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OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Love and Relationships

pdodd | Sunday December 07, 2014

Categories: KS4, OCR GCSE, OCR GCSE English Literature 2015, Component 02: Exploring Poetry and Shakespeare

Guide Navigation

  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | How to Use
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Contents of Poems
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Love and Relationships
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Natural World
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Conflict and Power
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Time and Place
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Youth and Age
  • OCR GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Glossary

Love and Relationships

A

In this poem John Clare portrays falling in love for the first time.

First Love

I ne’er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale as deadly pale,
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked ‘what could I ail?’
My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my sight away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start;
They spoke as chords do from the string
And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter’s choice?
Is love’s bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice
And love’s appeal to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before:
My heart has left its dwelling-place
And can return no more.

What is this poem about?

John Clare’s 19th century poem tells of the effect the sight of his first love had on him. The first two stanzas describe how he became physically weak with blood draining from his limbs after the sight of this love. He is powerless and in the final stanza he reflects on his inability to communicate with the girl which leads to her not realising his real thoughts. The poem is a sad reflection on love and the anguish it can bring and is highly sentimental and at times painful to the imaginary reader.

The poet’s use of language and...


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