I did like the Sonnets from the Portuguese, some revealed more to me than others. And this was just a first scratching of the surface. Reading them all in a short time, helped me immerse myself in her rhythm and style. Poetry may be hard for some of us, I believe, because we are in constant demand of meaning and logic. I find myself a faulty modern reader, not used to a poetic and more humble approach to reading. Taught in public schools, I got, for the most part, the utilitarian, scientific, and analytical approach to the humanities. And, while everything has its due place, all these practices became burdens when offered at the detriment of the love of language, or the ability to listen to books (specially poetry), read aloud. Poetry places itself at a deeper layer, or a different frequency, one that is not self explanatory, nor completely objective, thus inviting us into the mystery and the unknown, and not everyone is brave or young enough to let a poet blindfold us, and take us to a trip to places we may or may not have been before.

I’m going to give you some interesting information about the poet and her book that I found here.


Famed series of 44 love poems written to the poet’s husband, Robert Browning, plus a selection of poems dealing with religion, art, social problems, and political events.


Elizabeth Barrett was born in Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England, in 1806.

Most of her childhood was spent on her father’s estate, reading the classics and writing poetry. An injury to her spine when she was fifteen, the shock of her brother’s death by drowning in 1840 and an ogre-like father made her life dark. But she read and wrote, and no little volume of verse ever produced a richer return than her Poems of 1844. Robert Browning read the poems, liked them, and came to her rescue like Prince Charming in the fairy story. Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning were married on September 12, 1846.

Barrett Browning’s enduring fame has rested on two works-Poems (1850), containing Sonnets from the Portuguese, and Aurora Leigh (1857). The former is a celebration of woman as man’s other half and the latter is a celebration of woman’s potential to stand on her own. During the Edwardian and later periods, it was Sonnets from the Portuguese that embodied Barrett Browning. Since the rise of feminism, it has been Aurora Leigh. More recently, a third side of Barrett Browning has been revealed: the incisive critical and political commentator, seen in her letters.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning died in Florence, Italy, in 1861.

4 thoughts on “Sonnets from the Portuguese

  1. Oh, that brings back lovely memories of my mother in law who gave me the volume when my first child was born. I read the book through once, put it on the shelf and never read it again. I can’t remember anything about the poetry. But the title reminds me of being loved!


    1. Wow, that’s so special. It’s even hard for me to talk about the poems I just read, I can imagine that years after, I won’t remember anything either.
      What a lovely present from a mother in law!


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