"A LOVE STORY",
BORN FROM WRITING :
In 1844, Victorian writer Elizabeth Barrett (not yet Browning)
wrote a collection of poems that attracted the
attention of British poet and playwright Robert Browning.
January of the following year, Browning wrote his first, but bold, letter to Miss Barrett.
It opened :
"I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,"
and it ended :
"I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart - and I love you too."
They began writing letters on to one another, and gradually fell deeply in love.
However Elizabeth's father strongly objected, considering Browning a "rake".
In "Sonnets From the Portuguese"
("my little Portuguese" being Robert's nickname for Elizabeth),
secretly, Elizabeth expressed her intense love for Robert -
once again, in writing.
They married - also secretly - September 12, 1846,
to live (in Italy) a life filled with both mutual love
... and great respect for one another's writings.
Elizabeth and Robert had one son, Robert,
whom they actually called "Penini",
"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 candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the 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 (1806-1861), "How Do I Love Thee?"
"Sonnets From the
Portuguese", "Sonnet 43"
Written 1845–1846, First Published 1850
The Writing Table :
A Rare William & Mary Highly Figured Walnut Veneer Fold-Over Writing Table
The rectangular book-matched and banded hinged top
raised on 6 six turned ring and baluster supports,
connected by lower stretchers and resting on bun feet
28.5" High x 32.25" Long x 11.5" Deep
Please Click Here For More
(The Crossedbanded Top, Closed)
"The Clasped Hands of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning"
A Bronze Sculpture, Harriet Hosmer, 1853
Metropolitan Museum. NYC; also Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University
Plaster casts reside in the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University,
and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
... in writing ...
A VERY HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Top Image : Envelope, Robert Browning's first letter to Elizabeth Barrett, January 1845.
Wellesley College Library : Elizabeth Barrett / Robert Browning Love Letters
(Photographed and Digitized, at Wellesley College Special Collections, October 2011)
Inventory Photography :
Millicent F. Creech
Our 2022 New & Incoming Catalog Is Now Posted Online :