Compare The Two Poets

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Compare the ways the two poets have used poetic form, structure and language to express their ideas. ‘What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why’, a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay, as well as ‘Never give all the heart’, a sonnet by Yeats, are deeply rooted in the theme of love. Both in the sonnet form, both conform to a traditional way of expressing love and both poems have similarities and dissimilarities in form, structure and language. Both poems have a message of the transience of love. Millay mentions ‘unremembered lads that not again’. We gain an idea that Millay has had many lovers, however, no matter how many lovers she had had, the feeling of love will one day become a thing lost in the past. Yeats shows similar ideas, ‘For everything that’d lovely is but a brief, dreamy, king delight.’ The word ‘dreamy’ suggests that love is not a feeling comprehendible to the mind, more of an essence that is forgotten once it has passed. The poems agree on the feelings after love has passed. Through a metaphor, Millay says that love is something that ‘in me sings no more’. This advertises love as a fuel to her, the word ‘sings’ suggest that it is doing good for her body and soul and gives an impression that without it she feels lifeless, lonely and empty. This could also be seen as a reference to her Beauty and looks fading with age. ‘Never give all the heart’ warns ‘he that made this knows all the costs’ explaining the consequences of giving all the heart in an unrequited love are high. The two poems concentrate on very different types of love. Millay’s love seems to be that of a more lustful, spontaneous and inconsequential type. The opening lines ‘What lips my lips have kissed, and where and why, I have forgotten.’ This suggests a promiscuous and scandalous girl who met a lot of people in her life. The tricolon has a tone of a difficult recall task, giving

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