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When Our Two Souls Stand Up Erect and Strong by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


"When Our Two Souls Stand Up Erect and Strong" is also known as "Sonnet XXII" from the Sonnets From the Portuguese. It reflects on how the lovers' love is so strong that it belongs in heaven, but if it were brought there that it wouldn't seem as great because everything in heaven is great, so their love must remain on earth.

This poem consists of fourteen lines, like most of Browning's Petrachan sonnets. It is also written in iambic pentameter. However, it is not divided up into stanzas, which is common for this type of writing style. It has the rhyme scheme ABBAABBACDCDCD.


When Our Two Souls Stand Up Erect and Strong

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curved point, -what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think. In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us, and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth, Beloved, where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

Published in Sonnets From the Portuguese in .

Next: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways
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Literary Movement
Victorian, 19th Century

Sonnet, Love, Religion, Death

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