Ancient Love Poetry Recap
They can also remind us that love is often unpredictable, and that even the most perfect relationships can end in tragedy.
By studying the works of ancient poets, we can gain a greater understanding of the human heart, and how to navigate the ups and downs of our own romantic relationships.
- Ancient Love Poetry Recap
- Why Study Ancient Poetry?
- Ancient Mesopotamian Love Poem
- Alas for youth by Ferdowsi
- Michael Drayton’s Since There’s No Help
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee?
- Percy Bysshe Shelley Love’s Philosophy
- Love’s Philosophy
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Why Study Ancient Poetry?
In ancient love poetry, we can find many lessons about love. We can learn about the importance of communication, trust, and respect. We can also learn about the dangers of jealousy and possessiveness. By studying ancient cultures’ poetry, we can better understand love and its many facets.
Below are a few ancient poems that are rich with love lessons we can all learn from in some way.
Ancient Mesopotamian Love Poem
The “Love Song of Shu-Sin” is an ancient Mesopotamian love poem, written in the Akkadian language. It is one of the oldest known love poems, dating back to the early 3rd millennium BCE. The poem is about the love between the king Shu-Sin of Sumer and his bride, the queen Inanna of Uruk. The poem describes their courtship, marriage, and sexual union.
(Translated by Samuel Noah Kramer)
Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet,
Lion, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet.
You have captivated me, let me stand tremblingly before you.
Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber,
You have captivated me, let me stand tremblingly before you.
Lion, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber.
Bridegroom, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey,
In the bedchamber, honey-filled,
Let me enjoy your goodly beauty,
Lion, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey.
Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me,
Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies,
My father, he will give you gifts.
Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit,
Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn,
Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart,
Lion, sleep in our house until dawn.
Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi by TangLung
You, because you love me,
Give me pray of your caresses,
My lord god, my lord protector,
My Shu-Sin, who gladdens Enlil’s heart,
Give my pray of your caresses.
Your place goodly as honey, pray lay your hand on it,
Bring your hand over like a gishban-garment,
Cup your hand over it like a gishban-sikin-garment
It is a balbale-song of Inanna.
Alas for youth by Ferdowsi
The poem “Alas for youth” by Ferdowsi is a contemplation on the fleeting nature of youth and how one must make the most of it while it lasts. The poem is written in the voice of an old man looking back on his life with regret, longing for the days when he was young and full of vigor.
(Translated by R. A. Nicholson)
Much have I labored, much read o’er
Of Arabic and Persian lore,
Collecting tales unknown and known;
Now two and sixty years are flown.
Regret, and deeper woe of sin,
’Tis all that youth has ended in,
And I with mournful thoughts rehearse
Bu Táhir Khusrawáni’s verse:
“I mind me of my youth and sigh,
Alas for youth, for youth gone by!
Michael Drayton‘s Since There’s No Help
In “Since There’s No Help,” Michale Drayton conveys a sense of resignation and acceptance in regard to their current situation. The poem reflects on the idea that sometimes one must simply accept the hand they’ve been dealt, even if it isn’t ideal. The speaker also touches on the idea that time will eventually bring about change, even if that change is not what we hoped for.
by Michael Drayton
Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part;
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart
That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee?
In “How Do I Love Thee?” Elizabeth Barrett Browning uses a series of rhetorical questions to explore the different ways in which she loves her subject. The first quatrain asks four questions about how she loves her subject “with a love that grows.” The second quatrain asks four more questions, this time about how she loves her subject “with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!” In each instance, the speaker is emphasizing a different aspect of her love.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning – 1806-1861
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Percy Bysshe Shelley Love’s Philosophy
This poem, “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, is a beautiful expression of the speaker’s deep love for his or her partner. The first two stanzas explore the physical aspects of love, while the third and fourth stanzas move into the metaphysical. The speaker compares their love to the natural world, saying that it is as essential and ever-present as the sun, air, water, and fire.
by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns
A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns is a classic example of a Scottish love poem. The imagery is of a red rose, which is the symbol of love, and the poet uses this to express his deep love for his partner. The poem is also about time and how it changes things, but ultimately love endures. The poet uses simple language to express these complex emotions, which makes the poem accessible to everyone.
by Robert Burns (1759-1796)
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
The Mystery of Love – Rumi
The poem, “The Mystery of Love” by Rumi, is a beautiful and mysterious exploration of the nature of love. In this poem, Rumi uses vivid imagery and lyrical language to paint a picture of love as something that is both powerful and elusive. The speaker in the poem speaks of love as something that is both all-consuming and yet also something that we can never fully understand. This mystery is what makes love so intoxicating and wonderful.
Final Thoughts on Ancient Love Poetry Recap
In conclusion, ancient love poetry recap can teach us a lot about love and relationships. These poems can help us to understand the complex emotions involved in love, and to see love from different perspectives. They can also inspire us to express our own love in new and creative ways.