lll. Unlike are we, O princely Heart! – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

by richibi

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

lll. Unlike are we, unlike, O princely Heart!

Unlike are we, unlike, O princely Heart!
Unlike our uses and our destinies.
Our ministering two angels look surprise
On one another, as they strike athwart
Their wings in passing. Thou, bethink thee, art
A guest for queens to social pageantries,
With gages from a hundred brighter eyes
Than tears even can make mine, to play thy part
Of chief musician. What hast thou to do
With looking from the lattice-lights at me,
A poor, tired, wandering singer, singing through
The dark, and leaning up a cypress tree?
The chrism is on thine head,—on mine, the dew,—
And Death must dig the level where these agree.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

___________________

this was the Nineteenth Century of course with high drama
and overt sentimentality running amok, look at any of Dickens’
heartwrenching urchins and orphans, for instance, that’s
Romanticism

the Twentieth Century determinedly picked it up, especially
after the First World War, opera became Broadway, get over it
the clarion call, life’s short, enjoy it

here’s George and Ira Gershwin’s Let’s Call the Whole Thing
Off
a much more Twentieth Century resolution

granted Elizabeth is not on the verge of leaving her husband,
who will remain, despite her protestations, ever true and devoted,
and she knows it, but albeit both their “ministering two angels
look surprise / On one another, as they strike athwart / Their
wings in passing”,
both couples seem ready enough to
move on

and only Death will dissolve their differences, “dig the level
where these agree”,
East is East and West is West, she says,
and Yin will never be Yang, Death alone will level the playing
field of our terminally divergent destinies

thanks for that, Elizabeth

Richard

psst:”Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Things have come to a pretty pass,
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that.
Goodness knows what the end will be,
Oh, I don’t know where I’m at…
It looks as if we two will never be one,
Something must be done.

You say eether and I say eyether,
You say neether and I say nyther,
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let’s call the whole thing off!
You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto,
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let’s call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you like pajamas and I like pajahmas,
I’ll wear pajamas and give up pajahmas.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off.
Let’s call the whole thing off!

You say laughter and I say lawfter,
You say after and I say awfter,
Laughter, lawfter, after, awfter,
Let’s call the whole thing off!
You like vanilla and I like vanella,
You, sa’s’parilla and I sa’s’parella,
Vanilla, vanella, Choc’late, strawb’ry!
Let’s call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you go for oysters and I go for ersters
I’ll order oysters and cancel the ersters.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off!
Let’s call the whole thing off!

George and Ira Gershwin

Advertisements