Love, that doth reign and live within my thought
After reading Howard's poem, my first thought was to chose "reign" as the key word since the main image here is of Love reigning or having power over a man's soul. However, in re-reading and pondering, I decided that the point is not that love is powerful. We all know this to be true, either from our own experience or from the countless number of pop singers, poets, and Nicholas Sparks books which have told us so. Instead, I saw the point of interest being the question, why is love so powerful? So I chose a new word: "converteth." One of the main things that the poem portrays is that love is powerful because it has the ability to change us on many levels. It occurs in the text where the poet's feelings on love change so it is an obvious pivot point; but it does more than just tell the reader that the tone of the poem is changing-it tells the reader something about the nature of love. Throughout the poem, Love is providing constant changes within the man in whom it reigns. On a physical level, he states that "oft in my face he doth his banner rest," stating more or less that it makes him blush. But on a deeper level, we see constant evidence of its ability to continually convert emotions back and forth. He begins by describing Love in a mainly positive manner noting that it has been his ally and teacher and then continues on describing its descent and its converting grace to ire. What is so interesting about this however is that he displaces his feelings to this Love that lives within him stating that "for my lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pain." So he is converting his pain to something beyond himself, essentially refusing to acknowledge the suffering as his own. So not only is "converteth" used in terms of what love can do to a man and his emotions, it is also used because the poet is attempting to convert his feelings to something other than himself and therefore relinquish responsibility.