I Loved You by Alexander Pushkin

Pushkin wrote ‘I Loved You’ in 1829 and published it a year later in 1830. It is a wonderful example of Pushkin’s verse and the way that he considered women in his life and literature. Since its publication, it has been set to music by several different artists and composers. 

 

Summary of I Loved You 

‘I Loved You’ by Alexander Pushkin is a simple but effective poem in which the speaker expresses his devotion and respect for a woman he loved.

He tells the listener, his past beloved, that despite the end of whatever relationship they had, he still maintains some love in his heart for her. This is not something that makes him sad, nor should it make her sad. He is only telling her so that she knows the depth of his affection. The speaker lists out some of the many ways he has loved her, from jealously to hopelessly. The poem concludes with the speaker telling the woman that he hopes that God grants her another man to love her in the same way again. 

 

Structure of I Loved You

‘I Loved You’ by Alexander Pushkin is an eight-line poem that was originally written in Russian. It has since been translated into English by several different people. This particular version of the poem was translated by Yevgeny Bonver. Due to the fact that it was not originally written in English, the rhyme and rhythm of the poem has likely been altered. It is exceedingly hard and rare for a translated version of a poem to maintain the meaning along with the rhyme and rhythm from one language to the next. This particular version is separated into two sets of four lines, known as quatrains. The liens are all very similar in length. 

 

Literary Devices in I Loved You

Despite the fact that this poem was originally in Russian, there are several poetic techniques that a reader should take note of. They include but are not limited to caesura, anaphora, and accumulation. The latter, accumulation, is a literary device that relates to a list of words or phrases that have similar, if not the same, meanings. In a poem, story, or novel, these words are grouped together or appear scattered throughout a work. They collect or pile up, and a theme, image, sensation, or deeper meaning is revealed.In the case of ‘I Loved You,’ there are samples in the second half of the piece where the poet collects words that describe all the ways that he loved his beloved. 

Pushkin also makes use of anaphora, or the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of multiple lines, usually in succession. This technique is often used to create emphasis. A list of phrases, items, or actions may be created through its implementation. It can be seen through the use of “I loved you” at the start of lines one, five, and seven. 

Caesura occurs when a line is split in half, sometimes with punctuation, sometimes not. The use of punctuation in these moments creates a very intentional pause in the text. A reader should consider how the pause influences the rhythm of one’s reading and how it might precede an important turn or transition in the text. Line one is a good example, it reads: “I loved you: and, it may be, from my soul”. 

 

Analysis of I Loved You

Lines 1-4 

I loved you: and, it may be, from my soul

The former love has never gone away,

But let it not recall to you my dole;

I wish not sadden you in any way. 

In the first lines of ‘I Loved You’ the speaker begins with the simple phrase, “I loved you,” that came to be used as the title of the poem. This is directed at the listener, someone that the speaker used to care deeply about but is in the process of letting go of. He tells this person that while the most intense period of love is in the past that it “may be” that all the love in his soul won’t ever disappear. There might, he suggests, remain something of their prior love there forever. 

In the third line, he tells his beloved that this fact should not bring to mind his “dole” or sorrow. It is not a symbol of desperation or longing. He doesn’t want the fact that a bit of their love might remain to sorrow her. 

 

Lines 5-8 

I loved you silently, without hope, fully,

In diffidence, in jealousy, in pain;

I loved you so tenderly and truly,

As let you else be loved by any man.

In the next four lines of ‘I Loved You’ the poet uses a technique known as accumulation. It is used to gather together words that depict the way he used to love this listener. These are simple words that bring to mind a range of emotional experiences. They should be relatable to any reader as they are broad enough to encompass many different relationships. 

He tells the listener that he loved her “without hope,” but with perseverance and fullness. His heart has been through a lot. He has known “jealousy” and “pain” when she did not love him and in his darkest moments. The seventh line informs her that he also had more pleasurable emotions too, ones that were “tender” and “true”. Unlike some love poems, this piece ends with the speaker accepting the fact that he might not be the object of her affection. He tells her that she should go and be loved by “any man” if she chooses. 

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