Ballad - Love
The poem, Ballad, looks to view love in a very negative and cynical way, as this seems to be a classic tale of a man who manipulates a woman. The poem starts off with a 'faithless shepherd' who 'courted' a young girl. At this point, we are not made aware of the girl's name. Slightly later, in the opening stanza, we are told about how the shepherd 'stole away' her 'liberty when my poor heart was strange to men', and she clarifies this again on the next line, once again by saying 'He came and smiled and stole it then', we begin to get a feel that the poet is trying to convey how powerful love can be, as the shepherd manipulates the girl, who simply agrees to everything the shepherd desires. Later in the poem, we see evidence that the girl could be pregnant, as she says "When my apron would hang low me he sought through frost and snow when it puckered up with shame and I sought him, he never came", this stanza is incredibly significant in the way that we have two scenarios that juxtapose each other. Again, this stanza is showing the power of love, and what the girl had done just for love. We get a sense that she is pregnant, as the poet uses a metaphor to convey the height of the apron. The only possible explanation for the inclusion of such a metaphor is that she is pregnant, alternatively this could be suggesting she gained lots of weight, although that is irrelevant, and is unlikely. In that same stanza, there are two more lines that tell the reader that the man may have 'used' the girl, and left her. “When my apron would hang low Me he sought through frost and snow When it puckered up with shame And I sought him, he never came” the alternate lines of that quotation tell us that the man only cared about her when she wasn't pregnant; when she was, he abandons her. This may suggest that the girl might be feeling confused in this situation, therefore, this stanza conveys how powerful her love was, and how cynical the shepherd's love was, this also...
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