Elizabeth Browning was one of the most prominent English Poets of the Victorian Era. This was very ironic because during the Victorian Era men were considered the most dominant. Due to Elizabeth’s father unapproval of her love affair with Robert Browning the couple eloped in secret and got married. The name “my little Portuguese’’ was the name she adopted from her husband. The couple love affair was the gateway to one of Browning greatest work The Sonnet from the Portuguese. Sonnet from the Portuguese are a group of poems about love written in the diary of Elizabeth Browning. These poems were writing about her husband Robert Browning signifying their love. In these poem, she is portrayed as a transitioning character. Though the progressing of the poems her understanding of love grow and matured. Within this progression, Elizabeth Browning transition from being a skeptic about the definition of love to forming a definition of her own.
In her first sonnet, “Sonnet I”, it seems like to me that she does not know what love is. She starts talking about what is happening in the past and suddenly changing her mood to being sad and “melancholy”.
“I saw, in gradual vision through my tears
The sweet, sad years, melancholy years
Those of my life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was ‘ware’
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move.” (Lines 6-10)
Elizabeth confuses me with her emotional roller coaster. At the last four lines of her poem, she becomes happy or pleased once again to find that what was at the end wasn’t “Death” at all, but love
“Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove,-
“Guess now who holds thee!” “Death,” I said, But, There,
The silver and rang, “Not Death, but Love” (Line 11-14).
Elizabeth learns what love is after moving forward and taking what she had coming to her. But to her and my surprise, it seems that love conquers all. Thinking that death have a strong control over her life, it was nothing but her lover the hold time.
In the next poem, “Sonnet VII”, I believe at this point she is dating him now but there seems to be a stoop in the road. Her lover starts to give her gift that she feels like she is unworthy for. Saying what can I give back to you when I have nothing? He was obviously really generous to her and she is putting herself down.
“Ask God who knows. For frequent tear have run
The colours from my life, and left so dead
And pale a stuff, it were no fitly done
To give the same as pillow to thy head
Go farther! Let it serve to trample on” (Line 10-14).
Elizabeth says that she doesn’t feel...