Saturday, March 06, 2010

How do I love Thee

The lovely lady above is one Elizabeth Barrett Browning born this day 1806 in Durham, England. She was born the eldest of 12 children, and her family had made their money owning sugar plantations in Jamaica. Her father decided to raise the family in England while his fortune continued to grow abroad. Elizabeth was educated at home, taking lessons from her brother's tutors. It was a good education for a girl at the time, and her first poem was written at about the age of six. It is for her poems that I declare her worthy of the hero(ine) podium for today. At the age of 20 she began her lifelong battle with an illness that the medicos at the time where unable to diagnose. This illness was to cause her to become addicted to morphine, and as a result most of her poems were written at home. Financial reverses caused her to move about a bit during the 1820's, and her doctor advised her to move to Torquay for her health, but while there her brother drowned in a sailing accident, stricken with grief, she returned to her family's home. Her book of Poems released in 1844, made her one of the most popular writers of the time, and it was this work that gained the attention of Robert Browning. Thus began one of the great literary courtships of all time. She was, by far, the more famous of the two at the beginning, and it was her fear that Browning did not love her as much as he professed to that led her to write her "Sonnets from the Portuguese." Portuguese was Browning's pet name for Elizabeth. Their courtship was carried out in secret, and eventually love won out, and Browning married her, and carried her off to Italy. They were to remain married, and happy (for what that is worth) until her death in 1861, but for writing some of the loveliest love poems (of which the title of this post is a quote) Elizabeth Barrett Browning (March 6th, 1806-June 29th, 1861, at the age of 55), you my (192nd) hero(ine) of the day.

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