Richibi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Tag: “I think

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

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


Beethoven‏’s “Pathétique Sonata”, no 8 in C minor, opus 13

the very first chord of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata,
no 8 in C minor, opus 13, does the same for the
Romantic Era as Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”
and Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be” did for the
Age of Reason, it defined its parameters, and set it
on its path, I can think of no other literary equivalent
with anywhere near the same power, the same clarity
and precision as that bold, peremptory statement for
that burgeoning period
Delacroix, too nationalistic, the Romantic poets too
introspective, Beethoven perfect, blending the political
with the personal, the personal with the philosophical,
the philosophical with the transcendental, and the
transcendental finally with the sublime, you come out
of a Beethoven composition not only entertained but
informed, inspired, transformed, he takes you there 
though unknown, to me at least, not yet among the
immortals, Daphne Honma acquits herself quite well
here in Beethoven’s masterpiece, perhaps a little too
plodding at the beginning, I thought, for my taste,
stretching nearly embarrassingly her sforzandos,
those initial arresting statements, Beethoven would
never ‘ve called for that, too much melodramatic
excess would only blur, he knew, the sheen of
unadulterated oracles 
but all is soon set aright, indeed redeemed by what
comes next, Daphne Honma deserves much more
applause than is here her portion
one of Beethoven’s early works, it’s 1798, Beethoven
is 27
psst: an “unadulterated oracle”