Hello Tentors

The first step is to understand the poem. Here’s the text, with some notes/questions. Go through the questions and answer as many as you can. If you post your answers here, I’ll check them for you. Once we’ve done that, we’ll look at the essay subject again, and see if you need any more material.

MrP
1 2
Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning

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. 5

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1. Look at the first two lines. What time is it?

(Don’t think too hard about these questions. Put down the first thing that comes into your head. If you can’t think of anything, there’s no need to answer.)

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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;

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2. What effect does the arrival of Porphyria have?

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Which done, she rose, and from her form 10

Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,

And laid her soil'd gloves by, untied

Her hat and let the damp hair fall,

And, last, she sat down by my side

And call'd me. When no voice replied, 15

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3. Do you notice anything unusual about the way P. behaves, when she comes in?

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She put my arm about her waist,

And made her smooth white shoulder bare,

And all her yellow hair displaced,

And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,

And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, 20

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4. She has taken off her cloak and shawl; now she ‘makes her shoulder bare’. What is she wearing underneath the cloak and shawl?

5. Does anything strike you as unusual, in the two lines in bold?

‘Yellow hair’ – Browning means ‘blonde’.

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Murmuring how she loved me—she

Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,

To set its struggling passion free

From pride, and vainer ties dissever,

And give herself to me for ever. 25

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6. What do the lines in bold tell you about the situation these ‘lovers’ find themselves in?

7. It’s not clear, at this point, whether these lines are a) a version of what P. herself said or b) the speaker’s interpretation of what P. thinks. But the next 4 lines make it clear. Read them and see if you can tell which it is – a) or b).

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But passion sometimes would prevail,

Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain

A sudden thought of one so pale

For love of her, and all in vain:

So, she was come through wind and rain. 30

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8. How would you paraphrase the first 4 lines of this stanza?

9. Line 30 is the point around which this poem pivots. What do you notice about the ‘lovers’, up to this point?

‘Gay feast’ – a dinner party, in other words.

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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. 35

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10. What do you think when you read the phrase in bold?

11. Read the stanza out loud. What strikes you about line 35?

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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, 40

And strangled her.

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12. Imagine this scene. What doesn’t the speaker mention?

13. Does anything surprise you about this scene?

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No pain felt she;

I am quite sure she felt no pain.

As a shut bud that holds a bee,

I warily oped her lids: again

Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain. 45

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14. What do you think about the line in bold? Did she feel any pain, do you think?

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And I untighten'd next the tress

About her neck; her cheek once more

Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss:

I propp'd her head up as before,

Only, this time my shoulder bore 50

Her head, which droops upon it still:

The smiling rosy little head,

So glad it has its utmost will,

That all it scorn'd at once is fled,

And I, its love, am gain'd instead! 55

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15. Look at lines 16-19 again; then look at lines 50-1. Picture the scene in each case. Which seems more natural to you?

16. Does anything strike you as strange, in the wording of line 52?

17. Look at lines 53-55. What delusion is the speaker suffering from?

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Porphyria's love: she guess'd not how

Her darling one wish would be heard.

And thus we sit together now,

And all night long we have not stirr'd,

And yet God has not said a word!

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18. Is this the way you expected the poem to end?
i am doing a piece of coursework for school and wud appreciate it if you could look at my answers and tell me what is wrong with them!

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. 5

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1.early evening

(Don’t think too hard about these questions. Put down the first thing that comes into your head. If you can’t think of anything, there’s no need to answer.)

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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;

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2. she shuts out evrything around unhappy, and warms the place up it prooves he is happier when she is there.

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Which done, she rose, and from her form 10

Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,

And laid her soil'd gloves by, untied

Her hat and let the damp hair fall,

And, last, she sat down by my side

And call'd me. When no voice replied, 15

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3. it seems to me that they are meeting in secret and she has made a journey to get to him! it is an affair that no one is suppose to know about.

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She put my arm about her waist,

And made her smooth white shoulder bare,

And all her yellow hair displaced,

And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,

And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, 20

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4. She is wearing nothing underneath - by showing her bear shoulder she is teasing him

5. she is flirting with him by doing this - theese actions what she is doing to him is what he does to her once he has killed her - he carries on like normal with her head lying on his shoulder

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Murmuring how she loved me—she

Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,

To set its struggling passion free

From pride, and vainer ties dissever,

And give herself to me for ever. 25

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6 -

7. it is the interpretation of the lover

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But passion sometimes would prevail,

Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain

A sudden thought of one so pale

For love of her, and all in vain:

So, she was come through wind and rain. 30

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8. he loves having her but its not her he loves
9. it is an affair

‘Gay feast’ – a dinner party, in other words.

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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. 35

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10. at that moment he knows she loves him
11. he doesnt know how to react to what he is thinking

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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, 40

And strangled her.

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12. he doesnt say why he strangled her - personally i think it was because in a way he is a physchopath and doesnt want to forget this moment he wants to cherish it and for nothing to change.

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No pain felt she;

I am quite sure she felt no pain.

As a shut bud that holds a bee,

I warily oped her lids: again

Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain. 45

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14. he wants to think that she felt no pain so he will feel no guilt

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And I untighten'd next the tress

About her neck; her cheek once more

Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss:

I propp'd her head up as before,

Only, this time my shoulder bore 50

Her head, which droops upon it still:

The smiling rosy little head,

So glad it has its utmost will,

That all it scorn'd at once is fled,

And I, its love, am gain'd instead! 55
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hello Anon

Sorry it's taken so long to answer – I've only just seen your post.

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1. Fine!

2. Fine!

3. Yes, that's right – also, she clearly knows the place. But there's another thing: if someone comes into your house, and immediately starts fixing the fire, without saying anything, what does that indicate? (For instance, what would it mean if someone acted like that in your house?)

4. There's certainly an erotic element here; I think she has probably come straight from some kind of dinner party, though. It sounds like a bare-shouldered gown.

5. "theese actions what she is doing to him is what he does to her once he has killed her - he carries on like normal with her head lying on his shoulder" – exactly. Also, it shows that she's the dominant party: she puts his arm round her, etc.

7. Yes, that's it.

it is the interpretation of the lover

8. Even during the party, he thinks, she has thought of him: the "gay feast" couldn't "restrain" the thought of him.

9. Yes; also she seems to be the one who's "taking charge".

10. "at that moment he knows she loves him" – yes; but is it a little melodramatic, do you think?

11. That's true. But also, listen out for the slightly comic rhythm.

12. Yes, I think you're right. It strikes me as odd though that he doesn't mention her struggling or making any noise (she must have struggled). Part of the psychopathology, maybe.

14. Exactly.

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Good answers, Anon! I take my hat off to you.

Did you want to try the other questions?

See you,

MrP
I have an essay due on tuesday, a comparrision between Browning's My Lsat Duchess and Porpyria's lover. Any help?
So do i can say talk bout structure of poem, imagery, poettic devices, love andrelationships,viewpoint
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
can you please please tell me some of the poetic devices used in porphyria's lover Emotion: big smile
Robert Browning uses numerous poetic devices in "Porphyria Lover". One predominant device he uses is the form of the poem which is structured in ABABB verses. He also presents the events in the poem methodically. For example, constituting a catalog of his lover's movements; as she shuts out the cold, kneels down, makes a fire, takes off her coat, and sits by his side. This form of highly patterned verse and methodical structure of events pursues the message of porphyria's lover being in a psychotic/disturbing state of mind.

An obvious technique is alliteration; "perfectly pure" and "blushed bright beneath my burning kiss". etc etc

h0pe it helpss a bitt Emotion: big smile
my teacher told me that at line 43- 'as a shut bud that holds a bee' meants that the lover being afraid of a 'sting' of what he has done?

But i think of this in 2 other ways, could it be:
that if a bee is held in a shut bud, could this show that the lover wanted to 'trap' the moment? like keep it like that forever?

or i thought that flowers are normally associated with love, and flowers should be open and free. Could it also show the lack of freedom the relationship had? and the fact that he had to prise open the lids shows that its unnatural?

please get back to me thanks.
eve
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