Sonnet 29 - 'I think of thee!'
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
'I think of thee!' - The narrator addresses her lover directly which makes the poem seem more
Also, the exclamation mark emphasises the pleasure she takes in thinking about him.
'My thoughts do twine and bud about thee, as wild vines, about a tree' - The natural imagery shows how her thoughts focus on him like
a vine wraps around a tree - she constantly fantasizes about her lover and those thoughts are always growing and developing.
Also, the metaphor here shows that the narrator is the 'wild vines' and the lover is the 'tree'. The
adjective 'wild' highlights how she feels that her love/thoughts is uncontrollable.
'Put out broad leaves and soon there's nought to see' - Adjective 'broad' could suggest that
her love for him is extensive/immense. Also, 'nought to see' highlights her thoughts threaten
to stop her from seeing him as he really is.
'Who art dearer, better!' - The caesura here creates a turning point (volta) in the poem.
The intense passion/emotion seen here highlights her admiration for him. She is almost placing power onto him as a
declaration of how perfect he is to her.
'Renew thy presence' and 'Rustle thy boughs and set thy trunk all bare' - Imperatives and alliteration emphasise how much she wants him do act
and take control.
An extended metaphor is used - sexual imagery to show how she wants him to please her.
'Because, in this deep joy to see and hear thee' - The connective 'because' marks the conclusion of
her argument; she wants him to understand how much she enjoys being with him
'I do not think of thee - I am too near thee.' - The complete contrast with the beginning
highlights the difference between thinking about him and being with him.
This also shows she doesn't have to think about him when she's with him -
he's better than anything she's capable of imagining.
The constant repetition of 'thee' towards the end shows her obsession with him.
'And breathe within thy shadow a new air' - This shows she is happy and willing to be
submissive and be in his shadow - contrasts with beginning where she is quite a
'burst, shattered, everywhere!' - Use of onomatopoeia and three different words
describes the way his presence replaces her thoughts which shows her excitement.
Caesura contributes to the dramatic effect.
Form - Sonnet form is traditionally used for love poetry. This sonnet is written with eight lines (an octave) followed by six
line (a sestet). The octave usually presents a problem and the sestet provides a solution. However, in this poem the
solution comes early and in the middle of a line which reflects the narrators impatience to see her lover.
Structure - The transition from the problem to the solution reflects the difference between the narrator thinking about her
lover and being with him. This is emphasised by the reversal of the first and last lines where she says 'I think of thee!' but by
the end of the poem she imagines that when she's with her lover she'll no longer think of him because she will be 'too near'
Language about Nature - The narrator uses an extended metaphor throughout the poem - the narrator's lover is a tree and her thoughts are 'wild
vines' which cover him. This shows how her thoughts are constantly growing and unrestrained. The image of the tree casting off the vines reflects
how she wants her lover to be a strong, permanent part of her life.
Excited Language - The use of exclamation marks shows how the narrator takes joy in thinking about her lover and feels excitement
at the thought of being with him.