Robert Browning's poem "Meeting at Night" is essentially a narrative of a man who is journeying to meet his lover. The man recounts his journey as he undertakes it, mentioning or observing different portions of the trip, each in turn. One by one, he briefly describes his surroundings as he passes by them, merely noting them as if they bear only fleeting significance to him. However, although his descriptions are unpretentious and abruptly forgotten as he continues onward toward his goal, each line of the poem contains striking imagery. In fact, it should be noted that this poem consists entirely of imagery. Every line depicts a scene of the landscape that Browning's narrator encounters; that is, at least, until he finally reaches his destination, when his focus is diverted to his lover. Throughout the entire poem he offers no personal insight or reflection on his situation, and he instead is content to merely report his perceptions and observations as they come and go. Although each of these little vignettes is of seemingly small consequence in itself, these individual images are each portrayed with remarkable style and feeling, and Browning skillfully strings these images together to elicit specific feelings and reactions from his readers. His masterful application of imagery, mood, and dynamic movement serve to shape the poem's emotion in such a way that the reader can tap into a plentiful well of information pertaining to the state of the speaker and his emotions -- information that initially goes unnoticed from a strictly literal observation.
Browning is particularly well-known for this above-mentioned technique. On the surface level, his writing is trivi...
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... image. Additionally, the color blue is unique; it casts an eerie feeling on the scene, almost as if their joining is holy or sacred. Finally, the last two lines are the culmination of this `saga': "And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears, / Than the two hearts beating each to each!" (ll. 11-12). Thus the poem concludes with boundless passion and bliss, and their love is represented by the powerful beating of their hearts.
Browning's amazing command of words and their effects makes this poem infinitely more pleasurable to the reader. Through simple, brief imagery, he is able to depict the lovers' passion, the speaker's impatience in reaching his love, and the stealth and secrecy of their meeting. He accomplishes this feat within twelve lines of specific rhyme scheme and beautiful language, never forsaking aesthetic quality for his higher purposes.
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