Friday, November 03, 2006

A Little Poetry for You: Robert Browning

First, some housekeeping:

THE BEST PASSAGES CONTEST ENDS SUNDAY. There are books and coffee cards at stake, and all you have to do to compete is jot down a great passage from a children's book. All you children's literature fans out there, I know you have at least one great quote in you!

Okay, that out of the way, the last few installments of Poetry Friday, I promised Browning and so at last, Browning you shall have.

I offer a Robert Browning dramatic monologue about murder.

"My Last Duchess" you think? Not at all.

This is one I like even better -- a lovely little murder poem called "Porphyria's Lover." It's a uniquely twisted bit of poetry that we had some fun with in college. (I'm not sure "lovely" and "fun" are quite the right words for this poem, but hopefully you won't hold it against me.)

I've only included two bits of it. If these two bits appeal, there's a link to the entire poem just below.

Porphyria's Lover

The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listen'd with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneel'd and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm
Be sure I look'd up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipp'd me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain

The rest of the poem is here.

Or, for some more heart-warming Browning, go here or here for Elizabeth Barrett Browning sonnets.

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