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Porphyria's Lover

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Dear Sir:

Knowing that you will be representing me in court, I would like you to hear my story as it happened so that you may most adequately defend me, for I have done no wrong:

On that very blustery, wild day many weeks ago, Porphyria came to see me as usual; no storm could keep her away. (Before I continue, let me comment that the storm was absolutely magnificent; it expressed the power of God like no other day could. I often spend days like that reading the Bible and talking to God, for those are the days that I find myself close to Him.) She came in the door and lit the fire, for I had forgotten to do so myself. It was very unfortunate for Porphyria, because she had caught me as I was still musing over my Lord and His perfect righteousness. As I was still thinking, she “laid her soiled gloves by, untied her hat and let the damp hair fall, an at last, she sat down by my side” (Browning, 12). As we sat, a thought ( no doubt from God himself) struck my mind. Oh good sir, please know that I had to. I absolutely had to kill her, for her perfectness was a distraction and a disgrace in God’s eyes.

Now, before you think me to be a madman, let me explain my actions: her hair was so beautiful; its beauty was known throughout the land. And her eyes! Oh her eyes, they laughed constantly and sparkled with the deepness of an ocean. And sir, her skin was the softest, whitest, purest skin I had ever seen. It had to be a sin, sir, to have such qualities. These qualities evoke a desire and lust into the hearts of men, and this was certainly an act against God.

Sir, though I was transfixed by these devilish qualities, Porphyria committed a sin most unpardonable: she paid no mind to God, but worshipped me instead! This little “surprise made my heart swell” (Browning, 34) in the beginning, but as time went on, I recognize the evil in her ways. She could not go a day without seeing me; if by chance this happened, her cheeks would pale until she saw me once more. When I think back upon the course of our relationship, I often marvel at how much admiration for me could be instilled in her, and how much resentment for her sins was instilled in me. Oh sir, she was without a doubt a spawn of evil itself; she distracted me by night and consumed my thoughts by day. Her presence was taking the place of God in my heart, and I could stand the heresy no longer.

So, I did what my Lord commanded of me; I strangled her without a sound, then stayed with her until the morning. I did this because sinner or saint, it matters not: no one wants to die alone. The joy I felt after committing this act was most definitely God’s. His will was one and my mind was rid of the evil. They may scorn me for killing this girl, but I tell you it was a righteous act, and this is why “ God has not said a word” (Browning, 60)!
Sincerely,
Porphyria’s Lover



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