In a series of images averaging one per line, the poet describes a lover traveling to meet his beloved. Identify each image, the specific sense it stimulates, and the feelings the images evoke.

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1845, when this poem was written, Robert Browning noticed Elizabeth Barrett's poems and decided that he had to meet her. She was an invalid, confined to bed due to illness, and under the control of a domineering father. The poet was inspired by his love for Elizabeth, his equally talented wife.

In the first stanza, the poet starts out with images that evoke a sense of coldness, darkness and distance, they are devoid of any warmth or passion. He is after-all, far away from his lover.
"The grey sea and the long black land;"

The colors of gray and black are colors of sadness and mourning. This is how he starts out, building line by line in description that allows warmth and passion to enter his world as he gets closer to his love.

"In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand."

These lines are full of warmth and suggest that the poet is thinking of the intimacy that awaits him with his lover.

In stanza two, the poet becomes more provocative in his language. There are veiled sexual references in this poem.

"Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;"

These lines suggest that he is comparing his love to the warm sea-scented beach, a very inviting image.

Until he gets to the house and he meets his love and his passion is released and united with hers.

"A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,"