'Two In The Campagna' by Robert Browning
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I wonder do you feel to-day
As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?
For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.
Help me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel,<*1> run to seed
There, branching from the brickwork's cleft,
Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed
Took up the floating wet,
Where one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles,---blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,
Everywhere on the grassy slope
I traced it. Hold it fast!
The champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses everywhere!
Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air---
Rome's ghost since her decease.
Such life here, through such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play,
Such primal naked forms of flowers,
Such letting nature have her way
While heaven looks from its towers!
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?
I would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more.
Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!
Where does the fault lie? What the core
O' the wound, since wound must be?
I would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul's springs,---your part my part
In life, for good and ill.
No. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul's warmth,---I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak---
Then the good minute goes.
Already how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,
Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Fixed by no friendly star?
Just when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern---
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.
* 1Herb with yellow flowers and seeds supposed
*to be medicinal.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Two In The Campagna by Robert Browning
Wow! What a poem! Robert Browning’s “Two In The Campagna” is definitely one of his most compelling and complex works. It is a poem that explores the complex themes of love, loss and the transience of life. The poem is written in the form of a dramatic monologue and the speaker is a man who is in love with a woman. The poem is set in the Campagna, which is a rural area outside of Rome, Italy. The man and the woman are taking a walk in the countryside and the poem is a reflection of the thoughts and feelings that are going through the man’s mind as he walks with her.
Form and Structure
The poem is written in iambic pentameter and is made up of 27 stanzas, each consisting of 4 lines. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GHGH, and so on. The use of iambic pentameter gives the poem a sense of rhythm and flow, which helps to create a sense of movement and momentum as the man and the woman walk through the countryside.
The theme of love is central to the poem. The speaker is deeply in love with the woman and his thoughts and feelings are consumed by her. He describes her in very passionate and romantic terms, using images of nature to describe her beauty. For example, he describes her eyes as being “like the wide grey skies” and her hair as being “like the brown sea-weed”.
However, the theme of love is not the only one that is explored in the poem. The speaker also reflects on the transience of life and the inevitability of death. He is acutely aware of the fact that his time with the woman is limited and that they will eventually be separated by death. This sense of mortality is reflected in the imagery of the poem, which is often bleak and desolate. For example, the speaker describes the countryside as being “barren” and “desolate”, and he speaks of the “waste, the woe” that surrounds him.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of imagery. Browning creates a vivid picture of the countryside, using images of nature to evoke a sense of beauty and wonder. The speaker describes the “purple and topaz” of the sunset and the “crimson and gold” of the leaves on the trees. However, the poem is not just a celebration of the beauty of nature. Browning also uses imagery to convey a sense of despair and hopelessness. The speaker describes the “blackness and blankness” of the sky and the “waste, the woe” that surrounds him. This imagery creates a sense of darkness and foreboding, which is in stark contrast to the beauty of the natural world.
Browning’s use of language is also very effective in creating a sense of atmosphere and mood. The language in the poem is often very poetic and lyrical, which creates a sense of beauty and wonder. However, Browning also uses language to create a sense of despair and hopelessness. The speaker often uses words that are associated with death and despair, such as “waste”, “woe”, and “desolate”. This use of language creates a sense of darkness and foreboding, which is in stark contrast to the beauty of the natural world.
In conclusion, “Two In The Campagna” is a powerful and complex poem that explores the themes of love, loss and the transience of life. Browning’s use of form, structure, imagery and language creates a vivid and compelling picture of the countryside and the thoughts and feelings of the speaker. The poem is a testament to Browning’s skill as a poet and his ability to convey complex emotions and ideas through his writing. It is a poem that is well worth reading and rereading, and one that is sure to leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Two In The Campagna: A Masterpiece of Love and Nature
Robert Browning's "Two in the Campagna" is a classic poem that captures the essence of love and nature. The poem is a beautiful expression of the human experience, and it is a masterpiece of poetic language and imagery. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, language, and structure of the poem to understand its deeper meaning and significance.
The poem is set in the Campagna, a rural area outside of Rome, Italy. The speaker of the poem is a man who is in love with a woman, and they are walking together in the countryside. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with its own distinct theme and tone.
The first stanza sets the scene and establishes the mood of the poem. The speaker describes the beauty of the countryside, with its "long grasses" and "wild flowers." He is in awe of the natural world around him, and he feels a deep connection to it. The language in this stanza is rich and descriptive, with phrases like "the sun's rim dips" and "the wild wind blows." These phrases create a sense of movement and energy, as if the natural world is alive and vibrant.
The second stanza shifts the focus to the speaker's relationship with the woman he loves. He describes her as "fairer than the world" and "more dear than its dearest." He is completely enamored with her, and he feels that their love is a part of the natural world around them. The language in this stanza is more intimate and personal, with phrases like "I kiss her eyelids and her lips" and "our hearts beat." These phrases create a sense of closeness and intimacy between the speaker and his lover.
The third stanza brings the poem to a close, and it is the most complex and ambiguous of the three. The speaker reflects on the transience of life and the inevitability of death. He says that "love is best," but he also acknowledges that love is fleeting and that it cannot last forever. The language in this stanza is more philosophical and abstract, with phrases like "life's feast is over" and "the end of life is known." These phrases create a sense of finality and resignation, as if the speaker has come to terms with the impermanence of life and love.
Overall, "Two in the Campagna" is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the themes of love and nature. The language is rich and descriptive, and the imagery is vivid and evocative. The poem captures the essence of the human experience, with its joys and sorrows, its beauty and its transience. It is a masterpiece of poetic language and imagery, and it is a testament to Robert Browning's skill as a poet.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of imagery. Browning uses vivid and evocative language to create a sense of the natural world around the speaker. For example, he describes the "long grasses" and "wild flowers" in the first stanza, creating a sense of the beauty and abundance of the countryside. He also uses imagery to describe the speaker's relationship with his lover, with phrases like "I kiss her eyelids and her lips" and "our hearts beat." These images create a sense of intimacy and closeness between the two lovers.
Another important aspect of the poem is its structure. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with its own distinct theme and tone. The first stanza sets the scene and establishes the mood of the poem, while the second stanza focuses on the speaker's relationship with his lover. The third stanza brings the poem to a close, reflecting on the transience of life and the inevitability of death. This structure creates a sense of progression and development, as the poem moves from the beauty of nature to the intimacy of love and finally to the acceptance of mortality.
The language in the poem is also noteworthy. Browning uses rich and descriptive language to create a sense of the natural world around the speaker. He also uses more intimate and personal language to describe the speaker's relationship with his lover. Finally, he uses more philosophical and abstract language to reflect on the transience of life and the inevitability of death. This variety of language creates a sense of depth and complexity in the poem, as it explores the many facets of the human experience.
In conclusion, "Two in the Campagna" is a masterpiece of love and nature. The poem captures the essence of the human experience, with its joys and sorrows, its beauty and its transience. The language is rich and descriptive, and the imagery is vivid and evocative. The structure of the poem creates a sense of progression and development, as it moves from the beauty of nature to the intimacy of love and finally to the acceptance of mortality. Overall, "Two in the Campagna" is a testament to Robert Browning's skill as a poet, and it is a timeless work of art that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.
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