Poem and Song Comparison

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Poemand Song Comparison

Throughmany creative writings such as songs and poems, the idea of love hasbeen portrayed as one that has brought healing to the human soul evenin times of great emotional despair. The work of Shakespeare as shownin Sonnet 29 “When in Despair with Fortune and Men’s Eyes” andthe song “The Very Thought of You,” both agree that love is acure to an injured spirit. The two works of art were created duringdifferent times with the sonnet dating back to the 1600 and the songcoming in during the 1960s which proves that the aspect of love isunchanging in all humanity. This essay shall focus on comparing howthe sonnet by Shakespeare and the song relate in terms of theme,structure, figurative language, and tone.



Asestablished, the sonnet and the song relate in terms of how they viewlove as a cure to human despair. The poem begins in a way thatcommunicates to the reader about the internal misery facing thepersona as a result of social exclusion and a personal misfortunethat seems to have doomed life. The persona appears to be speaking tosomeone who may be imagined about the depressing aspects of theirlife which many agree may have been self-made. The mode of the poemsuddenly changes midway where the aspect of love is introduced oncethe persona starts thinking of their beloved “Haply I think onthee, and then my state…From the sullen earth sings hymns atheaven’s gate” (Shmoop Editorial Team). This stanza communicateshow the thoughts of despair and loneliness portrayed before evaporateones the persona thinks about their love which brings in the theme oflove.

Likethe sonnet, the song “The Very Thought of You,” which from thetitle one can tell what may happen brings out how strong love is,even when it exists only in the mind. Though the words in the song donot show any signs of despair as those presented by the poem, thesinger in the song resonate with what the persona was trying to sayabout what thoughts of love do. The song says “The very thoughtsof you and I forget to do the ordinary things that everyone ought todo…I’m happy as a king” (Lyrics Freak). These words show thatthe thoughts of love take a person’s thoughts away from the presentto a place where all they feel is happy which may be the same as whatShakespeare was communicating through sonnet 29’s last stanzas.This aspect unites the two very different forms of art into one,binding the fact that to man, just the idea of love sets everythingright.


Sonnet29 is represented in two different sections where the first beginswith the persona clearly depressed and the second which is marked bythe sudden change of emotions evoked by the thought of their beloved.The song on the other hand sticks to one section that only speaksabout what love has done for the persona where only good things haveresulted from just thinking about their lover. This is a cleardistinction between the two especially since the goal seems to becommunicating how the thought of the lover who is perhaps the onebeen addressed results to better things for the subject. The sonnetby Shakespeare has 14 lines grouped into four lines each which makesets of three and the final two lines which conclude how the personafeels.

Thesonnet unlike all the other has an altered rhyme scheme which goesABABCDCDEBEBFFwhere it appears that the B in line 10 and 12 have been repeated bythe introduction of state in line 10. This may have been done toemphasize that the persona’s condition has changed from that inline 2 where he/she was depressed to when the change of “state”happened after thinking about love (Shmoop Editorial Team). On theother hand, the structure of the song is basic following a pattern ofAABBCCDD since it is very short which means that the ideas in thesong simply flow which translates to a simple structure. The rhymescheme of the words is fluent without any break.


Interms of figurative language, the sonnet uses a simile where thepersona describes how thoughts of love change his/her state “…liketo the lark at break of dawn arising…” (Shmoop Editorial Team).This line shows how the change occurs by likening it to how the larkreacts to the breaking of dawn. The use of simile is also seen in thesong when the writer describes how life is when they think of love“I’m happy as a king” (Lyrics Freak). There is also the use ofhyperbole in both works where in the sonnet, the persona is describedto have changed emotionally to a point he/she can reach heaven’sgate, which is impossible in reality but it explains how great thefeeling of love elevates the mood. Likewise, the singer sings of howthey see their lovers face everywhere “I see your face in everyflower, your eyes in stars above,” which is a hyperbole for howmuch they think of them (Lyrics Freak).


Thetone of the sonnet begins in a depressing and sad note where thepersona seems to be trapped in a world where nothing seems to begoing right both socially and internally. It however takes a turn toone that can be termed as intimate and positive once the personathinks of their love. On the contrary, the tone set by the song isloving and emotional as the singer describes the many feelings andpositive impacts that the subject been addressed brings into theirlife just by the love they feel.


Allin all,thesonnet, though created hundreds of years before the song brings outthe strength of love as an aspect of humanity. It shows clearly thatlove changes all, a concept that is strengthened by the songsapproach to the issue. Though both are in different genres, they aresimilar in theme, use of figurative language and relate in tone toemphasize the tone.


LyricsFreak. “Nat King Cole – The Very Thought of You Lyrics”, LyricsFreak,n.d,http://www.lyricsfreak.com/n/nat+king+cole/the+very+thought+of+you_20098108.html

ShmoopEditorial Team. &quotSonnet 29 Form and Meter.&quot&nbspShmoop.Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.http://www.shmoop.com/sonnet-29/rhyme-form-meter.html