Poetry Corner: Sonnet VI by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sonnet VI by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore --
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes.
And when I sue God for myself,
He hears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes the tears of two.

I love the way this poem describes the union of two people in love. I love the image of them as inseparable from each other. I don't think this means that they aren't their own people, with their own personalities, but that their interests are forever wrapped up in each other. Their union is so complete that when they pray, even though only one voice is heard, it represents two, and though only one person may be directly helped when the prayer is answered, it benefits both.

I should also mention that while the part I love is those last lines where the poet describes the inseparableness of her lover and herself, the poem is a sad one - she is saying that although he is leaving her, he is eternally a part of her.


  1. Oh gosh, you caught me completely off guard here. I read Sonnets last summer and loved them, the first poetry I've ever loved. This particular poem made me cry. I didn't think that was possible. I didn't expect to see this particular poem here and I didn't remember which number it was, so I read through it, and it automatically brought tears to my eyes again. Thank you.

  2. I've always loved this poem, it's so beautiful.

  3. @Amanda - I am so glad you love this poem! I don't read much poetry but I try to get through a poem a day because I know there is a lot of value in poetry, it is just sometimes difficult for me to unearth. I'm glad that the post gave you the chance to read this poem again. :)

    @Tiny Library - I agree. EBB definitely has a handle on how to express love.


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