Love through the ages

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Caroline Period – 1625-1649

Metaphysical – first half of the 17th Century (dates vary but usually considered 1600-1670)

ndrew Marvell (1621-1678)


arvell was an English Metaphysical Poet and Parliamentarian. He was a close friend of John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost. Marvell was never a Puritan despite being a Parliamentarian. He managed to avoid any political problems during the changes to Parliament over this period. His poetry, like Donne’s is characterised by its use of wit, intellect and extended metaphor.
The Definition of Love
My Love is of a birth as rare
As 'tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone.

Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne'r have flown
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive

Where my extended Soul is fixt,
But Fate does Iron wedges drive,
And alwaies crouds it self betwixt.

For Fate with jealous Eye does see.

Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruine be,
And her Tyrannick pow'r depose.

And therefore her Decrees of Steel

Us as the distant Poles have plac'd,
(Though Loves whole World on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac'd.

Unless the giddy Heaven fall,

And Earth some new Convulsion tear;
And, us to joyn, the World should all
Be cramp'd into a Planisphere.

1641-1651 English Civil War

1649 – The beheading of Charles I

1653 – Installation of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector following the short lived Commonwealth of England
As Lines so Loves Oblique may well
Themselves in every Angle greet:
But ours so truly Paralel,
Though infinite can never meet.

Therefore the Love which us doth bind,

But Fate so enviously debarrs,
Is the Conjunction of the Mind,

And Opposition of the Stars.

Stuart Period – 1603-1714

Restoration – 1660-1700

Neo-Classical Period – 1660-1785 (although can vary to 1798)

John Wilmot - Earl of Rochester (1647-1680)


prominent figure during the Restoration, Rochester was a poet, playwright, friend of Charles II and English Libertine. His poetry was known for its satirical features and bawdiness. His life was reflected in his poetry. He was known for his drunkenness and liberal ways when at court, which resulted in his death at the young age of 33 from venereal diseases.

Absent From Thee

Absent from thee I languish still;
Then ask me not, when I return?
The straying fool 'twill plainly kill
To wish all day, all night to mourn.

Dear! from thine arms then let me fly,

That my fantastic mind may prove
The torments it deserves to try
That tears my fixed heart from my love.

When, wearied with a world of woe,

To thy safe bosom I retire
where love and peace and truth does flow,
May I contented there expire,

Lest, once more wandering from that heaven,

I fall on some base heart unblest,
Faithless to thee, false, unforgiven,
And lose my everlasting rest.

1660 – Restoration of the monarchy – Charles II

1665 – Great Plague

1666 – Great Fire of London

Neo-Classical Period- 1660-1785 (although can vary to 1798)

Augustan Age – 1770-1745

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