Two In The Campagna by Robert Browning
“Two in the Campagna” portrays the dilemma of love. Robert Browning, revered amongst Victorian period poets, depicts his thoughts on love and what it means to transcend love. Catching a thought, living in the moment and the feeling of the moment fleeting away is all to show that words are not enough to express love.
Two In The Campagna
BY ROBERT BROWNING
I wonder do you feel to-day
As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?II.
For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.
Help me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel, run to seed
There, branching from the brickwork’s cleft,
Some old tomb’s ruin: yonder weed
Took up the floating wet,
Where one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles,–blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,
Everywhere on the grassy slope
I traced it.
Analysis of Browning’s “Two In The Campagna”
Love is a word which is used to express a feeling but the speaker in the poem wants to feel what’s beyond. The speaker has a moment of pure love with his beloved on the Campagna, an area outside Rome which was the symbol of agricultural boom yet now it’s faded. The thoughts brew within his mind in this moment of bliss that he wants to go further. Not to become one in body only but to become one with his beloved in soul and will too.
He wished to realize the heavenly love and ascend to a higher realm, but, unlike his will, his body was finite. That is what separates him from her. He realized that the moment of bliss he experiences is just momentary, a fleeting feeling which once passed will leave him in a tragedy. Love is a feeling one cannot express in words, however, there are different levels of love, no, but there are different forms of love.
However, any kind of love leads to a bliss, a satisfaction one cannot fathom unless he’s in love. And, exactly because the speaker is in love, he understands that bliss. The bliss, as the speaker knows, will only be short-lived and that is what the speaker is afraid of. He cannot become one with his partner in body and soul to be joined for eternity, the only way to ensure the bliss lasts forever. The speaker couldn’t feel happiness because happiness is meant to be lived in the moment and the moment is forever fleeting.
The poet who is the speaker wants to immortalize his perfect moment through rhymes, but similar to the fleeting moment of bliss, the limitations still hinder his soul. He loves and he feels, however, that lasts but a moment and that isn’t enough for the writer because his soul wavers and his focus wanders.