SONNET 13 In the first two lines of “Sonnet 13”, Elizabeth Barrett Browning asks Robert if he wants her to write how she feels about him. In lines 3 and 4, she uses the metaphor of a torch in rough winds, which is meant to enlighten what is between them. In line 5, she drops it and goes on to say she cannot describe what she feels between them. In lines 6 through 8, she says she cannot risk herself by describing to him how she feels, and that she will not. In lines 9 through 14, she goes on to say that her silence must act as an answer to his question, otherwise she will relate to him nothing but the grief she has suffered. tear violently
SONNET 43 The second to last and most famous sonnet of the collection, Sonnet 43 is the most passionate and emotional, expressing her intense love for Robert Browning repeatedly. Elizabeth says in the second to third lines that she loves Browning with every aspect of her soul. She then goes onto say that she loves him enough that it meets the needs of every day and every night in lines 5 and 6.
Through lines 7, 8, 9 and 11 Elizabeth repeats the phrase, “I love thee…” to build intensity and show emphasis. Line 7 says that she loves him “freely,” or willingly, as men who try and reach “Right,” which in this case could mean righteousness, or in correlation with the previous word “freely” it may mean freedom. Line 8 means that she loves him, as it says, purely, without any want for praise.
It is interesting that line 9 says that she loves him as passionately, or intensely, as she experienced her old griefs or sufferings, and with a faith as strong as a child’s. This helps to transition into line 11, expressing she loves him as much as she used to love the saints as a child. And the last three lines state that she loves him with all of her life and, God willing, she’ll continue to love him that deeply in the afterlife. It is not surprising that this sonnet is so passionately written, as it helps to show how her love for Robert Browning grew intensely over time, starting out as nothing and blooming into a love that most of us could only wish to experience.