Quite apart from the events of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning‘s life , which are utterly fascinating, she added to the Poetic Canon some rather appealing images.
I remember that whilst we studied her excerpts of ‘Aurora Leigh‘ in college that our (male) professor worked very hard to dismiss her feminism! The Irish University cycle of English literature wasn’t given much to gossip or discussion, so it was a few years later before I found that her name was the first woman’s name mentioned in connection with the British Poet Laureateship and while commentators have said it was so mentioned *in Jest* – she drove the establishment nuts with her rhyme schemes, it took until Carol Ann Duffy for a female Laureate to get the job.
Thats quite a period of ‘wait’ . Carol Ann was allegedly vetoed by Tony Blair’s government also ‘cos he did not believe that middle-england was prepared for a lesbian laureate. How caught up in politics is the art of poesy ! The poem XLII ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese‘ follows this paragraph.
‘My future will not copy fair my past- I wrote that once; and thinking at my side My ministering life -angel justified The word by his appealing look upcast To the white throne of God, I turned at last, And there , instead, saw thee , not unallied To angels in thy soul! Then I , long tried By natural ills, received the comfort fast, While budding , at thy sight, my pilgrim’s staff Gave out green leaves with morning dew impearled. I seek no copy … Read More