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Love in the Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Essay Example

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In the paper “Love in the Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning” the author looks at Elizabeth Barrett Browning who often expressed her love for her husband, Robert Browning in her poetry. In Browning’s Sonnets From the Portuguese, Sonnet 43, expressed the intensity of Browning’s love for Browning…
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Download file to see previous pages Sonnet 14, another of Browning’s love poems in Sonnets from the Portuguese is likewise heavily themed by love. Only this poem draws attention to the way that Browning wanted her husband-to-be to love her. Her idea of true love is therefore reflected in her desire for unconditional love, the prerequisite for true love. Browning instructs her husband-to-be: If thou must love me, let it be for naught Except for love’s sake only. Do not say “I love her for her smile, -for a trick of thought (Browning 2008, Sonnet 14, Ls 1-2). These lines express a fear that if love is conditional, love is pure and subject to change. For instance, if her husband-to-be merely loved her for a physical trait, such as a smile, the manner in which that smile moved her future husband could change over time and so would his love for her. Barrett is more explicit in this idea as she proceeds with Sonnet 14. She expressly writes: For thee thins in themselves, Beloved, may Be changed, or change for thee, - an love, so wrought, May be unwrought so…(Browning 2008, Sonnet 14, Ls7-9). Browning also expressed a subtle fear that her future husband’s love may be husband-to-be She was at the time of writing bedridden and described as an invalid (Mermin 1989, p. xi). Browning, therefore, instructs her future husband: …Neither loves me for Thine own pity’s wiping my cheeks dry, -- A creature might forget to weep, who bore Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! (Browning 2008, Sonnet 14, Ls. 10-13). Barrett was therefore mindful of the fact that pity itself, if it endured long enough could become meaningless and once the pity became meaningless, so with the love that accompanied it. It is therefore clear that Browning intended that her love for Robert Browning be returned with the same intensity that it was given. Nevertheless, the love is complete in Sonnet 22 where Browning then turns her attention to the perfect union. Browning speaks of the union as follows: When our two souls stand up erect and strong, Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher Until the lengthening wings break into a fire (Browning 2008, Ls 1-3). Browning appears to address the physical union of two lovers. In other words, Browning is likely addressing and describing the physical intimacy that unites two lovers. The use of the words “two souls” clearly conveys that the physical union only completes the meeting of two hearts and intense love. Browning, however, wonders if the love she shared with her future husband could be best expressed on earth than in heaven: Can the earth do to us, that we should not long Be here contented? ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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