Love through the ages

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AEH . If only an army should be made up of lovers and their loves! . that.s not me, that.s Plato, or rather Phaedrus in the Master of Balliol.s nimble translation: .although a mere handful, they would overcome the world, for each would rather die a thousand deaths than be seen by his beloved to abandon his post or throw away his arms, the veriest coward would be inspired by love.. Oh, one can sneer . the sophistry of dirty old men ogling beautiful young ones; then as now, ideals become debased. But there was such an army, a hundred and fifty pairs of lovers, the Sacred Band of Theban youths, and they were never beaten till Greek liberty died for good at the battle of Chaeronea. At the end of that day, says Plutarch, the victorious Philip of Macedon went forth to view the slain, and when he came to that place where the three hundred fought and lay dead together, he wondered, and understanding that it was the band of lovers, he shed tears and said, whoever suspects baseness in anything these men did, let him perish.

Housman I would be such a friend to someone.

AEH To dream of taking the sword in the breast, the bullet in the brain .

Housman I would.

AEH . and wake up to find the world goes wretchedly on and you will die of age and not of pain.

Housman (Well .)

AEH But lay down your life for your comrade . good lad! . lay it down like a doormat .

Housman (Oh . !)

AEH Lay it down like a card on a card-table for a kind word and a smile . lay it down like

a bottle of the best to drink when your damnfool life is all but done: any more layingdowns we can think of? . oh, above all . above all . lay down your life like a pack on the roadside though your days of march are numbered and end with the grave. Love will not be deflected from its mischief by being called comradeship or anything else.

Housman I don.t know what love is.

AEH Oh, but you do. In the Dark Ages, in Macedonia, in the last guttering light from

classical antiquity, a man copied out bits from old books for his young son, whose

name was Septimius; so we have one sentence from The Loves of Achilles. Love, said

Sophocles, is like the ice held in the hand by children. A piece of ice held fast in the

fist. I wish I could help you, but it.s not in my gift.

Housman Love it is, then, and I will make the best of it. I.m sorry that it made you unhappy, but it.s not my fault, and it can.t be made good by unhappiness in another. Will you shake hands?

AEH Gladly. (He shakes Housman.s offered hand.)

Item D

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (1880 .1943) was banned from its publication in 1928 until 1948. Named Stephen by her father who longed for a boy, the novel.s female protagonist grows up with a strong sense that she is .different to other girls.. Soon after the death of her father, and now a young adult, Stephen becomes attracted to Angela Crossby, a married woman. The following extract comprises the ending of Chapter Eighteen and the beginning of Chapter Nineteen.
Look,. said Stephen, and she pointed to the swan called Peter, who had come drifting past on his own white reflection. .Look,. she said, .this is Morton, all beauty and peace . it drifts like that swan does, on calm, deep water. And all this beauty and peace is for you, because now you’re a part of Morton.[1]

Angela said: never known peace, it.s not in me . I don.t think I.d find it here, Stephen.. And as she spoke she released her hand, moving a little away from the girl.

But Stephen continued to talk on gently; her voice sounded almost like that of a dreamer: .Lovely, oh, lovely it is, our Morton. On evenings in winter these lakes are quite frozen, and the ice looks like slabs of gold in the sunset, when you and I come and stand here in the winter. And as we walk back we can smell the log fires long before we can see them, and we love that good smell because it means

home, and our home is Morton . and we’re happy, happy . we’re utterly contented and at peace, we’re filled with the peace of this place. Stephen . don.t!. both filled with the old peace of Morton, because we love each other so deeply . and

because perfect, a perfect thing, you and I . not two separate people but one. And our love has lit a great, comforting beacon, so that we need never be afraid of the dark any more . we can warm ourselves at our love, we can lie down together, and my arms will be round you .
1 Morton Hall is Stephen’s family’s large country house, which is set in its own parkland.

She broke off abruptly, and they stared at each other. Do you know what saying?. Angela whispered. And Stephen answered: .I know that I love you, and that nothing else matters in the world. Then, perhaps because of that glamorous evening, with its spirit of queer, unearthly adventure, with its urge to strange, unendurable sweetness, Angela moved a step nearer to Stephen, then another, until their hands were touching. And all that she was, and all that she had been and would be again, perhaps even tomorrow, was fused at that moment into one mighty impulse, one imperative need, and that need was Stephen. Stephen.s need was now hers, by sheer force of its blind and uncomprehending will to appeasement. Then Stephen took Angela into her arms, and she kissed her full on the lips, as a lover.

Through the long years of life that followed after, bringing with them their dreams and disillusions, their joys and sorrows, their fulfilments and frustrations, Stephen was never to forget this summer when she fell quite simply and naturally in love, in accordance with the dictates of her nature. To her there seemed nothing strange or unholy in the love that she felt for Angela Crossby. To her it seemed an inevitable thing, as much a part of herself as her breathing; and yet it appeared transcendent of self, and she looked up and onwards towards her love . for the eyes of the young are drawn to the stars, and the spirit of youth is seldom earth-bound. She loved deeply, far more deeply than many a one who could fearlessly proclaim himself a lover. Since this is a hard and sad truth for the telling; those whom nature has sacrificed to her ends . her mysterious ends that often lie hidden . are sometimes endowed with a vast will to loving, with an endless capacity for suffering also, which must go hand in hand with their love. But at first Stephen.s eyes were drawn to the stars, and she saw only gleam upon gleam of glory.

Her physical passion for Angela Crossby had aroused a strange response in her spirit, so that side by side with every hot impulse that led her at times beyond her own understanding, there would come an impulse not of the body; a fine, selfless thing of great beauty and courage . she would gladly have given her body over to torment, have laid down her life if need be, for the sake of this woman whom she loved. And so blinded was she by those gleams of glory which the stars fling into the eyes of young lovers, that she saw perfection where none existed; saw a patient endurance that was purely fictitious, and conceived of a loyalty far beyond the limits of Angela.s nature.


General Certificate of Education
Advanced Level Examination
Unit 3 Reading for Meaning
Specimen paper for examinations in June 2010 onwards

This question paper uses the new numbering system and new AQA answer book

For this paper you must have:
Answer both questions.
Question 1

Read the two poems (Extract A and B) carefully. They were written at different times

by different writers. Basing your answer on the poems and, where appropriate, your wider reading in the poetry of love, compare the ways the two poets have used poetic form, structure and language to express their thoughts and ideas.

(40 marks)
Question 2

Write a comparison of the ways Shakespeare and Hardy present the partings of

people who love each other.

You should consider:

- the ways the writers’ choices of form, structure and language shape your

responses to these extracts

- how your wider reading in the literature of love has contributed to your

understanding and interpretation of the extracts.

(40 marks)


Extract A

The poet, Michael Drayton (1563 – 1631), became a page to Sir Henry Goodeere of

Polesworth who ensured that he was educated. He fell in love with Sir Henry’s daughter who provided the inspiration for Idea, a sonnet sequence written in 1619. The following poem is taken from that sequence.
Idea in Sixtie Three Sonnets [61]

Since ther’s no helpe, Come let us kisse and part,

Nay, I have done: You get no more of Me,

And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,

That thus so cleanly I my Selfe can free:

Shake hands for ever, Cancell all our Vowes,

And when We meet at any time againe,

Be it not seene in either of our Browes,

That We one jot of former Love reteyne:

Now at the last gaspe of Love’s latest Breath,

When his Pulse fayling, Passion speechlesse lies,

When Faith is kneeling by his bed of Death,

And Innocence is closing up his eyes,

Now if thou would’st, when all have given him over,

From Death to Life thou might’st him yet recover.

Extract B

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950) was an American lyrical poet and the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She was also known for her unconventional bohemian lifestyle and for her many love affairs with both men and women. She had a significant relationship with the poet, George Dillon, for whom this and many other sonnets were written.

If I should learn, in some quite casual way
IF I should learn, in some quite casual way,

That you were gone, not to return again –

Read from the back-page of a paper, say,

Held by a neighbor in a subway train,

How at the corner of this avenue

And such a street (so are the papers filled)

A hurrying man - who happened to be you -

At noon today had happened to be killed,

I could not cry aloud – I could not cry

Aloud, or wring my hands in such a place –

I should but watch the station lights rush by

With a more careful interest on my face,

Or raise my eyes and read with greater care

Where to store furs and how to treat the hair.


Extract C

This extract is taken from the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616). Unknown to their feuding families, Juliet and Romeo have married and spent the night together, but Romeo has been banished from Verona because he killed a member of Juliet’s family. So they must part.

JULIET Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day:

It was the nightingale, and not the lark,

That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;

Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree:

Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
ROMEO It was the lark, the herald of the morn,

No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day

Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

JULIET Yon light is not daylight; I know it, I.

It is some meteor that the sun exhales

To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,

And light thee on thy way to Mantua.

Therefore stay yet. Thou need’st not to be gone.
ROMEO Let me be ta’en, let me be put to death;

I am content, so thou wilt have it so.

I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye,

’Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow;

Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat

The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:

I have more care to stay than will to go.

Come, death, and welcome; Juliet wills it so.

How is’t, my soul? Let’s talk; It is not day.
JULIET It is, it is! Hie hence, be gone, away!

It is the lark that sings so out of tune,

Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.

Some say the lark makes sweet division;

This doth not so, for she divideth us.

Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes;

O now I would they had changed voices too,

Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray,

Hunting thee hence with hunt’s-up to the day.

O, now be gone; more light and light it grows.

ROMEO More light and light; more dark and dark our woes.

Extract D

This extract is taken from The Woodlanders (1887) written by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928). Melbury had promised his daughter Grace to Giles Winterborne, but she rejects him and marries the new doctor. A poor villager, Marty South, had always loved Giles but he did not reciprocate her feelings, although he was kind to her. When the doctor was unfaithful, Grace turned to Giles who let her sleep in his house during stormy weather. He slept outside, fell ill and died. In this extract, which is the end of the novel, Grace’s father has discovered that she has returned to her husband.

Melbury now returned to the room, and the men having declared themselves refreshed they all started on the homeward journey, which was by no means cheerless under the rays of the high moon. Having to walk the whole distance they came by a footpath rather shorter than the highway, though difficult except to those who knew the country well. This brought them by way of the church: and passing the graveyard they observed as they talked a motionless figure standing by the gate.

‘I think it was Marty South,’ said the hollow-tuner parenthetically.

‘I think ‘twas; ‘a was always a lonely maid,’ said Upjohn. And they passed on homeward, and thought of the matter no more. It was Marty, as they had supposed. That evening had been the particular one of the week upon which Grace and herself had been accustomed to privately deposit flowers on Giles’s grave, and this was the first occasion since his death eight months earlier on which Grace had failed to keep her appointment. Marty had waited in the road just outside Melbury’s, where her fellow-pilgrim had been wont to join her, till she was weary; and at last, thinking that

Grace had missed her, and gone on alone, she followed the way to the church, but saw no Grace in front of her. It got later, and Marty continued her walk till she reached the churchyard gate; but still no Grace. Yet her sense of comradeship would not allow her to go on to the grave alone, and still thinking the delay had been unavoidable she stood there with her little basket of flowers in her clasped hands, and her feet chilled by the damp ground, till more than two hours had passed. She then heard the footsteps of Melbury’s men, who presently passed on their return from the search. In the silence of the night Marty could not help hearing fragments of their conversation, from which she acquired a general idea of what had occurred, and that Mrs Fitzpiers was by that time in the arms of another man than Giles.

Immediately they had dropped down the hill she entered the churchyard, going to a

secluded corner behind the bushes where rose the unadorned stone that marked the last bed of Giles Winterborne. As this solitary and silent girl stood there in the moonlight, a straight slim figure, clothed in a plaitless gown, the contours of womanhood so undeveloped as to be scarcely perceptible in her, the marks of poverty and toil effaced by the misty hour, she touched sublimity at points, and looked almost like a being who had rejected with indifference the attribute of sex for the loftier quality of abstract humanism. She stooped down and cleared away the withered flowers that Grace and herself had laid there the previous week, and put her fresh ones in their place.

‘Now, my own, own love,’ she whispered, ‘you are mine, and only mine; for she has

forgot ’ee at last, although for her you died! But I – whenever I get up I’ll think of ’ee, and whenever I lie down I’ll think of ’ee again. Whenever I plant the young larches I’ll think that none can plant as you planted; and whenever I split a gad, and whenever I turn the cider wring, I’ll say none could do it like you. If ever I forget your name let me forget home and heaven!......But no, no, my love, I never can forget ’ee; for you was a good man, and did good


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