sábado, 31 de maio de 2008

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, biography and poems


Elizabeth Barrett Browning

BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT (1806-1861). —Poetess, was the dau. of Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, who assumed the last name on succeeding to the estates of his grandfather in Jamaica. She was b. at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, but spent her youth at Hope End, near Great Malvern. While still a child she showed her gift, and her f. pub. 50 copies of a juvenile epic, on the Battle of Marathon. She was ed. at home, but owed her profound knowledge of Greek and much mental stimulus to her early friendship with the blind scholar, Hugh Stuart Boyd, who was a neighbour. At the age of 15 she met with an injury to her spine which confined her to a recumbent position for several years, and from the effects of which she never fully recovered. In 1826 she pub. anonymously An Essay on Mind and Other Poems. Shortly afterwards the abolition of slavery, of which he had been a disinterested supporter, considerably reduced Mr. B.'s means: he accordingly disposed of his estate and removed with his family first to Sidmouth and afterwards to London. At the former Miss B. wrote Prometheus Bound (1835). After her removal to London she fell into delicate health, her lungs being threatened. This did not, however, interfere with her literary labours, and she contributed to various periodicals The Romaunt of Margaret, The Romaunt of the Page, The Poet's Vow, and other pieces. In 1838 appeared The Seraphim and Other Poems (including "Cowper's Grave.") Shortly thereafter the death, by drowning, of her favourite brother gave a serious shock to her already fragile health, and for a time she hovered between life and death. Eventually, however, she regained strength, and meanwhile her fame was growing. The pub. about 1841 of The Cry of the Children gave it a great impulse, and about the same time she contributed some critical papers in prose to R.H. Horne's New Spirit of the Age. In 1844 she pub. two vols. of Poems, which comprised "The Drama of Exile," "Vision of Poets," and "Lady Geraldine's Courtship." In 1845 she met for the first time her future husband, Robert Browning (q.v.). Their courtship and marriage, owing to her delicate health and the extraordinary objections entertained by Mr. B. to the marriage of any of his children, were carried out under somewhat peculiar and romantic circumstances. After a private marriage and a secret departure from her home, she accompanied her husband to Italy, which became her home almost continuously until her death, and with the political aspirations of which she and her husband both thoroughly identified themselves. The union proved one of unalloyed happiness to both, though it was never forgiven by Mr. Barrett. In her new circumstances her strength greatly increased. Her husband and she settled in Florence, and there she wrote Casa Guidi Windows (1851)—by many considered her strongest work—under the inspiration of the Tuscan struggle for liberty. Aurora Leigh, her largest, and perhaps the most popular of her longer poems, appeared in 1856. In 1850 The Sonnets from the Portuguese —the history of her own love-story, thinly disguised by its title—had appeared. In 1860 she issued a coll. ed. of her poems under the title, Poems before Congress. Soon thereafter her health underwent a change for the worse; she gradually lost strength, and d. on June 29, 1861. She is generally considered the greatest of English poetesses. Her works are full of tender and delicate, but also of strong and deep, thought. Her own sufferings, combined with her moral and intellectual strength, made her the champion of the suffering and oppressed wherever she found them. Her gift was essentially lyrical, though much of her work was not so in form. Her weak points are the lack of compression, an occasional somewhat obtrusive mannerism, and frequent failure both in metre and rhyme. Though not nearly the equal of her husband in force of intellect and the higher qualities of the poet, her works had, as might be expected on a comparison of their respective subjects and styles, a much earlier and wider acceptance with the general public. Mrs. B. was a woman of singular nobility and charm, and though not beautiful, was remarkably attractive. Miss Mitford (q.v.) thus describes her as a young woman: "A slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on each side of a most expressive face; large, tender eyes, richly fringed by dark eyelashes, and a smile like a sunbeam."

Life by J.H. Ingram (1889); Letters of R. Browning and E.B. Browning (1889). Coll. ed. of her works, see above.

Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A Man's Requirements

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.


I
Love me Sweet, with all thou art,
Feeling, thinking, seeing;
Love me in the lightest part,
Love me in full being.

II
Love me with thine open youth
In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
With its silence tender.

III
Love me with thine azure eyes,
Made for earnest grantings;
Taking colour from the skies,
Can Heaven's truth be wanting?

IV
Love me with their lids, that fall
Snow-like at first meeting;
Love me with thine heart, that all
Neighbours then see beating.

V
Love me with thine hand stretched out
Freely -- open-minded:
Love me with thy loitering foot, --
Hearing one behind it.

VI
Love me with thy voice, that turns
Sudden faint above me;
Love me with thy blush that burns
When I murmur 'Love me!'

VII
Love me with thy thinking soul,
Break it to love-sighing;
Love me with thy thoughts that roll
On through living -- dying.

VIII
Love me in thy gorgeous airs,
When the world has crowned thee;
Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,
With the angels round thee.

IX
Love me pure, as muses do,
Up the woodlands shady:
Love me gaily, fast and true,
As a winsome lady.

X
Through all hopes that keep us brave,
Farther off or nigher,
Love me for the house and grave,
And for something higher.

XI
Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear,
Woman's love no fable,
I will love thee -- half a year --
As a man is able.

A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

If God compel thee to this destiny,
To die alone, with none beside thy bed
To ruffle round with sobs thy last word said
And mark with tears the pulses ebb from thee,--
Pray then alone, ' O Christ, come tenderly !
By thy forsaken Sonship in the red
Drear wine-press,--by the wilderness out-spread,--
And the lone garden where thine agony
Fell bloody from thy brow,--by all of those
Permitted desolations, comfort mine !
No earthly friend being near me, interpose
No deathly angel 'twixt my face aud thine,
But stoop Thyself to gather my life's rose,
And smile away my mortal to Divine ! '

Grief

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air
Beat upward to God's throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness,
In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare
Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death--
Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:
If it could weep, it could arise and go.

How Do I Love Thee?

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
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.

Irreparableness

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

I have been in the meadows all the day
And gathered there the nosegay that you see
Singing within myself as bird or bee
When such do field-work on a morn of May.
But, now I look upon my flowers, decay
Has met them in my hands more fatally
Because more warmly clasped,--and sobs are free
To come instead of songs. What do you say,
Sweet counsellors, dear friends ? that I should go
Back straightway to the fields and gather more ?
Another, sooth, may do it, but not I !
My heart is very tired, my strength is low,
My hands are full of blossoms plucked before,
Held dead within them till myself shall die.

Patience Taught By Nature

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

'O dreary life,' we cry, ' O dreary life ! '
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven's true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle ! Ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
Unweary sweep, hills watch unworn, and rife
Meek leaves drop yeary from the forest-trees
To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory: O thou God of old,
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these !--
But so much patience as a blade of grass
Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.

The Best Thing In The World

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

What's the best thing in the world?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Love, when, so, you're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world?
--Something out of it, I think.

The Lady's Yes

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

"Yes," I answered you last night;
"No," this morning, Sir, I say.
Colours seen by candlelight,
Will not look the same by day.

When the viols played their best,
Lamps above, and laughs below--
Love me sounded like a jest,
Fit for Yes or fit for No.

Call me false, or call me free--
Vow, whatever light may shine,
No man on your face shall see
Any grief for change on mine.

Yet the sin is on us both--
Time to dance is not to woo--
Wooer light makes fickle troth--
Scorn of me recoils on you.

Learn to win a lady's faith
Nobly, as the thing is high;
Bravely, as for life and death--
With a loyal gravity.

Lead her from the festive boards,
Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
Pure from courtship's flatteries.

By your truth she shall be true--
Ever true, as wives of yore--
And her Yes, once said to you,
SHALL be Yes for evermore.

The Weakest Thing

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Which is the weakest thing of all
Mine heart can ponder?
The sun, a little cloud can pall
With darkness yonder?
The cloud, a little wind can move
Where'er it listeth?
The wind, a little leaf above,
Though sere, resisteth?

What time that yellow leaf was green,
My days were gladder;
But now, whatever Spring may mean,
I must grow sadder.
Ah me! a leaf with sighs can wring
My lips asunder -
Then is mine heart the weakest thing
Itself can ponder.

Yet, Heart, when sun and cloud are pined
And drop together,
And at a blast, which is not wind,
The forests wither,
Thou, from the darkening deathly curse
To glory breakest, -
The Strongest of the universe
Guarding the weakest!

To Flush, My Dog

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Loving friend, the gift of one
Who her own true faith has run
Through thy lower nature,
Be my benediction said
With my hand upon thy head,
Gentle fellow-creature!

Like a lady's ringlets brown,
Flow thy silken ears adown
Either side demurely
Of thy silver-suited breast
Shining out from all the rest
Of thy body purely.

Darkly brown thy body is,
Till the sunshine striking this
Alchemise its dullness,
When the sleek curls manifold
Flash all over into gold
With a burnished fulness.

Underneath my stroking hand,
Startled eyes of hazel bland
Kindling, growing larger,
Up thou leapest with a spring,
Full of prank and curveting,
Leaping like a charger.

Leap! thy broad tail waves a light,
Leap! thy slender feet are bright,
Canopied in fringes;
Leap! those tasselled ears of thine
Flicker strangely, fair and fine
Down their golden inches

Yet, my pretty, sportive friend,
Little is't to such an end
That I praise thy rareness;
Other dogs may be thy peers
Haply in these drooping ears
And this glossy fairness.

But of thee it shall be said,
This dog watched beside a bed
Day and night unweary,
Watched within a curtained room
Where no sunbeam brake the gloom
Round the sick and dreary.

Roses, gathered for a vase,
In that chamber died apace,
Beam and breeze resigning;
This dog only, waited on,
Knowing that when light is gone
Love remains for shining.

Other dogs in thymy dew
Tracked the hares and followed through
Sunny moor or meadow;
This dog only, crept and crept
Next a languid cheek that slept,
Sharing in the shadow.

Other dogs of loyal cheer
Bounded at the whistle clear,
Up the woodside hieing;
This dog only, watched in reach
Of a faintly uttered speech
Or a louder sighing.

And if one or two quick tears
Dropped upon his glossy ears
Or a sigh came double,
Up he sprang in eager haste,
Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
In a tender trouble.

And this dog was satisfied
If a pale thin hand would glide
Down his dewlaps sloping, --
Which he pushed his nose within,
After, -- platforming his chin
On the palm left open.

This dog, if a friendly voice
Call him now to blither choice
Than such chamber-keeping,
"Come out!" praying from the door, --
Presseth backward as before,
Up against me leaping.

Therefore to this dog will I,
Tenderly not scornfully,
Render praise and favor:
With my hand upon his head,
Is my benediction said
Therefore and for ever.

And because he loves me so,
Better than his kind will do
Often man or woman,
Give I back more love again
Than dogs often take of men,
Leaning from my Human.

Blessings on thee, dog of mine,
Pretty collars make thee fine,
Sugared milk make fat thee!
Pleasures wag on in thy tail,
Hands of gentle motion fail
Nevermore, to pat thee

Downy pillow take thy head,
Silken coverlid bestead,
Sunshine help thy sleeping!
No fly's buzzing wake thee up,
No man break thy purple cup
Set for drinking deep in.

Whiskered cats arointed flee,
Sturdy stoppers keep from thee
Cologne distillations;
Nuts lie in thy path for stones,
And thy feast-day macaroons
Turn to daily rations!

Mock I thee, in wishing weal? --
Tears are in my eyes to feel
Thou art made so straitly,
Blessing needs must straiten too, --
Little canst thou joy or do,
Thou who lovest greatly.

Yet be blessed to the height
Of all good and all delight
Pervious to thy nature;
Only loved beyond that line,
With a love that answers thine,
Loving fellow-creature!

Postar um comentário