Personal Choice 24
Meeting at Night
The grey 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, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
(from) Oh, to be in England
Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!!
Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose dramatic monologues put him high among the Victorian poets. He was noted for irony, characterization, dark humour, social commentary, historical settings and challenging vocabulary and syntax. In 1846 he married fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett and moved to Italy. By his death in 1889 he was seen as a sage and philosopher-poet who had fed into Victorian social and political discourse.
I have never been a follower of Browning’s work. I have found the enormity of his poetry output dull and really without much interest or excitement. Oh to be in England I read as a very young child and loved it. Meeting at Night too is a wonderful poem full of the most powerful and successful imagery.