The poem ‘First Love’ is about experiencing young love for the very first time. In the beginning, he mentions, ‘I ne’er was struck before that hour’, telling us that he was hit by cupid’s arrow or suddenly struck in the face when he saw her. The poet is very descriptive, and uses alliteration to give the sentence a soft sound of love, for example: ‘With love so sudden and so sweet’. In the first stanza, he’s describing his lonely existence before he got struck by the love of his life; this is why he used the pronoun ‘I’ to reinforce his solitary existence. In the first stanza he shows an internal monologue, it is as if he is writing down the thoughts that his mind was telling him when he saw her. In the second stanza he starts to describe with more intensity, saying ‘Words from my eyes did start, they spoke as cords do from strings’. This tells us that he heard Cupids, the little angels romantically playing the violin. He was having an immediate connection, speaking to her through his eyes. In the third stanza, by the way the poet writes we can tell a sudden touch of sadness. He writes, ‘Are flowers the winters choice, Is love’s bed as always snow…’ this tells us that the love of his life is giving him the cold shoulder, and that he is in his own winter of love, meaning cold and darkness. At the one of the third stanza he mentions that she took his heart, and can return it no more.
Clare conveys his message through the rhythm and through the distinct beats of the iambic pentameter. He also expresses his message through all the metaphors used, and the words that describe a certain stage of the poet’s feeling. At the beginning of the stanza, Clare starts by writing down the thought he heard while he saw her. In the second stanza, he describes his feeling and what he felt, like he’s trying to figure out what love is. He explains that ‘Blood burnt round my heart’ when he saw her, giving a sense of strong passion and his heart beating rapidly. As he gets to the last stanza, Clare mentions his loneliness, and how the girl he loves stole his heart.