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The Weakest Thing by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


"The Weakest Thing" speaks about how nothing on earth is permanent except God. It states that "The Strongest of the universe / Guarding the weakest!", as if God is guarding everything, even nature--yet it is still not permanent. This poem can also be about a broken heart.

This poem is written in alternating rhymes. It consists of three stanzas with eight lines each, resulting in a twenty-four line poem. Each stanza has the rhyme scheme ABABCDCD. "The weakest thing" referred to in this poem is everything we have on Earth. It's the clouds, the wind, even us. Luckily, Elizabeth Browning suggests, we have God to protect us and look after us.


The Weakest Thing

Which is the weakest thing of all
Mine heart can ponder?
The sun, a little cloud can pall
With darkness yonder?
The cloud, a little wind can move
Where'er it listeth?
The wind, a little leaf above,
Though sere, resisteth?

What time that yellow leaf was green,
My days were gladder;
But now, whatever Spring may mean,
I must grow sadder.
Ah me! a leaf with sighs can wring
My lips asunder -
Then is mine heart the weakest thing
Itself can ponder.

Yet, Heart, when sun and cloud are pined
And drop together,
And at a blast, which is not wind,
The forests wither,
Thou, from the darkening deathly curse
To glory breakest, -
The Strongest of the universe
Guarding the weakest!

Written in .

Next: I Thought Once How Theocritus Had Sung
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Literary Movement
Victorian, 19th Century

God, Religion, Nature

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