Monday, June 18, 2007

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I have been busy reading poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I was familiar with Browning's poem "Sonnets From The Portuguese", "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight. For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of everyday's most quiet need, but sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for right; I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use in my old grief's and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints, -I love thee with the breath, smiles, tear, of all my life!-and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death." Also "A Man's Requirements", "Love me with thy thinking soul-break it to love-sighing; love me with thy thoughts that roll on through living-dying." What is a thinking soul? I'm still pondering that. Another favorite of mine, "To Flush My Dog", "Other dogs in thymy dew tracked the hares and followed through sunny moor or meadow; this dog only, crept and crept next a languid cheek that slept, sharing in the shadow. Other dogs of loyal cheer bounded at the whistle clear, up the woodside hieing; this dog only, watched in reach of a faintly uttered speech, or a louder sighing." I was impressed with the tender words of affection and love, & with descriptions that are felt in the readers heart. I was familiar with 2 of Coleridges poems, "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan". But I have a new favorite of his, "The Nightingale", "No cloud, no relique of the sunken day distinguishes the west, no long thin slip of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues. Come we will rest on this old mossy bridge! You see the glimer of the stream beneath, but hear no murmuring: it flows silently, o'er it's soft bed of verdue, all is still, a balmy night! and though the stars be dim." I learned quickly after reading Coleridge's poems that it is better to read a poem out loud and with feeling, I guess this was a dah! moment. Coleridge's poems are so descriptive that I can almost feel what I am visualizing in my mind. I will end with one of my favorite lines from "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", "Farewell, farewell! but this I tell to thee, thou wedding guest! he prayeth well, who loveth well both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best, who loveth best all things both great and small; for the dear God who loveth us he made and loveth all. The Mariner, whose eye is bright, whose beard with age is hoar, is gone and now the wedding guest turned from the bridegrooms door. He went like one that hath been stunned, and is of sense forlorn: a sadder and a wiser man, he rose the morrow morn." Tonight I will start reading Tennyson.

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