Table of contents

1. Insufficiency

When I attain to utter forth in verse
Some inward thought, my soul throbs audibly
Along my pulses, yearning to be free
And something farther, fuller, higher, rehearse,
To the individual, true, and the universe,
In consummation of right harmony.
But, like a wind-exposed, distorted tree,
We are blown against for ever by the curse
Which breathes through nature. Oh, the world is weak--
The effluence10 of each is false to all,
And what we best conceive, we fail to speak.
Wait, soul, until thine ashen garments fall,
And then resume thy broken strains, and seek
Fit peroration,14a without let or thrall.14b

2. Note on the text

In 1844 EBB framed her miscellaneous sonnet grouping by placing “The Soul’s Expression” at the beginning and this one at the end.

3. Explanatory Notes

effluence emanation, what flows out.

peroration the concluding summary in a speech.

let or thrall hindrance or oppression.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Date: JULY 18, 2009
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