Home  »  Familiar Quotations  »  Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861 John Bartlett

John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861 John Bartlett

    There Shakespeare, on whose forehead climb
The crowns o’ the world; oh, eyes sublime
With tears and laughter for all time!
          A Vision of Poets.
    And Chaucer, with his infantine
Familiar clasp of things divine.
          A Vision of Poets.
    And Marlowe, Webster, Fletcher, Ben,
Whose fire-hearts sowed our furrows when
The world was worthy of such men.
          A Vision of Poets.
    Knowledge by suffering entereth,
And life is perfected by death.
          A Vision of Poets. Conclusion.
    Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west.
          Toll slowly.
    And I smiled to think God’s greatness flowed around our incompleteness,
  Round our restlessness His rest.
          Rhyme of the Duchess.
    Or from Browning some “Pomegranate,” which if cut deep down the middle
Shows a heart within blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity.
          Lady Geraldine’s Courtship. xli.
                But since he had
The genuis to be loved, why let him have
The justice to be honoured in his grave.
          Crowned and buried. xxvii.
    Thou large-brained woman and large-hearted man.
          To George Sand. A Desire.
    By thunders of white silence.
          Hiram Powers’s Greek Slave.
    And that dismal cry rose slowly
  And sank slowly through the air,
Full of spirit’s melancholy
  And eternity’s despair;
And they heard the words it said,—
“Pan is dead! great Pan is dead!
    Pan, Pan is dead!” 1 
          The dead Pan.
    She has seen the mystery hid
Under Egypt’s pyramid:
By those eyelids pale and close
Now she knows what Rhamses knows.
          Little Mattie. Stanza ii.
              But so fair,
She takes the breath of men away
Who gaze upon her unaware.
          Bianca among the Nightingales. xii.
    “Yes,” I answered you last night;
  “No,” this morning, sir, I say:
Colors seen by candle-light
  Will not look the same by day.
          The Lady’s Yes.
    Dreams of doing good
For good-for-nothing people.
          Aurora Leigh. Book ii.
    God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers,
And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face,
A gauntlet with a gift in it.
          Aurora Leigh. Book ii.
            The beautiful seems right
By force of Beauty, and the feeble wrong
Because of weakness.
          Aurora Leigh. Book ii.
              Every wish
Is like a prayer—with God. 2 
          Aurora Leigh. Book ii.
    Good critics, who have stamped out poets’ hope,
Good statesmen, who pulled ruin on the state,
Good patriots, who for a theory risked a cause.
          Aurora Leigh. Book iv.
              Whoso loves
Believes the impossible.
          Aurora Leigh. Book v.
    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.
          Aurora Leigh. Book v.
    Since when was genius found respectable?
          Aurora Leigh. Book vi.
            Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God; 3 
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
          Aurora Leigh. Book vii.
Note 1.
Thamus … uttered with a loud voice his message, “The great Pan is dead.”—Plutarch: Why the Oracles cease to give Answers. [back]
Note 2.
See Montgomery, page 497. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire. [back]
Note 3.
Whittier: Chapel of the Hermits. [back]