4

The lines: […] now He has left off calling firmaments And strata, flowers and creatures, very good do not mean, as suggested in the question, that God has ceased to name things, but rather, that he has ceased to call them very good. This is an allusion to Genesis chapter 1 verse 31, in the Authorized Version: And God saw every thing that he had made,...


4

In addition to my own research, I found an interesting essay discussing some of the semi-autobiographical parts of Aurora Leigh, and how Barrett Browning's character was consciously and unconsciously influenced by her own life. I've referenced that in some places; other parts are from my own outside reading. Aurora's mother died when Aurora was four, ...


3

To answer one of your questions, Googling, I found a version of Aurora Leigh that had a footnote referencing Matthew 2:3. Looking this up, we find that Matthew 2:2-4 reads So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received ...


3

‘Mother and Poet’ was first published in Last Poems (1862), where a note is appended: [This was Laura Savio, of Turin, a poetess and patriot, whose sons were killed at Ancona and Gaeta.] This is a reference to Baroness Olimpia Savio (1815–1889), a poet and writer from Turin, whose sons Alfredo (1838–1860) and Emilio (1837–1861) died in the Risorgimento. ...


3

The first edition of the poem (Chapman & Hall, London, 1857) has shot, not shut: –At which I shot my tongue against my fly And struck him; Subsequent editions by Chapman & Hall also have shot; the Internet Archive has the third (1857) and fifth (1860) editions. It was in the early U.S. editions, for example C. S. Francis & Co., New York (...


3

I think the phrase "let her start And shake at pleasure,–nor conclude at yours," should be understood something like "let her start and shake at [her] pleasure, and not conclude at your [pleasure]", or, more loosely, "let her start and stop when she wants, not when you want". There is, however, the ambiguity of "start". Does it mean jolt or does it ...


3

The two speakers in the passage are Lady Waldemar and Aurora Leigh. They are rivals for the affection of Aurora’s cousin Romney Leigh. Lady Waldemar is older than Aurora, and an insincere and manipulative character. There are three points to Lady Waldemar’s speech. First, she belittles Aurora by likening her to ‘a youthful prophetess’ who has to put up a ...


2

The key to this passage is the emotional situation of the characters. The speaker is Marian Erle, a poor young woman who loves philanthropist Romney Leigh. She has been visited by Lady Waldemar, a rich widow who also loves Romney, and who has taken up charity work in order to get closer to Romney, and to try to separate Marian from him. Lady Waldemar’s ...


2

One possible reading: “its” is “his very body as a man.” So, it could be a very circumlocutionary way of saying something like, “The physical urges of men are so base, women in every town die because of them.” Or, perhaps, that women are degraded, abandoned and treated like garbage. Some context within the poem for the metaphor of daughters being killed ...


2

Peter Shor having identified the connection between cymbals and bees, I found a likely classical source for this allusion in Ovid’s Fasti: liba deo fiunt, sucis quia dulcibus idem gaudet, et a Baccho mella reperta ferunt. ibat harenoso satyris comitatus ab Hebro (non habet ingratos fabula nostra iocos), iamque erat ad Rhodopen Pangaeaque florida ...


2

Removing the parenthetical interruption so as to follow the syntax better, we have While I in vain touch cymbals. Yet, concede, Such sounding brass has done some actual good, ... In colonising beehives.’ So what do cymbals have to do with beehives? In this webpage on medieval bee-keeping, it quotes a 10th-century Byzantine text which says: ...


2

Da Vinci's drains As remarked in a page of Notes and Queries (I found this at Wikisource, but I'm not sure exactly what document it's a page from!), this simply refers to the fact that Leonardo da Vinci was a famous hydraulic engineer. In particular, he worked on draining the Pontine Marshes and made a plan to divert the River Arno. Although now most ...


1

Let’s take the trees first. The “under-natures” are the undersides of the leaves, which are “turned up” (made visible) by the wind, and since the undersides are paler than the upper surfaces of the leaves, this makes the whole tree appear paler, “blanching” it. The leaves “tremble” (vibrate) in the air currents, and the whole tree “dilates” (spreads out, ...


1

I won’t claim to have the definitive answer, but one recurring theme in the poem is the morning sun as the source of the soul and of divine inspiration. Aurora is even called out within the poem as a name that means the dawn. Some instances of it include Aurora opening the window and her soul to the morning sun, Marian having been born to humble origins, ...


1

Aurora Leigh is a poor poet living and working in a tiny ‘garret-room’. Lady Waldemar is a rich widow who has fallen in love with Aurora’s cousin Romney Leigh, and who has climbed the stairs to enlist Aurora’s aid in separating Romney from his protégée Marian Erle. Lady Waldemar’s dialogue in this scene is a mixture of insincere flattery and barbed ...


1

Metaphor, mainly I wasn’t able to find any exposition of the meaning of this particular passage. However, I think the meaning is fairly straightforward. Here “white” doesn’t refer to the color of “long-clothes” or anything concrete previously mentioned in the poem. Rather, I believe “white” here is being used as a metaphor for purity. It’s not precisely ...


1

The OED says: paradox, n. 2. a. An apparently absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition, or a strongly counter-intuitive one, which investigation, analysis, or explanation may nevertheless prove to be well-founded or true. The paradox in this case is in the surrounding lines: the love of all […] Is but a small thing to the love of one. ...


1

The child is playing a game of chance, with one hand competing against the other, for want of a companion to play against. Here are a couple of examples from other works, to show how the phrase is used: One summer afternoon at Capua I was sitting on a stone bench behind the stables of my villa, thinking out some problem of Etruscan history and idly shooting ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible