Forbidden Love: Lord Byron's Poem "When we two parted"

Categories: Lord Byron

Lord Byron, a renowned poet of the Romantic era, is often remembered for his passionate and tumultuous love affairs. One of his most famous poems, "When we two parted," delves into the theme of forbidden love. The poem vividly portrays the aftermath of a love affair, highlighting the pain and regret that comes with being involved in a relationship that society deems unacceptable.

The poem opens with Byron and his lover parting ways, their once intense connection reduced to mere memories and illusions.

Both individuals are left with "half Broken Hearts," symbolizing the emotional turmoil they are experiencing. Byron describes the physical and emotional distance that has grown between them, as seen in lines such as "Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss." These lines evoke a sense of loss and sorrow, emphasizing the inevitable consequences of their forbidden love.

As the poem progresses, Byron delves into the internal conflict he is facing. He acknowledges the shame and guilt that accompany his actions, recognizing the societal disapproval of his affair.

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The imagery of "morning dew" serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of his forbidden love, highlighting the sense of disgrace and regret that now haunts him.

Throughout the poem, Byron grapples with his conscience, struggling to come to terms with the choices he has made. He laments the repercussions of his actions, expressing his remorse in lines like "Hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame." These words reveal the inner turmoil he is experiencing, as he grapples with the realization that his actions have caused pain and suffering to those he cares about.

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In the final stanzas of the poem, Byron reflects on the lasting impact of his forbidden love. He acknowledges the impossibility of undoing the past, recognizing that the guilt and regret will linger long after the affair has ended. The lines "If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee?-- With silence and tears" poignantly capture the sense of remorse and longing that Byron feels, as he contemplates the consequences of his actions.

Ultimately, "When we two parted" serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of forbidden love. Byron's poignant exploration of the pain and regret that accompany such relationships serves as a reminder of the importance of honesty and integrity in matters of the heart. The poem serves as a poignant reminder that true love cannot thrive in secrecy and deceit, and that the consequences of forbidden love can be devastating.


Updated: Feb 15, 2024
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Forbidden Love: Lord Byron's Poem "When we two parted". (2016, Jul 22). Retrieved from

Forbidden Love: Lord Byron's Poem "When we two parted" essay
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