13 Jan 2016

Song by Lady Mary Wroth Essay Analysis for Cambridge IGCSE Literature Exam 2016

In this poem, love is presented negatively through the personification of him as a ‘child’. The technique of juxtaposition dominates to show the contradictions of love, and ultimately that it is wise not to ‘seek’ him as he is prone to ‘flying’. What makes this so powerful is the list-like feel of the overwhelming problems of love.

Paragraph About Structure
Wroth uses end-stopped quatrains to create a contained feel, as if she is trying to pin down the nature of love. The frequently end-stopped lines create a list-like effect of the overwhelming problems of love as, ‘crying’, ‘flying’, ‘craving’ despite ‘having’. The rhyming couplets create a nursery-rhyme feel which links to the presentation of love as a ‘child’ and emphasises the frequent juxtapositions. Most lines are balanced, weighing the ingratitude of love against the gifts he receives, contrasting  ‘never satisfied’ despite ‘having’ at the end of the first stanza. Wroth gives the poem a circular feel by the repetition of ‘flying’ and ‘crying’ in both the first and final stanzas, as if love is an endless loop of selfishness.

Paragraph About: Voice/Speaker (sort of)
The personification of love as a child references Cupid, the blind god of love, yet Wroth twists it to a sense of being undeveloped, selfish and slight. While the idea of a child ‘crying’ should evoke pity, she emphasises through the rhyme that he is ungrateful: ‘flying’ as soon as he is ‘pleased’. Negatives abound. In ‘nothing’ and ‘not one word’, she presents love as a void, a nothingness. Her frequent use of absolutes ‘ever’, ‘never’ and ‘endless’ portray love as an extreme - wholly negative - emotion. This is also shown in her use of present tense, which gives a gnomic, wisdom tone, which appeals to the reader where she uses the second person in: ‘He will triumph in your wailing’. Here, the future tense suggests the nature of love is so fixed, it can be predicted.

Paragraph About Language Techniques (Roughly Chronological Order)

The major technique in the poem is juxtaposition, through which Wroth portrays the contradictions and ingratitude of love. Despite what you may ‘give’, the more he is ‘craving’ and despite ‘having’ is ‘never satisfied’ which presents him as voracious: a god that can never be appeased. She also uses incongruity, suggesting his ‘treasure’ is ‘endless folly’ - an unsettling juxtaposition.

This essay is incomplete at 387 words, but would score an A* (9) if it were.
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.