The poet, John Clare, motivation to write First Love after his early disappointment in love where Mary Joyce made a permanent impression on him (Britannica, 2018). John Clare is addressing the theme of love at first sight and gives the explanation that love is an obsession and reflecting on what love actually means.
In the first line, Clare uses the words “Stole and struck” these words are violent especially for a love poem. He was so transfixed by her presence such that he lost his heart to her and that she had stolen his heart without permission. The poet’s love is being directed towards this beautiful girl and at that point nothing mattered to him but her.
The rhyme scheme was initially consistent in stanza 1 which was about him falling in love for the first time. However, this is inconsistent in stanza 2 as it turns into confusion which links to his writing, “And blood burnt round my heart.” and “And took my eyesight quite away, The trees and bushes round the place Seemed midnight at noonday.”. He is confused by his own love which is why everything around him is consumed by darkness even the natural things have been consumed, expect for this woman. In stanza 3 he tries to establish an understanding of his emotions by using rhetorical questions “Are flowers the winter’s choice?”, he is comparing his love in stanza 1, which is full of brightness to the darkness and coldness of stanza 3. His heart is stranded on a boat in the middle of the sea, “My heart left its dwelling place And can return no more -” no wonder why he use negative imagery and words to explain his first encounter of love. You may think that you are in love even though the other person does not love you back.