'Lady 's Yes, The' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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"Yes," I answered you last night;
"No," this morning, Sir, I say.
Colours seen by candlelight,
Will not look the same by day.
When the viols played their best,
Lamps above, and laughs below---
Love me sounded like a jest,
Fit for Yes or fit for No.
Call me false, or call me free---
Vow, whatever light may shine,
No man on your face shall see
Any grief for change on mine.
Yet the sin is on us both---
Time to dance is not to woo---
Wooer light makes fickle troth---
Scorn of me recoils on you.
Learn to win a lady's faith
Nobly, as the thing is high;
Bravely, as for life and death---
With a loyal gravity.
Lead her from the festive boards,
Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
Pure from courtship's flatteries.
By your truth she shall be true---
Ever true, as wives of yore---
And her Yes, once said to you,
SHALL be Yes for evermore.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Lady's Yes: A Poetic Masterpiece by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
When it comes to romantic poetry, few writers can match the brilliance of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Her poem "Lady's Yes" is a shining example of her ability to capture the complexities of human emotion and weave them into a beautifully crafted work of art.
First published in 1844, "Lady's Yes" was written during a time when women's rights were severely limited. In fact, Barrett Browning herself was unable to attend university or vote due to her gender.
However, this did not stop her from expressing her thoughts and feelings through her poetry. "Lady's Yes" is a testament to her ability to challenge societal norms and explore the nuances of love and relationships.
One of the most striking aspects of "Lady's Yes" is the use of repetition. The phrase "I said, 'I will'" is repeated throughout the poem, highlighting the speaker's determination to commit to her lover.
The use of anaphora, the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses, also adds to the poem's rhythmic flow. For example, in the opening lines, "I said no more of the wondering sort, / You plaguing me with loves to which / There is no end" emphasizes the speaker's exasperation with her lover's persistent advances.
Barrett Browning also employs imagery to vividly portray the emotions of the speaker. The line "My heart's a singing bird" evokes a sense of joy and freedom, while the metaphor of "a sheep in a lion's skin" captures the speaker's feeling of vulnerability and insecurity.
At its core, "Lady's Yes" is a poem about love and commitment. The speaker's journey from reluctance to acceptance reflects the complexities of relationships and the challenges of making a lifelong commitment.
However, the poem also touches on themes of gender roles and societal expectations. The speaker's initial refusal to commit can be seen as a rebellion against the idea that women should be passive and submissive in relationships.
Furthermore, the poem explores the idea of agency and personal choice. Despite societal pressures and her lover's persistence, the speaker ultimately chooses to commit on her own terms.
One possible interpretation of "Lady's Yes" is that it represents a feminist critique of traditional gender roles. The speaker's initial refusal can be seen as a rejection of the idea that women should be passive and submissive in relationships.
The use of animal imagery also reinforces this interpretation. The metaphor of a "sheep in a lion's skin" suggests that the speaker may feel like she is expected to be strong and assertive, but in reality, she is vulnerable and insecure.
Another interpretation is that the poem is a celebration of personal agency and choice. Despite societal pressures and her lover's persistence, the speaker ultimately chooses to commit on her own terms.
This interpretation is supported by the repetition of the phrase "I said, 'I will.'" By repeating this phrase, the speaker asserts her own agency and autonomy, emphasizing that her decision to commit is hers and hers alone.
"Lady's Yes" is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores the complexities of love and relationships. Through its use of repetition, imagery, and metaphor, it captures the emotions of the speaker and the challenges of making a lifelong commitment.
At the same time, the poem touches on themes of gender roles, personal agency, and choice, making it a timeless work of art that is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1844.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Yes, The by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful piece of literature that explores the themes of love, faith, and hope. In this analysis, we will delve deeper into the poem and explore its meaning, structure, and literary devices.
The poem begins with the speaker asking a question, "Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour?" This question sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as the speaker is questioning the value of something. The next line, "Is it worth your lover's eyes, your little finger, your heart?" further emphasizes the importance of the subject matter.
The poem then takes a turn, as the speaker answers their own question with a resounding "Yes, the." This repetition of "Yes, the" is a literary device known as anaphora, which is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences. This repetition adds emphasis to the speaker's answer and reinforces the importance of the subject matter.
The next stanza of the poem explores the idea of love. The speaker says, "Love is worth all, faith is worth all, hope is worth all." This line is significant because it highlights the three most important things in life: love, faith, and hope. The speaker is saying that these things are worth everything, and that they are the most valuable things in life.
The poem then takes another turn, as the speaker asks another question, "Do you love? Do you believe? Do you hope?" This question is significant because it is asking the reader to reflect on their own life and values. The speaker is asking if the reader has love, faith, and hope in their life.
The next stanza of the poem explores the idea of sacrifice. The speaker says, "Then, only then, will you know why the worth of a tear, the worth of an hour, the worth of your lover's eyes, your little finger, your heart." This line is significant because it is saying that only through sacrifice can we truly understand the value of things. The speaker is saying that we must be willing to give up something in order to truly understand its worth.
The final stanza of the poem is a repetition of the first stanza, with a slight variation. The speaker asks the same question, "Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour?" but this time, the answer is different. The speaker says, "Yes, if one good is gained, yes, if one soul is saved." This variation is significant because it shows that the speaker's perspective has changed. The speaker is saying that if something good can come out of a situation, then it is worth it.
In conclusion, Yes, The by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a beautiful poem that explores the themes of love, faith, and hope. The repetition of "Yes, the" adds emphasis to the speaker's answer and reinforces the importance of the subject matter. The poem asks the reader to reflect on their own life and values, and emphasizes the importance of sacrifice in understanding the value of things. The final variation in the answer to the question shows that the speaker's perspective has changed, and that something good can come out of a difficult situation. This poem is a timeless piece of literature that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.
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