National Poetry Month: I loved you first: but afterwards your love

This poem is one of my favorites, and I love it because it expresses beautifully how two people are united together through the love they have for each other. They start off as two separate individuals, but over time, the bond between them grows strongly, and these two individuals share the same experience of loving and caring for each other. I love how this poem describes how love unites two individuals and how they are able to share a unique and distinct connection with each other, and I also love how it discusses how love does not focus on a person’s flaws or what a person does not have. This poem includes the message that loving somebody means that you love him/her for who he/she truly is, and this feeling of loving somebody for who he/she genuinely is should be the basis for true love. Rossetti writes about loving somebody not for the material possessions he has or the societal status he has, but for who that person truly is on the inside. She describes how powerful this intimate relationship can be between two individuals, and I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do. – Kaitlyn Boland

I loved you first: but afterwards your love

 

         Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
        Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
        E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
~Christina Rossetti
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