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A Short Analysis of William Blake’s ‘Never Seek to Tell Thy Love’

What is the meaning of this curious Blake poem?

Is it always best to tell someone you have feelings for them? Is it sometimes better to withhold your true feelings, and not confess your love? Obviously this depends, but this underappreciated short poem by William Blake explains why sometimes it’s better to have loved and kept quiet than to have blabbed about the depth of your affections.

Never seek to tell thy love
Love that never told can be
For the gentle wind does move
Silently invisibly

I told my love I told my love
I told her all my heart
Trembling cold in ghastly fears
Ah she doth depart Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘To Flush, My Dog’

On Barrett Browning’s wonderful dog poem

‘A dog is a man’s best friend’, they say. But one hopes that in this case, as the old jest has it, ‘man embraces woman’, and that what the anonymous author of this proverb had in mind was the close bond between dogs and humans, whether men or women. Flush, the name of the cocker spaniel belonging to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-61), was clearly a close friend of his poet-owner, and Barrett Browning penned this lovely poem about her beloved dog.

To Flush, My Dog

Loving friend, the gift of one,
Who, her own true faith, hath run,
Through thy lower nature;
Be my benediction said
With my hand upon thy head,
Gentle fellow-creature!

Like a lady’s ringlets brown,
Flow thy silken ears adown
Either side demurely,
Of thy silver-suited breast
Shining out from all the rest
Of thy body purely. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Sonnets Are Full of Love’

A little-known poem about a mother’s love

Christina Rossetti (1830-94) wrote many sonnets, so it should come as little surprise that, like Keats and Wordsworth before her, she wrote what we might call a ‘meta-sonnet’, about the virtues and values of the sonnet. Here, Rossetti focuses on the ‘first Love’ in her life, her mother.

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name: Read the rest of this entry