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How is the speaker of the poem ‘Do not ask of Me, My Love’ affected by the harsh realities of life?

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A casual reading of the title and the first half of the poem might sometimes mislead the reader to imagine that the poet is going to describe the beauty of his beloved in romantic imagery. However, a careful close reading of the title and the whole poem will make the reader realize that though the poet expresses a great deal of love and appreciation for the beauty of his beloved, there is a sudden transition in the poem from the poet’s personal love to the love of his people in general. This transition is caused by his increasing awareness and realization that there are many harsh realities besides ‘love’. This realization prompts him to abjure the romantic love of the beloved fora contemplation of the misery of the world.

However, as he became aware of the harsh realities of life like bloodshed during wars, diseases, poverty, hunger, deprivation, flesh trade, greed for money and power etc., his belief that the love for his beloved would remain eternal, suddenly undergoes a change. He realizes that such love for an individual will be an illusion because there are many other sorrows and pleasures which demand his equal attention and love. Thus, the poet gives up his romantic love of the beloved for contemplation of the misery and other harsh realities of life.

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