March 7, 2018
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According to the Norton Anthology, these poems were written as recordings of “the stages of her love for Robert Browning” (1078). Taking that into account, this sonnet seems to represent that giddiness that comes with the beginning stage of love. The speaker requests that her love “Say over again, and yet once over again, / That thou dost love me” (1-2). The speaker immediately shows a desire to hear their significant other proclaim their love constantly, even if it begins to sound repetitive like “‘a cuckoo-song'”(3). The significant other may think that professing their love is tedious or unnecessary, but the speaker will not ever get tired of it. One may think that this relationship is superficial or not meant to last, but despite the school-girl giddiness of this newfound love, the speaker recognizes the importance of their significant other loving them “also in silence with thy soul” (14). In other words, while it is important for the speaker to hear the words “I love you”, it is also important that the significant other truly means the words, as the speaker desires a true and pure love.
Yes, definitely hearing your lover tell you they love you while meaning it is beautiful to the soul. Sometimes, though, feeling it is more important. The passionate intensity throughout the whole poem shows that she does need to hear it more than feel it. It soothes the soul to hear your lover telling you how they love you.
A Cuckoo song is repeated hourly. One cuckoo for one o’clock and 12 for midnight and noon.
So, she is saying that the words are repeated often and treated with less importance.
“Remember, never to the hill or plain, Valley and wood, without her cuckoo-strain,” appears to maybe mean not to forget that she is loved and who she is loved by, even though she cannot hear an actual cuckoo clock walking away from home, but to remember it in her mind as often as she would hear it at home.
[I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace.]
This is a beautiful expression of the vastness of the love that is felt. With the feeling that the love has transcended to a level equal to only the incomprehensible infinitude of God. Only to be brought back down and grounded by that same God later in the same paragraph by admitting that that same infinitude can only be reached by what “God Choose”. With the final line being the ultimate statement of love in that the love that is felt is not limited to material world.
The love she describes is a complete love. It is pure, and childlike. With the dimensions of love so vast, it will endure all of her life. She then goes on to say beyond the end of life, the love will be beyond what she sees in this mortal existence. It is almost as if her experience of the love she feels itself enables the prospect convention, getting just a taste of the transcendent love beyond the veil.
As said by the others on this sonnet, I agree that it is a pure true love that is much like that of childhood love. It doesn’t seem to be a materialistic love , as there is no comparisons such as “I love thee like I love buying a new dress” (I don’t know what she would have bought). Instead all these things she is comparing her love to are very spiritual. She loves him purely, freely, with passion. She is devoted to him as she says “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints”, suggesting that she loves him with that childlike devotion children have to God and stories. This is a very beautiful look at love that goes beyond materialism and into the soul–a true love.
I’ve used this poem to officiate a wedding before and I feel like it captures the beauty of love and togetherness without the overwhelming feeling of God. And I still say this even with God being used in the second to last line. It does not degrade either sex and is purely equating an undying love to the natural beauty in life. Throughout these poems though, I’m noticing more of a shift to mentioning God then before with other writers.
“I shall but love thee better after death” Is very reminiscent of the types of propaganda around the world wars. Though not as extreme, it’s reminiscent of the “what could be more noble, valiant, or romantic than to die for ___?” Love, being the blank here. Personally, I think that’s a slippery slope–take R&J for example–but I think it echoes true, and vital for the time period. Leaning toward ‘Romantics’ in a more modern definition.
[Into our deep, dear silence]
Love in life, and on earth, is here construed as a more fulfilling, dramatic, and interesting experience of love than one associated with heaven and immortality. What are the advantages? The speaker suggests that is is more private–no angelic interruptions, and heaven is crowded. Mortals are preoccupied with their own experiences–which are “unfit” and “contrarious”–and won’t interrupt the lovers’ companionship. Most importantly, “darkness and the death-hour” surround love in life. Life’s gloom makes earthly love that much more precious and uplifting, and its temporal nature contributes to its passionate intensity.
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April 24, 2018 at 12:13 am
See in context
March 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm
March 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm
March 8, 2018 at 11:23 am
March 7, 2018 at 10:44 pm
March 7, 2018 at 9:33 pm
March 7, 2018 at 8:19 pm
March 7, 2018 at 8:04 pm
March 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm
April 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm
This poem emphasizes the cyclical qualities of life. This stanza acknowledges the transition from the innocence of youth into a complicated older society. It demonstrates how happiness and youth are fleeting. In the previous stanza we are told about a carefree old man. He demonstrates how in our old age we might return to the same wonderous joy of youth. Although the elderly might posess this same happy disposition, the still carry wisdom and pain with the memories of a complicated life. Many reminisce about the simplicity of being a young girl or boy where everything is exciting and new. It takes a realist perspective where, “The sun does descend,/And our sports have an end.” This poem demonstrates how neither happiness nor sorrow are permanent afflictions. The cycle continues with no true end in sight.
April 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm
In the final stanza we see that, while the narrator doesn’t truly move to the Lake Isle of Innisfree, he takes the isle with him in his thoughts, memory, and temperament. He is expressing how he will take refuge in his memory of the isle in order to live amongst society while embracing a feeling of peace and connection with nature. Even, “While [he stands] on the roadway, or on the pavements grey”, he is able to connect with the Isle in his , “deep heart’s core” and in his soul. This is a form of escapism, while he still allows himself to be somewhat entrapped by a materialistic society. He gives in to most social conventions while holding on to romantic ideals.
April 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm
This poem reminds me of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. The narrator desires to escape from society by living alone in nature. This is likely in response to an increasingly industrialized society. He glorifies nature and it’s peaceful qualities by describing the Lake of Innisfree with a natural supernaturalist perspective. This sort of ideal is expressed often throughout the arts and can be described as a romantic perspective.
April 26, 2018 at 1:51 pm
The final stanza in Dover beach is provoking in that Arnold speaks to lover about a dark and unhappy world. His is a realists perspective, likely in light of a declining faith in humanity and religion. This is a time, “Where ignorant armies clash by night”. In the dawn of industrialization conflict seems prevalent as society becomes materialistic. At this time society was fighting unaware over materialistic, and capitalistic reasons. Arnold has lost faith in humanity and struggles to move past, “The eternal note of sadness”. His is a romantic perspective where he looks at war, materialism, industrialization, and capitalism, as a true decline in humanity with no end in sight.
April 24, 2018 at 11:45 am
This poem exemplifies the transcendent ideals of writers in this period. “I’m happiest when most away” followed by, “I can bear my soul from its home of clay” suggests that the author finds happiness in spirit. She desires a freedom that comes with escaping the physical world before her. The, “home of clay” she speaks of is likely her physical body. In some religions a deity creates humans with clay. This poem is likely demonstrating escapism where the author would enjoy escaping reality if only in spirit. This is likely a response to industrialization which tends to strengthen attachment to the physical/material aspects of society.
April 24, 2018 at 12:02 am
The forbidden fruit is indeed strong throughout the whole of the poem, I wholeheartedly agree. It seems that Laura is full of curiosity, but is that on the whole wrong? I think Lizzie’s warnings are what made Laura curious; a lot like the parent telling the teenager not to do something which in tern makes the teenager even MORE inclined to do it.
April 23, 2018 at 10:54 pm
This whole poem brings to mind an ending, as in a changing of the season; possibly a spring straight into winter. There is a loss and isolation feel to it, especially at the mention of Danae. I do love winter and I know now everyone does, which is why to me this feels like he’s writing about an ending of a beautiful spring.
April 23, 2018 at 9:52 pm
There are two phrases that stand out to me in this: train-oil breath and petitionary growl. I have no idea why, but the first thing that came to my mind is world weariness. Carlyle is excellently descriptive about this Hyperborean Bear, this Russian Smuggler. Carlyle is trying to explain to him that he is absolutely not interested and who can blame him? It’s only after he shows the Russian his pistols that the Russian backs off. An everlasting no? If the pistols hadn’t dissuaded him, Carlyle might have been involved in a Duel, which is not something he wanted.
April 23, 2018 at 8:54 pm
I, too, thought war when I read this. The hope he shows until the stanza you mentioned was palpable, but so is his despair.
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