What do these poems have in common other than the fact they are about love and God?The poems are: "Bonny Barbara Allan", "The Flea", "Holy Sonnet 14", "La Belle Dame sans Merci", "Sonnets from the...

What do these poems have in common other than the fact they are about love and God?

The poems are: "Bonny Barbara Allan", "The Flea", "Holy Sonnet 14", "La Belle Dame sans Merci", "Sonnets from the Portuguese #43."

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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These poems feature themes concerning the objectification of the individual and unfulfilled sexual desire or passion coupled with allusions of death.  All of these poems are by British poets; "Bonny Barbara Allan" is Scottish, but still part of the British isles.

"Bonny Barbara Allan"--  This poem is about unrequited love.  A tempting Scottish lass denies her would be lover, and he dies.  Without his love, she claims "since my love died for me to-day, I'll die for him tomorrow." 

"The Flea"-- John Donne propositions the object of his desire, entreating her to go to bed with him.  The speaker in this poem, like "Bonny Barbara Allan," alludes to dying for his love if his desire goes unfulfilled.

"Holy Sonnet 14"-- Also by John Donne, the speaker in this poem entreats the passion of the Holy Trinity with sexual connotations.  The speaker in this poem is also begging for release from his passions and desire. 

"La Belle Dame Sans Merci"--Keats portrays a fairy temptress who lures knights to leave the mortal world, creating the connection between fulfillment of desire and physical death. 

"Sonnets of the Portuguese #43"--Browning's poem deals less with unrequited love or unfulfilled desire but still captures the speaker's ardent need for her beloved.  She speaks of "quiet need."  The poem ends with her musings about loving even after death.   

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