Grief by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"Grief" speaks about how each of us deal with grief. She states that deep-hearted men express it by silence, but refrains from telling specifically how others deal with it. However, Browning states that if the dead could cry, they would. Like most of Browning's writings, it's easy to tell that she was passionate about the subject matter. This poem is, most likely, a reference towards how she felt when her brother drowned.
"Grief" is a Petrachan sonnet that consists of fourteen lines with the rhyme scheme ABBAABBACDECDE.
Grief I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless; That only men incredulous of despair, Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air Beat upward to God's throne in loud access Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness, In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted man, express Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death-- Most like a monumental statue set In everlasting watch and moveless woe Till itself crumble to the dust beneath. Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet: If it could weep, it could arise and go. Published in 1844.
Next: To Flush, My Dog
Find out more information about this poem and read others like it.
Victorian, 19th Century
Grief, Death, Family, Relationship