I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!
Robert Browning Hamilton
In the first stanza, when the poet refers to Pleasure we can see that that the personification of pleasure fulfils its attributes. Pleasure is presented as chatty, communicative and free to express herself. However, from this piece we can deduct that with pleasure nothing is really understood or grasped in her company. This is exemplified through the line ‘But left me none the wiser for all she had to say’.
In contrast, we are introduced to the personification of sorrow. She is the complete opposite of Pleasure as ‘she ‘ne’er said a word’. Yet, we are able to grasp that you can learn from sorrow in moments of silence, sobriety and sadness. There are lessons to be learnt when experiencing sorrow.
This pieces uses juxtaposition to teach a powerful yet simple lesson that learning does not take place with pleasure but in sorrow. Furthermore, this piece indicates that wisdom rests in the hearts of those who do not always speak. Although pleasure conversed yet she was not understood whilst sorrow did not say alot but important lessons were ‘learned from her’.
Finally, this poem is written as a quatrain which means it is a poem consisting of four lines. This is done to perhaps esteem the subject matter of Pleasure and Sorrow as equally important emotional entities. The rhyming pattern follows the structure of the second line rhyming with the last line. In both stanzas, this style of rhyme is honoured.