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Best Famous Elizabeth Barrett Browning Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems. This is a select list of the best famous Elizabeth Barrett Browning poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Elizabeth Barrett Browning poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems.

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Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

How Do I Love Thee?

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 candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a 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.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |


I TELL you hopeless grief is passionless; 
That only men incredulous of despair  
Half-taught in anguish through the midnight air 
Beat upward to God's throne in loud access 
Of shrieking and reproach.
Full desertness 5 In souls as countries lieth silent-bare Under the blanching vertical eye-glare Of the absolute Heavens.
Deep-hearted man express Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death¡ª Most like a monumental statue set 10 In everlasting watch and moveless woe Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet: If it could weep it could arise and go.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

A Musical Instrument

WHAT was he doing the great god Pan  
Down in the reeds by the river? 
Spreading ruin and scattering ban  
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat  
And breaking the golden lilies afloat 5 
With the dragon-fly on the river.
He tore out a reed the great god Pan From the deep cool bed of the river; The limpid water turbidly ran And the broken lilies a-dying lay 10 And the dragon-fly had fled away Ere he brought it out of the river.
High on the shore sat the great god Pan While turbidly flow'd the river; And hack'd and hew'd as a great god can 15 With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed To prove it fresh from the river.
He cut it short did the great god Pan (How tall it stood in the river!) 20 Then drew the pith like the heart of a man Steadily from the outside ring And notch'd the poor dry empty thing In holes as he sat by the river.
'This is the way ' laugh'd the great god Pan 25 (Laugh'd while he sat by the river) 'The only way since gods began To make sweet music they could succeed.
' Then dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed He blew in power by the river.
30 Sweet sweet sweet O Pan! Piercing sweet by the river! Blinding sweet O great god Pan! The sun on the hill forgot to die And the lilies revived and the dragon-fly 35 Came back to dream on the river.
Yet half a beast is the great god Pan To laugh as he sits by the river Making a poet out of a man: The true gods sigh for the cost and pain¡ª 40 For the reed which grows nevermore again As a reed with the reeds of the river.

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Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |


ALL are not taken; there are left behind 
Living Belov¨¨ds tender looks to bring 
And make the daylight still a happy thing  
And tender voices to make soft the wind: 
But if it were not so¡ªif I could find 5 
No love in all this world for comforting  
Nor any path but hollowly did ring 
Where 'dust to dust' the love from life disjoin'd; 
And if before those sepulchres unmoving 
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb 10 
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth) 
Crying 'Where are ye O my loved and loving?'¡ª 
I know a voice would sound 'Daughter I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth?'

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Meeting at Night

The grey sea and the long black land; And the yellow half-moon large and low; And the startled little waves that leap In fiery ringlets from their sleep, As I gain the cove with pushing prow, And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach; Three fields to cross till a farm appears; A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch And blue spurt of a lighted match, And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears, Than the two hearts beating each to each!

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Lost Mistress

All's over, then: does truth sound bitter As one at first believes? Hark, 'tis the sparrows' good-night twitter About your cottage eaves! II.
And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly, I noticed that, to-day; One day more bursts them open fully ---You know the red turns grey.
To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest? May I take your hand in mine? Mere friends are we,---well, friends the merest Keep much that I resign: IV.
For each glance of the eye so bright and black, Though I keep with heart's endeavour,--- Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back, Though it stay in my soul for ever!--- V.
Yet I will but say what mere friends say, Or only a thought stronger; I will hold your hand but as long as all may, Or so very little longer!

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Sonnets from the Portuguese iii

GO from me.
Yet I feel that I shall stand Henceforward in thy shadow.
Nevermore Alone upon the threshold of my door Of individual life I shall command The uses of my soul nor lift my hand 5 Serenely in the sunshine as before Without the sense of that which I forbore¡ª Thy touch upon the palm.
The widest land Doom takes to part us leaves thy heart in mine With pulses that beat double.
What I do 10 And what I dream include thee as the wine Must taste of its own grapes.
And when I sue God for myself He hears that name of thine And sees within my eyes the tears of two.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Sonnets from the Portuguese iv

IF thou must love me let it be for naught 
Except for love's sake only.
Do not say 'I love her for her smile¡ªher look¡ªher way Of speaking gently ¡ªfor a trick of thought That falls in well with mine and certes brought 5 A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'¡ª For these things in themselves Belov¨¨d may Be changed or change for thee¡ªand love so wrought May be unwrought so.
Neither love me for Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry: 10 A creature might forget to weep who bore Thy comfort long and lose thy love thereby! But love me for love's sake that evermore Thou mayst love on through love's eternity.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Sonnets from the Portuguese v

WHEN our two souls stand up erect and strong  
Face to face silent drawing nigh and nigher  
Until the lengthening wings break into fire 
At either curving point ¡ªwhat bitter wrong 
Can the earth do us that we should not long 5 
Be here contented? Think! In mounting higher  
The angels would press on us and aspire 
To drop some golden orb of perfect song 
Into our deep dear silence.
Let us stay Rather on earth Belov¨¨d¡ªwhere the unfit 10 Contrarious moods of men recoil away And isolate pure spirits and permit A place to stand and love in for a day With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Human Life's Mystery

 We sow the glebe, we reap the corn, 
We build the house where we may rest, 
And then, at moments, suddenly, 
We look up to the great wide sky, 
Inquiring wherefore we were born… 
For earnest or for jest? 

The senses folding thick and dark 
About the stifled soul within, 
We guess diviner things beyond, 
And yearn to them with yearning fond; 
We strike out blindly to a mark 
Believed in, but not seen.
We vibrate to the pant and thrill Wherewith Eternity has curled In serpent-twine about God’s seat; While, freshening upward to His feet, In gradual growth His full-leaved will Expands from world to world.
And, in the tumult and excess Of act and passion under sun, We sometimes hear—oh, soft and far, As silver star did touch with star, The kiss of Peace and Righteousness Through all things that are done.
God keeps His holy mysteries Just on the outside of man’s dream; In diapason slow, we think To hear their pinions rise and sink, While they float pure beneath His eyes, Like swans adown a stream.
Abstractions, are they, from the forms Of His great beauty?—exaltations From His great glory?—strong previsions Of what we shall be?—intuitions Of what we are—in calms and storms, Beyond our peace and passions? Things nameless! which, in passing so, Do stroke us with a subtle grace.
We say, ‘Who passes?’—they are dumb.
We cannot see them go or come: Their touches fall soft, cold, as snow Upon a blind man’s face.
Yet, touching so, they draw above Our common thoughts to Heaven’s unknown, Our daily joy and pain advance To a divine significance, Our human love—O mortal love, That light is not its own! And sometimes horror chills our blood To be so near such mystic Things, And we wrap round us for defence Our purple manners, moods of sense— As angels from the face of God Stand hidden in their wings.
And sometimes through life’s heavy swound We grope for them!—with strangled breath We stretch our hands abroad and try To reach them in our agony,— And widen, so, the broad life-wound Which soon is large enough for death.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Sonnets from the Portuguese i

I THOUGHT once how Theocritus had sung 
Of the sweet years the dear and wish'd-for years  
Who each one in a gracious hand appears 
To bear a gift for mortals old or young: 
And as I mused it in his antique tongue 5 
I saw in gradual vision through my tears 
The sweet sad years the melancholy years¡ª 
Those of my own life who by turns had flung 
A shadow across me.
Straightway I was 'ware So weeping how a mystic Shape did move 10 Behind me and drew me backward by the hair; And a voice said in mastery while I strove 'Guess now who holds thee?'¡ª'Death ' I said.
But there The silver answer rang¡ª'Not Death but Love.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Sonnets from the Portuguese ii

UNLIKE are we unlike O princely Heart! 
Unlike our uses and our destinies.
Our ministering two angels look surprise On one another as they strike athwart Their wings in passing.
Thou bethink thee art 5 A guest for queens to social pageantries With gages from a hundred brighter eyes Than tears even can make mine to play thy part Of chief musician.
What hast thou to do With looking from the lattice-lights at me¡ª 10 A poor tired wandering singer singing through The dark and leaning up a cypress tree? The chrism is on thine head¡ªon mine the dew¡ª And Death must dig the level where these agree.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Rosalinds Scroll

I LEFT thee last a child at heart  
A woman scarce in years: 
I come to thee a solemn corpse 
Which neither feels nor fears.
I have no breath to use in sighs; 5 They laid the dead-weights on mine eyes To seal them safe from tears.
Look on me with thine own calm look: I meet it calm as thou.
No look of thine can change this smile 10 Or break thy sinful vow: I tell thee that my poor scorn'd heart Is of thine earth¡ªthine earth¡ªa part: It cannot vex thee now.
I have pray'd for thee with bursting sob 15 When passion's course was free; I have pray'd for thee with silent lips In the anguish none could see; They whisper'd oft 'She sleepeth soft'¡ª But I only pray'd for thee.
20 Go to! I pray for thee no more: The corpse's tongue is still; Its folded fingers point to heaven But point there stiff and chill: No farther wrong no farther woe 25 Hath licence from the sin below Its tranquil heart to thrill.
I charge thee by the living's prayer And the dead's silentness To wring from out thy soul a cry 30 Which God shall hear and bless! Lest Heaven's own palm droop in my hand And pale among the saints I stand A saint companionless.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

Work And Contemplation

 The woman singeth at her spinning-wheel
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole;
She thinketh of her song, upon the whole,
Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel
Is full, and artfully her fingers feel
With quick adjustment, provident control,
The lines--too subtly twisted to unroll--
Out to a perfect thread.
I hence appeal To the dear Christian Church--that we may do Our Father's business in these temples mirk, Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong; While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work The better for the sweetness of our song.

Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning |

From ‘The Soul's Travelling'

 God, God! 
With a child’s voice I cry, 
Weak, sad, confidingly— 
God, God! 
Thou knowest, eyelids, raised not always up 
Unto Thy love (as none of ours are), droop 
As ours, o’er many a tear! 
Thou knowest, though Thy universe is broad, 
Two little tears suffice to cover all: 
Thou knowest, Thou, who art so prodigal 
Of beauty, we are oft but stricken deer 
Expiring in the woods—that care for none 
Of those delightsome flowers they die upon.
O blissful Mouth which breathed the mournful breath We name our souls, self-spoilt!—by that strong passion Which paled Thee once with sighs,—by that strong death Which made Thee once unbreathing—from the wrack Themselves have called around them, call them back, Back to Thee in continuous aspiration! For here, O Lord, For here they travel vainly,—vainly pass From city-pavement to untrodden sward, Where the lark finds her deep nest in the grass Cold with the earth’s last dew.
Yea, very vain The greatest speed of all these souls of men Unless they travel upward to the throne Where sittest THOU, the satisfying ONE, With help for sins and holy perfectings For all requirements—while the archangel, raising Unto Thy face his full ecstatic gazing, Forgets the rush and rapture of his wings.