Elizabeth Barrett Browning quotes

Elizabeth Barrett Browning photo
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Birthdate: 6. March 1806
Date of death: 29. June 1861
Other names: ಎಲಿಜಬೆತ್ ಬ್ಯಾರೆಟ್ ಬ್ರೌನಿಂಗ್, Elizabeth Barret Browningová

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime.

Born in County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Elizabeth Barrett wrote poetry from the age of eleven. Her mother's collection of her poems forms one of the largest extant collections of juvenilia by any English writer. At 15 she became ill, suffering intense head and spinal pain for the rest of her life. Later in life she also developed lung problems, possibly tuberculosis. She took laudanum for the pain from an early age, which is likely to have contributed to her frail health.

In the 1840s Elizabeth was introduced to literary society through her cousin, John Kenyon. Her first adult collection of poems was published in 1838 and she wrote prolifically between 1841 and 1844, producing poetry, translation and prose. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery and her work helped influence reform in the child labour legislation. Her prolific output made her a rival to Tennyson as a candidate for poet laureate on the death of Wordsworth.

Elizabeth's volume Poems brought her great success, attracting the admiration of the writer Robert Browning. Their correspondence, courtship and marriage were carried out in secret, for fear of her father's disapproval. Following the wedding she was indeed disinherited by her father. The couple moved to Italy in 1846, where she would live for the rest of her life. They had one son, Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen. She died in Florence in 1861. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband shortly after her death.

Elizabeth's work had a major influence on prominent writers of the day, including the American poets Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. She is remembered for such poems as "How Do I Love Thee?" and Aurora Leigh . Wikipedia

Photo: Unknown author / Public domain

Works

Sonnets from the Portuguese
Sonnets from the Portuguese
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Aurora Leigh
Aurora Leigh
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

„Quick-loving hearts… may quickly loathe.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, book Sonnets from the Portuguese

Source: Sonnets from the Portuguese

„If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, book Sonnets from the Portuguese

No. XIV
Source: Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850)
Context: If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
"I love her for her smile —her look —her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day" -
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

„Whoso loves
Believes the impossible.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Book V.
Aurora Leigh http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/barrett/aurora/aurora.html (1857)
Variant: Whoso loves
Believes the impossible.

„My sun sets to rise again.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Source: Browning: Poems

„Why, what is to live? Not to eat and drink and breathe,—but to feel the life in you down all the fibres of being, passionately and joyfully.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Source: The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Barrett 1845-1846 Vol I

„Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Aurora Leigh http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/barrett/aurora/aurora.html (1857)
Context: And truly, I reiterate,.. nothing's small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim:
And, — glancing on my own thin, veined wrist, —
In such a little tremour of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more, from the first similitude.

Bk. VII, l. 812-826.

„How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Source: Selected Poems

„But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, book Sonnets from the Portuguese

No. XIV
Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850)
Context: If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
"I love her for her smile —her look —her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day" -
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

„To hold together what he was and is.“

—  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Bk. I, l. 1-8.
Aurora Leigh http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/barrett/aurora/aurora.html (1857)
Context: Of writing many books there is no end;
And I who have written much in prose and verse
For others' uses, will write now for mine,—
Will write my story for my better self,
As when you paint your portrait for a friend,
Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it
Long after he has ceased to love you, just
To hold together what he was and is.

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