Thank you so much for thy letter. Deepest apologies for the fingerprints. All this birthday cake is a delectable feast and I’m shoveling in another mouthful as I write. By the way, these pens are an ingenious invention and so much easier to use than quills. In between mouthfuls of cake, I caught the Express to London and almost reached the heavens on the London Eye.
“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
― William Shakespeare,
Now, if you had asked me how to stage a play and entertain a crowd, that I can do. However, I am not so sure about love and its very essence, except to say that: “the course of true love never did run smooth.” and that I have loved:
Yet, obviously there are poets better versed in love than I.
So, I thought I would introduce to Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Despite vehement opposition from her father, they fell in love and On September 12, 1846, while her family was away, they eloped and were married at St. Marylebone Parish Church. She returned home for a week, keeping the marriage a secret, then fled with Browning to Italy. She never saw her father again. Her best-known work, Sonnets from the Portuguese, chronicles their courtship and marriage.
Yet, despite their great love, they retained their personal writing styles.Mrs Browning once said: “I never wrote to please any of you, not even to please my own husband”. Moreover, noting her husband’s masculine style, she wrote: “you are masculine’ to the height — and I, as a woman, have studied some of your gestures of language & intonation wistfully, as a thing beyond me far! and admirable for being beyond.”
Anyway, I have scribed examples of their work and trust you will explore them further.
How Do I Love Thee?
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.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A Red, Red Rose
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
Well, Rowena, I’m off to the theatre tonight. I’m hoping a hat will suffice for a head.
Kathleen Blake: The Relationship of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
The featured image is Rodin’s Romeo & Juliet 1905.