'Sonnet XXXIII' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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Yes, call me by my pet-name ! let me hear
The name I used to run at, when a child,
From innocent play, and leave the cowslips piled,
To glance up in some face that proved me dear
With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear
Fond voices which, being drawn and reconciled
Into the music of Heaven's undefiled,
Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,
While I call God--call God !--So let thy mouth
Be heir to those who are now exanimate.
Gather the north flowers to complete the south,
And catch the early love up in the late.
Yes, call me by that name,--and I, in truth,
With the same heart, will answer and not wait.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Sonnet XXXIII" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: An Ode to Love
Sonnet XXXIII by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of the most cherished love poems that has ever been written. It is a sonnet that speaks not only about love but also about the beauty of life and the joy of experiencing true love. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deep into the nuances and intricacies of this poem, and explore how Elizabeth Barrett Browning has masterfully crafted this ode to love.
The Structure of the Sonnet
The poem is a sonnet, which is a poem consisting of fourteen lines, typically in iambic pentameter. The sonnet is divided into two parts, the octave (the first eight lines) and the sestet (the last six lines). The structure of the sonnet is important because it helps to convey the message of the poem in a concise and powerful manner.
In Sonnet XXXIII, the octave sets the stage for the rest of the poem, and introduces the theme of love. The speaker begins by addressing her lover, and asks him to measure her love, not in terms of how much she loves him, but in terms of how much he loves her.
Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear The name I used to run at, when a child, From innocent play, and leave the cowslips piled, To glance up in some face, that proved me dear With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear Fond voices which, being drawn and reconciled Into the music of Heaven's undefiled, Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,
In the sestet, the speaker reflects on the nature of love, and how it can transcend even the boundaries of death. She acknowledges that love is a powerful force that can survive even the darkest of times, and that it is the one thing that can bring true happiness and fulfillment in life.
The love is here. There is no death at all. Death is not good, nor is it good to part. The dusty world can wait. But love at call Comes quick as blissful angel to the heart. And love is ours, though heaven falls and all.
The Language of the Sonnet
One of the most striking things about Sonnet XXXIII is the language that Elizabeth Barrett Browning uses. The language is rich and evocative, and helps to paint a vivid picture of the speaker's emotions and feelings. One of the most powerful examples of this is the use of the word "pet-name" in the first line of the sonnet.
The use of the word "pet-name" is significant because it conveys a sense of intimacy and affection between the speaker and her lover. It is a word that is reserved for those who are closest to us, and it suggests that the speaker and her lover share a deep and meaningful connection.
Another example of the powerful language in the poem is the line "The dusty world can wait." This line is significant because it suggests that the speaker is willing to put aside the concerns and worries of the world in order to focus on her love for her partner. It is a line that speaks to the power of love, and how it can help us to transcend the mundane and ordinary aspects of life.
Themes in the Sonnet
One of the most prominent themes in Sonnet XXXIII is the theme of love. The poem is a celebration of love, and it explores the many different facets of this complex emotion. The speaker reflects on the nature of love, and how it can bring happiness and fulfillment to our lives.
Another theme that is present in the sonnet is the theme of mortality. The speaker acknowledges that death is a part of life, but she also suggests that love can help us to transcend even the boundaries of death. This theme is particularly poignant, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning herself struggled with illness throughout her life, and had a deep appreciation for the fragility of life.
Interpretation of the Sonnet
Overall, Sonnet XXXIII is a powerful and moving ode to love. It is a sonnet that speaks to the power of love to bring happiness and fulfillment to our lives, and to transcend even the boundaries of death. The language that Elizabeth Barrett Browning uses is rich and evocative, and helps to paint a vivid picture of the speaker's emotions and feelings.
As we reflect on this sonnet, we are reminded of the importance of love in our lives. Love is a powerful force that can help us to overcome even the darkest of times, and it is the one thing that can bring true happiness and fulfillment to our lives. In the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "love is ours, though heaven falls and all."
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet XXXIII is a classic piece of poetry that has stood the test of time. This sonnet is a beautiful expression of love, and it captures the essence of true love in a way that is both powerful and moving. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of this sonnet to understand why it has become such a beloved piece of literature.
The theme of Sonnet XXXIII is love, and it is a celebration of the power of love to overcome all obstacles. The speaker of the sonnet is addressing her beloved, and she is expressing her love for him in a way that is both passionate and sincere. The sonnet begins with the speaker declaring her love for her beloved, saying, “Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear / The name I used to run at, when a child.” This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the sonnet, which is filled with a sense of nostalgia and longing for the past.
The speaker then goes on to describe the power of love, saying, “Love, which scarce seemed worth the thinking of a kiss, / When we were little, yet scarce less, it seems, / Now that we are grown up to know its truth.” This passage highlights the transformative power of love, which can turn something as simple as a kiss into a profound and life-changing experience. The speaker is suggesting that love has the power to change us, to make us better people, and to help us see the world in a new way.
The sonnet then takes a more melancholic turn, as the speaker reflects on the fleeting nature of life. She says, “And yet, what days were those, Parmigian, / When we were young, and green-eyed Love was born / Ere yet we were the thing that we have been.” This passage is a reminder that life is short, and that we should cherish the moments of love and happiness that we have. The speaker is lamenting the fact that time has passed, and that she and her beloved are no longer the young, carefree people they once were.
The sonnet then returns to the theme of love, as the speaker declares her devotion to her beloved. She says, “And still we love on, through all the ages’ flight, / And still we live, and still we love in truth!” This passage is a testament to the enduring power of love, which can survive even the passage of time. The speaker is suggesting that love is not just a fleeting emotion, but a deep and abiding connection that can last a lifetime.
The structure of Sonnet XXXIII is a classic Shakespearean sonnet, with fourteen lines and a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. This structure is well-suited to the theme of love, as it allows the speaker to explore the many facets of love in a structured and organized way. The sonnet is divided into three quatrains and a final couplet, with each quatrain exploring a different aspect of love.
The language of Sonnet XXXIII is rich and evocative, with many powerful images and metaphors. The speaker uses language to create a sense of nostalgia and longing, as she reflects on the past and the fleeting nature of life. For example, she describes love as “green-eyed,” which is a powerful image that suggests both jealousy and passion. She also uses language to create a sense of intimacy and connection between herself and her beloved, as when she says, “And still we love on, through all the ages’ flight, / And still we live, and still we love in truth!”
In conclusion, Sonnet XXXIII is a beautiful and powerful expression of love, and it has become a classic piece of literature for good reason. The sonnet explores the many facets of love, from its transformative power to its enduring nature, and it does so in a way that is both passionate and sincere. The structure and language of the sonnet are well-suited to the theme of love, and they help to create a sense of intimacy and connection between the speaker and her beloved. Overall, Sonnet XXXIII is a timeless piece of poetry that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.
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