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First Tercet “It might be well perhaps. But if instead”
The speaker continues the metaphor of her heart as filled with ashes by commanding her beloved to look and see “What a great heap of grief lay hid in me.” She metaphorically compares the ashes held within the urn of her heart to her grief.
class="dynamic">First Quatrain: “I lift my heavy heart up solemnly”
In the first quatrain of Sonnet 5 from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese, the speaker likens her heart to the urn held by Electra, who thought she was holding the ashes of her dead brother Orestes in Sophocles' tragic Greek play, Electra. The speaker is raising the “sepulchral urn” of her heart to her beloved, and then suddenly, she spills the ashes at his feet. She commands him to look at those ashes.
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It will be remembered that the speaker has, in the two preceding sonnets, made it clear that her beloved has prestige and the attention of royalty. Thus, he is as one who is declared a winner with the reward of laurels.
The speaker avers that even those laurels will not be able protect his hair from being singed, once the wind has blown those live coals upon his head. She therefore bids him, “Stand farther off then! go.”
Barrett Browning's Sonnet 6
Barrett Browning's Sonnet 1
Barrett Browning's Sonnet 16
Second Tercet: “O my Belovèd, will not shield thee so”
Second Quatrain: “What a great heap of grief lay hid in me”
If, however, he does not tread on those burning coals of grief and merely remains still beside her,Adidas Sunglasses Men Outlet Conservatism and Libe, the wind will stir up those ashes and they may land on the head of the beloved,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], a head that is garlanded with laurels.
Now she has dropped those ashes of grief at the feet of her beloved. But she notices that there seem to be some live coals in the heap of ashes; her grief is still burning “through the ashen greyness.” She speculates that if her beloved could stomp out the remaining burning coals of her grief,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], that might be all well and good.
She must give him leave to forsake her, because she believes that he will do so after he fully comprehends who she really is. Although she, of course, hopes he will protest and remain beside her,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], she does not want to deceive herself, falsely believing that he will, in fact, remain with her.
In the throes of incredible sorrow, the speaker is awakening slowly to the possibility that she can be loved by someone whom she deems her superior in every way. Her head is bare, not garlanded with laurels as is his.
The speaker has established in her opening sonnets that not only is she but a humble poet shielded from the eyes of society, but she is also one who has suffered greatly from physical maladies as well as mental anguish. She has suffered thinking that she may never have the opportunity to love and be loved.
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