But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack / From my first entrance in, / Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning, / If I lacked any thing.
This quote introduces the flirtatious, courtly relationship between Love and the speaker. Love sees the speaker growing “slack,” losing upright posture and dignity, and responds by coming closer and “sweetly” asking questions. Here, the scene is similar to contemporaneous images of courtship, like a gentleman approaching and encouraging a shy lady.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, / "Who made the eyes but I?"
These lines solidify the interpretation that Love is, here, God. Divine love/God-the-creator claims credit for creating the speaker’s eyes. There is a verbal pun on eye/I, suggesting that God also made the speaker’s “I.” To the extent that the speaker has self-knowledge, God knows him even better—and this is why the speaker must trust in Love’s judgment as well as obey his commands.
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat." / So I did sit and eat.
These lines end the poem, as well as the original collection in which they appeared, The Temple. They have been interpreted as depicting the act of communion; man’s entrance into heaven; and the “marriage” of Christ and mankind. At their most basic, they show man giving in to God’s will and God’s kindness despite his reluctance.
Love (III) Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Love (III) is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.