Selected Poems

4 Poems About Jealousy – An Universal Human Emotion

Last Updated: January 21, 2023

Jealousy is an emotion we’ve all felt at one time or another. It can be overwhelming, consuming, and even paralyzing. But it can also be a powerful motivator. In this post, we’ll explore some poems about jealousy that capture its many facets.

From the bitter resentment of seeing someone else succeed to the desperate longing for what we don’t have, these poems capture the complex emotions of jealousy in all their rawness and beauty. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some fantastic poetry about one of the most universal human emotions.

1. Ode to Envy by Mary Darby Robinson

Deep in th’ abyss where frantic horror bides,
 In thickest mists of vapours fell,
 Where wily Serpents hissing glare
And the dark Demon of Revenge resides,
   At midnight’s murky hour
   Thy origin began:

Ode to Envy by Mary Darby Robinson is a lengthy and elaborate poem that personifies envy as a malevolent force that causes suffering and destruction. The speaker describes envy as having a demonic origin and being surrounded by negative emotions such as malice, despair, and ire. The speaker also compares envy to a venomous animal that spreads its poison through the world, causing harm to individuals, relationships, and even the dead.

Robinson presents envy as being relentless and all-consuming, with the speaker describing it as having a “jealous ardour” that “seeks for prey” and being “ever-watchful” and “ever-vigilant.” These descriptions convey a sense of envy as being unstoppable and difficult to escape, and suggest that it can consume and ruin everything it touches.

Throughout the poem, the speaker lists the various ways in which envy causes harm, including destroying the happiness and achievements of others, as well as spreading slander and lies. The speaker describes envy as having a relentless and destructive nature, and seems to urge the reader to avoid it at all costs. Ode to Envy ends with the speaker declaring that envy has the power to ruin even the most beautiful and virtuous aspects of life, and that it should be shunned.

2. Envy by Mary Lamb

This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
   Nor the sweet mignionet:
And if this tree were discontent,
Or wished to change its natural bent,
   It all in vain would fret.

The poem Envy by Mary Lamb illustrates a fundamental idea that envy is not just a useless characteristic to possess, but it is also absurd. Lamb gives us a crucial insight into the nature of envy and the fallacy of thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side. Instead of telling us to stop wanting what others have, she challenges us to realize the amazing things we already possess and to understand the futility of wishing we had what they do.

A variety of plants and flowers are used by the author to illustrate her point through comparison to the “rose-tree.” The rose tree was not created by nature to produce violets, but roses. The rose tree doesn’t gaze at a neighboring tree’s violets and wishes it could produce flowers similar to them. It simply goes about its business of producing roses. The lily and mignionet do the same.

In Lamb’s opinion, the “rose-tree” wouldn’t have any need to be envious of the other famous florals, because it already possesses beauty and promise of its own. Then, this concept is changed to depict those who have that kind of jealousy for one another. Lamb believes that because each person has their own unique beauty and redeeming qualities, jealousy has no legitimate place in human thought.

3. Jealousy by Ameen Rihani

The violets invite the nightingale 
    Whose carols fall in dew upon their bed ; 
But the hydrangea, as saffron pale, 
    Holds high above the wall her nodding head.

In the poem Jealousy, Ameen Rihani uses the imagery of flowers to explore the theme of jealousy. The violets are described as having “soft, dark lashes” and being serenaded by robins, while the anemone, with its “ebon heart” and “blood-shot eyes,” pretends not to hear. The violets also invite the nightingale to sing to them, while the hydrangea holds its head high above the wall.

Through these descriptions, Rihani suggests that the violets and nightingale are enjoying a joyful, carefree existence, while the anemone and hydrangea are somehow separate from this happiness. The anemone’s “blood-shot eyes” and the hydrangea’s “nodding head” could be seen as signs of their envy or jealousy of the violets’ beauty and the nightingale’s song.

Through Jealousy, Rihani suggests that jealousy can cause us to distance ourselves from the sources of joy and beauty in our lives, and that it is important to let go of these negative emotions and embrace the happiness that surrounds us.

4. Jealousy by Rupert Brooke

When I see you, who were so wise and cool,
Gazing with silly sickness on that fool

Brooke’s Jealousy is a poem about jealousy in the romantic sphere. In this poem, a guy explains why the woman he loves should not be with another man since they are incompatible. According to the narrator, the man the woman is dating will only cause her pain and sorrow. He declared that he would sacrifice a lot more than his love to hold her close. He is warning her that if she stays with this man, she will have to live an old life of taking care of someone she doesn’t love.

Brooke perfectly describes how being driven to extremes by jealousy can completely transform a person. The speaker goes on to describe a future where the other person’s attractiveness will fade and they will become “dirty,” while the speaker’s own lover will also become “dirty” and tired from the burden of caring for an older, less attractive partner. The poem ultimately portrays the speaker’s jealousy and bitterness towards their lover’s choice to give their affection to someone else.

Final thoughts

Although jealousy is often seen as a negative emotion, it can also be viewed as a sign of love and affection. Jealousy can motivate people to work harder to maintain relationships and can even lead to positive changes in relationships. When handled correctly, jealousy can even be a powerful tool for strengthening relationships.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the poems about jealousy in this article, and if you still want to read some more poems, check out the suggestions below.

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