Every poem and every text are full of ideas. As a rule, ideas are either inspired by some events in the political, economic, and social life of the country when an author decides to write a certain poem, or some emotional and mental state of the author suggests him/her an appropriate way to reveal the thoughts and feelings.
Poems by celebrated authors are even more interesting to analyze because a biographic approach can be used for comparison of the events that took place in the real life of an author and those described in a poem. Thus, “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning, “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, and “When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron can be considered brilliant examples of the ideas behind the words as every author has some story hidden in the heart of the poem that made him write this work in a definite manner. In this respect, there are some ideas behind the words and every person has some reasons for doing something. Broken love is not just an event as some people can treat it as the source of inspiration for years; broken love is something that touches the strings of an author’s soul and leaves some slight mark. If an author enlarges on the idea of broken love, he is emotionally connected to the person that touched his strings and wants to share his feelings with readers. If a person does not want anybody to know something, he/she would not depict it in the way accessible to others.
Moreover, the concept of ideas can be largely explained with the poems mentioned above as they all have a common topic of broken love. However, the way of presentation and the ideas that come behind the words are different for these three authors.
“Life in a Love” by Robert Browning
The poem “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning can be considered one of the most prominent works about love and broken love as a part of people’s lives. The author seems to be the narrator and the main character of the poem. However, a female character is given a really distinguishable shape in this work leading to the image of Browning’s wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
So, the idea of origin of the female character makes the reader think about some problems that could take place in the married life of the author. Either she wanted to leave and he was always the one to pursue, or he wanted to leave and could not find some justification for his decision. After reading the poem, it turns out to be clear that the main character hides in the shade of the female character and is not able to make certain decision. In other words, the mental and emotional state of the author can be deduced from the one of the male character who seems to be a reflection of the real person. Thereby, the female character can be considered the one prevailing over the interests and values of the male character as she is the only object of his concerns pointing to the author wife and her semi-invalidity as the reason for not leaving her regardless of his genuine plans and wishes. This poem starts with a question “Escape me?”. Two ideas concerning the real nature of this question come to mind.
As the poem is supposed to be about broken love, it is possible to assume that a woman, who loves the narrator, while the narrator and the main character is the same person, does not want him to leave and asks whether he is going to go away. Another possible idea is related to the intonation that should be important while reading this poem because it shapes the perception of the poem by audience. So, if the intonation is marked with some tone of defiance, discontent, and disregard, it is possible to suggest that an author who is also the main character of the poem cannot even imagine that a woman can leave him. In this respect, these lines resemble a monologue that seems to inspire and encourage the male character and put some portion of self-content into his heart. He thinks that she is not able to leave him and continues to persuade himself in this impossibility of escape. All lines of the poem make readers think about the main character’s weakness and lack of self-esteem. These ideas are supported with the poem itself where the author encourages the male character and describes his struggle when every day is a fight with himself; it is necessary to “…keep the nerves at strain, to dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and begin again…”(Browning, 12-14 lines). So, the condition of the author’s wife made him struggle and, perhaps, made him stronger.
On the other hand, Browning might have experienced some difficulties with realizing that his wife was a more successful poet than he and that she, taking into account her semi-invalidity, was stronger than he while fighting against everyday life hardships and challenges. The emotional state of the author is the main idea of the poem because the main character seems to reflect the mental and emotional features of Browning introducing his weakness and lack of self-confidence. The author seems to experience a wide range of emotions that are caused with the only person – the female character that is very much alike to Browning’s wife. So, “no sooner the old hope goes to ground than a new one…” appears on the horizon (Browning, 18-19 lines). The author is dependent on his hopes and on his wife; her talent is larger than his and he can demonstrate good literary skills only when encouraged by her strength. When some other muse appears on the horizon, he is sure to abandon the old hope and his wife that gave him that hope and inspiration to write about broken love and self-sacrifice.
“A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns
Though there are many different ideas that seem to be hidden in the poem “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, the author did his best to give a hint and not to give any allusions to people and events.
So, the idea of broken love seems to be of little importance in this poem because the author emphasizes the relations between the narrator and some girl. However, the idea of broken love is hidden behind the words. The main idea of the poem is the beauty of love and the inspiration drawn from this feeling and the pleasant experience of being in love. The author suggests a new concept of broken love which does not hurt and is not painful to remember.
All negative emotions are eliminated from this work and only positive ones are used. Burns inserts facts that guarantee the eternity of his feeling such as “till all seas gang dry” (Burns, 8 line), “[till] the rocks melt with the sun” (Burns, 10 line), and “while sands of life shall run” (Burns, 12 line). The examples above justify his desire to experience this feeling again and again; the author is very emotional describing his feelings to a stranger. It is possible to assume that the poem “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns is written about some girl or young woman that appeared to be new in the life of the poet hence being a fresh ‘red rose’ in his garden. Besides, using a biographic approach should be noted that Burns was known for children out of wedlock and many children born to Jean Armour whereas the first two babies were twins delivered two years before their official marriage. In this respect, Robert burns seems to be very amative and passionate.
His passion can be understood from the poem where the author repeats again and again with the help of repetitions and other literary methods about a desire to feel the emotions felt once till the rest of his life. Burns focuses on the power of the narrators feeling and there is no doubt that the narrator and the author is the same person because the work is written using first person singular. In other words, feelings of Burns are described in the poem; these emotions make him feel nice and comfortable as if this was some affection experience in young age.
“O my love’s like a red, red rose, that’s newly sprung in June” (Burns, 1-2 lines). The season of early summer suggest a comparison of feelings that are as fresh as a red rose in June that is full of power and attractiveness. Perhaps, freshness was associated more with a person who gave Burns this inspiration to write a poem than to the feeling experienced with the same lady. On the other hand, Burns’ feelings can arise from the feeling of emptiness and a desire to bring everything back. In this respect, this poem could have been inspired by a person in Burns’ early years.
As soon as a reader realizes that the poem “A Red, Red Rose” written by Robert Burns does not suggest an idea of happy life of two people who are in love with each other, it seems to be appropriate to assume that the bitterness of his phrases concerns someone who was really dear to the author. So, Burns does not want to realize that they have to live apart and tries to reflect every pleasant moment of that sweet experience in his memory with the help of the words. Thereby, the idea of broken love is successfully hidden in this poem making readers think again and again about the manner and the style of the work. It is hard to understand that the author feels some discomfort due to this parting because of the light manner and fresh colors that come to mind after reading the first lines of the poem.
“When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron
One of the main ideas that come to mind after reading the first stanzas of the poem “When We Two Parted” written by Lord Byron is that this poem seems to be very well-rhythmically organized and a little immature.
The immaturity of the poem comes from Byron’s passion that is obvious in this poem. Though the stanzas are perfectly arranged and the rhyme is amazing, it is necessary to pay attention to the content of the poem where a boy blames a person he used to love for some hasty actions. Thereby, the author and a narrator is the same person leading to the fact that Byron had some relationship with a woman he loved but they had to break up. The parting took place in a gloomy environment; at least, the lines of the poem depict this situation with dark and gloomy mood. So, Byron and a person he loved had to part “in silence and tears… to sever for years” (Byron, 2-4 lines). Either the author did not have an opportunity to follow his beloved, or there The situation that took place in the life of the author seems to have marked this part of his soul with dark and depressing colors because the poem itself cast gloom over readers and makes think about the actions of the woman to whom this poem is addressed. The idea of broken love covers all lines of the poem leaving no space for other ideas.
However, betrayal and some ignoble actions performed by the woman mentioned by Byron seem to be a good explanation of the author’s anger and gloom. All assumptions and theories that could possibly explain the feelings experienced by the author can be hidden under the veil of words. So, the poem’s most prominent features are its topic of broken love and the mood that casts some gloom and depression over readers. As the idea of broken love is common for most poems of that time, it is necessary to focus on the way it is presented in this work.
Mental and emotional state of the author can be easily deduced from the one of the narrator who addresses unpleasant words to a woman that could have been the one the author loved. In this respect, readers can claim that the emotional state of the author was not stable and he had many things to tell that woman and had no opportunity to do that in private. So, the words became his weapon and he tried to bring to her mind the feeling of offence and make her experience the same. The next stanzas, however, make readers feel pity for the author as he tells about the feeling of shame for her and attempts to conceal the fact that they were known to each other. “Your vows are all broken, and light is your fame: I hear your name spoken, and share in its shame” (Byron, 13-16 lines); these lines offer the authors shame experienced when he thinks about this woman or hear her name.
Though the first two stanzas of the poem by Byron seem to lead readers to the situation that made the author feel ashamed, the next two stanzas depict a new situation that takes place in the current time. As first two stanzas show the situation that happened long time ago, the second part of the poem demonstrates a power to forget and to forgive. Thus, the author writes about his grief and his rue: “long, long shall I rue you, too deeply to tell” (Byron, 23-24 lines).
So, the author shows how deep is his feeling and that his affection to this woman had grown into some greater feeling that overcomes all hardships and shame. A power to forgive and compassionate can be considered the one that predominates in this poem making the idea of broken love the one that can be transformed into something bigger than just sorrow and pain. Byron seems to experience some paternal feelings towards this woman as only a family member who is the closest in the whole world can make you feel the worst and the best. Moreover, the time cures all wounds.
Connection Between Poems
The ideas hidden behind the words can be very deceitful leading to misunderstanding and lack of perception. Poetry is one of the sectors that require a great level of understanding often based on the perception of an idea of mood of the poem. Thus, it is necessary to emphasize the features that are common and different for three poems “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning, “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, and “When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron.
So, the main idea of these three poems is broken love; the main feature that makes all these stanzas look and sound different is the way the authors introduce their feelings and emotions experienced in life situations. The main idea that should be enlarged on is the broken love. All three authors have approached this problem in different ways. Browning suggested a gloomy image of situation that takes place between two people and it is not clear whether they feel some affection to each other or at least some respect or not. Moreover, Browning’s vision of broken love is dark and oppressive because he cannot follow new hope before abandoning the old one.
According to Freudian psychoanalysis, the theme of death and life is typical for the author making him be afraid of loneliness and death though he might be afraid of her death and a life without her. Burns suggests a light vision of the idea of broken love because he does not feel any discomfort and does not blame anyone for the situation that happened. This author suggests a chain of colorful images of the garden in bloom and red roses that stand for a fresh feeling experienced at young age. The author’s memories are bright and pleasant making readers think about nice experience of affection and love associated with love at young age. Another idea of broken love have been introduced by Byron in his poem; its title suggests the concept of parting whereas two first stanzas make readers think about unpleasant experience of betrayal or something similar that took place in the author’s life.
Though the first part of the poem persuades readers in the darkness of mood of the author, Byron shows his real feelings in the second part of the poem. The third and fourth stanzas make readers feel a relief because of the author’s desire and power to forget all offences and forgive making this poem marked in two different colors.
Some poems are based on situations that took place in the real life of the author or his family. Moreover, poets can draw inspiration from events in political, social, and cultural life of country fighting for justice and defending the rights of those who cannot do that by themselves. However, the idea of love seems to be the most appropriate for the genre of poetry as only rhymed stanzas can effectively communicate the feelings and emotions of people in love. The idea of broken love can be introduced with the help of various methods and approaches.
Thus, “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning, “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, and “When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron are poems written by celebrated poets in different manner. The idea of broken love is introduced with the help of the mood created in minds of readers. In this respect, Browning represents a gloomy situation of life when two people are dependent on each other and suffer because of their inability to live apart. The next poem is introduced by burns who, contrasted to the poem by Browning, suggests an idea of memories that seem to be even more pleasant than the feeling itself. The last from the abovementioned is the poem created by Byron who suggests a change that happens in the poem starting from the gloomy mood and moving towards forgiving and forgetting the offences.
Thereby, the idea is the same whereas all authors have their individual vision of it drawing inspiration from their personal experience.
Browning, Robert. “Life in a Love.” Selections from Robert Browning. Ed.
Robert Morse Lovett. Boston: Wildside Press LLC, 2009. 69. Print. Burns, Robert. “A Red, Red Rose.” Poems and Songs of Robert Burns.
Vol. 2. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008. 292-293.
Print. Byron, George Gordon. “When We Two Parted.” A Selection from the Works of Lord Byron. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008.