It’s Elizabeth Barret Browning’s Birthday today.
She was born in 1806 in England. She was the eldest of 12 children and went by the nickname “Ba”. Before she married her full name was Elizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett. (Her father was Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, her mother, Mary Graham Clarke). Apparently the family was very well off, mainly from land and business they owned in Jamaica. As a teen Elizabeth developed a painful disease that was never successfully diagnosed. She was put on addictive opiate drugs and morphine, which she became dependent on. I’m sure there was little else to do in the early 1800’s!
She married Robert Browning in secret in 1846 because she knew her father would not approve, and they moved to Italy, where despite her age (43) and frailty, she had a son (shown in the picture).
Elizabeth with her son Pen (Robert)
Here are a few quotes from Elizabeth that I particularly like:
“No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books.”
* * *
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
* * *
“With stammering lips and insufficient sound I strive and struggle to deliver right the music of my nature.”
* * *
“The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play.”