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Poetry Analysis Notes



 

Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
interpreted by Pierce Han

The gray 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, through its jos and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!


Poet: Robert Browning was born in 1812 and died in 1812 and died in 1889. He is remembered as one of the greatest English poets of the 19th century. Browning’s parents put a love of art and literature in him. He was not very educated since he did not have a college education and was largely self-taught. He made his first volume of poetry called Pauline in 1883. “Paracelsus” was a dramatic poem that followed the volume in 1835, which brought him into prominence. He also wrote Bells and Pomegranates from 1841 to 1846 with poems ncluding “Pippa Passes,” “My Last Duchess,” and “The Bishop Orders His Tomb.” In 1842 he wrote the Dramatic Lyrics in 1842 which included “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” and Dramatic Romances and Lyrics in 1845 had poems including “How We Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.” Browning loved Italy and he lived there for a while with his wife. His wife is also a poet and her name is Elizabeth Barrett. Many of his poems take place in that beautiful country especially some of his most famous dramatic monologues. He wrote Christmas Eve and Easter-Day in 1850 and Men and Women in 1855, which included “Fra Lippo Lippi” and “Andrea del Sarto.” After the death of his wife, he returned to London and he wrote Dramatis Personae in 1864 and The Ring and the Book, which is 4 volumes in 1868-1869. With The Ring and the Book, he won widespread fame. This is considered as his masterpiece. Browning then returned to Italy in 1878 where his only son lived. He wrote Dramatic Idylls during this period, which was 1879-1880 and Asolando, which appeared on December 12, 1889. That is the date of his death. Although “Meeting at Night” is not a monologue, it still has Browning’s very descriptive and vivid language. This is one of his most famous poems, (p.600 Prentice Hall Literature Gold and Encarta).

Vocabulary: [NONE]

Type of poem:
Lyric

Speaker: Robert Browning, the poet

Audience:
Reader, general audience

Tone: Serious, deep, dark, gloomy

Meaning:
It is dark and gloomy in the poem. It first describes the area as “The gray sea and the long black land; And the yellow half-moon large and low.” Then the scene changes and describes the path ahead as “Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach; Three fields to cross till a farm appears.” This poem is talking about a dark place and a person who walks through this dark land to meet another soul. The example of this is in “Than the two hearts beating each to each!” The two souls meet and their hearts beat with each other. This last part could be showing a sense of joy or love with each other after the excitement of meeting each other again through that dark place. This poem portrays the author’s style of writing in which he is most famously known for. He is known for his insight and conversational poetic style. His choices of words create a real sense of darkness for the area and his common placed words for this
poem portrays his conversational poetic style of writing.

Structure of poem: - Traditional
- Rhyming
- Equal Stanzas Length
- End-stopping line

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

Land, sand Rhyming
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach
Imagery
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
Symbolism

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: This poem is very gloomy in the beginning and describes a person’s meeting with someone else. He has to get through a dark land to meet this soul. When they meet, their hearts beat with each other because of their excitement and joy or love after meeting each other. This poem also portrays the author’s style of writing in which he is most famously known for. He is known for his insight and conversational poetic style. His choices of words create a real sense of darkness for the area and his common placed words for this poem portrays his conversational poetic style of writing. This poem is a perfect example of how he writes and
his style of writing.

Most memorable quote from the poem:
Than the two hearts beating each to
each!


© Smelli Notes 2001