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Sonnet XX Analysis



Author: Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Type: Poetry Views: 436

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Beloved, my Beloved, when I think

That thou wast in the world a year ago,

What time I sat alone here in the snow

And saw no footprint, heard the silence sink

No moment at thy voice, but, link by link,

Went counting all my chains as if that so

They never could fall off at any blow

Struck by thy possible hand,--why, thus I drink

Of life's great cup of wonder ! Wonderful,

Never to feel thee thrill the day or night

With personal act or speech,--nor ever cull

Some prescience of thee with the blossoms white

Thou sawest growing ! Atheists are as dull,

Who cannot guess God's presence out of sight.










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

.: :.

Beloved, my Beloved depicts an accurate description of where she mentally, emotionally and physically was before she met Robert. The octave of the sonnet represent her looking back on her past self, counting her woes and realizing her pain before love. Her tone of awe filled reminiscence when she uses the lines “…when I think/ That thou wast in the world a year ago”(1-2) to portray her emotion. Her life held no possibility of change when Robert was not in her life because all that existed were the woes and hardships; “link by link,/ Went counting my chains, as if so/ they never could fall off at any blow…” (5-7).
There is a shift in tone from awe filled reminiscence to awe filled remorse at the volta. Elizabeth becomes agitated with her past self, wondering why she couldn’t see the possibility of love when being in love is so “wonderful”; “…why, thus I drink/ Of life’s great cup of wonder!” (8-9). She then introduces the motif of all these poems, religious/sacrilegious undertones which is caused by the metaphor of Browning being her God.
In the 1800s religion was an important factor in life. So when Elizabeth relates Browning to God when she writes in the last two lines; “…Atheists are as dull, /Who cannot guess God’s presence out of sight.” (13-14). It shows how she has switched from the socially acceptable act of loving God more than anything to loving Browning more than anything. God didn’t bring Elizabeth out of her changeless life, her love for Browning did.


| Posted on 2007-04-15 | by a guest


.: :.

Beloved, my Beloved depicts an accurate description of where she mentally, emotionally and physically was before she met Robert. The octave of the sonnet represent her looking back on her past self, counting her woes and realizing her pain before love. Her tone of awe filled reminiscence when she uses the lines “…when I think/ That thou wast in the world a year ago”(1-2) to portray her emotion. Her life held no possibility of change when Robert was not in her life because all that existed were the woes and hardships; “link by link,/ Went counting my chains, as if so/ they never could fall off at any blow…” (5-7).
There is a shift in tone from awe filled reminiscence to awe filled remorse at the volta. Elizabeth becomes agitated with her past self, wondering why she couldn’t see the possibility of love when being in love is so “wonderful”; “…why, thus I drink/ Of life’s great cup of wonder!” (8-9). She then introduces the motif of all these poems, religious/sacrilegious undertones which is caused by the metaphor of Browning being her God.
In the 1800s religion was an important factor in life. So when Elizabeth relates Browning to God when she writes in the last two lines; “…Atheists are as dull, /Who cannot guess God’s presence out of sight.” (13-14). It shows how she has switched from the socially acceptable act of loving God more than anything to loving Browning more than anything. God didn’t bring Elizabeth out of her changeless life, her love for Browning did.


| Posted on 2007-04-15 | by a guest




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