Monday, 12 December 2011

First Love

If you have ever fallen in love, it is likely that you have had a myriad of experiences from a fantastic high to a very low, low. However, if you have had the good fortune to fall in love one or more times, it is quite likely that you will never forget the first time you ever fell in love.
First impressions, first look, first time, the chances are it was the single most important moment of love in your live. For some, it will be the defining moment; the moment when you met the person you would spend the rest of your life with. For others, you may not still be with the person you first fell in love with, but you will never forget the moment, or the time when it happened, even if, ultimately it did not finish that well.
Most people fall in love for the first time when they are young, innocent, raw and have an open heart. They do not know what to expect and so are pushed and pulled with their emotions from one place to another. If and when it ends, the pain on both sides may be considerable. It may feel like the end of the world. So defences may go up, guards raised, and certain emotions are blanked out, so that the person is not so easily hurt the next time. It all goes to make the first love even more special.
There are, of course, many love poems around the world, but there seems to be surprisingly few about the first love. John Clare, an English poet who lived from 1793-1864 wrote a most beautiful poem about his first love.
First Love
 John Clare
I ne'er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower

And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.
And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.
Are flowers the winter's choice
Is love's bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice
Not love appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling place
And can return no more.
John Clare, was the ‘forgotten romantic poet’ of English literature.  While Tennyson, Wordsworth and Keats achieved fame and made a living from their writing, Clare never rose from his humble origins. Clare was an impoverished agricultural labourer, who never rose above this situation, despite writing some of the most beautiful poems in the English language. 

 ‘First Love’ was written about Clare’s first love, Mary Joyce, the daughter of a wealthy
farmer, who forbade her from seeing him. Clare never really recovered from this rejection, and in his later life, he entered a mental asylum. This was a sad end to a truly spectacular love.

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