Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Elizabeth Browning, fully Elizabeth Barrett Browning

English Poet, Wife of Robert Browning

"Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west."

"Oh, to be in England, Now that April's there."

"Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, "Italy.""

"Or from Browning some Pomegranate, which, if cut deep down the middle, shows a heart within blood-tinctured of a veined humanity."

"Our Euripides the human, with his droppings of warm tears, and his touchings of things common till they rose to meet the spheres."

"Our work shall still be better for our love, and still our love be sweeter for our work, and both, commended, for the sake of each, by all true workers and true lovers born."

"Pansies for ladies all--(I wish that none who wear such brooches miss a jewel in the mirror)."

"Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell."

"Pray, pray, thou who also weepest,-- and the drops will slacken so; weep, weep--and the watch thou keepest, with a quicker count will go. Think,--the shadow on the dial for the nature most undone, marks the passing of the trial, proves the presence of the sun."

"Purple lilies Dante blew to a larger bubble with his prophet breath."

"Quick-loving hearts ... may quickly loathe."

"Red as a rose of Harpocrate."

"Sacrament of morning."

"Say over again, and yet once over again, that thou dost love me...-toll the silver iterance!"

"She has seen the mystery hid under Egypt's pyramid: by those eyelids pale and close now she knows what Rhamses knows. The crowns o’ the world; oh, eyes sublime"

"She lived, we'll say, a harmless life, she called a virtuous life, a quiet life, which was not life at all (But that she had not lived enough to know)"

"Sing, seraph with the glory! heaven is high. Sing, poet with the sorrow! earth is low. The universe's inward voices cry "Amen" to either song of joy and woe. Sing, seraph, poet! sing on equally!"

"Sleep on, Baby, on the floor, tired of all the playing, sleep with smile the sweeter for that you dropped away in! On your curls' full roundness stand golden lights serenely-- one cheek, pushed out by the hand, folds the dimple inly."

"Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death."

"Some people always sigh in thanking God."

"Souls are dangerous things to carry straight through all the spilt saltpetre of this world."

"Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet from out the hallelujahs, sweet and low, lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so who art not missed by any that entreat."

"Suddenly, as rare things will, it vanished."

"Take from my head the thorn-wreath brown! No mortal grief deserves that crown. O supreme Love, chief misery, the sharp regalia are for Thee whose days eternally go on!' For us, — whatever's undergone, thou knowest, willest what is done, grief may be joy misunderstood; only the Good discerns the good. I trust Thee while my days go on."

"Thank God for grace, Ye who weep only! If, as some have done, Ye grope tear-blinded in a desert place and touch but tombs,--look up! Those tears will run soon in long rivers down the lifted face, and leave the vision clear for stars and sun."

"Thank God, bless God, all ye who suffer not more grief than ye can weep for. That is well-- that is light grieving!"

"That he, in his developed manhood, stood a little sunburnt by the glare of life; while I . . it seemed no sun had shone on me."

"That headlong ivy! not a leaf will grow but thinking of a wreath . . . I like such ivy; bold to leap a height ‘twas strong to climb! as good to grow on graves as twist about a thyrsus; pretty too (And that's not ill) when twisted round a comb."

"The angels would press on us, and aspire."

"The beautiful seems right by force of beauty and the feeble wrong because of weakness."

"The book is a teacher who teaches with no stick and no words, no anger."

"The charm, one might say the genius, of memory is that it is choosy, chancy and temperamental; it rejects the edifying cathedral and indelibly photographs the small boy outside, chewing a hunk of melon in the dust."

"The child's heart curseth deeper in the silence than the strong man in his wrath."

"The critics say that epics have died out with Agamemnon and the goat-nursed gods; I'll not believe it. I could never deem as Payne Knight did, that Homer's heroes measured twelve feet high. They were but men: -his Helen's hair turned grey like any plain Miss Smith's who wears a front; And Hector's infant whimpered at a plume as yours last Friday at a turkey-cock. All heroes are essential men, and all men possible heroes: every age, heroic in proportions, double faced, looks backward and before, expects a morn and claims an epos."

"The cypress stood up like a church that night we felt our love would hold, and saintly moonlight seemed to search and wash the whole world clean as gold; the olives crystallized the vales' broad slopes until the hills grew strong: the fireflies and the nightingales throbbed each to either, flame and song. The nightingales, the nightingales."

"The devil's most devilish when respectable."

"The essence of all beauty, I call love, the attribute, the evidence, and end, the consummation to the inward sense of beauty apprehended from without, I still call love."

"The face of all the world is changed, I think, since first I heard the footsteps of they soul move still, oh, still, beside me."

"The face, which, duly as the sun, rose up for me with life begun, to mark all bright hours of the day with hourly love, is dimmed away — and yet my days go on, go on."

"The flower-girl's prayer to buy roses and pinks, held out in the smoke, like stars by day."

"The foolish fears of what might happen. I cast them all away among the clover-scented grass, among the new-mown hay, among the husking of the corn, where drowsy poppies nod where ill thoughts die and good are born— out in the fields with God."

"The Greeks said grandly in their tragic phrase, 'Let no one be called happy till his death;' to which I would add, 'Let no one, till his death, be called unhappy.'"

"The growing drama has outgrown such toys Of simulated stature, face, and speech: It also peradventure may outgrow The simulation of the painted scene, Boards, actors, prompters, gaslight, and costume, And take for a worthier stage the soul itself, Its shifting fancies and celestial lights, With all its grand orchestral silences To keep the pauses of its rhythmic sounds."

"The heart which, like a staff, was one for mine to lean and rest upon, the strongest on the longest day with steadfast love, is caught away, and yet my days go on, go on. And cold before my summer's done, and deaf in Nature's general tune, and fallen too low for special fear, and here, with hope no longer here, while the tears drop, my days go on."

"The Holy Night We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem; The dumb kine from their fodder turning them, Softened their horned faces To almost human gazes Toward the newly Born: The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks Brought visionary looks, As yet in their astonied hearing rung The strange sweet angel-tongue: The magi of the East, in sandals worn, Knelt reverent, sweeping round, With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground, The incense, myrrh, and gold These baby hands were impotent to hold: So let all earthlies and celestials wait Upon thy royal state. Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!"

"The iron gate ground its teeth to let me pass!"

"The large white owl that with eye is blind, that hath sate for years in the old tree hollow, is carried away in a gust of wind."

"The little cares that fretted me, I lost them yesterday among the fields above the sea, among the winds at play."

"The man, most man, works best for men: and, if most man indeed, he gets his manhood plainest from his soul."

"The music soars within the little lark, and the lark soars."