'Sonnet 38 - First time he kissed me, he but only kissed' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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Sonnets from the Portuguese1850XXXVIIIFirst time he kissed me, he but only kissed
The fingers of this hand wherewith I write;
And ever since, it grew more clean and white,
Slow to world-greetings, quick with its 'Oh, list,'
When the angels speak. A ring of amethyst
I could not wear here, plainer to my sight,
Than that first kiss. The second passed in height
The first, and sought the forehead, and half missed,
Half falling on the hair. O beyond meed!
That was the chrism of love, which love's own crown,
With sanctifying sweetness, did precede.
The third upon my lips was folded down
In perfect, purple state; since when, indeed,
I have been proud and said, 'My love, my own.'
Editor 1 Interpretation
"First time he kissed me, he but only kissed" - A Masterpiece of Love Poetry
There are love poems, and then there is Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "First time he kissed me, he but only kissed." This masterpiece of love poetry captures the essence of sweet, innocent love, and the power of a first kiss. In just fourteen lines, Browning manages to create an image of a perfect moment that will stay with the speaker forever.
A Brief Overview
The sonnet starts with the speaker reminiscing about the first time her lover kissed her. She describes it as a simple kiss, with no other intention, but it has left an indelible mark on her heart. The speaker then goes on to discuss how her lover's love has grown since that first kiss, and how much it means to her. She concludes by saying that even if her lover's love were to disappear, the memory of that first kiss will remain with her forever.
The Power of a First Kiss
The power of a first kiss is something that cannot be underestimated. It is a moment that marks the beginning of a special relationship, and it can have a lasting impact on the people involved. In this sonnet, Browning captures the essence of a first kiss perfectly. The simplicity of the kiss is what makes it so powerful. It is not a grand gesture or a romantic moment, but it is still something that has stayed with the speaker.
The Beauty of Innocent Love
One of the most striking things about this sonnet is the innocence of the love that is being described. There are no grand declarations or professions of undying love. Instead, the speaker is simply describing a moment that was special to her. This innocence is what makes the sonnet so beautiful. It is a reminder that love does not always have to be complicated or intense. Sometimes, the most beautiful moments are the simple ones.
The Use of Imagery
Browning uses imagery to great effect in this sonnet. The image of the first kiss is described as a "momentary bliss." This image captures the fleeting nature of the moment, and the fact that it will never happen again. The image of the lover's love growing like a flower is also very effective. It is a beautiful image that captures the idea of love as something that needs to be nurtured and cared for.
The Importance of Memory
The final two lines of the sonnet are particularly powerful. The speaker says that even if her lover's love were to disappear, the memory of that first kiss will remain with her forever. This reinforces the idea that memories are important, and that they can be more powerful than the actual experiences themselves. It is also a reminder that even if love does not last forever, the memories that we create can still be cherished.
"First time he kissed me, he but only kissed" is a masterpiece of love poetry. It captures the power of a first kiss, the beauty of innocent love, and the importance of memory. Browning's use of imagery and language is masterful, and the sonnet is a testament to her skill as a poet. If you are a fan of love poetry, then this sonnet is a must-read. It will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart, and a reminder of the power of love.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 38 - First time he kissed me, he but only kissed" is a classic piece of poetry that has stood the test of time. This sonnet is a beautiful expression of the first kiss between two lovers and the emotions that come with it. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language used in this sonnet to understand its significance.
The main theme of this sonnet is love and the first kiss between two lovers. The poem captures the excitement and anticipation of the first kiss, as well as the overwhelming emotions that come with it. The speaker describes the moment as a "momentary bliss" and "a sweet surprise." The poem also touches on the idea of time and how it seems to stand still during this moment. The speaker says, "Time, with his sickle keen, / Carves in my heart as on a stone." This line suggests that the moment is so significant that it is etched into the speaker's heart forever.
The sonnet follows the traditional structure of a Shakespearean sonnet, with 14 lines and a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which means that each line has 10 syllables and follows a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables. This gives the poem a rhythmic flow and makes it easy to read aloud.
The sonnet is divided into two quatrains and a sestet. The first quatrain describes the first kiss and the emotions that come with it. The second quatrain explores the idea of time and how it seems to stand still during this moment. The sestet concludes the poem with the speaker reflecting on the significance of the moment and how it will be remembered forever.
The language used in this sonnet is simple yet powerful. The speaker uses metaphors and imagery to describe the first kiss and the emotions that come with it. For example, the speaker says, "The first time he kissed me, he but only kissed / The fingers of this hand wherewith I write." This metaphor suggests that the first kiss was a small gesture, but it had a profound impact on the speaker.
The speaker also uses personification to describe time. The speaker says, "Time, with his sickle keen, / Carves in my heart as on a stone." This personification suggests that time is a powerful force that can leave a lasting impression on the heart.
The language used in this sonnet is also very romantic. The speaker describes the first kiss as a "momentary bliss" and "a sweet surprise." The use of these words creates a sense of excitement and anticipation, which is fitting for a poem about the first kiss.
In conclusion, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 38 - First time he kissed me, he but only kissed" is a beautiful expression of the first kiss between two lovers. The poem captures the excitement and anticipation of the moment, as well as the overwhelming emotions that come with it. The sonnet follows the traditional structure of a Shakespearean sonnet and uses simple yet powerful language to convey its message. This sonnet is a classic piece of poetry that will continue to be read and appreciated for generations to come.
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