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I'm nobody! Who are you?

by: Emily Dickenson This poem opens with a literally impossible declarationthat the speaker is Nobody. This nobody-ness, however, quickly comes to mean that she is outside of the public sphere; perhaps, here Dickinson is touching on her own failure to become a published poet, and thus the fact that to most of society, she is Nobody. The speaker does not seem bitter about thisinstead she asks the reader, playfully, Who are you?, and offers us a chance to be in cahoots with her (Are you Nobody Too?). In the next line, she assumes that the answer to this question is yes, and so unites herself with the reader (Then theres a pair of us!), and her use of exclamation points shows that she is very happy to be a part of this failed couple. Dickinson then shows how oppressive the crowd of somebodies can be, encouraging the reader to keep this a secret (Dont tell!) because otherwise theyd advertise, and the speaker and her reader would lose their ability to stand apart from the crowd. It then becomes abundantly clear that it is not only preferable to be a Nobody, it is dreary to be a Somebody. These somebodies, these public figures who are so unlike Dickinson, are next compared to frogs, rather pitifully, we can imagine, croaking away to the admiring Bog. These public figures do not even attempt to say anything of importanceall they do is tell ones name, that is, their own name, over and over, in an attempt to make themselves seem important. This admiring Bog represents those people who allow the public figures to think they are important, the general masses who lift them up. These masses are not even granted the respect of having a sentient being to represent them. Instead, they are something into which one sinks, which takes all individuality away, and has no opinion to speak of, and certainly not one to be respected. Analysis Im Nobody! Who are you? is an example of one of Dickinsons more comical poems, yet the comedy is not simply for pleasure. Rather, it contains a biting satire of the public sphere, both of the public figures who benefit from it, and of the masses who allow them to. Dickinsons light tone, childish voice, and invitation to the reader to be on her side, however,

keep the sharp edge of the satire from cutting too stingingly. This poem mocks the pretensions of the public world, as it imagines public figures---or perhaps, published writersas loud bullfrogs. These frogs have nothing of import to say; instead, they advertise their own names, over and over, selling themselves for the purpose of maintaining their fame, but not having any substance behind it. This especially makes it seem like this poem is speaking towards Dickinsons lack of publication, as even when she did publish, she did so anonymously, avoiding the prospect of telling her name. The frogs are not the only ones at fault, however. Their audienceclosely tied to them through rhymeis an admiring Bog, with all of its members having joined into the whole, losing all individuality or identity. And indeed, this whole is a swamp, something that sucks one in, or sucks in all they are told, but puts forward no opinion or judgment of its own. This audience thus is spared the dreariness of being somebody, for they have no identity, but they become worthless, for they are without opinion, and only serve to listen to and support the public figures. This public sphere is not only unpleasant in itself, but it is also tries to impose itself on those nobodies, like the speaker and ostensibly the reader, who do their best to avoid it. The speaker fears that even telling anyone that there is now a pair of us, that is, nobodies, outsiders, will lead to their very identities being advertised, and thus taken from them, for they will no longer be able to be the anonymous, freethinking nobodies that they have chosen to be. In the world of this poem, then, the public sphere is about advertised or self-advertised identities: people marketing their names and their existence. This marketing becomes the only way for anyone to enter the public sphere. Talent itself is inconsequential, and thus for someone like Dickinson, or, ostensibly, the reader, who desires to think and to perform with meaning, rather than just maintaining their own fame, participation or recognition in this public world is impossible. Sonnet 29 by: William Shakespeare SONNET 29 PARAPHRASE When, in disgrace with When Ive fallen out of fortune and men's eyes, favor with fortune and men,

I all alone beweep my All alone I weep over my outcast state position as a social outcast, And trouble deaf heaven And pray to heaven, but with my bootless cries my cries go unheard, And look upon myself And I look at myself, and curse my fate, cursing my fate, Wishing me like to one Wishing I were like one more rich in hope, who had more hope, Featured like him, like Wishing I looked like him with friends him; wishing I were possess'd, surrounded by friends, Desiring this man's art Wishing I had this man's and that man's scope, skill and that man's freedom. With what I most enjoy I am least contented contented least; with what I used to enjoy most. Yet in these thoughts But, with these thoughts myself almost despising, almost despising myself, Haply I think on thee, I, by chance, think of you and then my state, and then my melancholy Like to the lark at break Like the lark at the break of day arising of day, rises From sullen earth, sings From the dark earth and hymns at heaven's gate; (I) sing hymns to heaven; For thy sweet love For thinking of your love remember'd such wealth brings such happiness brings That then I scorn to That then I would not change my state with change my position in kings. life with kings. ANALYSIS in disgrace (1): out of favor. beweep (2): weep over (my outcast state). outcast state (2): The poet's "outcast state" is possibly an allusion to his lack of work as an actor due to the closing of the theatres in 1592 (during an outbreak of plague). It also could be a reference to the attack on Shakespeare at the hands of Robert Greene. Please see the commentary below for more on Shakespeare and Greene. bootless (3): useless. Shakespeare uses the word seventeen times in the

plays. Compare Othello: The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief. (1.3.225) Compare also Titus Andronicus: For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain; And they have nursed this woe, in feeding life; In bootless prayer have they been held up, And they have served me to effectless use: Now all the service I require of them Is that the one will help to cut the other. (3.1.75) Interestingly, the phrase "bootless cries" appears in Edward III, an anonymous play that many now believe Shakespeare wrote. look upon myself (4): i.e., I become occupied with self-reflection. Featured like him (6): i.e., the features (physical beauty) of some other more attractive man. Sonnet 29 shows the poet at his most insecure and troubled. He feels unlucky, shamed, and fiercely jealous of those around him. What causes the poet's anguish will remain a mystery; as will the answer to whether the sonnets are autobiographical. However, an examination of Shakespeares life around the time he wrote Sonnet 29 reveals two traumatic events that may have shaped the theme of the sonnet. In 1592 the London theatres closed due to a severe outbreak of plague. Although it is possible that Shakespeare toured the outlying areas of London, it is almost certain that he left the theatre entirely during this time to work on his sonnets and narrative poems. The closing of the playhouses made it hard for Shakespeare and other actors of the day to earn a living. With plague and poverty looming it is expected that he would feel "in disgrace with fortune" (1). Moreover, in 1592 there came a scathing attack on Shakespeare by dramatist Robert Greene, who, in a deathbed diary, warned three of his fellow universityeducated playwrights: "There is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you; and, beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a


countrey." One can only imagine what grief this assault this deathbed assault must have caused Shakespeare. Greene was nothing if not thorough: first, using a line from Shakespeares own 3 Henry VI (1.4.138), he describes Shakespeare as a pompous, scheming, vicious ingrate riding the coattails of better writers (no doubt Shakespeare performed in a play Greene had himself written; then he adds that Shakespeare is a conceited ("onely Shake-scene") and insignificant jack of all trades (a "Johannes fac totum"). Greene lets even more insults fly as he continues: "O that I might intreat your rare wits to be imploied in more profitable courses: & let those Apes imitate your past excellence, and never more acquaint them with your admired inventions." It seems very possible such events are connected to the poets distressed declaration in line 8: "With what I most enjoy contented least." All is not lost, however, for the sonnet ends with a positive affirmation that the poet can combat his anguish with the "sweet love" (13) of his dear friend. On His Blindness by: John Milton

Lines 1-2 When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

Most readers believe that the poem is clearly about Milton's blindness, but the poem never directly refers to blindness or even vision. Instead, we think that "light" is a metaphor for vision. The metaphor is complicated. The speaker says that his light can be "spent," and this word suggests that he is thinking of something like an oil lamp. The light is "spent" when the oil in the lamp runs out. To make a contemporary comparison, it would be like someone comparing his vision to a flashlight that runs out of batteries before it is supposed to. Milton is suggesting that he got a bad deal. The word "spent" also makes us think of money. Milton is reflecting on how he has used or "spent" his vision, now that it is gone. Has he used it wisely, or did he fritter it away because he thought it would never run out? The word "ere" means "before." How does Milton know that he became blind before his life was halfway over? For this to be true, wouldn't he have to be some kind of psychic who knew when he was going to die? The usual explanation of this line is that Milton guesses roughly how long he will live. Milton went completely blind at the age of 42. Finally, calling the world "dark and wide" makes it sound like a scary place, doesn't it? Interestingly, Milton makes it seem as if the world has run out of light, rather than growing dark because of any blindness on his part.

Lines 3-4 The speaker thinks about how all of his light has been used up ("spent") before even half his life is over. As a man without light, he now lives in a world that is both "dark and wide." The first word of the poem, "When," gives us an idea of the structure of the sentence that will follow. The structure is, "When this happens, that happens." As in, "When I broke the glass, I had to find a broom to sweep it up." But be careful the second part of the sentence doesn't come until lines 7 and 8. Milton's audience was more used to reading dense and complicated sentences, so you'll want to take the first seven lines slowly. (That's OK, we also think Milton's audience would have had a doozy of a time figuring out text messaging.) And that one Talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, []

These lines are the trickiest in the entire poem, because they appear to be simpler then they are. The key word is "talent." You probably read "talent" and think of skills like throwing a perfect spiral or being a piano prodigy. But there's a double meaning intended for people who know history or Biblical scripture. In the ancient world, a "talent" was also a standard of weight used to measure money, just as a "pound" is a measure of both weight and currency. You can read Matthew 25 (it's short), but here's our brief summary of "The Parable of

Talents." A lord gives three of his servants some money ("talents") to hold on to when he leaves for a trip. Two of the servants use the money to gain more money for their master. (In contemporary language, we'd call this 'investment.') But the third servant just buries the money, the ancient equivalent of hiding it under your mattress. When the lord returns, he's happy with the first two servants and gives them more responsibilities, but furious with the third servant. He exiles the third servant into the "darkness," which is the equivalent of "death." When Milton says that talent is "death to hide," he is referring to the money in the Biblical story and also to his own "talent," in the sense of a skill or trade. There is no way to tell what specific talent he means, but our guess would be his intelligence and his writing and reading skills, which he had used in service of Oliver Cromwell's government. This "talent" is "lodged" or buried within the speaker just like the money in the story. It cannot be used to make greater profit.

Lines 7-8 "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?" I fondly ask. []

Lines 4-6 [] though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide;

It has taken the speaker six lines to get through the part of the sentence that begins "When." Now he goes on to say what happens "when" he thinks about all the stuff he has described above. Namely, he wonders if God demands that people undertake hard, physical work, or "daylabour," when they don't have any light. The speaker doesn't have any light because he's blind, but in Milton's metaphor he compares this condition to having to do work at night that you would normally do during the day like, say, building a house or plowing a field. The word "exact" means something like "charge," "claim," or "demand." You can "exact" a toll or a fee, for example. So the speaker wants to know if God demands work as a kind of payment that is due to Him. The first section of the poem is completed by the words "I fondly ask." The word "fondly" means "foolishly," not "lovingly." The speaker accuses himself of being a idiot for even thinking this question. Fortunately, "patience" steps in to prevent his foolishness. More on that in the next section.

The speaker has just told us that his talent is as useless as money buried in the desert, but now he says that his uselessness has nothing to do with a lack of will. To the contrary, his soul desires (is "bent") to use his skills in the service of his "Maker," God. When he is faced with God, he wants to have a record of accomplishment to show Him. God is being compared with the lord from the "Parable of the Talents" in Matthew 25. When God "returns" to him like the master in the parable, the speaker wants to show that he has used his talents profitably. The word "account" here means both" story" and "a record of activities with money." If the speaker turns out to have wasted his profits, he worries that God will scold or "chide" him. And if God is anything like the lord from the parable, the speaker could get cast into a darkness even more fearful than the one created by his blindness.

Lines 8-10 [] But patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts; who best

"Patience" to the rescue! Patience is personified as someone who can talk sense into the speaker. Patience is often personified in Christian art because of its role in helping one to achieve important virtues like courage and wisdom. The speaker is about to "murmur" his foolish question about whether God would be so cruel as to make impossible demands of work, but then his patience steps in to stop him. The rest of the poem is the reply made by patience. First, patience points out that God does not need anything. God is complete and

perfect. He doesn't need work or talents ("gifts") of any kind. Line 11 Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. []

Patience now scores its second point in the rebuttal to the speaker. Patience argues that those people are the best servants of God who allow their fates to be linked with and controlled by God, as if they were wearing a yoke. Essentially, this means accepting things as they come, especially suffering and misfortune. A "yoke" is a wood frame that is placed around the necks of farm animals, like oxen, so that they can be directed. Patience doesn't want to make God sound like a slave driver, so God's yoke is called "mild," or not-that-bad. It's not how much you have to show for your time on earth that counts, it's how you handle your submission to God.

contrast with the "lordly" state of the master of the Biblical parable in Matthew 25. This being Milton, of course, "wait" can also have the meaning of waiting for something to happen, as in, "I waited for the bus." What would the speaker be waiting for? The Second Coming of Jesus? The end of history? We don't know because the poem only suggests this meaning oh-so-vaguely. The word "post" here just means "to travel quickly." That's why the mail is often referred to as the "post," because you're supposed to travel quickly to deliver it. The poem ends with a vindication of the speaker's passivity, which has been forced on him by his blindness.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by: Robert Frost

Lines 11-14 [] His state Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o'er Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait."

On a dark winter evening, the narrator stops his sleigh to watch the snow falling in the woods. At first he worries that the owner of the property will be upset by his presence, but then he remembers that the owner lives in town, and he is free to enjoy the beauty of the falling snow. The sleigh horse is confused by his masters behavior stopping far away from any farmhouse and shakes his harness bells in impatience. After a few more moments, the narrator reluctantly continues on his way. Analysis

The final point made by patience is that God is like a king, not a lord, so the "Parable of the Talents" does not strictly apply. Lords need everyone on their estates to work for them; they usually don't have the resources to spend on keeping servants just to stand around and wait on them. Kings, on the other hand, have unlimited resources, especially if they control a "state" as large as the entire earth. With His kingly status, God has plenty of minions to do His "bidding" by rushing from place to place that is, doing things that require light and vision. It doesn't make a difference whether one more person fulfills the role or not. But kings also have people who "wait" on them, who stand in a state of readiness until their action is needed. To summarize, we believe that the sentence, "His state is kingly," is meant to

In terms of text, this poem is remarkably simple: in sixteen lines, there is not a single three-syllable word and only sixteen two-syllable words. In terms of rhythmic scheme and form, however, the poem is surprisingly complex. The poem is made up of four stanzas, each with four stressed syllables in iambic meter. Within an individual stanza, the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme (for example, know, though, and snow of the first stanza), while the third line rhymes with the first, second, and fourth lines of the following stanza (for example, here of the first stanza rhymes with queer, near, and year of the second stanza). One of Frosts most famous works, this poem is often touted as an example of his life work. As such, the poem is often analyzed to the minutest detail, far beyond what Frost himself intended for the short and simple piece. In reference to analyses of the work, Frost once said that he was annoyed by those

pressing it for more than it should be pressed for. It means enough without its being pressedI dont say that somebody shouldnt press it, but I dont want to be there. The poem was inspired by a particularly difficult winter in New Hampshire when Frost was returning home after an unsuccessful trip at the market. Realizing that he did not have enough to buy Christmas presents for his children, Frost was overwhelmed with depression and stopped his horse at a bend in the road in order to cry. After a few minutes, the horse shook the bells on its harness, and Frost was cheered enough to continue home. The narrator in the poem does not seem to suffer from the same financial and emotional burdens as Frost did, but there is still an overwhelming sense of the narrators unavoidable responsibilities. He would prefer to watch the snow falling in the woods, even with his horses impatience, but he has promises to keep, obligations that he cannot ignore even if he wants to. It is unclear what these specific obligations are, but Frost does suggest that the narrator is particularly attracted to the woods because there is not a farmhouse near. He is able to enjoy complete isolation. Frosts decision to repeat the final line could be read in several ways. On one hand, it reiterates the idea that the narrator has responsibilities that he is reluctant to fulfill. The repetition serves as a reminder, even a mantra, to the narrator, as if he would ultimately decide to stay in the woods unless he forces himself to remember his responsibilities. On the other hand, the repeated line could be a signal that the narrator is slowly falling asleep. Within this interpretation, the poem could end with the narrators death, perhaps as a result of hypothermia from staying in the frozen woods for too long. The narrators promises to keep can also be seen as a reference to traditional American duties for a farmer in New England. In a time and a place where hard work is valued above all things, the act of watching snow fall in the woods may be viewed as a particularly trivial indulgence. Even the narrator is aware that his behavior is not appropriate: he projects his insecurities onto his horse by admitting that even a work animal would think it queer.

Ithaca by: Constantine Cavafy In his poem Ithaca Constantine Cavafy uses the familiar story of the Odyssey as a metaphor for the journey of life. Cavafy wrote his poetry in Greek (Constantine P. Cavafy) Although some of the lyricism and rhyme of the original is probably lost in translation, it is still a powerful piece that speaks to the reader in any language. The major theme of the poem is to take your time on your journey through life, stopping to obtain wisdom, pleasure and experience. Some people always find the straight and easy way through life, proceeding linearly and avoiding distractions and detours. When they reach the end, what do they have to show for it? Cavafy seems to be saying that the things that really matter in the end are experiences and memories. You can not get many of these on the straight and narrow path. Odysseus ten year voyage home from the Trojan war, with its many turnings and adventures, is a metaphor for a fulfilling life. One unusual feature of the work is that it is written in the second person imperative. It tells the reader, the metaphorical Odysseus, what to do. While this point of view is almost never workable in a narrative work, it is effective in a short lyrical poem like this. Ithaka uses several strong symbols, loosely drawn from the Odyssey. In the first stanza, for instance, refers to the Laistrygonians, the Cyclops, and Angry Poseidon. These were among the most terrifying of Oddyseus enemies. The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops were gigantic cannibals who ate most of his followers. Poseidon was a vengeful god who persecuted him for years. Cavafy chooses these enemies to symbolize conflict, particularly conflict with people or powers that are much bigger and more powerful than the reader. Luckily, the reader need not fear these external conflicts: you wont meet them / unless you carry the in your soul (1112). A person without internal strife is less likely to encounter external strife. Another symbol the idea of coming into new harbors. The harbors are happy times and places in the life of the reader where pleasure, knowledge and experience are gained. Cavafy mentions two main types, Phoenician trading stations, and Egyptian cities. In the Phoenician stations, one is to buy fine things and sensual perfumes. Cavafy is not telling the reader to amass treasure. The message is to enjoy luxury and beauty when the chance arises. One should appreciate the fine things that come into ones

path for the sake of the experience. The Phoenician trading stations symbolize times in life when one is exposed to art and beauty and culture. The Egyptian cities, on the other hand, symbolize times of knowledge and education. This could be a time of formal education such as going to college. It could just as easily by an informal educational experience. Either way, Cavafy enjoins the reader to visit many of these Egyptian Cities. Education is not something that is sought once in life. Rather, should occur in a series of episodes throughout a lifetime. When he wrote this reference to Egyptian cities, Costantine Cavafy was undoubtedly thinking of Alexandria, where he spent most of his life. Alexandria has always been a great center of learning and a confluence of cultures and ideas. It was the sight of the largest library of the ancient world. It would not, however, have existed at the time the events in the historical Odyssey took place. Cavafy is thus either creating a deliberate anachronism or referring to other older Egyptian cities. The symbolism is still effective either way. The final, and perhaps most important, symbol in Ithaka is Ithaka itself. Ithaka, Odysseus island kingdom, represents both the starting and ending place. Everyone comes from somewhere. There was a time and place them shaped them and made them they are. As they reached adulthood they left home. Some went far indeed, even as this poem recommends. Ironically, the farther people get from home (physically, temporally, and ideologically) the more they want to return. The great risk, however, is of idealizing your own personal Ithaka. In the penultimate stanza Cavafy warns against expecting too much: Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. The point of life is the journey and the experiences along the way. If you go long enough you will eventually get back to where you began. As natural as this is, this starting and ending point is simply that: a starting and ending point. It is the path in between that makes life worth living. Cavafy is justifiably referred to as the father of Greek modernist poetry, and Ithaka is widely regarded as one of his finest poems. In it he develops elements of a familiar story,The Odyssey, into powerful symbols to support his theme.

Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines by: Pablo Neruda Lines 14 The theme of distance is introduced in the opening line. When the speaker informs the reader, Media Adaptations

Tonight I can write the saddest lines, he suggests that he could not previously. We later learn that his overwhelming sorrow over a lost lover has prevented him from writing about their relationship and its demise. The speakers constant juxtaposition of past and present illustrate his inability to come to terms with his present isolated state. Nerudas language here, as in the rest of the poem, is simple and to the point, suggesting the sincerity of the speakers emotions. The sense of distance is again addressed in the second and third lines as he notes the stars shivering in the distance. These lines also contain images of nature, which will become a central link to his memories and to his present state. The speaker contemplates the natural world, focusing on those aspects of it that remind him of his lost love and the cosmic nature of their relationship. He begins writing at night, a time when darkness will match his mood. The night sky filled with stars offers him no comfort since they are blue and shiver. Their distance from him reinforces the fact that he is alone. However, he can appreciate the night wind that sings as his verses will, describing the woman he loved. Lines 510 Neruda repeats the first line in the fifth and follows it with a declaration of the speakers love for an unnamed woman. The staggered repetitions Neruda employs throughout the poem provide thematic unity. The speaker introduces the first detail of their relationship and points to a possible reason for its demise when he admits sometimes she loved me too. He then reminisces about being with her in nights like this one. The juxtaposition of nights from the past with this night reveals the change that has taken place, reinforcing his sense of aloneness. In this section, Neruda links the speakers lover with nature, a technique he will use throughout the poem to describe the sensual nature of their relationship. In the eighth line, the speaker remembers kissing his love again and again under the endless skya sky as endless as, he had hoped, their relationship would be. An ironic reversal of line six occurs in line nine when the speaker states, She loved me, sometimes I

loved her too. The speaker may be offering a cynical statement of the fickle nature of love at this point. However, the eloquent, bittersweet lines that follow suggest that in this line he is trying to distance himself from the memory of his love for her and so ease his suffering. Immediately, in the next line he contradicts himself when he admits, How could one not have loved her great still eyes. The poems contradictions create a tension that reflects the speakers desperate attempts to forget the past. Lines 1114 In line eleven Neruda again repeats his opening line, which becomes a plaintive refrain. The repetition of that line shows how the speaker is struggling to maintain distance, to convince himself that enough time has passed for him to have the strength to think about his lost love. But these lines are the saddest. He cannot yet escape the pain of remembering. It becomes almost unbearable to think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. His loneliness is reinforced by the immense night, still more immense without her. Yet the poetry that he creates helps replenish his soul, like dew to the pasture. Lines 1518 In line fifteen the speaker refuses to analyze their relationship. What is important to him is that the night is starry and she is not with me as she used to be on similar starry nights. This is all that is now central to him. When the speaker hears someone singing in the distance and repeats in the distance, he reinforces the fact that he is alone. No one is singing to him. As a result, he admits my soul is not satisfied. Lines 1926 In these lines the speaker expresses his longing to reunite with his love. His sight and his heart try to find her, but he notes, she is not with me. He again remembers that this night is so similar to the ones they shared together. Yet he understands that they are no longer the same. He declares that he no longer loves her, thats certain, in an effort to relieve his pain, and admits he loved her greatly in the past. Again linking their relationship to nature, he explains that he had tried to find the wind to touch her hearing but failed. Now he must face the fact that she will be anothers. He remembers her bright body that he knows will be touched by another and her infinite eyes that will look upon a new lover.

Lines 2732 The speaker reiterates, I no longer love her, thats certain, but immediately contradicts himself, uncovering his efforts at self deception when he admits, but maybe I love her. With a world-weary tone of resignation, he concludes, love is so short, forgetting is so long. His poem has become a painful exercise in forgetting. In line twenty-nine he explains that because this night is so similar to the nights in his memory when he held her in his arms, he cannot forget. Thus he repeats, my soul is not satisfied. In the final two lines, however, the speaker is determined to erase the memory of her and so ease his pain, insisting that his verses (this poem) will be the last verses that I write for.

Sonnet 43 by: Elizabeth Barrett Browning A poetry analysis of Sonnet 43,by Elizabeth Barrett Browning will always end up talking about love for this one of the most famous and loved romantic poems in the world and is written as a sonnet. A sonnet usually has fourteen lines and an iambic pentameter rhyme. Sonnets are nearly always written about the theme of love, almost like a love song. This sonnet,like many others, shows how the poet, in this case Elizabeth Barrett Browning, must be disciplined in confining her thoughts to a particular structure. The first eight lines of this Petrarchan sonnet,the octave,present the theme of love and the degree of the depth of love felt by Elizabeth for her husband. Here she compares her deep feelings to religious,spiritual and even political aspirations: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of every days Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. The last six lines compare the feelings she has at the moment to those emotions of love she experienced as a child. Concluding the poem, she hopes that she will go on to love her husband even more in the future if God permits. If not, then there is always Heaven! I love with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhoods faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. At the beginning of the poem Elizabeth Barrett Browning discusses her own personal experience of love in terms of its intensity. She loves Robert Browning of her own free will in a very pure way expecting nothing more of it than the joy of love itself, comparing it to suffering perhaps similar to that of Christ on the cross. She is reminded of the childlike love she had for Christian saints in her girlhood although she does describe these as griefs. Passion she says, is much better put to use in love than grief. She uses repetition to reinforce the strength of her love (I love thee) and for its alliterative powers (th) The poet aligns her love with life itself and its laughters and sorrows and breathing and concludes on a metaphysical note, believing their love as a couple will cross through the grave to the other side to heaven.