This week marks the anniversary of the death of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning … We remember the poet’s life and work with seven our favorite Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems .
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861) 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.
In the 1840s, Elizabeth was introduced to literary society through her distant cousin and patron 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. (via Wikipedia)
The Seraph and the Poet
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The seraph sings before the manifest
God-One, and in the burning of the Seven,
And with the full life of consummate
Heaving beneath him like a mother’s
Warm with her first-born’s slumber in that
The poet sings upon the earth grave-riven,
Before the naughty world, soon self-forgiven
For wronging him, and in the darkness prest
From his own soul by worldly weights.
Even so, Sing, seraph with the glory! heaven is high;
Sing, poet with the sorrow! earth is low:
The universe’s inward voices cry
‘Amen’ to either song of joy and woe:
Sing, seraph, poet, sing on equally!
*** What are your favorite Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems ?
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