Anthology Poets AS WJEC

For revision for my resti in January, Poets from the Anthology.

Missing out New Prince, New Pomp, The War Song of Dinias Vawr, A Musical Insrument and Song due to them being in the last two exams. 


Love That Doth Reign and Live Within My Though

Henry Howard

 Overview- The speaker is a victim or unrequited love, anxious that she does not return his feelings. Thus embarresed and shamed he is captivated. The lady used to smile but now she is angry, and deserts him. Although he is now scarred the volta depictes he would rather have loved and lost than not to have loved at all.
-Henry Howard descended from kings and was reared at Windsor Castle. A cousin to Anne Boleyn.
-Close to Thomas Wyatt, he was the first poet to introduce the Petrachan sonnet form to England, later used by -Shakespeare. 
-First poet to write in unrhymed iambic pentamter. 
-Originally titled 'A Lover Rebuked'
-A translation of the italian sonneteer, Petrach
-Howard and Wyatt both translated the poem but Howard's was more favoured.
Petrachan Sonnet
-Petrach was an italian poet and scholar. Wrote Cansonere which contained 366 poems- for the unobtainable woman Laura.
-Introspective self-analysis of Petrach's sonnets and the depiction of a female ideal who is both mistress and saint influenced poets of the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Sonnet CXXX


Overview-The speaker in the poem provides a sseries of insults and critisms to describe his 'mistress'. This deliberately challenges the contemporary view of buety. The couplet tells us how despite her imperfections, the speaker considers his love a rarity. 


  • Most famous English sonneteer, despite clear influences of other poets like Spenser and Sidney who also use this form. 
  • The Sonnet is written for 'the dark lady' of Shakespeare's 154 sonnet sequence, reverses the usual conceits,parodying Petrachs blazon.
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Sonnet:Batter My Heart

John Donne

Overview-In this poem the speaker commands God to be physically violent towards him, in order to force him into  a submission of belief. The speaker uses imagery such as warfare, marriage and blacksmithery to express his relationship with God. The poem concludes with the shocking request for the speaker to be ***** by God.


  • In this rather unholy 'Holy Sonnet' Gonne begs God to overthrow him completely
  • Donne lived in an age of religiuous turmoil where the succeding monarchies altered the religious beliefs.
  • Donne was born a catholic but was later converted to Anglicanism
  • Donne has become known as the most prominent Metaphysical poets

Metaphysical poets use their wits to develop new and imaginative conceits. 

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To Virgins, To Make Much Of Time

Robert Herrick

Overview-This poem is written following the 'Carpe Diem' tradition which urges women to seize the day and enjoy their sexuality at its prime. SImilar to Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'. A problem is outlined and advice is offered by the narrative voice. A series of comparisons are made to suggest time is passing such to add urgency to the narrative's advice.

Context(Cavalier Poets)

  • Cavalier poets like Robert Herrick accept the ideal of the Renaissence gentlemen who believe in love, soldier wit, man of affairs, muscisian and poet but abandon the motion of being a pattern of Christian chivelry. 
  • Life was too enjoyable to waste and poems were to be written in the intervals of living.
  • The Mistress in now achievable, no longer impossible chaste goddess to be wooed.
  • They believe poets and poems need not the matter of earnest or public concern but of light hearted fun.
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Sonnet XIX:On His Blindness

John Milton

Overview- In this religious sonnet Milton explores the dilemma of how he can best serve God in thge event of his oncoming blindness. Milton believes his only talent is his ability to write and this will be useless when he is totally blind. He is answered by 'patience' simply not to worry as those who do nothing also serve. 


  • John Milton originally wanted to become a preist, but at college became very involved with the political puritan cause, becoming a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell
  • Milton became totally blind in 1651. 
  • Milton's reference to talent refers to a biblical parable found in Matthew 25:14, where a master gives his talents to three servants and scolds the servant who feebly dug his in a hole and did nothing with it. 
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To My Dear And Loving Husband

Anne Bradstreet

Overview- In this short poem the speaker talks of her devotion to her husband and contemptment with married life. She challenges other women to compare their relationship to her own marriage and prays that their bond will remain after death.


  • Born in England, Anne's parents emigrated to the New World in 1630 and finally settled in Massachusetts 
  • Married SImon Bradstreet at the age of 18 and bore 8 children. 
  • Bradstreets father ensured she was well educated. 
  • Simon and her father were instrumental in the founding of Harvard University.
  • Puritan Ideology can be viewed in a bad light because of its attitude towards women and srict moral code. However, Bradtreets education allowed her to write with authority about politics, history, medicine and theology
  • She had a personal library of books of over 800 before many were destroyed in a fire. 
  • Recognised as the first authentic American poet.
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The Mower Against Gardens

Andrew Marvell 

Overview-The first in the sequence of poems narrated by a character called 'Damon the Mower'. The lyric poem is in the pastoral mode which praises Nature's proper mixture of 'Wild and fragrant innocence' and attacks sophistication of human inventions. The poem suggests that man has mussed the point of pure nature and lusts instread after the exotic. 


  • Marvell unites Cavalier lyric grace with Metaphysical seriousness. 
  • He was a tutor to the daughter of a general on the puritan side in the Civil War and was a colleage of Miltons.
  • May have had leanings towards the opposed royalist side. 
  • Most of the work for which he is now famous for was not published until after his death. 
  • He travelled widely and spoke many languages writing poetrry in English and Latin. .
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A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late ....

A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late Famous General

Jonathan Swift

Overview-Swift criticises the humble death in his bed of a supposedly great soldier who should have died in battle, as many of his men had been forced to do. Swift's poem holds a moral message for all men of high rank-we are all equal in the state of death.


  • Swift is most famous for his satirical work such as Gulliver's Travels.
  • An Irish man, interested into the British political failings.
  • Swift satirises the death of the Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, one of the great generals who died un 1722.
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The Tyger

William Blake

Overview- Blake asks a series of rhetorical questions regarding to the nature of the creation of the vicious beast known as 'The Tyger'. Blake is specifically interested in how a compassionate God wo could create an innocent creature such as the lamb could also create the hellish power of the tiger, with an acknowledgement of its beauty.


  • William was a romantic poet who saw himself as a proohet, his ideas coinciding with a period of humanitarism.
  • He took part in the abolishment of the slave trade.
  • 'The Tyger' comes from Songs of Experience 1794, which is the compoanion of Songs of Innocence 1789. 
  • Blake saw these works as embodying 'the two contrary states of the human soul.'


Romanticism emerged from the end of the 18th century from Enlightenment, Where people, rather than relying on God, became stressed about discovering the truth. The romantics emphasize feelings and imagination. There is a fascination with youth and innocence. 

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I Wondered Lonely As A Cloud

William Wordsworth

Overview- The speaker in the poem describes his encounter with a field of daffodils and the effects the flowers have on his emotions. The daffodils are personified throughout the poem dancing and fluttering in "glee". The speaker is moved by the vision and feels as happy as the flowers themselves, he often callsto mind the vision in moment of quiet reflection.

Context- This poem was inspired by an event on April 15, 1802 where he and his sister came across a "long belt" of daffodils whilst walking in the Lake District. This is usually considered Wordsworth's most famous work and is seen as a classic English Pomantic poem becaus eof the uplifting view of nature. 

Wordswortg is a Romantic poet and most of his work reflects the beuty of nature untouched by humanity and a reconciliation of man with his enviroment are two of the fundamental principles of the romantic november within poetry. 

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Kubla Khan

Samual Taylor Coleridge 

Overview-The speaker describes an exotic place called 'Xanadu' which is ruled over by 'Kubla Khan'. The speaker creates a vivid  sense of place by describing landscape of this unusual land which can be read as a metaphorical representation of creativity and sexuality. The landscape embodies extremes of emotion, stillness and frenzied activity. The extract ends with a threat of war. 

Context- A close friend of William Wordsworth, they both somewhat started Romantic poets. With an opium addiction which is clearly visible in the hallucinative clarity of the images in this poem. Kubla Khan is a symbolic work that probes new psychological and emotional depths, Coleridge had fallen asleep whilst reading a description of the pleasure gardens consructed in Zanadu by the 13th century Mongal King of China, Khan (King) Kublai. While asleep the dream landscape of Xanadu appeared to him as part of a dream. 

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She Walks In Beauty

George Gordon Byron

Overview- The speaker (suggested to be Byron) admires from afar a dark haired woman of great beauty. The focus is very much on her physical appearance and Byron uses several contrasts to explore the nature of her perfection. The final verse moves away from her physcial beauty and speaks instead of more abstract qualities such as goodness and innocence. 

Context-Lord Byron was born in London and raised partially in Scotland after his mother returned there after his father squandered all the money.Byron is also infamous for his lifestyle which included extravagent living love and debt. 

It was said 'She walks in Beauty' was inspired by the poets first sight of his young cousin by marriage Anne Wilmot. 

Byron fought against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence for this he is considered a national hero, while he died in Greece for contracting a fever.

Lady Caroline Lamb quoted he was 'mad, bad and dengerous to know'

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Percy Bysshe Shelly 

Overview-The speaker describes a traveller who tells him of a statue he witnessed during his travels in a foreign land. The statue belongs to Ozymanduas, an ancient tyrannical ruler who ruled unjustly. An ancient Greek historian Didorus Siculus(1st century B.C) calls the tomb of the great Eqytian Pharoah Rameses II, the tomb of Ozymandias. The statue, a crumbling wreck, acts as a metaphor for human ambition. Shelly's message is that even the most powerful of men cannot stand against the erosion of the sands of time.

Context- A witty sonnet exploring the vanity of human ambition. Shelly was a Romantic poet who held many revolutionary ideas. He believed in opposing Tyranny and threatened political conservation with his aetheist and anti-establishment writing. Married to Mary Shelly, the writer of Frankenstein.

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First Love

John Clare

Overview-The speaker describes and experience of 'first love'. He is overwhelmed by the sight of a beautiful woman who captivates him completely. The poem explores the physical and emotional reactions of a person in love can experience, including a rather dramatic swoon or faint. Towards the end of the poem the speaker reveals a sense of insecurity through a series of metaphorical interrogatives which suggest an understanding that his feelings of love can never be realised, but the speaker's life has be changed forever by the encounter.

Clare was a working class poet who wrote powerflly about nature, of a rural childhood and of the alienated and unstable self. 'First Love' is a poem about his love for Mary Joyce whom he met in his native village. She was the daughter of a wealthy farmer who would never let the relationship develop, he later married a young woman and had a family of seven children. In later years, Clare became mentally ill and had to be confined to an asylum. One of his delusions was that he was Lord Byron and another was that he had actually married Mary Joyce and his marriage to his real wife was biggamous.

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To Autumn

John Keats

Overview-The poem celebrates the sensuous beauty of the material world, rendered intensely bignant by the acknowledgment of transience and decay. The structure of the poem develops descriptions of late summer, morning into autumn and the suffestions of Winter to follow.  Verse two moves into a direcrt address of a metaphorical other, Autumn. The sense of the speakers regret is overwhelming in the final verse and the loss that acompaniesthe onset of winter with its figurative implications. 

Context- Keat was part of the second generation of Romantic poets such as Shelly and Byron. Desperate to achieve recognition for his work, Keats devoted himself to writing poetry, unfortunately, Keats died at the tender age of 26. During his lifetime his work was not received well by his critics and he died in ignorance of the importance of his word for future generations of poets. Keats' life experiences have clearly influenced the writing of this poem. The death of his mother and brother from tuberculosis and his own ill-health are poignantly discussed in this ode to seasonal change.

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Alfred Lord Tennyson

Overview- 'Break, Break, Break' is a poem with the main themes of bereavement, heartache and emptiness. In the narrator's dark hour of grief, the si=un rises, children laugh, business goes on as usual. Nature appears indifferent and continues to function according  to its habitual rhythms and cycles. Tennyson yearns for his friend. The breaking is not only of the sea crashing into the shore but also the breaking of Tennyson's heart.

 Context- Born the 6th of August 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire (1st Baron Tennyson). He was the Poem Laureate from 1850 following Wordsworth, during much of Queen Victorias reign. Remains one of the most popular poets in the English language excelling in penning short lyrics. 

At Cambridge Tennyson met Arthur Henry Hallam (also a poet) who became his closest friend and became engaged to his sister Emilia. In 1833 Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage at just 22 years old. This had a profound impact on Tennyson. 

'Break, Break, Break' written in 1834 is a lyric poem which centres on Tennyson's greif over Hallam. There has been speculation that Tennyson may have had homosexual feelings for Hallam. The poem 'In memorium' about a mans love for another man includes sexual imagery and homoerotic imagery is present in other works.

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Emily Bronte

Overview-The poem describes a speaker captivated by an invisible force in a dangerous stor. The speaker describes the weather conditions around her, the wild winds and falling snow and explains how trapped and mesmerized she feels. Caught between a metaphorical heaven and hell, the speaker by the end of the poem appears exhilarated by the experience of the storm and chooses to stay and face its threat.

Context- Written in 1837 at the age of 19, she and her sisters Charlotte and Anne had imagined a world called 'Gondal'. In Gondal, heroes and heroines find themselves in romantic as well as tragic circumstances. 

Most famous for her passionate novel Withering Heights. She lived in a reclusive lifestyle shown by the solitary figure in the poem and her images of nature are influences by her love of the moors. 

The poetry of the period often reflects the personal and psychological anguish of a world swamped with science and industry as well as gothic influences.

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There is No God, the Wicked Saith

Arthur Hugh Clough

Overview- This poem deals with religious doubts, which charecterized both Clough's poetry (and life) and mid 19th century England. The poem lists those who doubt that God exists, the wicked, the young, the tradesman and the rich. Clough concludes by acknowledging that it is geography (those who live under the parish steeple) or happiness, sadness, guilt or sickness that makes us inclined to believe in God. In particular , the ageing process- realising our mortality- brings us closer to a religious belief.

Context- Born in Liverpool and of Welsh descent, Clough was raised in South Carolina USA, returning to England to attend school. Close friend of philospophers such as John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle and shared their radical political beliefs. He disliked class distinctions and criticised the capatalist system. A varied career, he translated the work of many Greek writers, such as Plutarch; he also helped Florence Nightingale champion reforms in hospitals. As an adult his lost his childhood religious beliuefs after witnessing Oxford dogmatic religious firgures and his poetry often deals with religious doubt.

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Emily Dickinson 

Overview- Deathbed scene. Speaker is surrounded by loved ones who look on and wait for the moment of passing. Views death as journey: 'the last onset' before meeting God (the king). The enormous significance of the speaker's death is contrasted by the essentially mundane appearance of a fly who distracts the speaker. 

Context- Dickinson was an American recluse. The themes of her poems often revolve around religion, death and pain, grappling with personal psychological anguish and religious concerns, 

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Nature's Questioning

Thomas Hardy

Overview-Poem opens with the speaker looking at nature and nature looking back in an instance of personification. Each observes the other and the possiblity of communication is implied. Humanity is invited to see itself in a forlorn, worn and dying nature . The force that has shaped nature is seen as less than human; it is imbecile 'automaton' and 'unconcious'. Despite the questioning that goes on, nothing truly changes- the speaker has no answer and the winds and rains 'are still the same'. 

Context- Son of a stone mason from Dorset, he studied to be an achitect. Famous for his poetry and novels such as Tess of the D'Urbevilles. Far from the Madding Crowd and Jude the Obscure. Married twice, to Emma Gifford and to his secretary(and later biographer) Florence Dugdale. After his death his ashes were buried in Poets Corner in Westminster Cathedral and his heart buried in Dorset.

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God's Grandeur

Gerard Manly Hopkins 

Overview- In this devotional sonnet 'God's Grandeur' Hopkins attempts to convey the sheer awe of God. 'God's Grandeur' laments the development of industrialisation and the dwindling faith in God, but reassures the reader that the Holy Ghost is looking after us and that nature can never really be destroyed. 

Context- Gerard Manly Hopkins was converted to Roman Catholicism in 1866 eventually becoming a Jesuit preist. His faith was a findamental aspect of his life and his poetry was extremely devoted in nature. Much of Hopkins work is spiritually conveyed through nature. During his life Hopkin's had worked as a preist in three of Britains most industrial cities Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

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thank you.... this is great



great resource!

Aiste - Team GR


Very useful thank you :) 



should be more

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