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An Assessment of George Hilbert’s, Love and Carol Ann Duffy’s, Valentine

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I am going to talk about two different kinds of love: mature love and religious love. I will compare Love (III) by George Hilbert (religious) and Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy (mature) and show the contrasts and trends in both.

These two poems have distinct meanings, as one of them relates to religion and Jesus’ love for us. It portrays the Last Supper, and the author attempts to create greater intimacy and identification between God and us by personifying it into a feeling which is common. Valentine is about a woman who has been hurt previously in love affairs and is giving her lover an onion for his valentine’s gift, because with it you are able to associate images both with an onion and love. The themes are both about love, but in each case love is felt in a different way, and each has a particular message: the religious one is that God was prepared to die for us, simply so he could welcome us back in Heaven. The mature love is more is more avid and also insecure; it is the kind humans feel towards their lovers. In both poems we see that love lasts a long time and ‘love is blind.’

The tone in love (III) is of a man, unsure whether he is worthy of the love of God. “I the unkind, ungratefull Ah my deare, I cannot look on thee.”

The narrator feels he has not shown sufficient appreciation towards the love God has entrusted in him. The tone changes immensely throughout the course of the poem. At the start of it, the narrator has a more repressed tone. In the second stanza, the narrator starts talking with ‘God’ and uses confession, guiltiness. In the final stanza, we can observe he has become more confident and opts for dining with Jesus. The changes in tone here are evolved by the narrator gaining more credence as he talks to Jesus, who reassures him of his value. Valentine has a harsher tone and an indication of insecurity in the voice.

“Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring, if you like.” The three words alone on the sentence become vulnerable, and indicate that the narrator is not absolutely sure of what she wants.

Valentine initiates with beautiful images, and has a hopeful tone, but the tone is increasingly more violent, and once you get to the final stanza, more coarse tone. There are many commands, and passionate, desperate tones. Here the diversion in tones progresses by the woman, becoming more impatient and desperate, mixing passionate and aggressive tones.

The images in Love (III) are vivid, as we can almost see the dining table with all the apostles and the food. The images, however, do not have so great an impact, as it is not an unusual image. The author creates the image of God making the humans,

“…grow slack. From my first entrance in…”

“Who made the eyes but” God watches all the people growing slowly since they were born, and in effect it was him who created the eyes, as well as all the rest.

The images in Valentine are much more effective and much more powerful, because Carol Ann Duffy blends the romantic images like the moon; with harsh, violent images, by using phrases such as,

“Its fierce kiss… possessive and faithful… for as long as we are.” “Lethal.”

The narrator has been hurt and needs to ‘own’ her lover, to keep him close.

In this poem we observe more metaphorical imagery, whereas Love (III) we see more literal.

“So I did sit and eat,” from Love (III) is a sentence that is not open to more than one interpretation.

“It will blind you with tears…” from Valentine is an expression.

Valentine uses visual, touch and smell responses; and Love (III) only visual.

Valentine has a greater energy than Love (III), as we see more movement and images. The language in Valentine is more modern, making it easier for us to understand; opposed to the sometimes archaic English in Love (III).

Love (III) reflects religious love in a different perspective, it does not show a person praising God throughout the poem; it goes deeper and shows this man talking to God, and he clarifies God into one feeling: love. Valentine reflects mature love, of a woman who suffered disillusions, and shows her fervency of emotions mixed with her doubts, what we feel when in love.

Love (III) is an unconventional religious love poem, which personifies God into a person called love and creates a dialogue between Love and the narrator. It portrays the Last Supper and in essence shows Jesus’ love for us, and his eagerness to die in our place.

Valentine is about romantic love and all our fears and desires when we are in love.

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An Assessment of George Hilbert’s, Love and Carol Ann Duffy’s, Valentine. (2019, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from
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