The Sun Rising, To His Coy Mistress, How Do I Love Thee? And Porphyria ‘s Lover, were exceptional poetry written by classical poets including Andrew Marvell, John Donne and with Victorian poets written by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Browning, respectively. These 4 poems explore the same key ideas of love and relationship ranging from religious, obsessive to irrational love yet different in approach.They present these aspects of love to the audience by portraying a correlation between love, power and time through the use of various stylistic features and conventions with a wide range of language in order to convey and explore their ideas.
Andrew Marvel and Elizabeth Barrett Browning use their respective texts to explore the theme of love in their respective poems, “To His Coy Mistress” and “How Do I Love Thee”. Both authors utilise hyperbole and religious imagery to aid in demonstrating the sensual and purity of love. While both authors use hyperbole, Browning uses it to express her innocent love by measuring how much her love means to her whereas Marvel uses it to portray his resistant sexual desire. Browning uses hyperbole as a technique through her innocent love and her references to the purity of love for her husband to explore this idea. In contrast, Marvel uses hyperbole to depict the idea of love through his first stanza in relation to the extensive time, the speaker would have to wait to admire his mistress physical appearance if they had “world enough and time”. By establishing the relationship between the husband and her, the author portrays her to love him endlessly “to the depth and breadth and height”. Browning likewise emphasizes her grand love by using personification and hyperbole to express her love is wide as “her soul can reach”, indicating a powerful image by utilizing the word “soul” to demonstrate that everything she is, desires to praise him and his gratitude. Marvel furthermore compares the ideal situation of being able to express his love and commitment with him spending “a hundred years…to praise thine eyes, two hundred…. for breast and thirty thousand… for the rest” of the mistress body. Furthermore, as both texts use religious imagery, the correlation in both texts similarly reinforces the notion of sensuality and purity. Browning’s use of religious imagery, in contrast, is scattered throughout rendering the lover appear like God-like ‘ideal grace’ and ‘praise’ while in Marvel’s text, the religious imagery represents the speaker’s declaration on the amount of time it would take to love his mistress and to turn his love aside. In the first four lines, Browning implies the serious nature of her love that contains a spiritual power that can extend into the afterlife. The mention of ‘faith’ in line ten further reinforces the religious imagery of the speaker as she loves her husband through ‘smiles and tears’ with the same zeal that she once had as a child. However in Marvel’s text, the explicit imagery of “ten years before the flood’ and ‘Conversion of the Jews’ emphasizes Marvel’s allusion to Noah’s flood which is a religious symbol for an infinite distant past and his sematic beliefs of the ‘conversion of the Jews’ to indicate Christ’s emergence just before the end of the world. In addition, Browning uses anaphora to show her deep, passionate love, as she repeats “I love thee”. This use of this language further emphasizes her feelings of gratitude for the profound effect that her love has had on his life. Marvel highlights by using specific incidents in the distant past and future, that the speaker will go back in time and forward all while still loving her unconditionally.
Robert Browning and John Donne through their respective texts “Porphyria’s Lover” and “The Sun Rising” demonstrate the themes of love and relationships with each author exploring power as a consequence of love. Both authors build a narrative’s point of view in their respective texts; however, utilise a different context in order to portray it. While Browning and Donne have incorporated having themes of love and relationships, Browning uses it to describe the hysteria of the speaker whereas Donne explores the feelings of the speaker regarding his and his lover’s dominance over the sun. Through Donne’s use of________, he argues that his authority is more powerful than the sun as ‘he could eclipse them with a wink’ to emphasize that he doesn’t have to get out of bed to go to work. Browning use of the dramatic monologue ‘I’ gives the words a degree of immediacy, which allows the audience to feel like they’re being communicated to whereas Donne uses ‘I’ and “me” to portray the narrative’s perspective with the addition of personification. Therefore, the narrator’s unreliability in “Porphyria’s Lover” enhances as it makes audiences more conscious of the context by which the narrative is revealed. In addition, the author uses of enjambment in lines 33 and 34 of “Porphyria worshiped me… surprise…heart swell…. grew” in the build-up of Porphyria ‘s murder represents the breathless delivery of the poem by the author, indicating his suspense and insanity. Similarly, Donne use of personification as ‘Busy old fool, unruly light’ to portray the sun, presenting the sun as a character with human characteristics. It gets ‘unruly’ in the sun ‘s depiction of the speaker, meaning it interrupts the speaker and his lover in the morning as the the sun rays’ shines “through windows and through curtains” of the lovers room to further emphasise the sun’s authority that it’s failing to heed.
Similarly, throughout their respective texts, the underlying theme of time was explored by all four poets however, applied in a different sense in order to portray it. Like such, Andrew Marvel and John Donne utilized the sense that time cannot be controlled through the use of rhetorical questions and religious allusions. Andrew Marvel, in his poem To His Coy Mistress, explores the aspect of time as running out while he charms his lover into losing her virginity whereas Donne depicts a traditional lover’s complaint about not having enough night-time with his lover. As the poem comprises of three stanzas, each representing various time intervals, Marvel does not address each stanza in chronological order but instead goes from the illusionary past into the future. However, through Donne’s use of rhetorical questions “Must thy motions lovers seasons run?”, Donne demonstrates that time is designed to stand still while people make love as it wipes away all reality. Correspondingly, much like Donne, in Marvel’s poem with the use of religious allusions, Marvel explains that if they had enough time, they could, “…Walk, and pass our long Loves. Thou by the Indian Ganges side…I by the Tide of Humber…” before quickening the pace through the temporal transition of “Had, But, and Now”. By utilising the word “had”, the speaker is portraying the past tense and further implying that the first stanza is in fact in the past that stretches on for centuries building up to the next part, ‘now’. In contrast to this, Robert and Elizabeth Browning, glance at time from a different perspective entirely. Robert Browning depicts the frustrating notion of time by converting the metaphorical saying of ‘capturing a moment’ to reality in Porphyria ‘s Lover by murdering someone in order to keep the moment of time indefinitely whereas Elizabeth Browning timeless love that will not disappear until they die, but rather go on eternally. Conclusively, theses four classical poets respectively portray their stylistic techniques.