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Porphyria's Lover

Porphyria's Lover


by Robert Browning

Lines 56-60 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 56-57

Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.

  • The speaker finally refers to her by name again, but it's to refer to himself – he is "Porphyria's love."
  • He says that Porphyria could never have guessed how her wish (to be with him forever) would be fulfilled. That's probably the truest thing he's said this whole poem.

Lines 58-60

And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!

  • The speaker has been sitting with Porphyria all night now, and he hasn't heard any objections from anyone.
  • The speaker switches to the present tense in line 58 – "we sit together now." So the whole poem is what the speaker was thinking as he reclined on the couch, snuggled up to his murdered girlfriend? Wow, just reading it makes us feel gross.
  • The final line of the poem sounds triumphant: was the speaker expecting divine intervention? Was he expecting a thunderbolt from the sky to strike him down for murdering his lover? Or is he teasing the reader, who was expecting some kind of retribution at the end of the poem? Or is it Browning himself who's teasing the reader at this point?

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