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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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* * * * *

"I have lost--oh, many a pleasure,
Many a hope, and many a power--
Studious health, and merry leisure,
The first dew on the first flower!
But the first of all my losses was the losing of the bower.

* * * * *

    "Is the bower lost then? Who sayeth
    That the bower indeed is lost?
    Hark! my spirit in it prayeth
    Through the sunshine and the frost,--
    And the prayer preserves it greenly, to the last
    and uttermost.

    "Till another open for me
    In God's Eden-land unknown,
    With an angel at the doorway,
    White with gazing at His throne,
    And a saint's voice in the palm-trees, singing, 'All is lost ...
    and won!'"

Elizabeth Barrett wrote poems at ten, and when seventeen, published an Essay on Mind, and Other Poems. The essay was after the manner of Pope, and though showing good knowledge of Plato and Bacon, did not find favor with the critics. It was dedicated to her father, who was proud of a daughter who preferred Latin and Greek to the novels of the day.

Her teacher was the blind Hugh Stuart Boyd, whom she praises in her Wine of Cyprus.

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"Then, what golden hours were for us!--
While we sate together there;

* * * * *

    "Oh, our Aeschylus, the thunderous!
    How he drove the bolted breath
    Through the cloud to wedge it ponderous
    In the gnarled oak beneath.
    Oh, our Sophocles, the royal,
    Who was born to monarch's place,
    And who made the whole world loyal,
    Less by kingly power than grace.

    "Our Euripides, the human,
    With his droppings of warm tears,
    And his touches of things common
    Till they rose to touch the spheres!
    Our Theocritus, our Bion,
    And our Pindar's shining goals!--
    These were cup-bearers undying,
    Of the wine that's meant for souls."

More fond of books than of social life, she was laying the necessary foundation for a noble fame. The lives of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, and Margaret Fuller, emphasize the necessity of almost unlimited knowledge, if woman would reach lasting fame. A great man or woman of letters, without great scholarship, is well-nigh an impossible thing.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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