Sonnets from the Portuguese
I once thought the title meant that Browning had translated these poems
from some Portuguese poets. The title actually
refers to Robert Browning's nickname for
her. She was short & had a dark complexion, so he called her
"My little Portuguese."
She wants him to tell her he loves her until it sounds like "a cuckoo song."
The cuckoo's song has two meanings.
Line 14 - He should truly love her in his soul as well. That makes
the repetition true.
It is repetitive.
The cuckoo reproduces by sneaking its eggs into the nest of some other
species & destroying its eggs. The parents unwittingly raise
the step-children as their own. Therefore, the man who heard the
cuckoo's cry was being warned that his wife was being unfaithful &
her children weren't his. He had been "cuckholded." (This is
what the cuckhoo clock means. It warns
men to watch their wives 24 hours a day.)
She's so happy on earth with him that she doesn't want or need heaven.
They should embrace their mortality.
The theme of this sonnet - "Will you still love me tomorrow?"
Line 8 "Worn viol" - She was middle-aged when they fell in love.
Thought he'd want a younger man.
He brought her back to life. Perfect music can come from a worn out
instrument in the right hands. His are the right hands.
She loves him a lot. (1 - 1000, 2 - 1000, 3 - 1000)
Lines 1-4. She loves him in the realm of ecstasy.
Lines 5-10. She loves him in the realm of the ordinary & everyday.
Lines 12-13. The love & devotion that faded when she lost her religious
beliefs have come back centered on him.