Substance of the poem
The speaker in this poem undertakes a journey at night to meet his beloved who stays inland. He is heading towards the black land in the distance. The sea is grey and he is on a boat. A yellow half moon is visible in the sky making the night more mysterious. The waves look like fiery ringlets under the moon beams. The speaker rows on until he reaches the slushy sand.
The speaker then disembarks from his boat and walks a mile on the warm sea scented beach and crosses three fields to reach his destination that is a farmland. He taps at the window pane and instantly a lady responds by lightning a match stick. The lovers speak in whisper with beating hearts,in joy, in fear. No sound other than the sound of their beating hearts can be heard at that hour of the night.
Title of the poem
Robert Browning’s poem, ‘Meeting at Night’ is about a secret journey of a lover to meet his beloved. The title emphasises the sense of secrecy. The lover overcomes all obstacles to meet his beloved. He sails on a boat then walks a mile on the beach,crosses three fields until he reaches a farmhouse where his beloved stays. The lovers ultimately reunite and all we can hear is a scratch of a matchstick, the beating hearts of the lovers and low whispers. The title thus connects both the secrecy,joy and urgency of the lovers meeting at night. Thus the title seems to be appropriate.
Central idea of the poem
The central idea of the poem is primarily focussed on the passion of love which can conquer all odds. It is an account of a lovers journey to meet his beloved secretly in the middle of the night.The lover overcomes all hurdles to meet his ladylove. He rows a stretch at the sea at night, walks a mile in the dark land and overcomes three fields until he reaches the framland where his ladylove stays. Love is so deep a passion that it energises the lover to overcome the barriers of time and place. Finally,words fade away as the excitement of the meeting triumphs over everything through the beating of the lover’s hearts.
Complete Explanation of the poem - Meeting at Night by Robert Browning
Analytical - Descriptive Type questions with answers (marks 5, word limit 100)
Question: Describe the lover’s journey at night to meet his beloved.
Question: Give an account of the lover’s journey to his beloved in ‘Meeting at night’.
Question: How does the poet in ‘Meeting t Night’ meet his beloved?
Ans) ‘Meeting at Night’ describes a lover’s journey to his beloved. The lady love stays inland in a secluded farmhouse across the bay. The lover rows at night and travels across the grey sea with the yellow half moon above his head. He rows on until his boat reaches the slushy sand of the bay. Then the lover walks a mile on the sea scented beach and reaches the dark land. He crosses three fields until he reaches his destination which is a farmhouse where his ladylove is waiting for him. Finally, he is reunited with his ladylove proving that love conquers all odds and the barriers of time and place.
Question: Consider Browning’s poem, Meeting at Night’ as alove poem.
Ans) Browning’s poem , ‘Meeting at Night’ is a very popular love poem in English Literature.The speaker undertakes a challenging journey at night to meet his beloved. He journeys across the sea and land to meet his ladylove. His passion is emphasised by the yellow half moon ,the slushy sand ,the startled waves and grey sea. He walks a mile on the beach after reaching the bay and then crosses three fields in the dark before he finally reaches the farm house where his ladylove stays. He taps at the window pane and his ladylove immediately responds by scratching a match to light the candle. It signifies that his ladylove was equally eagerly waiting for his response. Their voice becomes a whisper of joy and fear fading away only to the sound of beating hearts to be heard at that time of the hour. Thus the poem is an exquisite representation of the burning passion of love which can overcome all odds.
Question: How does Browning use Images and symbols in ‘Meeting at Night’?
Ans) Browning’s use of striking images and symbols makes the poem ‘Meeting at Night’ unique and vivid. Night is the symbol of thrilling romance. The ‘grey sea’, ‘the black land’ stand for the worries associated with love. The ‘yellow half moon’, ‘the startled waves’, ‘fiery ringlets’ represent the poet’s passion, fear and growing excitement. ‘The warm sea-scented beach’ indicates a sense of hope and prospect. The ‘tap at the window pane’ and the ‘quick sharp scratch’ suggests the excitement and eagerness of the two lovers meeting at night. The ‘blue spurt’ of a lighted match finally suggests the culmination of the lover’s journey and the joy and excitement of the meeting.
Question: “ Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach. Three fields to cross till a farm appears.”-who is the speaker? How does the beach appear? Why does the speaker cross the beach and three fields?
Give an account of the lover’s journey to his beloved in ‘Meeting at night’.
How does the poet in ‘Meeting t Night’ meet his beloved?
Ans) In the poem Meeting at Night’ the speaker who is the lover makes a secret journey at night to meet his beloved.
The sea-scented beach appears dark and long. It stretches for a mile. It is warm as it gets the sunlight for the whole day. The poet describes the sea beach to pulsate the warmth of the lover’s feelings just before meeting his lady love.
The speaker has to walk a mile on the warm sea scented beach and then cross three fields in the dark to reach his destination which is a farm house where his secret lady love stays.
Question: “ A voice less loud…” -Whose voice is referred to here? What does the voice express? Why does the voice become less loud?
Ans) The voice referred to here is that of the ladylove whom the speaker went to meet at night.
The voice expresses the joy and fear of the secret meeting of the lovers at night. It expresses joy as the lovers finally reunite. But the lady loves’s voice also expresses fear as the meeting is secret and they don’t want to be exposed.
When the lovers finally meet they are taken over by extreme excitement and joy of their reunion. Their hearts beat louder with passion. The beating of their hearts become louder than their whispers and gradually their voice fades as the meeting results in the fulfilment of their love. It is indicative of the joy they share after their long separation. The image of the heart’s beating so intensely reveals their passionate hearts.