Home  »  A Dictionary of Similes  »  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Frank J. Wilstach, comp. A Dictionary of Similes. 1916.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Arches like a giant’s bow.

Backward as the wind sweeps flame.

Bitter as self-sacrifice.

Black, like plumes at funerals.

Blush like rose when Roland speaks.

Bright as Paphia’s eyes.

Calm, as one who, safe in heaven,
Shall tell a story of his lower life,
Unmoved by shame or anger.

Like the battle camp’s fearful calm,
While the banners are spread, and the warriors arm.

Certainly, as evening empties morning into night.

Chaste as Medicean Venus.

Clear, as God sees through the earth.

Clings fast as the clinging vine.

Close as brother leans to brother
When they press beneath the eyes
Of some father praying blessings
From the gifts of paradise.

Cold … as graveyard stones from which the lichen’s scraped.

Copious as rivers.

Crept … like a chill.

Crushing … like a blind Jove feels his way with thunder.

Darkened, as the lighthouse will that turns upon the sea.

France kept her old affection as deeply as the sepulchre the corse.

Differ as a nettle and a pink.

Dilated, like a saint in ecstasy.

Disgust, as … she had touched a snake.

Distinct … like a gong at midnight.

Droop like wreaths of snow.

Dropped heavily
As century follows century
Into the deep eternity.

Dull as any London afternoon.

Echoless, as ripe fruit on the ground unshaken.

Experience, like a pale musician, holds
A dulcimer of patience in his hand,
Whence harmonies, we cannot understand,
Of God’s will in his worlds, the strain unfolds
In sad, perplexed minors: deadly colds
Fall on us while we hear, and countermand
Our sanguine heart back from the fairyland
With nightingales in visionary worlds.

Doubting eyes,
Like a child that never knew but loveWhom words of wrath surprise.

Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone.

A sharp face, like a knife in a cleft stick.

As flowers kept too long in the shade … fade.

Glimmering faintly like the rack of the moon in her light cast back.

Fierce as twenty bloodhounds.

Flat as a gravestone.

Flushed to radiance where they stood,
Like statues by the open tomb
Of shining saints half risen.

Its meaning flutters in me like a flame under my own breath.

Fluttering, like dumb creatures before storms.

Fluttered like a tame bird, in among its forest brothers far too strong for it.

Flying … like scatterings of dead leaves in autumn-gusts.

Free as bird on branch, just as ready to fly east as west.

Free as light.

Gently, like the morning’s light,Shedding, unmark’d, an influence soft and bright,Till all the landscape gather in the sight.

Glad as singing-birds.

Gleameth like a seraph sword.

Glide like a fallen leaf.

Glimmering faintly like the rack
O’ the moon in her own light cast back.

Grave, as the manner of noble men is.

As green as any privet-hedge a bird might choose to build in.

As the moths around a taper,
As the bees around a rose,
As the gnats around a vapour,
So the spirits group and close
Round about a holy childhood as if drinking its repose.

Head as hairy as Faunus.

Heaves …
Like a mighty ship in pain,
Facing the tempest with struggle and strain.

Heaves like a water-weed that opens to the wave.

Hiss … like shot from guns.

Hum and murmur like a hive.

Hummed … as the sea in shells.

Hurts one like the day
Let suddenly on sick eyes.

Inaudible like spirits.

Knelt like a child marble-sculptured and white
That seems kneeling to pray on the tomb of a knight.

Laughed as if he had drowned a dog.

Leaps like a young horse
Who bites against the new bit in his teeth,
And tugs and struggles against the new-tried rein.

Curved like an archer’s bow to send the bitter arrows out.

Lips shook
Like a rose leaning o’er a brook,
Which vibrates though it is not struck.

Long as death.

Loved as patriots.

Melted as a star might do,
Still smiling as she melted slow.

Moans … like wind through ill-shut casements.

Moveless as a worm beneath a stone
Which some one’s stumbling foot has spurned aside.

Murmur like a hive.

Mute as snow.

Mystical … like a singing in a dream.

Open as a smile.

Pale as baby carved in stone.

Pale … as one who saw an ecstasy beyond a foretold agony.

Pale as crocus grows
Close beside a rose-tree’s root.

Pale as the silver cross of Savoy.

Pallid as a saint.

Palpitating … like a white soul tossed out to eternity with thrills of time upon it.

Pant like a netted lioness.

Pant like climbers.

Patient, like a marble man.

Powerless … as a stone.

Prosperous as the angels are.

Pure as the grapes in wine.

Quick as a fear.

Quick as finches in a blossomed tree.

Quivering … like a vibrant music-string stretched from mountain peak to sky.

Red as with wine out of season.

Half-repose, like a shepherd keeping sheep.

Restless as the nest-deserted bird.

Reverently as any pilgrim to the papal seat.

Revive, like Hector’s body.

Ring like Dodonæan brass.

Sad as wisdom cut off from fellowship.

Safe from harm as sings the lark when sucked up out of sight in vortices of glory and blue air.

Scattered like a flock.

Seeking, like a bleating lamb
Left out at night in shutting up the fold.

Serenely as the stars gaze through the air
Straight on each other.

Like the lotus in the river.

Like one who wakens in a grave and shrieks,
The still house seemed to shriek.

Shrink into a point like death.

Sighed with such a sigh as drops from agony to exhaustion.

Slowly, as a man in doubt.

Smiled like Italy.

When things went smoothly as a baby drugged.

Soft as Muses’ string.

Soft as a mother’s kiss.

Soft as a silent hush.

Softly, as the last repenting drops
Of a thunder-shower.

Solemn, as a thought of God.

Speechless as a stone.

Still as a vision.

Still as when a silent mouth in frost

Straight … like graves dug side by side at measured lengths.

As Hindostanee to an Ind-born man
Accustomed many years to English speech.

Strange as death.

Strange to me as dreams of distant spheres.

Strewn round as like a dead world’s shroud in ghastly fragments torn.

Sulky as a ghost.

As sweet as perfumed shroud which the gay Roman maidens sewed for English Keats.

As sweet as window-eglantine.

Thrills in leafy tremblement,
Like a heart that after climbing
Beateth quickly though content.

On tip-toe like escaping murderers.

Grow together like tares and wheat.

Tranquil like a summer cloud
Which, having rained itself to a tardy peace,
Stands still in heaven as if it ruled the day.

Tremble … like a netted lioness.

And pauseless as the pulses.

My thoughts twine and bud about thee, as with vines, about a tree.

As light November snows to empty nests,
As grass to graves, as moss to mildewed stones,
As July suns to ruins, through the rents,
As ministering spirits to mourners, through a loss,
As Heaven itself to men, through pangs of death,
He came uncalled wherever grief had come.

Vanished like a fairy.

White as foam thrown upon rocks from the old-spent wave.

White as gulls.

White as moonshine.

White as wax.

White like a cloud at fall of snow.

White like a spirit’s hand.

Writhe like the Pythian.

Yellow like to fire.

Young as Eve with nature’s daybreak in her face.