contemporary authorship

a brief analysis of the life and poetry of poet Mary Anne Lamb, with reference to her piece entitled What is Love?

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LOVE is the passion which endureth,
Which neither time nor absence cureth;
Which nought of earthly change can sever:
Love is the light which shines for ever.

What cold and selfish breasts deem madness
Lives in its depths of joy and sadness;
In hearts, on lips, of flame it burneth —
One is its world, to one it turneth.

Its chain of gold — what hand can break it?
Its deathless hold — what force can shake it?
Mere passion aught of earth may sever,
But souls that love, love on for ever.

Mary Anne Lamb


        mary anne lamb was a children’s writer whose works include poetry for schoolchildren and several prose adaptations of shakespeare’s plays. given her background as an author of poems designed for inclusion in children’s compilations, this poem seems to take on more of a didactic voice. it is reasonable to imagine this poem being read to a class of junior high school kids: it is slightly challenging, has a complex but valuable message, and it is easy to remember because of its bouncy, songlike rhythm. additionally, it is interesting to note that a violent episode in september 1796, one that has recently been linked to lamb’s probable manic-depression, led lamb to stab her mother in the heart (aaron, oxford biography). the second stanza is peppered with several images that echo this illness, and the heightened emotions that accompany it: “cold and selfish,” “madness,” “lives in its depths of joy and sadness,” and “flame it burneth” (ln. 5-8).