How John Clare Presents 'First Love'

402 Words2 Pages
In the poem ‘First Love’ John Clare presents the experience of first love as life-changing and a pivotal moment for an individual. In the beginning stanza, John Clare presents first love as an experience like no other which must be felt to be able to understand its power and importance, ‘love so sudden and so sweet’. John Clare uses powerful words such a ‘ne’er’ and ‘stole’ to give a greater importance to his portrayal of first love. He enforces the idea that love is beyond our control where he says ‘my legs refused to walk away’. In this line Clare is claiming that this experience of first love is so dramatic that it overpowers our senses. Here he is touching on a claim often related to true love which gives a more life altering feel to the experience of first love he is portraying. Throughout the second stanza, John Clare is attempting to describe first love as a mind blowing experience leaving him dazed, ‘took my eyesight away’. The most common reference to brain alteration is a drug; Clare may be touching on a very common romantic stereotype that love is a drug in itself. This enables him to present the experience of first love as more intriguing and romantic. He is giving the reader something to relate to. He also quotes many symbols related to love in the poem such as ‘heart’ and ‘flowers’. In the line ‘I could not see a single thing’ he is emphasising that he is truly ‘blinded’ by love and he is experiencing the common symptoms of ‘first love’. The reader can relate to these symptoms and the text could compel emotions relating to love from the reader. This constant reference to feelings and stereotypes in correlation to love emphasises the romanticism of the experience of first love. When John Clare states ‘My heart has left its dwelling place and can return no more’ he is directly presenting the experience of first love as a life-changing
Open Document