A theme (theem) is defined as a common thread or
repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary
work. A theme is a thought or idea the author presents to
the reader that may be deep, difficult to understand, or
even moralistic. Generally, a theme has to be extracted as
the reader explores the passages of a work. The author
utilizes the characters, plot, and other literary devices to
assist the reader in this endeavor.
“Whoso List to Hunt”
by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Love is described in terms of a
“hunt” showing the thrill of the
chase and pursuit of a lover.
Sonnet 30
by Sir Edmund Spenser
Love is a potent puzzle that we
never solve. His love is “the fire”
and her rejection is “the ice.”
Sonnet 75
by Sir Edmund Spenser
A promise to make her name and
their love live forever through his
“To the Virgin to Make Much
of Time” by Robert Herrick
Time flies and youth fades. Young
women should marry quickly before
they lose the chance.
“To His Coy Mistress”
by Andrew Marvell
To avoid being at the mercy of
time, he and his lover must
outrun time.
“Song” by John Donne
A woman who is faithful and fair
does not exist.
“”Valediction: Forbidding
Mourning by John Donne
Poem of farewell from a husband to his
wife. The husband forbids his wife to
mourn, but to see his leaving as a
journey he must take.
“Death Be Not Proud”
by John Donne
Death is merely an episode in the
progress of the soul, the moment of its
delivery from the confines of the body
to eternal life.
“On My First Son” by Ben
Farewell to his dead son of 7 years.
He regrets having forgotten that his
child was merely loaned to him by God,
yet he was his “best piece of poetry.”
“Song to Celia” by Ben Jonson
He is toasting Celia and telling her
how much he loves her.
“Why So Pale and Wan Fond
Lover? (Song)” by Sir John
The speaker counsels a man who
is pining for the love of a woman
who is indifferent to him.
“To Lucasta” by Richard
A man declares his love of his country
and explains to his beloved why he
must leave her and go to war.
“To Althea, from Prison” by
Richard Lovelace
Stone walls do not a prison make.
Although confined in prison, he is
spiritually and imaginatively free.
“Sonnet 17” by Pablo Neruda
Romantic love through a speaker who
does not love as if the beloved were an
object. Instead, he loves in a way that
is more deep, mysterious, and
“Sonnet 79” by Pablo Neruda
He asks his love to “tie her heart
to his.” A love is shown that
answers questions and unlocks

“Whoso List to Hunt”