The opening words of Sonnet #43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese
is one of the most famous lines in the English language. It's author, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
, was born on this day in 1806.
As a child, her talent showed itself and her father self-published an early epic work on the Battle of Marathon. For a woman of her time, she was very well educated, having been allowed to attend lessons with her brother and his tutor. The family, while not extremely wealthy, was certainly middle class. She contracted a sickness in her early teens, described as a lung complaint, which weakened her such that her parents thereafter treated her as an invalid. It didn't stop her writing, though. The death of her favorite brother, however, nearly caused her own death as well, but she eventually recovered.
Despite the strenuous objections of her father and her delicate health, she married Robert Browning in secret in 1846 and the two had to sneak away and out of the country. They had one son, Pen.
Her most famous work, Sonnets from the Portuguese
, was published in 1850. Despite its name, it is considered a rendering of her own love story with Robert, for the two were considered very happy during their 15-year marriage. Aurora Leigh
, the most popular of her longer poems, was published in 1860 and shortly thereafter her health took a turn for the worse.Today's Question: Elizabeth Barrett Browning died on June 29, 1861 and was buried in the English Cemetery of the city in which she and Robert had made their home. Where?
Labels: Poetry, Women's History