On my first Sonne
While the poem conforms to the general rules of a Sonnet, there are 12 lines instead of 14. Maybe this is to represent the son's life not being completed?
Elegy - poem of mourning. This is a poem famously read at funerals.
Spelling is archatic - Sonne - sonnet , Sinne - sin etc.
Benjamin - Hebrew for "son of my right hand", which would mean the son would sit on the right hand side of his son, and is expected the inheritance of the father
This poem rejects the conventional fashion of sonnet writing (called a Blazon , which is an overexaggerated sonnet)
POints out the woman he loves is every bit as rare as those who are praised in an exaggerated and false way - "and yet by heaven I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare"
Structure conforms, but content is unusual (Sonnet - rhyming couplet and iambic pentameters)
indentation of the last two lines stresses the importance of the sonnet, to say he won't misrepresent her with "false compare", yet he still loves her.
My last dutchess
Note: the poem by Robert Browning is in fact written in 1942, rather than 1945 which the Anthology suggests.
Poem is a dramatic monologue.
While the poem is in rhyming couplets and iambic pentameters, the easy conversational tone is made by midline pauses and enjambement.
The ambiguity of the fate of his first wife is unknown - "Then all smiles stop together".
In fact - Robert Brownings first wife he married when she was just 14 years old, and she died under suspicious curcumstances, perhaps the result of being poisioned.
The Duke is talking to an envoy most likely about the terms of his next marriage - "Though his fair daughter's self as I avowed at starting, is my object"
The metre is anapaestic (two unstressed syllables, followed by a stressed one) - and this creates a rather jaunty effect, maybe to show the mental instability of the speaker.
The overdramatic effect by the speaker is reinforced by the frequent alliteration - "moisten and mash...pound at thy powder"
Does this poem fit in with normal Victorian values about family and relationships?