Examine the ways in which poems celebrate the power of love.

Essay by neiliciousCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2008

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In writing To Althea, From Prison, Richard Lovelace not only gives poetic expression to the power of love but he also delivers an influential political message; that no form of imprisonment can suppress one's beliefs. By not referencing the monarchs or events that occurred during his time of writing, and instead using generic vocabulary - such as 'King' - Lovelace extends the meanings of his poem, to be applicable universally. 'Love', as mentioned in the opening line, is the surface theme of this poem; Lovelace writes to Althea as if she were the subject of his dreams, his true love. In four octave-long stanzas, he presents the powerful notion that against all duress, his love for Althea will prevail. Yet, readers are constantly aware of Lovelace's coupling belief, of divine freedom in love and in personal belief: 'If I have freedom in my love, / And in my soul am free, /Angels alone, soar above, / Enjoy such liberty.'Similar

ideas run through Elizabeth I's On Monsieur's Departure, wherein she displays a series of contradictions to create two levels of interpretation: the surface interpretation, intended for her 'monsieur' and his country's eyes, and the real meaning, intended to reveal her true feelings towards him and intended for her own country to understand. This is conveyed carefully in line 2; with evocative words like 'forced' and 'hate' to convey the exaggeration and falsity of distress she feels, and the monosyllabic exactness of the line gives this emotion in this poem a sense of technicality that makes it seem more clinical than heartfelt. Hence this poem and To Althea, From Prison are similar by way of using a surface interpretation to shelter the true meaning; for the sake of political correctness.

In terms of meter, To Althea, From Prison alters between iambic...