Read Sonnets from the Portuguese & Other Love Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Free Online
Book Title: Sonnets from the Portuguese & Other Love Poems|
The author of the book: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
ISBN 13: 9780517092804
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 7.8
The size of the: 8.48 MB
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Date of issue: May 15th 1993
Read full description of the books:
I love poetry, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet XLIII is a favorite:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Think about these lines
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
This sonnet alone makes the volume worthwhile, but there is more, of course.
Much of her writing is in bewilderment at having found love at all, of having been rescued from what she viewed as certain death, and at having that death turned into a life worth the living. All of it is in praise and wonderment of her husband, and a bit of it is in sorrow at the loss of her father. He objected to her marriage and refused ever to speak to her again. If you listen closely, you can hear her threads of regret sprinkled into her elation and thankfulness.
Thou’lt sigh, very like, on thy part,
“Of all I have known or can know,
I wish I had only that heart
I trod upon ages ago!”
It seems to me that she wishes to know that there is regret in her father’s heart as well. Some missing of her; some loving of her residual in his soul that he cannot shed.
There was a huge burden put upon the love between Robert Browning and his wife.
If I leave all for thee, wilt thou exchange
And be all to me? Shall I never miss
Home-talk and blessing and the common kiss
That comes to each in turn, nor count it strange
When I look up, to drop on a new range
Of walls and floors, another home than this?
By all accounts he did not disappoint her in his love and care. They remained married until her death in 1861 at the age of 55. He encouraged her in her writing and in claiming her authorship, and one need only look at her portrait to know that he loved her for her soul and her intelligence as much as for any outward beauty.
Poetry is difficult to critique in the best situations, in this case, when it is so fraught with personal love, it is impossible. I will simply say that to write such poetry, Elizabeth Barrett Browning must surely have felt her love “to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach.”
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Read information about the authorElizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most respected poets of the Victorian era.
Born in County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Browning was educated at home. She wrote poetry from around the age of six and this was compiled by her mother, comprising what is now one of the largest collections extant of juvenilia by any English writer. At 15 Browning became ill, suffering from intense head and spinal pain for the rest of her life, rendering her frail. She took laudanum for the pain, which may have led to a lifelong addiction and contributed to her weak health.
In the 1830s Barrett's cousin John Kenyon introduced her to prominent literary figures of the day such as William Wordsworth, Mary Russell Mitford, Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Thomas Carlyle. Browning's first adult collection The Seraphim and Other Poems was published in 1838. During this time she contracted a disease, possibly tuberculosis, which weakened her further. Living at Wimpole Street, in London, Browning 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 child labour legislation. Her prolific output made her a rival to Tennyson as a candidate for poet laureate on the death of Wordsworth.
Browning's volume Poems (1844) brought her great success. During this time she met and corresponded with the writer Robert Browning, who admired her work. The courtship and marriage between the two were carried out in secret, for fear of her father's disapproval. Following the wedding she was disinherited by her father and rejected by her brothers. The couple moved to Italy in 1846, where she would live for the rest of her life. They had one son, Robert Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen. Towards the end of her life, her lung function worsened, and she died in Florence in 1861. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband shortly after her death.
Browning was brought up in a strongly religious household, and much of her work carries a Christian theme. Her 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?" (Sonnet 43, 1845) and Aurora Leigh (1856).
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