Vll. The face of all the world is changed, I think – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

by richibi

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

Vll. The face of all the world is changed, I think…

The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shall be, there or here;
And this . . . this lute and song . . . loved yesterday,
(The singing angels know) are only dear
Because thy name moves right in what they say.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

______________________

there are only two statements here, “The face of all the world
is changed”
and “The cup of dole / God gave for baptism, I am
fain to drink”,
in either case et cetera

the metre is iambic pentameter, the beat is of course
Shakespeare’s, famous for his own immortal sonnets, and
probably an inspiration for Barrett Browning, who uses as
well his archaic, even in the nineteenth century then, “thou”,
“thee”, “thine”

think about it

the metre is concealed by the flow of the sentence, which
can only be effectively blurred by inordinate, dare I say,
blinding, passion, which Elizabeth has of course in spades,
declaring utimately with these historic sonnets the inner
workings of love for the very ages

but to our consternation, and utmost admiration, this flow
of unfettered sentiment rhymes, and even technically
deserves to be considered a poem, an even masterpiece

Richard

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