First Love by John Clare

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Explore how the poet conveys his intimate experience of love in this poem

First Love’ by John Clare is a poem written about unrequited love, and how love can die. To show this, the poet used poetic techniques, such as metaphors, contrast and images; however the tone and the pattern of syllables in the stanzas also played a major part.

The first stanza has 8 syllables in each line, which expresses an optimistic feeling, showing that his life is full. The second one, though has a pattern of 8, 6 syllables per line, showing that now, he misses something, he is losing his hope, as 2 syllables have disappeared. The last stanza continues this pattern, showing that now, he realizes what is happening to him, and he sees the cold reality (which is also shown by mentioning winter). The change in the syllables shows the continuation of loss of hope, until nothing is left.

The first verse includes the verb “struck” which means that love is unexpected, but it has a violent effect, showing that love can be dangerous. The next line has alliteration: “sweet” and “sudden” have opposite meanings, but are united by the sound‘s’. That shows that love includes a many things, which may contradict to each other. “Bloomed” and “sweet flower” are also mentioned, that are connected to spring. This is effective, because spring is the time men are in love, and it is also when new thing start in people’s lives, e.g. love. Despite that, the next line holds the negative word “deadly” in it, which could convey, that the poem will end negatively. Negativity doesn’t stop there though, in stanza one, there are other examples of it, as well, such as “ail”(sick) and “clay”, which could be associated with a dead body. The second stanza has “blood” written in it twice. Blood is the image of passion, life and danger, things that love all includes. There is a Biblical reference in it too:”seemed midnight at noon day”, which shows that when Christ was crucified, the day turned to light. This could...
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