This work is dedicated to two wonderful poems called ‘Fair is my Love’, and ‘To Althea, from Prison’, written by Samuel Daniel 2016, lines and Richard Lovelace. The purpose of this paper is to compare them, to reflect their contrasts and mood, and to define their meaning and core. Both of the poems carry an educational character, and the experience that is reflected in them by the authors is completely essential. Every reader should be passionate about reading them and should understand their significant value. The work will be gradually guiding a reader through the poems, and smoothly reflecting their essence step by step. Once the comparison is finished, there will be a conclusion part for the summarizing ending.
Comparing and Contrasting
From the very beginning of the first lines of ‘Fair is my Love’, we can notice the man’s attitude, which reflects the blind feelings to the woman that he loves. Samuel Daniel writes that:
‘Her brow-shades frown, although her eyes are sunny,
Her smiles are lightning, though her pride despair,
And her disdains are gall, her favours honey;’ (Daniel 2016, lines 2-3).
In those lines, we can clearly see that despite the expressions of the negative personal features, still, the man tends not to pay attention to them. According to Daniel 2016, lines he prefers to stay blind to her prideful temper:
‘The wonder of all eyes that look upon her,
Sacred on earth, design’d a Saint above’ (Daniel 2016, lines 7-8).
In those two lines, we observe a reflection of the unusual and unique beauty, and that her looks were an object of pleasure and worshipping for the people. The beginning of the poem called ‘To Althea, from Prison’ describes the highest state of liberty and lightness, because of the inflaming feeling of love that our hero experiences. As it was written by Richard Lovelace:
‘When I lie tangled in her hair
And fetter’d to her eye,
The birds that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty’ (Lovelace 2016, lines 5-8).
That part of the poem reflects a representation of the full heartiness and dedication to the image of his love. It is also required to mention that the very first lines represent the hero as a prisoner that has the very single delight, which refers to his beloved. For instance, it could be seen in the following lines of the poem, written by Lovelace:
‘When Love with unconfinèd wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at my grates;’ (Lovelace 2016, lines 1-4).
His love emerges as a relief of his sufferings in the prison. It gives him the strength to fight and not give up.
The first lines of both poems could be underscored by the explanation of their similarity and contrast. First of all, the main similarity is in their purpose and sincere dedication to Love. Both men are deeply in love, and they want their feelings to flow freely and easily. They see their beloved as a goddess that is unique and perfect. According to E-Notes, the perfect lady of Daniel’s is commended by him according to the conventional terms (Critical Evaluation 2016).
Therefore, the authors use the combinations of words that accurately describe that delicacy. One of the contrasts between the poems is about their background, in particular, concerning the story of the main heroes. While the hero’s story of ‘Fair is my Love’ remains hidden, the poem ‘To Althea, from Prison’ describes our man in love as a prisoner, who struggles behind the prison grating. As it was claimed, Lovelace was imprisoned because of the loyalty to King Charles, as the Parliament of that time was opposite to the king due to political issues (Anas 2013). The second poem also creates the feeling that the love of the prisoner is much stronger, as it even allows him to forget about the walls that imprison him.
The middle and ending parts of the poems lead us to the core of understanding of their essence. While the first one reflects the grievance of the main hero because his love is unrequited, the second poem shows that there are boundaries that can enslave a human’s body, but there are no limits in the world that can enslave the feelings of the heart and soul. The case of the first poem, written by Daniel 2016, lines could be seen in the following lines:
‘Then who had heard the plaints I utter now?
For had she not been fair, and thus unkind,
My Muse had slept, and none had known my mind’ (Daniel 2016, lines 12-14).
The man’s grievance is too big for him to handle. He is in deep sorrow, without knowing what awaits him in the future. The above-mentioned part describes how his beloved has misused her beauty without any regrets for the heart that she broke. In its turn, the inspirational mood of the Lovelace’s poem could be reflected by the following part, which relates to the king:
‘When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlargèd winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty’ (Lovelace 2016, lines 21-24).
In spite of the difficult situation that the hero got into, still, he doesn’t give up; on the contrary, he inflames himself and shows that the limits mean nothing to him. He shows that the bounds do not interfere him to be alive and passionate about life, to love his nation and the king.
In terms of similarities, both poems belong to the school known as the Metaphysical one. The latter is typically referred to as something that cannot be defined: “Because Metaphysical poetry is a phenomenon that began with Johnson’s attempt to sketch a history of seventeenth-century poetry, it is a mode of writing best defined by telling a story” (Burrow 2013, p. 41). The school is associated with the ideas of love, religion, and death, as well as various renditions thereof (Eliot 2014).
Both Daniel and Lovelace follow the principles of the Metaphysical school rather sternly, contemplating the idea of love as a spiritual and emotional experience. For example, Lovelace describes the feeling of love as “hearts with Loyal Flames” (Lovelace 12), whereas Daniel conveys the idea of love as the source of both suffer and bliss: “A modest maid, deck’d with a blush of honour” (Daniel 2016, lines 5).
In addition, Metaphysical poetry incorporates a significant amount of “wit” (Negri 2013, p. v). The latter, in its turn, is interpreted not as humor but as active use of sophisticated and original ideas and expressions. The refusal to follow the traditional tropes that have been done to death by other authors can be viewed as a distinctive feature of Metaphysical poetry, which can be traced easily in the poems under analysis.
For instance, in his poem, Daniel draws a parallel between colors and feelings, which can be considered a rather original idea at the given time period. For example, Lovelace introduces wordplay on the word “fair”, implying the idea of true love and also describing the color of the woman’s hair: “Fair is my love” (Daniel 2016, lines 1) and “her fair golden hairs” (Daniel 1). Similarly, Lovelace correlates the idea of a prison for the body with the one for the mind and emotions, therefore, creating an original setting and providing the audience with a unique experience.
However, as far as the formal elements of sonnets, in general, and the Metaphysical poetry, in particular, there is a significant gap between the two works. Daniel follows the structure of a sonnet to the t, copying the traditional size completely. His sonnet contains 14 lines and has the rhyme structure that a standard Shakespearean sonnet is defined by: “A B A B C D C D E F E F G G” (Young 2013, p. 11). Lovelace’s sonnet, in its turn, consists of 32 lines and four stanzas. The length of his work, therefore, does not allow attributing it to any of the existing sonnet types. Likewise, the rhymes in the poem follow the basic pattern of “A A B B C C…”, which cannot be defined as a specimen of any known sonnet forms (Young 2013, p. 23).
Nevertheless, the overall tone of the artwork resembles the atmosphere created by the authors of sonnets. Rendering the idea of confinement, it creates a gloomy and brooding atmosphere. Although the author adds the concept of love and addresses the romantic feelings of the character, the overall impression remains rather dark.
The poems by Lovelace and Daniel, therefore, can be viewed as a graphic example of Metaphysical poetry. Every single element thereof, including both their style and substance, aligns with the Metaphysical philosophy. Despite the fact that the forms chosen by the authors are strikingly different, both works have enough points of contact to be rendered as the specimen of the Metaphysical poetry.
The contrast of those two poems in the parts, mentioned above, is in their mood, which appears to be fully contrary. A hero of the first poem gives up to the difficulties that he faces and lets the depression in while the second hero struggles even more but in spite of that he finds the willpower within himself, which helps him to overcome the circumstances.
To summarize ‘Fair is my Love’, and ‘To Althea, from Prison’, it would be reasonable to refer to its core. First of all, it is clear that even if they have some similar features, they emerge opposite in the end. At the beginning, and up to the middle part, the poems show us the power of love that could be expressed by a man. In both of the cases, the men do not want to see the negative side of their object of love; on the contrary, their feeling forces them to see only good things. The love appears to be the main object that bothers both of the men, and in the middle part of the second poem it turns into the national and patriotic love.
It was stated that ‘Richard Lovelace was a passionate supporter of Charles I, taking up arms for his king abroad, and risking enmity nearer home’ (Rumens 2013, para. 3). In its turn, the first hero is described as grievant and depressing individuality, whose will is too weak to surpass the circumstances and live further without regrets, while the second character expresses strong individual qualities and features, despite his confinement.
The poems also reveal the detailed imaginary aspect, which allows us to imagine and feel their inner struggles, the atmosphere, and details realistically. In those poems, we also observe how the imaginary aspect is in a smooth fusion with the mood, which makes them completely integral. To some extent, the tone of the author in the poem one is condemnatory towards the hero’s beloved, while the author’s tone in the second poem reflects the rebel spirit that cannot be broken.
On the example of these two poems, we could distinguish two levels of love. In its turn, the first level represents the very beginning of love development, which emerges as love, dedicated to woman only. The second example shows us that a feeling of love can go further in its transformation. It means that it can surpass the usual level of love and transform into the wider mature form, which is not only dedicated to a single person but already to the entire nation. We could also let ourselves assume that it is not the final shape that the quality of love can have. It is truly amazing how great the feeling of love could be, and how far it could reach.
The creations of such kind always serve as guidance and carry an educational character. The reviewed poems of Samuel Daniel and Richard Lovelace are not an exception. Therefore, the experience and wisdom that the authors share in those poems cannot be underestimated. Many of us were in the similar situations when the love clouds the judgment and influences the right decisions. In such cases, only the willpower and the presence of a reasonable mind could help us to achieve the solution and relief. The passion of being alive, sensitive, and powerful is the power that breaks all the shackles, and ruins all the walls, without letting the spirit be enslaved.
Do not believe the people who claim that a human cannot fly. They never experienced the real flight, because many of them are too indifferent even to have one. You should always follow your path and remember that a human can fly. The instrument that is given to us from above is called love. Only the real feeling of love can rise human’s heart to the heights of the spirit, where only freedom exists. The opportunities of a human soul are truly infinite.
As it was said, ‘by referencing angels and heaven, Lovelace elevates human love and imagination to a divine level, reminding readers that God created men superior to the angels and in his image’ (To Althea from Prison Richard 2015, para. 6). A human is the only one who creates troubles for himself, as well as puts the limitations that do not allow him to reveal his real potential. There is nothing impossible for love and faith in this world. In the entire world, there is no mountain that you will be unable to conquer with love and faith in your heart.
Anas, E 2013, To Althea from prison summary and analysis. Web.
Burrow, C 2013, Metaphysical poetry, Penguin UK, London, UK. Critical evaluation 2016. Web.
Daniel, S 2016, Delia 6: fair is my love, and cruel as she’s fair. Web.
Lovelace, R 2016, To Althea, from prison. Web.
Eliot, T S 2014, The varieties of Metaphysical poetry, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY. Web.
Negri, P 2012, Metaphysical poetry: an anthology, Courier Corporation, Mineola, NY. Web.
Rumens, C 2013, Poem of the week: To Althea, from Prison by Richard Lovelace. Web.
To Althea from prison Richard. 2015. Web.
Young, J 2013, R is for rhyme: a poetry alphabet, Sleeping Bear Press, Ann Arbor, MI. Web.