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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

OBSERVATIONS IN THE ART OF ENGLISH POESY: 28, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Rose-cheeked Laura, come" is a poem by Thomas Campion that was first published in 1601. The poem is a lyric love song that celebrates the beauty and charm of a young woman named Laura. In this critical essay, we will examine the themes, style, and structure of "Rose-cheeked Laura, come" and analyze the ways in which it reflects the cultural and social context of the Elizabethan era.

One of the central themes of the poem is the idealization of beauty and youth. Laura is portrayed as a paragon of physical perfection, with her "rose-cheeked" complexion and "lily hand." Her beauty is described in terms of natural imagery, such as "pearls" and "roses," which serves to elevate her above ordinary mortals. At the same time, however, the poem also acknowledges the fleeting nature of beauty, as expressed in the line "while you are young and fair, / gaze on, nor spare."

Another important theme in the poem is the power of music and poetry to evoke and express emotions. Campion's language is rich and melodious, and he employs a variety of poetic devices, such as alliteration, rhyme, and repetition, to create a musical effect. The poem also contains a musical notation, indicating that it was meant to be sung. The combination of text and music creates a powerful emotional impact, and allows the poet to convey his feelings of love and admiration for Laura.

In terms of style, "Rose-cheeked Laura, come" is notable for its simplicity and elegance. Campion employs a straightforward and unadorned style that emphasizes the clarity and beauty of his language. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, which gives it a gentle and flowing rhythm that enhances its musicality. At the same time, Campion also uses language that is direct and intimate, which creates a sense of personal connection between the poet and his subject.

Structurally, the poem is organized into three stanzas, each of which contains four lines. The first two stanzas are addressed directly to Laura, urging her to come and enjoy the pleasures of love and nature. The third stanza shifts focus to the poet himself, who expresses his own desire to be with Laura. This structure creates a sense of progression and development, as the poem moves from an external appeal to an internal expression of emotion.

In conclusion, "Rose-cheeked Laura, come" is a beautiful and timeless love poem that reflects the cultural and social context of the Elizabethan era. Through its celebration of beauty, youth, and the power of music and poetry, the poem captures the spirit of a time when art and literature were considered essential components of the human experience. At the same time, its simple and elegant style, direct language, and intimate tone make it a work of literature that continues to resonate with readers and audiences to this day.


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