Poetry

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi — an early poem by Emily Dickinson (1852)

“Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” was the first poem by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) to be published. Without her prior knowledge or consent, it appeared in the February 20, 1852 issue of the Springfield Daily Republican newspaper.

Emily, then age 21, wasn’t pleased. Still a budding poet, she was not at all interested in publication. In her teens and twenties, she may have been reserved and a bit shy, but nothing to hint at how reclusive she would become in her later years. In fact, she and her sister Lavinia (Vinnie) enjoyed quite an active social life in their youth. Read More→


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The Cry of the Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“The Cry of the Children” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, first published in 1843, is an example of the esteemed British poet’s foray into the area of social protest poetry.

With the 19th century’s industrial revolution in full force, the poem forcefully decries the all-too-common exploitation of children as laborers, placing blame on both the social structures and institutions that allowed the practice to spread. Read More→


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10 Shorter Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Poetic Genius

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) was a respected and widely read British poet of the Victorian era. Tragedy and loss as well as great love marked her life. Many of her poems were incredibly long, some even book-length (like Aurora Leigh), so this post will touch on some of the shorter poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Their relative brevity (for some aren’t actually that short) in no way diminishes the genius of their author.

Elizabeth Barrett, who enjoyed a cultured and privileged upbringing in England, began writing poetry in earnest before even reaching her teens. She was introduced to British literary society by her cousin, John Kenyan in the 1830s, and soon, her individual poems were becoming known and respected in these circles. Read More→


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To Flush, My Dog by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861), the British poet, accomplished what few women writers did in her time — and that was gaining the respect and admiration of the literary world. In fact, she was far better known than her husband, fellow poet Robert Browning, in their lifetime.

Mary Russell Mitford, another writer, gave Elizabeth the cocker spaniel she named Flush as solace after the death of her brother in 1840.

From the start, Elizabeth adored Flush, so much so that she dedicated this poem to him. However, Flush wasn’t always on board with Robert Browning, his rival for Elizabeth’s affection. Browning even endured a few jealously mean bites during their legendary courtship. Read More→


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Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (full text)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) was immensely accomplished and respected in her own lifetime, no small accomplishment for a female poet. Following is the full text of what is arguably her best-known work, Sonnets from the Portuguese, a fragment of one of her major collections, Poems (1844/1850).

Born in County Durham, England, Elizabeth Barrett grew up in an atmosphere of privilege and culture, which allowed her to develop a precocious talent in poetry.

After having a collections of her poetry published while still in her teens, Elizabeth was introduced to British literary society in the 1830s. Her individual poems were becoming known and respected in these circles. Read More→


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