The More Loving One

The More Loving One

By W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Summary of The More Loving One

  • Popularity of “The More Loving One”: The poem “The More Loving One” by W. H. Auden, a great English poet, and writer, is a metaphorical poem. It first appeared in 1957. The poem deals with the experiences of unfulfilled love. The speaker explains how it feels when one fails to receive the expected treatment from the one he loves from the bottom of his heart. The poem gained immense popularity on account of its unique representation of unrequited love.
  • “The More Loving One” As a Representative of Unrequited Love: The poem explores the speaker’s thoughts about the love that fails to reach its expected end. It begins as he compares his beloved with stars and explains how she is least bothered about his infinite love. To her, the speaker’s feelings have no value, but for him, she seems really important that even her denial cannot stop him from loving her. Despite knowing he will never get equal affection, he loves her unconditionally. He knows that his love will not bring any change on the other side, yet he misses his stars all day. However, the last stanza shifts the narrative; the speaker realizes that his feelings will change with time. Thus, he accepts the dismal situation, but this acceptance takes time.
  • Major Themes in “The More Loving. One”: Unrequited love, desires, and reality are the major themes of the poem. The poem centers on the speaker. It details how a person feels when he fails to win the heart of his lady. Throughout the poem, he narrates that he is the only one giving his blood and sweat to his love. While on the other hand, there is no response. Despite knowing that his efforts will bear no fruits, he never stops chasing his dreams. Yet, after realizing the transience of the world, he accepts that his fate will never change. Instead, he needs to change his outlook; he must understand that things will never run according to his will.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “The More Loving One”

literary devices help the writers make their poetic output stylish, unique, and meaningful. The analysis of the devices used in this beautiful poem is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /e/ and /o/ in “How should we like it were stars to burn” and again the sound of /e/ in “We have to dread from man or beast.”
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound /th/ in “Though this might take.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /r/ in “Were all stars to disappear or die” and the sound of /t/ in “But on earth indifference is the least.”
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example:

“Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. W. H. Auden has used imagery in this poem such as “How should we like it were stars to burn”, “Were all stars to disappear or die,” and “We have to dread from man or beast.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different in nature. The poet has used stars as an extended metaphor just to show how one-sided love makes the man stand at a point where he faces disappointments.
  3. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a question that is not asked to receive an answer; it is just posed to make the point clear. W. H Auden has posed rhetorical questions in the second stanza of the poem to emphasize his point such as; “With a passion for us we could not return?”
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. The poem shows symbols like love, disappointment, and one-sided joy to show the careless attitude of his beloved.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “The More Loving One”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction and Tone: The poem shows simple diction but a serious tone.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem shows the AABB rhyme scheme in all of its four stanzas.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are four stanzas in this poem with each having four lines.

Quotes to be Used

The following lines from the poem “The More Loving One” are useful to quote while talking about the cold response of one’s beloved.

“Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.”