XLll. “My future will not copy fair my past” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

by richibi

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

XLll. My future will not copy fair my past

“My future will not copy fair my past”
I wrote that once; and thinking at my side
My ministering life-angel justified
The word by his appealing look upcast
To the white throne of God, I turned at last,
And there, instead, saw thee, not unallied
To angels in thy soul! Then I, long tried
By natural ills, received the comfort fast,
While budding, at thy sight, my pilgrim’s staff
Gave out green leaves with morning dews impearled.
I seek no copy now of life’s first half:
Leave here the pages with long musing curled,
And write me new my future’s epigraph,
New angel mine, unhoped for in the world!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

_________________________

“You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I will try
to get the hang of it!“

because there was no return address
on this comment, and because its
uncorroborated website, a gaming site,
seemed to me suspect, I’ve chosen to
reply within the safer body of my
discussion, rather than within the
thickets and brambles of the more
treacherous Internet

but I profoundly respect the, not at all
uncommon, opinion

therefore this

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is not
immediately accesible to us in the
early 21st Century, this comment is
such an example, unsolicited but
honest, and it is the cry of the
uninitiated through no fault of their
own before time’s obfuscating,
even linguistic, even literary, but
ever ineffable, shroud, I had the
same sense of its, often, preciosity
when I first started reading poetry,
not only even but especially the
greats who’d been recommended,
it took a poet who spoke my
language before I could take
verse seriously

but since then it has become for
me a garden of existential, of
transcendental, delights,
revelations I can’t help but want
to share, not only substantial
stuff, but, I think, sacred

no one has said it better to date
than Pamela Spiro Wagner in
How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s
Manual

“Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun“

even a daffodil like Elizabeth
Barrett Browning

Elizabeth is a siren here, I asked of heaven,
she says, “My future will not copy fair my
past”,
and along comes, goodness, a
miracle in the form of, more or less, an
angel – “not unallied / To angels in thy
soul”,
she describes him in her particular
Victorian dialect, not always immediately
penetrable

she was so happy then, she grew ”green
leaves”,
she asserts, evidently exaggerating,
“with”, even, “morning dews impearled”,
she further enthusiastically confides, but
of which we won’t out of discretion, of
course, inquire

let’s just say she will hitch her wagon
therefore to his, [n]ew angel mine”, star,
for the foreseeable, however “unhoped
for”
, future

which man could resist being called “not
unallied / To angels“,
Elizabeth, seductress,
enchantress, I call my man Apollo, my
golden god of light

Richard

Advertisements