'Evelyn Hope' by Robert Browning
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Beautiful Evelyn Hope is dead!
Sit and watch by her side an hour.
That is her book-shelf, this her bed;
She plucked that piece of geranium-flower,
Beginning to die too, in the glass;
Little has yet been changed, I think:
The shutters are shut, no light may pass
Save two long rays thro' the hinge's chink.
Sixteen years old, when she died!
Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name;
It was not her time to love; beside,
Her life had many a hope and aim,
Duties enough and little cares,
And now was quiet, now astir,
Till God's hand beckoned unawares,---
And the sweet white brow is all of her.
Is it too late then, Evelyn Hope?
What, your soul was pure and true,
The good stars met in your horoscope,
Made you of spirit, fire and dew---
And, just because I was thrice as old
And our paths in the world diverged so wide,
Each was nought to each, must I be told?
We were fellow mortals, nought beside?
No, indeed! for God above
Is great to grant, as mighty to make,
And creates the love to reward the love:
I claim you still, for my own love's sake!
Delayed it may be for more lives yet,
Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few:
Much is to learn, much to forget
Ere the time be come for taking you.
But the time will come,---at last it will,
When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say)
In the lower earth, intheyearslongstill,
That body and soul so pure and gay?
Why your hair was amber, I shall divine,
And your mouth of your own geranium's red---
In the new life come in the old one's stead.
I have lived (I shall say) so much since then,
Given up myself so many times,
Gained me the gains of various men,
Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;
Yet one thing, one, in my soul's full scope,
Either I missed or itself missed me:
And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope!
What is the issue? let us see!
I loved you, Evelyn, all the while.
My heart seemed full as it could hold?
There was place and to spare for the frank young smile,
And the red young mouth, and the hair's young gold.
So, hush,---I will give you this leaf to keep:
See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand!
There, that is our secret: go to sleep!
You will wake, and remember, and understand.
Editor 1 Interpretation
A Deep Dive into Robert Browning's "Evelyn Hope"
Are you ready to get lost in the depths of Robert Browning's classic poem, "Evelyn Hope"? This poem, written in 1855, tells the story of a young woman who dies at a young age but leaves a powerful impression on the narrator, who mourns her deeply. But this poem is much more than just a simple elegy. It delves into themes of love, loss, and memory, and uses language and imagery to paint a vivid picture of a life cut short.
Let us start by analyzing the structure of the poem. "Evelyn Hope" is written in six stanzas, each with eight lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABBCBC, which gives the poem a musical quality. The poem's rhythm is smooth, with a consistent meter of iambic tetrameter. This rhythmic consistency creates a sense of stability and order in the poem, even as it deals with themes of loss and grief.
But what of the content of the poem? The first stanza introduces us to the titular character, Evelyn Hope. The narrator describes her as a "fair-haired maid", and immediately we get a sense of her youth and innocence. The narrator goes on to say that he met her only once, but that encounter has stayed with him for years. The second stanza describes that encounter in detail - the narrator and Evelyn spoke briefly, but he was struck by her "deep and truthful" eyes. This encounter was clearly a turning point for the narrator, as he spends the rest of the poem mourning Evelyn's death and remembering her vividly.
The third stanza is where the poem really starts to delve into the themes of love and loss. The narrator tells us that Evelyn died young, and that he has been haunted by her memory ever since. He speaks of a "violet" that Evelyn gave him, which he has kept as a symbol of their brief connection. This detail is important - it shows that even though the narrator and Evelyn had only met once, that meeting had a profound impact on both of them.
The fourth stanza is the heart of the poem, as the narrator describes his feelings for Evelyn in vivid detail. He speaks of her as a "soul within my soul", and says that he feels her presence everywhere. The language here is powerful and poetic, as the narrator uses metaphors to convey the intensity of his emotions. There is a sense of longing and melancholy in these lines - the narrator knows that he can never truly be with Evelyn again, but her memory is a comfort to him nonetheless.
In the fifth stanza, the narrator describes how he has tried to forget Evelyn and move on with his life, but he has been unable to do so. He speaks of her as a "mystery", a puzzle that he can never fully solve. This sense of frustration and yearning is palpable, and adds to the emotional weight of the poem.
Finally, in the sixth stanza, the narrator speaks directly to Evelyn. He tells her that he is still thinking of her, even though she is gone. He asks her to forgive him for his lack of faith, and says that he hopes to see her again someday. This final stanza is a poignant reminder of the transience of life, and the power of memory to keep the dead alive in our hearts.
But what of the poem's deeper meanings? "Evelyn Hope" is a poem about love and loss, but it is also about the power of memory to preserve what has been lost. The narrator's vivid descriptions of Evelyn - her hair, her eyes, her voice - are all attempts to keep her memory alive, to honor the connection they shared. The "violet" that she gave him is a symbol of their brief encounter, a physical reminder of the beauty that can be found even in the midst of tragedy.
The poem is also about the nature of grief, and how it can linger long after the object of one's affection has passed away. The narrator speaks of Evelyn as a "mystery", a puzzle he can never fully solve. This sense of frustration and yearning is something that anyone who has lost someone they love can relate to. The poem acknowledges that grief is a messy, complicated emotion, one that can never be fully resolved.
Finally, the poem is about the power of faith and hope in the face of loss. The narrator speaks of his lack of faith, but also expresses a hope that he will see Evelyn again someday. This hope is a powerful force, one that allows the narrator to keep going even in the face of overwhelming grief.
Overall, "Evelyn Hope" is a powerful poem that explores themes of love, loss, memory, and hope. It is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to capture and convey the complexities of the human experience. So, let us raise a glass to Robert Browning and his beautiful elegy, and to the enduring memory of Evelyn Hope.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a form of art that has the power to evoke emotions, inspire, and move people. Robert Browning's "Evelyn Hope" is a classic poem that does just that. This poem is a beautiful tribute to a woman who has passed away, and it captures the essence of love, loss, and remembrance.
The poem is written in the form of a dramatic monologue, which means that the speaker is addressing someone directly. In this case, the speaker is addressing Evelyn Hope, who has passed away. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with six lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABCC, which means that the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme, and the third and fifth lines rhyme.
The first stanza sets the tone for the poem. The speaker is remembering Evelyn Hope and the love that they shared. He describes her as "fair as a rose in June," which is a beautiful image that suggests her beauty and vitality. He also mentions that she was "young and happy," which emphasizes the tragedy of her death. The speaker's love for Evelyn Hope is evident in the way he describes her, and it is clear that he is deeply affected by her passing.
The second stanza is more introspective. The speaker reflects on his own feelings and emotions. He describes himself as "old and sorrowful," which suggests that he has been deeply affected by Evelyn Hope's death. He also mentions that he is "weary of life," which suggests that he is struggling to come to terms with his loss. The speaker's emotions are raw and honest, and they add to the emotional impact of the poem.
The third stanza is the most poignant. The speaker addresses Evelyn Hope directly, telling her that he will always remember her. He describes her as "the one pure woman" who has touched his life. He also mentions that he will never forget her "smile, voice, and hair," which suggests that he has many happy memories of their time together. The final line of the poem, "God keep thee, we say," is a beautiful sentiment that suggests that the speaker is wishing Evelyn Hope peace and happiness in the afterlife.
One of the most striking aspects of "Evelyn Hope" is the way that Browning uses language to create a sense of beauty and melancholy. The poem is full of beautiful images and metaphors that capture the essence of love and loss. For example, the image of Evelyn Hope as a rose in June is a beautiful metaphor that suggests her beauty and vitality. The use of the word "weary" to describe the speaker's emotions is also very effective, as it suggests a sense of exhaustion and sadness.
Another important aspect of the poem is the way that Browning uses structure and form to create a sense of unity and coherence. The use of the dramatic monologue form is particularly effective, as it allows the speaker to address Evelyn Hope directly and to express his emotions in a powerful and emotional way. The use of the ABABCC rhyme scheme is also very effective, as it creates a sense of rhythm and flow that adds to the emotional impact of the poem.
In conclusion, "Evelyn Hope" is a beautiful and poignant poem that captures the essence of love, loss, and remembrance. Browning's use of language, structure, and form is masterful, and the poem is a testament to his skill as a poet. The poem is a beautiful tribute to a woman who has passed away, and it is a reminder of the power of poetry to evoke emotions and inspire.
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