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ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
English poet
(1806 - 1861)
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This guelder rose, at far too slight a beck
  Of the wind, will toss about her flower-apples.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. II) [Roses]

You believe
  In God, for your part?--that He who makes
    Can make good things from ill things, best from worst,
      As men plant tulips upon dunghills when
        They wish them finest.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. II) [Tulips]

You forget too much
  That every creature, female as the male,
    Stands single in responsible act and thought,
      As also in birth and death.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. II, l. 472) [Women]

Girls blush, sometimes, because they are alive,
  Half wishing they were dead to save the shame.
    The sudden blush devours them, neck and brow;
      They have drawn too near the fire of life, like gnats,
        And flare up bodily, wings and all.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. II, l. 732) [Blushes]

And lilies are still lilies, pulled
  By smutty hands, though spotted from their white.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. III) [Flowers : Lilies]

Hope, he called, belief
  In God,--work, worship . . . therefore let us pray!
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. III) [Prayer]

The music soars within the little lark,
  And the lark soars.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. III, l. 155) [Larks]

Get leave to work
  In this world,--'tis the best you get at all.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. III, l. 164) [Work]

I worked with patience which means almost power.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. III, l. 205) [Patience]

There's not a crime
  But takes its proper change out still in crime
    If once rung on the counter of this world.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. III, l. 870) [Crime]

He likes the poor things of the world the best,
  I would not, therefore, if I could be rich.
    It pleases him t stoop for buttercups.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. IV) [Buttercups]

I would not be a rose upon the wall
  A queen might stop at, near the palace-door,
    To say to a courtier, "Pluck that rose for me,
      It's prettier than the rest." O Romney Leigh!
        I'd rather far be trodden by his foot,
          Than lie in a great queen's bosom.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. IV) [Love]

What is art
  But life upon the larger scale, the higher,
    When, graduating up in a spiral line
      Of still expanding and ascending gyres,
        It pushed toward the intense significance
          Of all things, hungry for the Infinite?
            Art's life--and where we live, we suffer and toil.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. IV, l. 1,150) [Progress]

But I love you, sir:
  And when a woman says she loves a man,
    The man must hear her, though he love her not.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. IX) [Love]

Let no one till his death
  Be called unhappy. Measure not the work
    Until the day's out and the labour done.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. V, l. 78) [Work]

In this bad, twisted, topsy-turvy world,
  Where all the heaviest wrongs get uppermost.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. V, l. 981) [World]

A great acacia, with its slender trunk
  And overpoise of multitudinous leaves.
    (In which a hundred fields might spill their dew
      And intense verdure, yet find room enough)
        Stood reconciling all the place with green.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VI) [Acacia]

'Twas a yellow rose,
  By that south window of the little house,
    My cousin Romney gathered with his hand
      On all my birthdays, for me. save the last;
        And then I shook the tree too rough, too rough,
          For roses to stay after.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VI) [Roses]

You take a pink,
  You dig about its roots and water it,
    And so improve it to a garden-pink,
      But will not change it to a heliotrope.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VI) [Pinks]

Earth's crammed with heaven,
  And every common bush afire with God;
    And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
      The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VII) [Autumn]

. . . Purple lilies Dante blew
  To a larger bubble with his prophet breath.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VII) [Lilies]

"There's nothing great
  Nor small," has said a poet of our day,
    Whose voice will ring beyond the curfew of eve
      And not be thrown out by the matin's bell.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VII),
        probably referring to Emerson's "Epigram to History", "There is no great and no small."
        [Poets]

Those tall flowering-reeds which stand,
  In Arno like a sheaf of sceptres, left
    By some remote dynasty of dead gods.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VII) [Reeds]

Wall must get the weather stain
  Before they grow the ivy.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VIII) [Ivy]

Free men freely work:
  Whoever fears God, fears to sit at ease.
      - Aurora Leigh (bk. VIII, l. 784) [Work]


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