What are the methods and concerns of two in the Campaign? In Two in the Campaign, Browning conveys the fluctuating nature of human thoughts and feeling including the moment of physical consummation. The poem circulates around a romantic experience shared by a couple yet their perceptions of the event are inherently different. Though superficially a love poem, it contemplates the transience of time and the limits of poetic expression. The speaker wishes to grab hold of the feelings he experienced, but in his defeat he acknowledges that it continues to elude him, Just as moments In nature change and continue to slip from our grasp.
The poem refers to a rural province outside Rome, the Campaign, which was a popular destination for lovers from all nations. Two in Campaign consists of five-line stanzas; the lines are in tetrameter and trimester. The stanzas operate on a BABE rhyme scheme, however Browning uses enjambment, therefore the rhyme’s effect is lessened and subsequently weakened. This very formulated and regular rhyme scheme is the complete antithesis of the poem itself. The poem focuses on a flurry of thoughts swirling inside the poets mind.
This heightens the sense of confliction twine the poets desire to feel his partners “soul’s warmth”, to grasp the intangible and the hardness of reality. The degradation of the rhyme scheme shows just as the rhyme breaks down, the poet thoughts and feelings collapse and he is left trapped, unable to truly express his feelings. It is as if he has been conquered by language and desires another medium in which to translate his inner most feelings. Browning tackles the concept of realistic love. He wishes that his partner “were all to me”, he desires an enhanced level of connection with this female yet she Is “Just so much, no more”.
This very blunt statement declares that their love can only go so far and there is an evident loss of sentiment. This represents Borrowing’s own situation, he was trapped between the end of Romanticism and the birth of Modernism. He yearns to be romantic and wishes their love could transcend reality yet he questions “How Is It under our control to love or not to love? ” This statement is so thought provoking and profound, how can one believe that we simply follow a predetermined path and if so Browning Is inferring that there is no so thing as true love’. If we do not choose who we love, what is love?
Is love real? Is love merely a fantasy, a transcendence of reality? The inference is that love is a paradox of sorts, he questions whether we or love is in control. Browning in his questioning prompts great self-reflection and contemplation from the reader. The poet wishes he could force himself into a state of increased dedication for this woman yet his mind wanders and he finds himself unable to exist In one moment. They cannot fully Join. Browning desires the audience to think, analyses, examine and not merely act. In an earlier stanza Browning references “Five beetles” he saw when he was with his partner.
The specific and arbitrary nature of this reference show the exact nature Browning takes in analyzing the experience. In stanza eight Browning describes their relationship as “Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free” as if it hangs in the balance in some form of middle ground. It is almost as if 1 OFF personal conflict between Modernism and Romanticism. When with this woman he wishes to that he could “Catch your souls warmth”, yet he loses focus and “the good minute goes”. The connection between them is not permanent, it is fleeting rather. It reinforces the idea he is incapable of grasping the eternal, or moments of eternal lies.
There transience makes them even more desirable, “l pluck the rose And love it more than the tongue can speak”. This once again touches on the limitations of language, that despite being a poet he is unable to truly express himself. Furthermore the lyricism of this sentence describes the almost timeless experience of all lovers who wish to dwell in a single moment forever. The Consummation of love is so powerful in its intensity and he “love it more than the tongue can speak” yet “the good minute goes” and it fades almost instantly and leaves Browning filled with a deep sense of frustration.