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Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Famous Last Words

Posted in Famous Last Words on Thursday, 5 May 2011

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prominent poet of the Victorian era. she was born Elizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett in Kelloe, Durham, in 1806, the eldest of 12 children. Her father was a wealthy plantation owner who decided to raise his family in England rather than Jamaica.

picture, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet, poetry, poem, cocker spanial, dog

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her cocker spaniel, Flush. Illustration by James E. McConnell

Her earliest poems were written at the age of six or eight and her first book, The Battle of Marathon, was published (underwritten by her father) when she was 14. She was sickly for many years, her life punctuated by tragedy (such as her brother’s drowning when, for her health, he took her to Torquay). She met and married poet Robert Browning in 1846 and the couple moved to Italy.

Suffering from depression following news of her sister Henrietta’s death, Elizabeth grew weaker and died on 29 June 1861. Her dying words were an exclamation:

“It is beautiful!”

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