Meeting at Night

Topics: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Poetry, Love Pages: 5 (1598 words) Published: October 26, 2012
Meeting at Night
Robert Browning
The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

* Sight         : “grey sea”, “long black land”, “yellow half-moon large”, “startled little waves”,  “fiery ringlets”, etc. (almost all the parts of this poem give sight imagery). * Hear         : “voice less loud”

* Touch      : “warm sea-scented beach”
Surface meaning:
The Robert Browning’s poem, as the title shows it, is about a meeting at night of a couple who are in love with each other. To meet the woman, the man should do a very long journey through the sea with his boat, walking through three farms, until he arrives at a farm. Still, he has to be very careful when meeting her because exactly they are not allowed to meet each other. That’s why the man comes at night and they should talk with a very soft voice. Deep meaning:

This poem is telling us about the process of a relationship. When someone could not find his love, he would feel so lonely in life. Robert Browning represented it with the phrase “the grey sea and the long black land”.  Love can be aimed to someone or dream. Then, to be able to reach his love, he passed trough many challenges and restrictions. However, he did it happily since he has a big optimistic. After all the hassles, he succeed to find what he’s been looking for. The loneliness then is gone and turned into brightness (“And blue spurt of a lighted match”). Finally, he got what he had been dreaming about. Theme:

* Love is something that needs a hassle and sacrificial to be gotten. * A success will be reached if someone has a big motivation and works hard pass trough many challenges and restrictions.  

To reach our love/dream, we have to work hard and enjoy the process. By doing it, we will find the real happiness of our success.

"Meeting At Night"
The speaker is at sea at night, heading towards the black land in the distance. He briefly paints a picturesque image of night at sea but moves forward until he pulls his vessel up on to the sand.

He walks a mile of beach and then three fields, until he approaches his goal, a farm. He taps at the window, sees the lighting of a match, and then cannot even hear the voices over the beating of his and his lover's hearts as they reunite. Analysis

A short and relatively (for Browning) simple love poem, this piece still presents a subtextual comment on the importance of movement in life, and on the dichotomy between the stasis of art and the action of life. The entire poem has a sense of movement to it that reflects the speaker's desire to reunite with his love. The poem's meter and sound clearly denote a sense of pressing intent. Read it aloud to sense how the language is pushing ever forward, with three lines in the first stanza alone beginning with "And," as though to suggest that what is on the speaker's mind is never the moment he is in but rather the next thing, since the latter gets him closer to his lover. Technically, the meter is iambic tetrameter, though it is hardly strict to that meter's requirements, as should be expected for a poem about movement over order and contemplation. And this sense of movement is particularly interesting when juxtaposed with what is usually expected of a poem of this sort. The imagery, especially in the first stanza, is extremely picturesque and pastoral, the type of landscape that readers often expect poets to spend time contemplating and describing. Poetry, after all, is about capturing the complexities and beauty of particular...
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