Romance is often derided for being addictive to its readers and for being repetitious. Critics argue, “How can you tell what’s basically the same story again and again without repeating yourself?” and the implied answer is that romances obviously ARE all the same and it’s precisely the repetition that’s addictive, and that the addiction is a bad thing.
Our analysis of this hymn can show us that romances provide us the comfort and the excitement of repetition with a difference. We’ve got the security of the “formula” or conventions of romance (the meeting, the conflict, the happy ending), with the interest and uniqueness of a new story each time we read a new romance.
The illustration is from Wikimedia Commons and is taken from Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé's Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany. It is a depiction of the opium poppy, or Papaver somniferum.