E. B. B. and Experiential Faith
"We sigh so loud, the nightingale within
Refuses to sing loud, as else she would" (ll.9-10).
Points of Reflection
"The Soul's Expression" (1844)
1. what is the "music" of the narrator's "nature"?
2. at what point does the narrator refer to the Petrarchan sonnet form she's using to create this poem?
3. what would happen to this narrator, were s/he successfull in expressing his/her innermost soul?
"The Seraph and Poet" (1844)
1. why might E.B.B. compare the creation of the poetry to an angel's praising of God? Is E.B.B. unjustly elevating literary creation?
2. why deploy the word "naughty" to describe humanity (l.7). Is this word too light and innocuous, given the subject matter?
3. how does the seraph's audience compare to that of the poet?
4. to what might "the burning of the Seven" (l.2) refer?
1. does E.B.B. associate loud grief with complete grief or partial grief?
2. is the narrator herself experiencing "hopeless grief" (l.1) or is she disparaging such grief as shallow?
3. as conceived by the narrator, apparently in the midst of despair and suffering, does God appear near or distant, loving or cold? Do those who feel complete and utter desolation appear able to approach God with prayers of supplication?
"The Look" (1844)
1. does this poem suggest that the look Jesus gave Peter was full of anger, fear, love, or some other emotion?
2. be ready to paraphrase lines lines 6-9.
3. what Biblical incident provides context for this poem's reflections?
"Cheerfulness Taught by Reason" (1844)
1. why does this poem's narrator discourage complaining?
2. why does this narrator describe life as both "a few days" (l.8) and a "short" "way" (l.14)?
1. how do humans tend to abuse their imaginations?
2. what are the consequences of complaining too frequently and raucously?
3. does this poem provide a complement, or counterpoint, to the sonnet "Grief"?
"The Prisoner" (1844)
1. what does the narrator of this poem most miss in his/her imprisoned state?
2. does the narrator's imagination increase or decrease the narrator's experience of "dismal time" (l.1)?
1. parse ll.3-6, and resolve the odd placement of the word "rehearse" (l.4)
2. what is "the curse that blows through Nature" (l.9); of what does the narrator complain?
3. what does the word "world" represent, and is it an example of synecdoche or metonymy (l.9)?
4. does the narrator believe humans tend to articulate aloud their best ideas? Why, or why not?
5. "ashen garments" (l.12) signifies what?
"Young Christian Martyr" (1855)
Dr. Paul Marchbanks