Get help from the best in academic writing.

Thematic Comparison of Lovelace’s To Lucasta and Donne’s Song

Thematic Comparison of Lovelace’s To Lucasta and Donne’s Song

Modern perceptions of love as expressed in literature– with gender equality and the abandonment of expected role-playing– did not arbitrarily become pervasive, but are the product of centuries of incremental progression. The seventeenth century in particular provided a foundation for this progression, as poets for the very first time began to question the dictated structure and male domination of the Elizabethan era. Two poems of the seventeenth century, the cavalier “To Lucasta on Going to the Wars” by Richard Lovelace and the metaphysical “Song” by John Donne, each focusing on the pain inflicted by different aspects of love, employ tactics emblematic of the century’s poetry to demonstrate love’s puzzling nature. Both ostensible attempts to comfort their audiences by universalizing and morally justifying love’s baneful realities, they eventually fail and leave their audiences with only exacerbated pain. “To Lucasta,” Lovelace’s attempt to justify his departure from his lover Lucasta for the British Civil War by subjugating his sensual love to honor, fails in its illogical and contradictory nature, and acknowledges the ability of love’s endurance to victimize man, while “Song,” by trying to alleviate the pain of fleeting love, only underscores love’s inevitable elusiveness.

Lovelace, one of the preeminent cavalier poets of the seventeenth century, attempts to use his particular situation with his lover Lucasta as well as an appeal to honor and patriotism to justify to all soldiers the departure of their lovers, but the poem’s inconsistencies obviate success. Throughout the poem, Lovelace’s mind, understanding the need to go to battle, remains at war with hi…

… middle of paper …

…love for his precious Lucasta, however, inconsistencies and wavering pervade his writing, and reveal his involuntary mockery of soldierly values and his unbreakable bond to Lucasta. As he must venture into battle, he becomes a victim of love’s enduring impregnability.

Donne, in his “Song” attempts at first to comfort all men who have encountered the difficulties of romantic relations. With his strong, dominating voice, however, he obliterates the prospects of enduring love. Much the opposite of Lovelace, Donne delineates himself as a victim of love’s elusiveness. What the two poems have in common is their discomforting effect on their audiences resulting from their eventual resignation to their respective perceived realities. For Lovelace, this reality is a future of battle and a separation from all that matters; for Donne, it is a life void of enduring love.

Marriage in Christina Rossetti’s Promises Like Pie-Crust and Edgar Allan Poe’s Bridal Ballad

Marriage in Rossetti’s Promises Like Pie-Crust and Poe’s Bridal Ballad

In Christina Rossetti’s “Promises Like Pie-Crust” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Bridal Ballad” female speakers encounter the milestone of marriage. Facing strong pressures from society, Rossetti’s speaker refuses marriage in three well-reasoned arguments which are veiled in a guise of superciality. Conversely, Poe’s speaker accepts marriage, but by the end of the poem realizes the dire consequences of her decision. Rossetti knows what she wants and does not want out of life; subsequently, Rossetti realizes that personal satisfaction and even joy may exist without a man and thus makes the tough decision not to marry. Poe’s naive bride trusts in society and marries not out of love but in an attempt to attain happiness. Failing to either examine her inner thoughts or accept her misgivings, Poe’s bride remains emotionally unready to marry. A paragon of the nineteenth century woman, Poe’s bride, despite her doubts, succumbs to marriage whereas Rossetti’s strong-willed speaker vehemently rejects the institution.

Poe’s ostensible conformity opposes Rossetti’s independent spirit; however, society’s pressures affect both women. Poe writes “Bridal Ballad” in 1837 in America while Rossetti writes “Promises Like Pie-Crust” during the Victorian era in England; during both periods society demands that women marry (Mayberry 11). Referring to the unwedded woman as an “old maid” or “spinster”, society reinforces the notion that matrimony alone leads to a contented, blissful state. Born and bred to marry, a woman’s disruption of the wed-and-then- procreate cycle engenders not only society’s disrespect but also frightening uncertainty for the woman (Mayberry 11). …

… middle of paper …

…ed bliss.” Emotionally attached to her dead lover, Poe’s bride proves her incapability of loving anyone else besides the dead D’Elormie. Citing several valid reasons, Rossetti eschews the decadent dessert while Poe’s bride, deafened to reason by society’s expectations, ignores Rossetti’s arguments, seeks marriage as a panacea, and chokes on her medicine.

Works Cited

Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H. Abrams. “Christina Rossetti.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. Vol. 2. New York: Norton, 2012. 1489-512. Print.

Sova, Dawn B. “Bridal Ballad”. Critical Companion to Edgar Allan Poe: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom’s Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 11 Dec. 2010. <

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.