A Woman to Her Lover” presents love in another way: it is about the way men see and treat women in the nineteenth century. It is unusual for a woman in this period of time to express her feelings about love and marriage in this way. In the time this poem was written, women were forced to get married to who their parents told them to get married to, they would not have any say in the matter and would not usually go against their parents wishes. Walsh describes three different types of marriages and explains why she would not want any of those kinds of marriages.
Unlike the other two poems, “When We Two Parted” was written by a man and so shows a different view about love. This poem is unusual because men are not usually seen as being heartbroken and this poem shows a view of a broken hearted man. This poem is about two people who are having a secret affair, until the woman abandons the man, leaving him heartbroken. The connection between the three poems is that they all show strong women who know what they want. “A Woman to Her Lover” is split into four stanzas, but they are not of equal length.
The best marriage that she describes has the longest stanza to show what she wants. The first three stanzas talk about three different kinds of marriages. She ends the first two paragraphs with “I refuse you! ” , she is giving him an outright rejection and referring to him as a “fool” shows him that she is not interested in him if that is the type of marriage he wants. The effect of free verse in “A Woman to Her Lover” is to make is sound almost speech like. “When We Two Parted” and “Villegiature” are also split into four stanzas but the stanzas are of equal length.
They both follow the same rhythm throughout the poem. They both use a rhyme scheme typical of love poetry but the poets present unusual love. The slow rhyme scheme is used because they are both recounting a memory from the past almost story like. “A Woman to Her Lover” builds up the first three paragraphs to the final forth when she is explaining how she wants love to be presented to her; “our co-equal love” … “live and work. to love and die with you”, this phrase contrasts almost like wedding vows.
The storyline develops from her saying what she doesn’t want in a marriage, to what she does want which is equality and love. In the poem “Villegiature” the storyline develops the opposite way: “Romeo’s way. And through the blossom climbed and kissed me. ” After complimenting him on his romantic ways, she changes her view of him, “I did not love you” … “Oh dear! ” … “you always bore me”; she refers to Romeo who fits in with romantic tradition but shatters the image with her sarcasm and humour. She comes back to reality and admits to how she really feels, by using “Oh dear! she comes across as sarcastic and shows she has no sympathy for the man.
“When We Two Parted” also ends in a sad way leading to heartbreak, “In secret we met – In silence I grieve. ” The repetition of silence emphasises the fact that it was a secret relationship and so he cannot share his pain with anybody. The man is being rejected by the woman after having what seemed like a loving relationship. Walsh uses a lot of alliteration in “A Woman to Her Lover”: “whose every deed and word and wish” … “hand holding hand” she uses this phrase to emphasise their togetherness.
She uses many poetic techniques to show how happy they could be if he fulfilled her wishes of their marriage, “stars to laugh with joy”, this is a powerful metaphor that shows the effect on the world and also seemingly represents their love, marriage and happiness. Nesbit does not use many poetic techniques in “Villegiature”. However she does use a metaphor to represent a thing of the past: “ghost” is used to describe her lover in a memory where he would climb up to her window, although she refers to him with something that is usually associated with a negative connection.
All three poems presented love in a different way. “A Woman to Her Lover” shows the most interesting way love is presented as it is the most honest. Walsh talks about how different people can view love and also how she would want love to be. “Villegiature” presents sort of “fake” love where there is no love for her to the man but Nesbit is trying to convince herself there is even though the only love there is the unreturned love from the man to the woman. “When We Two Parted” shows a sad way of how love that ends in heartbreak. It is also an honest poem as it shows love can grow and then fade away.