Introduction

In the poem, the poet describes a journey that ends in a secret meeting between lovers. The poet describes the journey and the meeting in detail. The poem concludes with the delighted meeting of the lovers by a farm near the sea beach.

About the Poet

Robert Browning (1812-1889) was an English poet and playwright born in the nineteenth century. Browning’s major works include The Last Ride Together, My Last Duchess, Fra Lippo Lippi. The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a famous children’s verse written by him.

Theme

The theme of this poem is the meeting of two lovers at night. It describes the journey that one of them undertakes to meet the other.

Stanza 1

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

The poet talks about the scenery around him. He tells us about the grey sea and the long black land, and the yellow half-moon which hangs large and low in the sky. Startled little waves leap in fiery ringlets from their sleep as the poet approaches the cove in a boat that is pushing forward. The waves spread around like rings when the poet’s boat disturbs the previously still water. The boat quenches its speed or comes to a stop in the slushy sand by the shore.

Stanza 2

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

The poet then travels along a mile of warm sea-scented beach, and crosses three fields till a farm appears. He taps at the pane, and there is the quick sharp scratch of a matchstick being lit, followed by the blue flame of a lighted match. Then a voice filled with joy and fear is heard, it either belongs to the poet or his beloved. However, this voice is less loud than the sound of the two lovers’ hearts beating together.