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Sonnet XVIII Analysis

Author: Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Type: Poetry Views: 771

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I never gave a lock of hair away

To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,

Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully,

I ring out to the full brown length and say

' Take it.' My day of youth went yesterday;

My hair no longer bounds to my foot's glee,

Nor plant I it from rose or myrtle-tree,

As girls do, any more: it only may

Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,

Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside

Through sorrow's trick. I thought the funeral-shears

Would take this first, but Love is justified,--

Take it thou,--finding pure, from all those years,

The kiss my mother left here when she died.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: posting no. one! :.

EBB has effectively created two tones, arranging a very light and pleasant one with a rather morbid and haunting one at the end. She does this through symbolism: the lock of hair signifying devoted love, then the funeral shear signifying death.
Also, of "full brown hair" is lovely, while "two pale cheeks the mark of tears, taught drooping from the head" carries much sadness.
I like how Victorian culture is integrated in the theme of love in EBB's poem--giving hair from the betrothed to the man who courts, planting it by the myrtle tree.

| Posted on 2005-04-09 | by Approved Guest

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