Isabella; Or, The Pot of Basil


Card 1

'He might not in house,field or garden stir, But her full shape would all his seeing fill;' 

  • Shows Lorenzo is lower status than Isabella- tragic from beginning- we know it will never work out
  • She is meant to marry someone rich 
  • 'To some high noble and his olive-trees.'- makes oil- luxury item/high status/wealthy
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Card 2

'Than idle ears should pleasure in their woe.' 

  • When someone finds out about their relationship it will cause a problem= the 2 brothers
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Card 3

'Though Dido silent is under-grove'

Story of Dido

  • A Queen who was abandoned by Troy
  • This foreshadows something bad or similar is going to happen- gives a sense of trouble
  • Lorenzo taken, killed and buried by Isabella's 2 brothers- Isabella then alone
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Card 4

'And for them a weary hand did swelt In torched mines and noisy factories,' 

  • The brothers are rich from other peoples misery and har work-how we first meet brothers
  • Bad impression
  • Not meant to like them
  • Know they are going to do something bad
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Card 5

'Half-ignorant, they turned an easy wheel, That set shamp rocks at work to pinch and pell.'

  • Brothers are powerful- own mines, factories and slaves- people in Asia diving for pearls for them
  • Contrasts to Lorenzo- 'pilgrim'- different social classes
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Card 6

'ledger men' and 'money-bags'

  • How brothers are describedin stanza XVIII- just want money do not care about people's well-being and morals
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Card 7

'How could they find out in Lorenzo's eye?' 

  • How could they find out about the relationship?
  • Something so beautiful even though the brothers are so horrible 
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Card 8

'You seem there in the quiet of content, Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade calm speculation; but if you are wise, Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.' 

  • Shows the brothers are tragic villains- devious/duplictous
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Card 9


  • Links to serpents in the Garden of Eden
  • Brothers can't be trusted like serpents
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Card 10

'Sick and wan' 'Lorenzo's flush with love' 

  • 'Sick and wan'- describing the brothers
  • 'wan'= pale faced- shows tragic suffering
  • 'Lorenzo's flush with love'- dramatic irony- about to die but filled with love
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Card 11

'His image in the dusk she seemed to see, And to the silence made a gentle moan,preading her perfect arms upon the air, And on her couch low murmuring 'where? O where?' 

  • Isabella is doing the tragic suffering for both her and Lorenzo- however it is sensual when it would normally be sadness and grief
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Card 12

'And every night in dreams they groaned aloud, To see their sister in her snowy shroud.' 

  • The brothers are suffering even though they committed the crime
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Card 13

'Had marred his glossy hair which once could shoot Lustre into the sun, and Put cold doom upon his lips,' 

  • He now looks terrible however Isabella still loves him- not all tragic
  • Gothic and gloomy imagery
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Card 14

'And she forgot the stars, the moon and sun, And she forgot teh blue above the trees And she forgot the dells where waters run,' 

  • Isabella has become a recluse- not aware of the outside- tragic isolation
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Card 15

'For seldom did she go to chapel- shrift. And seldom felt she any hunger- pain; And when she left, she hurried back, as swift As bird on wing to breast its egg again;' 

  • Isabella is withdrawing herself from the outside world- tragic isolation
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The ending of 'Isabella...'

  • The ending is anti-climatic
  • As a tragedy we are expecting something more tragic e.g. tragic resolution?
  • Hope?
  • There isn't any justice for the brothers
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