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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  • I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "Grief," Poems ()
  • Thou large-brained woman and large-hearted man.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "To George Sand -- A Desire," Poems ()
  • Poets ever fail in reading their own verses to their worth, / For the echo in you breaks upon the words which you are speaking, / And the chariot wheels jar in the gate through which you drive them forth.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "Lady Geraldine's Courtship," Poems ()
  • ... books are men of higher stature ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "Lady Geraldine's Courtship," Poems ()
  • Knowledge by suffering entereth, / And life is perfected by death.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "A Vision of Poets," Poems ()
  • Colors seen by candle-light / Will not look the same by day.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "The Lady's 'Yes,'" Poems ()
  • ... the young, young children, O my brothers, / They are weeping bitterly! / They are weeping in the playtime of the others, / In the country of the free.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "The Cry of the Children," Poems ()
  • And lips say 'God be pitiful,' / Who ne'er said 'God be praisèd.'

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "Cry of the Human," Poems ()
  • Love me in full being.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "A Man's Requirements," in Blackwood's Magazine ()
  • The poet hath the child's sight in his breast / And sees all new.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "The Poet," Poems ()
  • In the pure loves of child and mother! — / Two human loves make one divine.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "Isobel's Child," Poems ()
  • What I do / And what I dream include thee, as the wine / Must taste of its own grapes.

  • ... frequent tears have run / The colors from my life ...

  • Say thou dost love me, love me, love me — toll / The silver iterance! — only minding, Dear, / To love me also in silence with thy soul.

  • ... God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.

  • How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach ...

  • I love thee with a love I seemed to lose / With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath, / Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose, / I shall but love thee better after death.

  • An ignorance of means may minister / To greatness, but an ignorance of aims / Makes it impossible to be great at all.

  • Some people always sigh in thanking God.

  • Whoever lives true life will love true love.

  • ... truth outlives pain, as the soul does life.

  • ... let us be content in work / To do the thing we can, and not presume / To fret because it's little.

  • Measure not the work / Until the day's out and the labor done; / Then bring your gauges.

  • I did some excellent things indifferently, / Some bad things excellently. Both were praised, / The latter loudest.

  • Never say No when the world says Aye.

  • And the highest fame was never reached except / By what was aimed above it.

  • Every wish / Is like a prayer — with God.

  • Men do not think / Of sons and daughters, when they fall in love.

  • Men get opinions as boys learn to spell, / By reiteration chiefly.

  • I do distrust the poet who discerns / No character or glory in his times.

  • Books succeed, / And lives fail.

  • Life, struck sharp on death, / Makes awful lightning.

  • It made him easier to be pitiful, / And sighing was his gift.

  • We get no good / By being ungenerous, even to a book, / And calculating profits, — so much help / By so much reading. It is rather when / We gloriously forget ourselves and plunge / Soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound, / Impassioned for its beauty and salt of truth — / 'T is then we get the right good from a book.

  • He wrapt his little daughter in his large / Man's doublet, careless did it fit or no.

  • ... my soul, / At poetry's divine first finger-touch, / Let go conventions and sprang up surprised ...

  • I felt so young, so strong, so sure of God!

  • God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers, / And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face, / A gauntlet with a gift in 't.

  • Every age, / Through being beheld too close, is ill-discerned / By those who have not lived past it.

  • ... if there's room for poets in this world / A little overgrown (I think there is), / Their sole work is to represent the age, / Their age, not Charlemagne's ...

  • What form is best for poems? Let me think / Of forms less, and the external. Trust the spirit ... / Keep up the fire, / And leave the generous flames to shape themselves.

  • ... many a fervid man / Writes books as cold and flat as graveyard stones ...

  • ... whoso loves / Believes the impossible.

  • ... trade is art, and art's philosophy, / In Paris.

  • Since when was genius found respectable?

  • The devil's most devilish when respectable.

  • Earth's crammed with heaven, / And every common bush afire with God ...

  • The thinkers stood aside / To let the nation act.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "Napoleon III in Italy," Poems Before Congress ()
  • Happy are all free peoples, too strong to be dispossessed. / But blessed are those among nations who dare to be strong for the rest!

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "A Court Lady," Poems Before Congress ()
  • Grief may be joy misunderstood; / Only the Good discerns the good.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "De Profundis" (1840), Last Poems ()
  • It is difficult to get rid of people when you once have given them too much pleasure ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • Like to write? Of course, of course I do. I seem to live while I write — it is life, for me.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • I would confide to you perhaps my secret profession of faith — which is ... which is ... that let us say and do what we please and can ... there is a natural inferiority of mind in women — of the intellect ... not by any means, of the moral nature — and that the history of Art and of genius testifies to this fact openly.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • And is it not the chief good of money, the being free from the need of thinking of it?

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • The loyal make the loyal, the disloyal the disloyal.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • I feel, after reading these letters, — as ordinarily after seeing you, sweetest, or hearing from you, — that if marriage did not exist, I should infallibly invent it. I should say, no words, no feelings even, do justice to the whole conviction and religions of my soul — and though they may be suffered to represent some one minute's phase of it, yet, in their very fulness and passion they do injustice to the unrepresented, other minute's, depth and breadth of love .. which let my whole life (I would say) be devoted to telling and proving and exemplifying, if not in one, then in another way — let me have the plain palpable power of this; the assured time for this .. something of the satisfaction .. (but for the fantasticalness of the illustration) .. something like the earnestness of some suitor in Chancery if he could once get Lord Lyndhurst into a room with him, and lock the door on them both, and know that his whole story must be listened to now, and the 'rights of it,' — dearest, the true unspoken now you are to hear 'in all time of our tribulation, in all time of our wealth .. at the hour of death, and' --

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1846, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • Souls are gregarious in a sense, but no soul touches another, as a general rule.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1846, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 2 ()
  • I loved you yesterday .. I love you to-day .. I shall love you to-morrow. Every day I am yours.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1846, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 2 ()
  • I begin to think that none are so bold as the timid, when they are fairly roused.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1846, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 2 ()
  • True knowledge comes only through suffering.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • in Charlotte Porter and Helen A. Clarke, eds., The Complete Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning ()
  • What is genius — but the power of expressing a new individuality?

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1843, in Betty Miller, ed., Elizabeth Barrett to Miss Mitford ()
  • Foolishness and criticism are so apt, do so naturally go together!

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1839, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • We can't separate our humanity from our poetry ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1839, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • I should like you to know Papa — ah, you smile at my saying Papa — I am too old for such a baby-word I know — but he likes to be called so, and therefore I don't like to call him otherwise even in thought — I heard him say once 'If they leave off calling me "Papa," I shall think they have left off loving me.'

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1841, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • The critics could never mortify me out of heart — because I love poetry for its own sake, — and, tho' with no stoicism and some ambition, care more for my poems than for my poetic reputation.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1841, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • I heard once that she professes to hate writing, and writes to live. She writes rapidly, because without an ideal: which is a very common reason for uncommon facility.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1842, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • ... much of the possibility of being cheerful comes from the faculty of throwing oneself beyond oneself ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • He has nursed me, comforted me, loved me — the words fail me (as he never did) when I try to describe what he has been and is to me. If marriage was a little oftener what I have found it, how different the world would be, and how much happier, women!

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1847, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • ... I take it for pure magic, this life of mine. Surely nobody was ever so happy before.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1847, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • ... the Dead ... love still.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1854, in Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds., Women of Letters ()
  • What frightens me is that men are content with what is not life at all.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Light tomorrow with today!

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • A poor man served by thee shall make thee rich; / A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong; / Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense / Of service which thou renderest.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • "A Drama of Exile" (1844), The Complete Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning ()
  • I have been between heaven and earth since our arrival at Venice. The heaven of it is ineffable. Never had I touched the skirts of so celestial a place. The beauty of the architecture, the silver trails of water up between all that gorgeous colour and carving, the enchanting silence, the moonlight, the music, the gondolas — I mix it all up together, and maintain that nothing is like it, nothing equal to it, not a second Venice in the world.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • letter (1851), in George Frederick Kenyon, ed., The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning ()
  • Art is much, but love is more ...

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • in Lilian Whiting, Women Who Have Ennobled Life ()
  • Poets become such / By scorning nothing.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • in Lilian Whiting, Women Who Have Ennobled Life ()
  • [To Edgar Allan Poe who said she was 'the greatest poet of her sex':] What could I say in return except, 'Sir, you are the most discerning of yours!'

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • in Lilian Whiting, Women Who Have Ennobled Life ()

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet

(1806 - 1861)

Full name: Elizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett Browning.