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When the poem opens, the narrator identifies himself as one-half of a couple who are experiencing problems in their relationship. According to the narrator, it appears that these problems cannot be rectified and, as such, the couple decide to warmly and civilly part ways and end the relationship ("come let us kiss and part").
The narrator is very glad that he is able to end the relationship without feeling regretful ("so cleanly I myself break free") but wants to make sure that if he meets with this person again, it is not obvious that they ever shared a romantic connection.
On the ninth line, however, the narrator experiences a change of heart. He now starts to wonder if their love can be saved. In fact, he likens their love to a dying person and asks if their love (like the dying man) can be recovered at the point of its death. The poem ends here, leaving the reader to further ponder this question and to wonder if the couple ever did save their relationship.
Michael Drayton's sonnet "Love's Farewell," deals with the theme of reconcilement between two lovers who are at the brink of breaking up and parting forever, but at the last moment they decide to make up and continue as lovers.
the first eight lines, (the octave) emphasise the idea that nothing more can be done to revive the love between them both and that all that they can now do is to "shake hands forever, cancel all our vows."
In the next four lines, Drayton compares their love to a person on his deathbed who is about to breathe his last: "the last gasp of Love's latest breath."
In the concluding couplet, (the gemmel) Drayton reverses the entire situation by making an earnest and sincere plea to his lover that it is still possible to revive the almost dead love between them both and thus continue to be lovers forever: "now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over/From death to life thou mightst him yet recover!"
The poem deals with two lovers who quarrel because of their capricious nature and decide to be reconciled no sooner than they had decided to part ways forever.
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