(AKA the poetic power-duo)Elizabeth & Robert BrowningI do, as I say, love these books with all my heartand I love you too. (Norton Anthology, pg 585)A romance for the storybooks
Rafaellos St George Fighting the Dragon, circa 1505Love swept aside all obtacles (pg 711)15 happy years of marriage until Elizabeth passes away in 1861 -born in 1812 -married Elizabeth in 1846-throughout their marriage was known as merely Mrs. Brownings husband -inspired by the likes of Shakespeare and Percy Shelley -dramatic monologue -looking at only one characters point of view -must parse through the speakers words to derive meaning -many characters were twisted or unstable -addresses moral issues indirectlyRobert BrowningThe rain set early in tonight, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, and did its worst to vex the lake: I listened with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; Which done, she rose, and from her form Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, And laid her soiled gloves by, untied Her hat and let the damp hair fall, And, last, she sat down by my side And called me. When no voice replied, She put my arm about her waist, And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread, oer all, her yellow hair, Murmuring how she loved meshe Too weak, for all her hearts endeavor, To set its struggling passion free From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me forever. But passion sometimes would prevail, Nor could tonights gay feast restrain A sudden thought of one so pale For love of her, and all in vain: So, she was come through wind and rain. Be sure I looked up at her eyesHappy and proud; at last I knew Porphyria worshiped me: surprise Made my heart swell, and still it grew While I debated what to do. That moment she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good: I found A thing to do, and all her hairIn one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily oped her lids: again Laughed the blue eyes without a stain. And I untightened next the tress About her neck; her cheek once more Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss: I propped her head up as before Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it has its utmost will,That all it scorned at once is fled, And I, its love, am gained instead! Porphyrias love: she guessed not how Her darling one wish would be heard. And thus we sit together now,And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a word!
Gr-r-rthere go, my hearts abhorrence!Water your damned flower-pots, do!If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence, Gods blood, would not mine kill you!What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming? Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?Hell dry you up with its flames! [1-8]
When he finishes refection, Knife and fork he never laysCross-wise, to my recollection, As do I, in Jesus praise.I the Trinity illustrate [33-37]
Whats the Latin name for parsley? Whats the Greek name for swines snout?[15-16]
Or, theres Satan!--one might venture Pledge ones soul to him [65-68]Excerpts from Soliloquy of the Spanish CloisterWhat do My Last Duchess, Porphyrias Lover, and Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister have in common? Consider not only the speakers but also the tone, setting, theme, etc.
How are these poems different?-1806 1861-an unusal education (Latin, Greek, history, philosophy, literature)-ill health improved after marrying Robert Browning and moving to Italy-very engaged with current events/issues-strong sense of morality and emotional appeal in her works
The Cry of the Children coal mines and the corrupt industryThe Runaway Slave at Pilgrims Point slavery Aurora Leigh focuses on a woman concerned with social issues and longing for freedomElizabeth Barrett BrowningNow tell the poor young children; O my brothers,To look up to Him and pray;So the blessed One who blesseth all the others,Will bless them another day.They answer, Who is God that He should hear us,While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred?When we sob aloud, the human creatures near usPas by, hearing not, or answer not a word.And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)Strangers speaking at the door:Is it likely God, with angels singing round Him, Hears our weeping any more?The Cry of the Children-How many distinct people / characters are involved in this stanza?
-How many points of view are heard?
-How does this compare with Roberts works?
Screenshots taken from 1912 silent film The Cry of the Children, dir. Geroge Nichols
Food! Glorious food!Hmm something seems familiar!Barrett Browning was not the only writer to addresssimilar issues in her day.Of the poems we have reviewed, both Robert and Elizabeth Browning utilized the power of voice and point-of-view to aid interpretation.How might all these works be different if we heard from different characters?
In your groups, consider a voice you have not heard from any one of these poems.(the dukes dead wife? Brother Lawrence? An owner of a coal mine? Someone else? Use your imagination!)Compose a brief poem (4 or 6 lines) from the perspective of this new voice. Present what you have written.
BONUS POINTS if you make it into a musical number!The power of voicesBoth authors took different ways to present moral issues. Robert is darker and hints at wrong, but does not explicitly state it is wrong. Elizabeth makes clear the distinctions between good and bad.
Which style do you find to be more effective in getting you to think about morality? Why? Pick a particular poem to use in your answer. Then find a modern-day example of a person (author, movie director, etc) or a work (tv show, book, etc) which also addresses morality in a similar way. Respond to at least two other students in the discussion board.Discussion Board: who did it better?