I Fear Thy Kisses, Gentle Maiden: Summary & Analysis

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I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden,
Thou needest not fear mine;
My spirit is too deeply laden
Ever to burden thine.
I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion,
Thou needest not fear mine;
Innocent is the heart's devotion
With which I worship thine.


      The poem I Fear Thy Kisses, Gentle Maiden is dated 1820. It was probably written for Sophia Stacey, addressing a gentle maiden, the poet says that, while he is afraid of her kisses, she need not fear his kisses for his spirit is deeply laden with love for her. The poet fears her kisses because he suspects her sincerity whereas his constancy can assure her to free her from evils. The poet further adds that while he is afraid of her demeanor or appearance, her tones and her movements, she need not be afraid of him because his love is true and innocent. He is not a mere lover, but has become a devotee who worships and adores her. Thus while the poet doubts the sincerity of his beloved, he assures her that he will safeguard her from troubles.

Critical Analysis

      A love Poem: This is a love poem bearing an intense emotion typical of Shelley's poems. Apart from this it carries no particular concept of love. The poem looks like being based on the conventional theme of the faithlessness of women in respect of men's love. The hackneyed theme, the manner of its presentation, and its undecided moods have ruined the over-all effect of the poem. Shelley’s high concept of Platonic, ethereal love is not found in this poem.

      Lyrical Quality: The poem, however, like Shelley's shorter lyrics, contains a melody of the highest order. The simplicity of language, the spontaneity of expression and the flowing rhythm of the meter has given it a musical quality for which, and for which only, the poem can be read.

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