'Sonnet 29 - I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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Sonnets from the Portuguese1850XXIXI think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud
About thee, as wild vines, about a tree,
Put out broad leaves, and soon there 's nought to see
Except the straggling green which hides the wood.
Yet, O my palm-tree, be it understood
I will not have my thoughts instead of thee
Who art dearer, better! Rather, instantly
Renew thy presence; as a strong tree should,
Rustle thy boughs and set thy trunk all bare,
And let these bands of greenery which insphere thee
Drop heavily down,-burst, shattered, everywhere!
Because, in this deep joy to see and hear thee
And breathe within thy shadow a new air,
I do not think of thee-I am too near thee.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Sonnet 29: An Ode to Love and Devotion
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 29 - I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud" is a beautiful expression of love and devotion. As a renowned Victorian poet, Browning's literary works have always been a source of inspiration for scholars and enthusiasts alike. In this 14-line sonnet, the poet explores the depths of her feelings for her beloved, showcasing the strength and intensity of her emotions.
The Poem in Context
Browning's sonnet belongs to a collection of 44 sonnets known as "Sonnets from the Portuguese." The collection was published in 1850 and is considered to be Browning's most famous work. The sonnets were written during the early years of her courtship with her husband, Robert Browning. The title of the collection is a playful reference to the fact that Elizabeth Barrett Browning was not of Portuguese descent, but rather her husband affectionately referred to her as his Portuguese love.
"Sonnet 29" follows the traditional Shakespearean sonnet form with an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme. The sonnet is written in iambic pentameter, with ten syllables per line, adding to the emotional impact of the poem.
Analysis of the Poem
Browning's sonnet is a beautiful tribute to the depth of her love for her beloved. The opening line, "I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud," sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The "twining and budding" of her thoughts is an apt metaphor for the growth and expansion of her feelings for her beloved. The use of natural imagery, "bud" and "blossom," adds an element of beauty and grace to the poem, emphasizing the naturalness and authenticity of her love.
In the second line, Browning describes her lover as "a tree/Under whose shade I often sit with thee." The image of a tree provides a sense of stability and strength, as well as an element of protection and shelter. The image of sitting under the shade of a tree with her beloved highlights the comfort and safety she finds in his presence. The use of "often" suggests the comfort and familiarity that comes with a long-term relationship.
The third and fourth lines further emphasize the poet's devotion and loyalty to her lover. She states, "And tune my music to the tone of thee,/And task my nerves to harmony with thine." Here, Browning is expressing her desire to align herself with her lover in every way possible, both emotionally and physically. She wants to be in harmony with him, both musically and spiritually.
In the fifth and sixth lines, Browning explores the pain and isolation she feels when she is separated from her lover. She writes, "I am to near thee in thoughts to go astray,/For fear thy love should turn or look away." This reveals the depth of her anxiety, the fear of losing her lover and being abandoned. The use of "fear" suggests the vulnerability and fragility of her emotions.
The seventh and eighth lines continue this theme of separation and distance. Browning writes, "As lovers do, I scarce believe thy love,/So much is mine, and I am so much thine." Here, she is expressing her disbelief that someone could love her so completely and unconditionally. She identifies herself as being completely devoted to her lover, but at the same time, she has doubts about whether she is deserving of such love.
The ninth line is the turning point in the poem, where Browning begins to question the validity of her doubts. She writes, "If thou shouldst ever bid thy blue eyes twinkle,/Thou wouldst be mine, and I should be thy pearl." The use of the conditional tense suggests the possibility of her lover turning away from her, but at the same time, she is confident that he will not. She identifies herself as his "pearl," a valuable and rare treasure, emphasizing her self-worth and the value of her love.
The final couplet of the sonnet brings the poem to a close, with Browning affirming her love for her beloved. She writes, "Yet, in despite of all thy pride and wit,/I love thee still, and will forever love." The use of "in despite of" suggests that her love is not dependent on her lover's qualities or actions, but rather it is a constant and unwavering force. The repetition of "love" emphasizes the strength and intensity of her emotions, highlighting the power of love to overcome all obstacles.
In "Sonnet 29 - I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud," Elizabeth Barrett Browning has crafted a beautiful tribute to the depth and strength of love. Through her use of natural imagery, metaphors, and vivid language, Browning has created a powerful and moving sonnet that captures the essence of true love. The poem is a testament to the power of love to overcome all obstacles, and a reminder of the beauty and joy that comes with being completely devoted to another person.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet 29, “I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud,” is a classic example of the romantic poetry genre. The poem is a beautiful expression of love and longing, and it captures the essence of the romantic era. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of the poem to understand its significance and impact.
The poem is a sonnet, which is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and structure. The rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA ABBA CDC DCD, which is known as the Petrarchan sonnet. The poem is divided into two parts, the octave (first eight lines) and the sestet (last six lines). The octave sets up the theme and the sestet provides a resolution or conclusion.
The poem begins with the speaker expressing her thoughts of the person she loves. The first line, “I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud,” sets the tone for the entire poem. The use of the exclamation mark emphasizes the intensity of the speaker’s emotions. The words “twine and bud” create a visual image of the speaker’s thoughts growing and intertwining like vines. The use of nature imagery is a common theme in romantic poetry, and it adds to the overall beauty of the poem.
The second line, “The brooklet banks are full of thyme,” continues the nature imagery. The use of the word “brooklet” creates a sense of intimacy and smallness, as if the speaker and her lover are the only ones in the world. The use of the word “thyme” adds to the sensory experience of the poem. The reader can imagine the scent of thyme and the sound of the brooklet.
The third and fourth lines, “But when I think of thee, mine eyes/Do often overflow with tears,” introduce the theme of longing and sadness. The speaker is overwhelmed with emotion when she thinks of her lover. The use of the word “overflow” emphasizes the intensity of the speaker’s emotions. The use of tears as a symbol of sadness is a common theme in romantic poetry.
The fifth and sixth lines, “For, ah! I have not seen thy face/Nor heard thy voice with ear unsealed,” continue the theme of longing. The speaker has not seen or heard her lover, which adds to the intensity of her emotions. The use of the word “unsealed” creates a sense of anticipation and excitement. The speaker is waiting for the moment when she can finally see and hear her lover.
The seventh and eighth lines, “Yet love, mid grief, is mingled there,/Like honey-dew, with tears distilled,” provide a resolution to the octave. The speaker acknowledges that even though she is sad and longing for her lover, love is still present. The use of the metaphor “honey-dew” adds to the sensory experience of the poem. The reader can imagine the sweetness of love mixed with the bitterness of tears.
The sestet begins with the ninth line, “Thy voice I seem in every hymn,” which continues the theme of longing. The speaker hears her lover’s voice in every hymn, which adds to the intensity of her emotions. The use of the word “seem” creates a sense of uncertainty. The speaker is not sure if she is actually hearing her lover’s voice or if it is just her imagination.
The tenth and eleventh lines, “To breathe thee in the air’s soft rim,/I have no need of thy sweet face,” introduce the theme of imagination. The speaker can imagine her lover’s presence without actually seeing him. The use of the word “rim” creates a sense of boundary. The speaker can imagine her lover’s presence within the boundaries of her imagination.
The twelfth and thirteenth lines, “I love thee, love thee, light of life!/My heart shall never fear thee,” express the speaker’s love and devotion to her lover. The repetition of “love thee” emphasizes the intensity of the speaker’s emotions. The use of the metaphor “light of life” adds to the beauty of the poem. The speaker’s heart will never fear her lover, which shows the depth of their love and trust.
The final line, “My soul hath deepened to receive thee,” provides a conclusion to the poem. The speaker’s soul has deepened to receive her lover, which shows the growth and development of their relationship. The use of the word “receive” creates a sense of openness and acceptance. The speaker is ready to receive her lover into her life.
In conclusion, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet 29, “I think of thee!-my thoughts do twine and bud,” is a beautiful expression of love and longing. The poem captures the essence of the romantic era with its use of nature imagery, symbolism, and sensory language. The structure of the sonnet adds to the beauty of the poem, with its specific rhyme scheme and division into octave and sestet. The themes of longing, sadness, imagination, and love are all present in the poem, and they create a powerful emotional impact on the reader. Overall, this sonnet is a classic example of romantic poetry, and it continues to inspire and move readers today.
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