friendship through their poems. Whereas the former uses the poem "Love and Friendship" in order to express her thoughts, the latter uses the poem, "Since There"s No Help, Come Let Us Kiss and Part" for this purpose. Their use of different techniques of imagination and expression to denote their feelings in their respective poems shows how they were not only passionate writers but also those who wrote from their hearts, as well.
The theme of love is first developed in Bronte"s poem through the use of similes. In the first stanza line, Bronte uses simile to compare love with different parts of nature in order to enable the reader to have a better understanding of this aspect of life. She states that "Love is like the wild rose-briar" (Bronte). Through interpretation based on this line, love is a beautiful thing that at times can be tough like a briar to keep. Human emotions bring out the uniqueness of each person since these emotions tend to define a person as an individual and the story of life each inhibits. Love tends to essentially influence the individual's emotions and shows not only his or her affection, tenderness, endearment and warmth but friendship, as well. It is through the diverse contribution of love in individual's emotion which makes difficult it at times to continuously achieve it in life.
Similarly, Bronte uses simile technique in comparing friendship with different parts of nature in order to help the reader understand this aspect of life. A simile is a figure of speech that uses words such as "like" or "as" while comparing two nouns (Scott). Bronte notes that, "Friendship like the holly-tree." This denotes friendship as associated with characteristics such as secrecy, bond, closeness, trust, and respect. Her aspect of comparison can be interpreted that just like the holly tree, the friendship slowly grows, it takes time to create and more significantly takes a lot of time to improve. Friendship is more of a universal way in which people connect with each other. It is the underlying force of attraction that tries to keep couples together.
Additionally, Bronte develops the themes of love and relationship by interactively comparing their elements. Her comparison of love and friendship in the poem denotes two elements in which people tend to turn to friends, in case love fades, but celebrate gloriously, when love is still sweet, and mourn, on the other hand, when it fades. When Bronte pose the question like, "But which will bloom most constantly?", what comes out is a notion that a person cannot have both a loving friendship and just a friendship over the same duration. In this connection, people tend to turn to their friends in order to replace the painful feelings they encounter during the bad times. Thus, people normally do not realize the significance of true friendship, because the "wild-rose briar" is usually more beautiful than the "holly-tree".
The aspect of tenderness, warmth and endearment of love is also depicted in the poem, when Bronte describes "The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring. Its summer blossoms scent in the air." However, this tenderness seems to fade away periodically as she states in stanza two line three, "Yet wait till winter come again. And who will call the wild-briar fair?" (Bronte) This shows that even though the concept of love is essential in human life, the real concept of true love has never been portrayed. In this aspect, love seems to be interesting, since it does not have physical characteristics such as smooth or supple skin; however, it tends to lose its excitement, when there is a long relationship.
Moreover, reading through the poem, love is portrayed as only sweet during good times, while friendship, on the other hand, can last even in worst times. As the poetess writes in stanza three lines one and two, "Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now. And deck thee with the holly"s sheen" (Bronte). By this, the author tries to emphasize that in the darkest moments, people tend to lose faith in love, but normally an everlasting friendship is usually there to offer each individual a helping hand. Thus, Bronte tries to portray love as normally not always true when compared to the friendship which is much stronger. Moreover, that which is usually beautiful and enchanting in long run is usually unreliable both in its beauty and enchantment. Therefore, the rope that ties friendship is normally stronger compared to that which connects people who love each other.
Themes of love and friendship have also been developed through the employment of personification technique. Unlike friendship, love is portrayed in the poem as susceptible to ignition after its previous fall out. In stanza three lines three and four the write states, "That, when December blights thy brow, He still may leave thy garland green" (Bronte). Through these lines, it is imperative that the love of a person can be gone, but that of a true friend will always stay put. By personifying love as "December" she tries to bring out the human concept associated with love that renders it susceptible to ignition again. This shows that where love and friendship are deployed accordingly, friendship will always win the battle since it will become long lasting as compared to love.
Finally, Bronte uses rhyming verses in the poem in developing the themes of love and friendship. According to Perloff and Dworkin (12), rhymes are used in poem to create a systematic poetic sound. This is depicted, when the poem is developed from three stanzas, each having four lines that are equal in length. Love and friendship as the poetess follows the structure of a systematic pattern. For instance, in stanza three, she uses words that end with "w" and "n" consecutively. That is, "now," "sheen," "brow," and "green."
On the other hand, themes of love and friendship are also outlined in Michael Drayton's poem "Since There"s No Help, Come Let Us Kiss and Part." The poem shows the theme of breaking up in a relationship is contributed by a thin line between love and hatred. Similar to Bronte, love does not turn out to yield good everlasting relationship, as indicated in stanza one first line. At its beginning, the speaker is portrayed as having control over his feelings. However, unlike Bronte"s poem, the theme of love is developed in the poem through the use of pronouns. Drayton states, "Since there"s no help, come, let us kiss and part." The use of pronouns such as "us" clearly indicates that it is a first-person speaker who tries to address his love interest. However, from the mood and tone of the speaker, it seems that the love as described by the speaker is not only sad and melancholic, but pitiful, as well.
When Drayton writes in stanza one, "Nay, I have done, you get no more of me. And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart, that thus so cleanly I myself can free," he tries to separate love from friendship. Just like Bronte, Drayton believes that relationship through friendship can last longer as compared to love between couples. Through this first stanza, the speaker seems not to get help from his love, after which he decides to call it quits. The manner, in which he feels glad and free after quitting love, denotes how love corners people in a situation that is melancholy and does not offer a lasting relationship. Love, as the speaker accounts, seems to be a hopeless relationship that has no future.
In stanza two, the speaker is portrayed as finally ready to leave his love once and for all, which showed the characteristic of love as not being everlasting. It is stated, "Shake hand forever, cancel all our vows" (Drayton). This notion of handshake with a person either in cancelling of vows or planned wedding that denotes lovers to be faithful and loving, even in times of joy and sorrows till death does them apart, brings out the susceptibility towards the ignition of nature of love. When the speaker states, "And when we meet at any time again," denote his possibility of not giving up in meeting his lover again. However, using phrases, such as "Be it not seen in either of our brows. That we one jot of former love retains", Drayton concurs with Bronte"s concept of love that does not sustain lasting relationship. Unlike true friendship, the speaker seems to be suppressed by true love as he does not openly express his feelings. Even if they meet in future, they would pretend as if they do not love each other.
Similar to Bronte, Drayton employs the characteristics of personification in order to make the reader understand this aspect of life. He personifies romance, love, passion, faith, and innocence in denoting their characteristics. In stanza three, he states that, "Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath, when, his pulse failing, passion speechless lies, when faith is kneeling by his bed of death, and innocence is closing up his eyes" (Drayton). In this respect, the writer tries to illustrate that love and all emotions tend to fade, in case the two loving parties are separated. Therefore, if love dies, then passion between lovers also goes away. Additionally, when someone does not love, then he or she has nothing to believe in. Faith is only built in somebody or something through loving in a certain way.
However, unlike Bronte"s, Drayton"s poems tend to develop themes of love and friendship through conversing technique. This way, the speaker tries to demonstrate that love alone is able to resurrect the dying feelings or already dead feelings that a person had. This brings out the susceptibility ignition nature of love. In stanza five, it reads, "Now, if though wouldst, when all have given him over, from death to life though might"st him yet recover" (Drayton). By this, the speaker attempts to tell her lover to let all the attributes of their love to die away. Thus, she will be able to forget her past. This will enable her to start loving again. The speaker, therefore, tries to address the woman in that; if passion, faith, and innocence have been given up in love, there is still an opportunity that their love can still be saved which squarely depend on the woman.
Moreover, Drayton uses synonymy wording in developing the theme of love in the poem. This technique which always leads to the replacement of a word by another of the same meaning is usually employed to ensure a deeper understanding of what is being discussed (Domnauer 6). For instance, in stanza three, "last gasp and latest breath" have been used in line one. The words have the same meanings but are written differently. This is to ensure that the reader is effectively equipped with the understanding and interpretation of the verse, as well as the topic being discussed.
In conclusion, Emily Bronte and Michael Drayton have been highlighted to have developed the themes of love and friendship through the use of different techniques. Their correct deployment of various writing techniques has made it easy for the reader to understand the relationship between love and friendship. Therefore, it is essential for poetry writers to incorporate various writing techniques that help in understanding the subject which is being discussed.
- Bronte, Emily Jane. "Love and Friendship." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.
- Domnauer, Teresa. Poetry: Grades 1-2. New York: Carson-Dellosa Publishing, 2007. Print.
- Drayton, Michael. "Since There"s No Help, Come Let Us Kiss and Part." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.
- Perloff, Marjorie, and Craig Dworkin, eds. The Sound of Poetry/ The Poetry of Sound. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Print.
- Scott, Paul. "Metaphors and Similes in English" LOI English. 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.