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0100_005E Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Then Mr. Browning, in the London home, showed us the room where he writes, containing his library and hers. The books are on simple shelves, choice, and many very old and rare. Here are her books, many in Greek and Hebrew. In the Greek, I saw her notes on the margin in Hebrew, and in the Hebrew she had written her marginal notes in Greek. Here also are the five volumes of her writings, in blue and gold.

The small table at which she wrote still stands beside the larger where her husband composes. His table is covered with letters and papers and books; hers stands there unused, because it is a constant reminder of those companionable years, when they worked together. Close by hangs a picture of the "young Florentine," Robert Barrett Browning, now grown to manhood, an artist already famed. He has a refined face, as he sits in artist garb, before his easel, sketching in a peasant's house. The beloved poet who wrote at the little table, is endeared to all the world. Born in 1809, in the county of Durham, the daughter of wealthy parents, she passed her early years partly in the country in Herefordshire, and partly in the city. That she loved the country with its wild flowers and woods, her poem, The Lost Bower, plainly shows.

    "Green the land is where my daily
    Steps in jocund childhood played,
    Dimpled close with hill and valley,
    Dappled very close with shade;
    Summer-snow of apple-blossoms running up from glade to glade.

* * * * *

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"But the wood, all close and clenching
Bough in bough and root in root,--
No more sky (for overbranching)
At your head than at your foot,--
Oh, the wood drew me within it, by a glamour past dispute.

    "But my childish heart beat stronger
    Than those thickets dared to grow:
    I could pierce them! I could longer
    Travel on, methought, than so.
    Sheep for sheep-paths! braver children climb and creep where they
    would go.

* * * * *

    "Tall the linden-tree, and near it
    An old hawthorne also grew;
    And wood-ivy like a spirit
    Hovered dimly round the two,
    Shaping thence that bower of beauty which I sing of thus to you.

    "And the ivy veined and glossy
    Was enwrought with eglantine;
    And the wild hop fibred closely,
    And the large-leaved columbine,
    Arch of door and window mullion, did right sylvanly entwine.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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