Background of "Meeting at Night"
The paired poems, "Meeting at Night" and "Parting at Morning," originally formed one single poem when first published in Browning's Pomegranates and Bells in 1845. They were listed in the table of contents as one poem and were titled "Night and Morning; I. Night; II. Morning" as one single, but two-part, poem. It was in the 1849 reissue of the collection under the now familiar title Dramatic Romances and Lyrics that Browning separated the poems and presented them as individual poems under the present titles "Meeting at Night" and "Parting at Morning." In a sense, this set the poems at an analytical disadvantage and gave a disadvantage to future readers who may be unaware of the two parts and the relationship between them. To illustrate, while it is clear from the last line of "II. Morning"/"Parting at Morning" that Browning alludes to the Victorian cultural emphasis upon the separation of the world of men from the world of women, the division of the poems into "Meeting at Night" and "Parting at Morning" isolates that theme to "Parting," whereas a reading of them as one unit might illuminate "I. Night"/"Meeting at Night" under the light of the same theme. As individual, separate poems, however, this theme is not present in the text of "Meeting at Night" alone.