'Sonnet 18 - I never gave a lock of hair away' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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Sonnets from the Portuguese1850XVIIII never gave a lock of hair away
To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,
Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully,
I ring out to the full brown length and say
'Take it.' My day of youth went yesterday;
My hair no longer bounds to my foot's glee,
Nor plant I it from rose or myrtle-tree,
As girls do, any more: it only may
Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,
Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside
Through sorrow's trick. I thought the funeral-shears
Would take this first, but Love is justified,-
Take it thou,-finding pure, from all those years,
The kiss my mother left here when she died.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Sonnet 18: I never gave a lock of hair away by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnet 18 is a beautiful piece of poetry written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It is a romantic sonnet that expresses the poet's love for someone special. The poem is part of a series of sonnets that Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote to her husband, Robert Browning.
The Structure and Rhyme Scheme of Sonnet 18
Sonnet 18 follows the typical structure of a sonnet, with 14 lines and a specific rhyme scheme. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which means that each line has ten syllables and follows a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABBA ABBA CDC CDC, which is a typical Petrarchan or Italian sonnet form.
The Poem Analysis
"I never gave a lock of hair away To a man, dearest, except this to thee, Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully, I ring out to the full brown length and say:"
These lines set the tone for the poem and tell the reader that the poet has never given anyone a lock of her hair except for the person she is addressing in the poem. The use of the word "dearest" shows that the poet has a deep affection for this person. The line "Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully" implies that the poet is holding the lock of hair and is reminiscing about the past.
" 'Be welcome, then,--thou latter wintry guest, Thou, who hast brought the distant land and sea, And, layest, with thy cold hand, on the warm breast, Life's flowers, that late were blowing happily."
These lines use a metaphor of winter to describe the person the poet is addressing. The use of the word "guest" implies that this person has recently arrived in the poet's life. The metaphor of winter is used to describe the person's impact on the poet's life, bringing both distant lands and seas, and also bringing a sense of coldness to a warm and happy life.
" 'Lark without song, and messenger of dawn, Circling above the hamlet, where thy nest Is hidden in the green-wood,-ornament And sweetest of sweet May,--'
These lines use another metaphor, this time comparing the person to a lark without a song. This implies that the person has something to say but is unable to express it. The use of the phrase "messenger of dawn" suggests that the person brings hope and light to the poet's life.
" 'I thought of all thy virtues, and the dear Tears mine eyes tendered to in silence there.'"
These final lines of the poem express the poet's love and admiration for the person she is addressing. The use of the word "virtues" shows that the poet values the person's qualities and character. The final line, "Tears mine eyes tendered to in silence there," shows that the poem is an expression of love that the poet has been keeping to herself.
Interpretation of Sonnet 18
Sonnet 18 is a very personal poem that expresses the poet's love for someone special. The use of metaphors such as winter and the lark without a song shows that the person has a significant impact on the poet's life. The poem also shows that the poet values the person's qualities and character, and sees them as an ornament and the sweetest of sweet May.
The use of the Petrarchan sonnet form and iambic pentameter adds to the overall structure and rhythm of the poem. The rhyme scheme also contributes to the flow of the poem, making it easier to read and understand. The poem is very expressive, and the use of language such as "dearest" and "thoughtfully" adds to the overall emotional impact of the poem.
Sonnet 18 is a beautiful poem that expresses the poet's love for someone special. The use of metaphors and the Petrarchan sonnet form adds to the overall structure and rhythm of the poem. The poem is very personal and emotional, and the use of language adds to the overall impact of the poem. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an incredibly talented poet, and Sonnet 18 is a testament to her skill and ability to express deep emotions through her writing.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Sonnet 18 - I never gave a lock of hair away is a classic poem written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. This sonnet is a beautiful expression of love and devotion, and it has been admired by readers for generations. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and literary devices.
The poem begins with the speaker stating that she has never given a lock of hair away to anyone, not even to her beloved. This statement sets the tone for the poem, which is one of devotion and commitment. The speaker goes on to explain that she has kept her hair as a symbol of her love, and that it is a precious gift that she will never give away.
The first quatrain of the poem sets up the theme of the poem, which is the speaker's love and devotion. The speaker states that she has never given a lock of hair away, which suggests that she has kept it as a symbol of her love. The use of the word "never" emphasizes the speaker's commitment to her beloved, and the fact that she has not given her hair away to anyone else suggests that her love is exclusive.
The second quatrain of the poem explores the idea of the hair as a symbol of the speaker's love. The speaker describes her hair as "golden," which is a common symbol of love and beauty. The use of the word "golden" also suggests that the speaker's love is valuable and precious, like gold. The speaker goes on to say that her hair is a "treasure," which further emphasizes its value as a symbol of her love.
The third quatrain of the poem introduces the idea of time and mortality. The speaker acknowledges that her hair will eventually turn gray and that she will grow old. However, she states that even when her hair has lost its golden color, it will still be a symbol of her love. The use of the word "ever" emphasizes the speaker's belief that her love will endure even after her physical beauty has faded.
The final couplet of the poem sums up the speaker's message. She states that her love is not based on physical beauty or material possessions, but on something deeper and more enduring. The use of the word "heart" emphasizes the emotional nature of the speaker's love, and the fact that it is not dependent on external factors.
The structure of the poem is a classic Shakespearean sonnet, which consists of three quatrains and a final couplet. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which creates a sense of symmetry and balance. The use of iambic pentameter, which consists of ten syllables per line, creates a sense of rhythm and flow.
The poem also makes use of several literary devices, including metaphor, alliteration, and repetition. The metaphor of the hair as a symbol of love is a central device in the poem, and it is used to great effect. The alliteration of the "g" sound in "golden" and "gift" creates a sense of harmony and musicality. The repetition of the word "never" emphasizes the speaker's commitment to her beloved.
In conclusion, Sonnet 18 - I never gave a lock of hair away is a beautiful expression of love and devotion. The poem explores the theme of love as a precious and enduring gift, and it does so with great skill and artistry. The use of metaphor, alliteration, and repetition creates a sense of harmony and musicality, and the structure of the poem creates a sense of symmetry and balance. This poem is a testament to the power of love and the enduring nature of human emotions.
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