Unrequited love poetry

Tales from Ovid, Echo and Narcissus (8 AD)

Translated by Ted Hughes

“The moment Echo saw Narcissus
She was in love. She followed him
Like a starving wolf.”

“I would sooner be dead
Than let you touch me.”

“Love was fixed in her body
Like a barbed arrow. There it festered.
With his rejection.”

If to Love, Pierre de Ronsard, 16th century
16 line sonnet

“If to love is to live in you more than in myself,
To hide great weariness under a mask of joy.”

“I love you, knowing full well my pain is deadly.
The heart says so often enough; the tongue is silent.”

Venus and Adonis, William Shakespeare 16th century
“Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love. That inward beauty and invisible […]
Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see, yet should I be in love by touching thee.”

“Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;
Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies”

Key AO2 Venus and Adonis
Comedy and pathos in the way Venus tries to seduce Adonis

The Folly of Being Comforted, W.B. Yeats, 20th century
“I have not a crumb of comfort, not a grain.
Time can but make her beauty over again:
Because of that great nobleness over her.”

“O heart! O heart! If she’d but turn her head,
You’d know the folly of being comforted.”

Key Ao2 devices, folly of being comforted
Reverted traditional sonnet form.
Mixture of 10 and 11 syllables.
AA, BB, CC rhyme scheme
3 voices: the heart, the narrator and his friend (his beloved)

Warming her Pearls, Carol Ann Duffy, 1987 20th century
“She’s beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed;”

“I see her every movement in my head… Undressing,
taking off her jewels,
slipping naked into bed, the way
she always does…”`

Key AO2 Devices
Carefully structured six quatrains

Some aphoristic sentences, with words missing reflecting the maid’s diction, the language is simple, many sentences contain lists of verbs

Rope metaphor- the rope represents power

Sensual imagery

Satire/ bitter tone