What is the meaning of the sonnet "Beloved, thou hast brought me many flowers"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unfortunately, because you asked multiple questions, I have been forced to abide by enotes regulations and edit your question down to just one. Please remember that it is not permitted to ask more than one question.

This sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, is part of her collection of sonnets of love, including such famous sonnets as "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Therefore it is safe to assume this is another sonnet discussing love and its many forms. In it, the speaker accepts flowers from her "Beloved" that have been carefully raised and nurtured over the year and have been arranged to create the illusion that they actually grew in the room where they are. Overwhelmed by this gift of love from her lover, the speaker offers her poetry in return, comparing it to flowers by use of an extended metaphor:

Take back these thoughts which here unfolded too,

And which on warm and cold days I withdrew

From my heart's ground.

The poetry that the speaker produces has been, like flowers, "withdrawn" from the ground, but the ground of her heart, and have also been taken on both warm and cold days. The speaker charges her beloved to care for these "flowers," saying:

Instruct thine eyes to keep their colours true,

And tell thy soul, their roots are left in mine.

Thus the poem features two gifts of love between lovers. One gives flowers, and the other, in return, offers her verse, asking her lover to care for them as if they were flowers, and to remember always that the "roots" of her verse" still remain in her heart.

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