Stanza 17 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Till Laura dwindling
Seem'd knocking at Death's door:
Then Lizzie weigh'd no more
Better and worse;
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kiss'd Laura, cross'd the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook:
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look.
- Finally, Laura seems so close to death and Lizzie can't afford to wait any longer.
- She's no longer concerned with the right and wrong, or "better and worse," of it – she's going to go buy some fruit to save her sister.
- So she grabs some loose change, puts it in her "purse," says goodbye to her sister, and heads out to the brook.
- The "heath" is an area with low, dense shrubby growth, and the "clumps of furze" are clusters of a particular kind of shrub.
- It's "twilight," which, as we know, is goblin time.
- "For the first time," Lizzie doesn't shut her eyes and plug up her ears – she actually looks at the goblins.