Elizabeth Barrett Browning Essay

Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett was born on 6th of March in year 1806, in Durham, England. Edward Moulton-Barrett was her father who spent most of his life in Jamaican sugar plantations but later in the year 1809 he moved to Hope End, which was a 500-acre estate near the Malvern Hills. This young girl had a tremendous childhood as she has eleven brothers and sisters, not only this she has her pony around the grounds with which she played all the time. Besides this she had a good nature and often visited other families in the neighborhood, as well as arranging family theatrical productions.

Later in the year 1820, she faced numerous problems regarding her health, as doctors diagnosed that she has a cord problem in her stomach, which had seemed to break. Later on, the doctors found nothing wrong with her gynecological area, but still that mysterious illness was with her as she was long invalid, taking morphine for the pains for the rest of her life.

Not only this, due to her drug habits she was facing such illness issues in her life at a very early stage of her life. Besides that problem in her life, in the year 1821 her mother died when she was 22 years old.

After this incident Dr. Coker prescribed opium for a nervous disorder. At this point this young girl faced some severe problems but she continued her life. Since her childhood Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett was fond of writing poems. She spent most of her time in her room all alone, thinking and imagining different aspects of life and then reforming all those imaginations and start writing them as a poem. Initially her main source was her dog who also gave her company, as she was living all alone in her house.

She called her dog “Flush” and later she also wrote a poem about her dog and in that poem she declared the fact that how her dog helped her out in her imagination as well as in her times when she was all alone. In the year 1844 her poems inspired numerous poets due to which in the year 1845 Robert Browning wrote his first letter to Elizabeth Barrett in which he enclosed one of the striking love story. Besides this it was also revealed that this letter belonged to the ‘fan mail’ category, this beautiful story was not just a story or poem but more than just poet-to-poet as through this Robert Browning declare the fact that “…

I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart — and I love you too. ” (Helen Cooper, pg 18) Later in the year 1846 Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning got married, but they didn’t announce their marriage and kept it as a secret. In addition with this it was also declared that Robert Browning married Elizabeth Barrett only to have fame and wealth, numerous critics gave there analysts and points regarding this matter. (Helen Cooper, pg 3-22) ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING’S LIFE AS AN POET:-

Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett is still prominent and highlighted as the most respected and successful woman poet of the Victorian period. She always looked forward to having a laureateship which she got in the year 1850. Since her school days she was fond of reading Shakespearian plays, parts of Pope’s Homeric translations, as well as passages from Paradise Lost. Besides this she was also fond of having deep knowledge of the histories of England, Greece, and Rome before the age of ten. We can declare that this lady was self-taught in almost every respect.

In her teenage years she went through the Greek and Latin authors and always loved to read such kind of masterpieces. Her deep and sound knowledge of all the above mentioned things formed her work and writings magnificent. Nearly all her work reflected human rights. She wrote her first poem at the age of eight, her masterpiece is still praised and kept in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. She declared her initial poem as “The Battle of Marathon” which was published when she was just fourteen years of age.

Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett later reformed the title and declared it as “Pope’s Homer done over again, or rather undone. ” After this above-mentioned masterpiece she wrote another poem whish she declared as ” Epic” at the age of twelve that was fundamentally a fusion of four masterpieces of rhyming couplets. Later at the age of twenty she met a blind, middle-aged scholar, who assisted her in strengthening her Greek styles and principles as well. During that time she noticed astonishing points in the Greek literature like Homer, Pindar, Aristophanes and several more. But this friendship and training remained for long.

She declared her classic work that also covers many aspects of religion as “not the deep persuasion of the mild Christian but the wild visions of an enthusiast. ” (Marjorie Stone, 322-325) Her family always attended several events in churches and always gave their services to them so did Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett by highlighting the Bible and Missionary societies point in her poems. In the year 1822 she started following scholarly and literary poets, giving this more of her time as well. Later in year 1838 her first volume was published, which reflected her mature thinking of imaginations regarding several things.

In addition with this it was also found out that she gave her own name to her first book. This young lady, Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett gave her first collections of poems in the year 1826 and titled this as “An Essay on Mind and Other Poems”. This work of her attracted numerous readers especially the blind scholar of the Greek language, Hugh Stuart Boyd, as well as a Greek scholar, Uvedale Price. Later in the year 1833 she gave translations of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound which was also very much appraised by readers and still is followed by several readers of this era as well.

In the year 1844 she wrote such masterpiece that attracted numerous poets as well as Robert Browning. She declared this as “Sonnets from the Portuguese” in which she highlighted and expressed her emotions and love themes as well. Later in the year 1849 she supported abolition of slavery through her poem which she declared as “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point”. But this poem was a huge failure in her life and was not accepted many readers as well. Due to such failures which actually caused a financial problem in her life, she left Hope End and moved to London.

After facing all such problems and finally settling in London she again started writing. At that time she wrote some other masterpieces like The Romaunt of Margaret, The Romaunt of the Page as well as The Poet’s Vow, All these writings are based on literature. (Gardner B. Taplin, 45-55) The Cry of the Children is also one of her best writings in which she emphasized on numerous points that have its own significance but were never discussed before. Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett as a poet wrote some critical papers in praise of numerous works including Richard Henry Horne’s like A New Spirit of the Age.

Once she stated that “Girls blush, sometimes, because they are alive, half wishing they were dead to save the shame. The sudden blush devours them, neck and brow; they have drawn too near the fire of life, like gnats, and flare up bodily, wings and all. What then? Who’s sorry for a gnat or girl”? (Dorothy Mermin, pg 217) Later in the year 1844 she published two more volumes of herself as which were fundamentally composed of A Drama of Exile, A Vision of Poets, and Lady Geraldine’s Courtship. Both of these volumes covered several issues of her life as well as her religion.

As a poet she discussed on several issues of life one of them was woman’s life as well, she wrote a verse-novel which she declared as Aurora Leigh, in this novel she included a poem which points out the fact that how women are spending their lives and what sorts of problems they are facing. In short this novel is full of ambition that she used in order to protest things regarding woman’s life. She also worked on political issues and wrote a small volume on that which was declared as “Poems before Congress”.

On June 29th 1861, Elizabeth Browning died and was buried in Florence in an English Cemetery. As a poet her work which we can also declare as a masterpiece and can never be forgotten as she was the first woman poet who had so much courage to write and highlight so many different issues. She was one of the best poets of her time and her work and her life as a poet are still praised as well as followed by other poets of this era as well. (Olivia Gatti Taylor, pg 153-154)


– o Helen Cooper, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Woman & Artist.University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1988 o Marjorie Stone, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Victorian Poetry. Volume: 41. Issue: 3, 2003, 377+. o Gardner B. Taplin, The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Yale University Press. New Haven, CT. 1997. o Dorothy Mermin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning: The Origins of a New Poetry (Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1989), p. 217. o Olivia Gatti Taylor, Written in Blood: The Art of Mothering Epic in the Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Victorian Poetry. Volume: 44. Issue: 2, 2006, 153+.

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