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    #1

    what bitter wrong can the earth do to us, that we should not long be here contented?

    Hi, there.

    When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
    Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
    Until the lengthening wings break into fire
    At either curved point,—what bitter wrong
    Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
    Be here contented?
    -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese, 'Sonnet 22”

    I can’t figure out the meaning and construction of the that-phrase.
    I guess:
    1. ‘that’ might be a conjunction to emphasize the previous rhetorical question, like ‘so bitter that we should not long be here contented’.
    2. ‘not’ might deny not only ‘long’ but also the whole following it.

    Would you explain the construction of the that-phrase and paraphrase ‘what bitter wrong … be here contented’ in plain English?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: what bitter wrong can the earth do to us, that we should not long be here content

    What can the Earth do to us to prevent us from staying here, happily, for a long time?
    I am not a teacher.

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: what bitter wrong can the earth do to us, that we should not long be here content

    Hi, GoesStation. Thanks for your help.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: what bitter wrong can the earth do to us, that we should not long be here content

    There is no need to write a new post to say "Thank you". In the bottom left-hand corner of every response, you should be able to see a "Thank" icon and a "Like" icon. Simply click on one or both of them to indicate your understanding and gratitude for a response. It saves time for everyone.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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