Two short romantic love poems include "Sonnet 130" by William Shakespeare and "My Love is like a Red Red Rose" by Robert Burns. Both poems are considered classics of the genre.Continue Reading
"Sonnet 130" begins with the famous line "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun." Shakespeare goes on to describe several other physical attributes of his lover that clearly satirize the tradition of flowery verse meant to put women on a pedestal. For example, Shakespeare writes, "I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, / But no such roses see I in her cheeks." Such verse has a humanizing effect because most women do not look like models from a magazine page. The poem is romantic because Shakespeare later states that his love is "rare," despite what some consider superficial flaws.
Originally written as a song, "My Love is like a Red Red Rose" is one of Burns' most famous works. Now a highly anthologized poem, it contains some of the hyperbolic language Shakespeare rails against in "Sonnet 130." However sentimental, this piece features sincere expressions of love that suggest eternal commitment. For example, Burns writes, "I will love thee still, my dear, / Till a' the seas gang dry." This "end of time" statement of devotion is one of the most enduring in all of literature.Learn more about Poetry