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The Victorian Era 1833-1903

Victorian Poetry

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's My Heart and I

MY HEART AND I

Enough![g1]  we're tired, my heart [g2] and I.[g3] 
We sit beside the headstone
[g4]  thus[g5] ,
And wish that name were carved for us
[g6] .
The moss reprints more tenderly
The hard types of the
mason's knife
[g7][g8]  ,
As Heaven's sweet life renews earth's life
[g9] 
With which we're tired, my heart and I.

You [g10] see we're tired, my heart and I.
We dealt with books
[g11] , we trusted men,
And in our own blood drenched the pen
[g12] ,
As if such colors could not fly
[g13] .
We walked too straight for fortune's
[g14]  end[g15] ,
We loved too true to keep a friend
[g16] ;
At last we're tired, my heart and I.

How tired we feel, my heart and I
We seem of no use in the world
[g17] ;
Our fancies
[g18] hang gray [g19] and uncurled[g20] 
About men's eyes indifferently
[g21] ;
Our voice which thrilled you so, will let
You sleep; our tears are only wet
[g22] :
What do we here
[g23] , my heart and I?

So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
It was not thus in that old time
When
Ralph
[g24] sat with me 'neath the lime[g25] 
To watch the sunset from the sky.
"Dear love, you're looking tired," he
[g26]  said[g27] :
I, smiling at him, shook my head
[g28] .
'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.

So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
Though now none takes me on his arm
To fold me close and kiss me warm
Till each quick breath end in a sigh
Of happy languor
[g29] Now, alone,
We
[g30]  lean upon this graveyard stone,
Uncheered, unkissed
[g31] , my heart and I.

Tired out we are, my heart and I.
Suppose the world brought diadems
[g32] 
To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures? 
[g33] Let it try[g34] .
We scarcely
[g35] care to look at even
A pretty child, or God's blue
[g36] heaven[g37] ,
We feel so tired, my heart and I.

Yet who complains?  My heart and I?
In this abundant earth no doubt
Is little room for things worn out
[g38] :
Disdain them, break them, throw them
[g39]  by[g40] !
And if before the days grew rough
We once
[g41] were loved, used, - well enough,
I think, we've fared
[g42] , my heart and I.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning [1806-1861]

 


 [g1]Fed up tone. Tiredness. Grasp attention.

 [g2]soul

 [g3]Repeats every first and last stanza of each quatrain.

 [g4]Who’s headstone? Ralph???

 [g5]Rhyme Scheme-a,bb,a,bb,a.

 [g6]wanting recognition/or wishes for death(suicidal/weary).

 [g7]Good time, hard times.

 [g8]Gravedigger’s knife.

 [g9]Personification-with every death is life.

 [g10]Who is “you”? Unidentifiable person/thing.

 [g11]knowledge

 [g12]Women not being recognized. Women unable to write, no education for women.

 [g13]As if not possible.

 [g14]Luck/power

 [g15]Obedience.

 [g16]Loyalty.

 [g17]Men’s patriotic attitude towards women. Women have no use in the world besides taking care of the men and children. No point.

 [g18]dreams/fantasies/wishes

 [g19]yes/no.unsure.

 [g20]closed, needs to be open

 [g21]attitude of women/fancies.

 [g22]No one there.

 [g23]Pun. “here”

 [g24]early love? Affair?

 [g25]Limelight/fruit tree

 [g26]Ralph

 [g27]Starting to recognize women, and take notice.

 [g28]Reminiscing beginning, reminiscing love.

 [g29]Remembering Ralph/old love. Needs to be acknowledged, secured because she feels alone.

 [g30]Who’s we? My heart and I? Double person?

 [g31]Widow. Grieving.

 [g32]Crown. Symbol- false dreams/hopes/pleasures/promises

 [g33]Temptations.

 [g34]“bring it on” attitude.

 [g35]Barely.

 [g36]Symbol-sad and grief, depression

 [g37]scared to feel happy, emotion of betrayal and guilt.

 [g38]No room to dwell.

 [g39]Issues.

 [g40]Personification-getting rid of issues.

 [g41]Emphasis.

 [g42]No use in dwelling on grief and pain. Realizing life. “smarten up” attitude. Fulfilled life.

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Poetry Assignment
ENG4U