|In reorganizing my books last night, I ran across one published in 1869 by Charles Scribner and Co. in New York. The handwritten inscription penciled in on the front cover reads Dec. 25, 1874.|
|It is a ballad written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and published originally in 1844. The book made her one of the most popular poets in England and inspired Robert Browning to write to her.|
|The narrator is a poet who falls in love with an earl’s daughter.
“Dear my friend and fellow-student, I would lean my spirit o’er you;
Down the purple of this chamber, tears should scarcely run at will:
I am humbled who was humble! Friend, — I bow my head before you!
You should lead me to my peasants! — but their faces are too still.”
|He worships her from a distance then finally confesses his love.
“There’s a lady — an earl’s daughter; she is proud and she is noble;
And she treads the crimson carpet, and she breathes the perfumed air;
And a kingly blood sends glances up her princely eye to trouble,
And the shadow of a monarch’s crown is softened in her hair.
|In the end, she accepts him for his nobility of spirit, even though others see him as lowly born.
This page reads, “I was only a poor poet, made for singing at her casement,
As the finches or the thrushes, while she thought of other things.
O, she walked so high above me, she appeared to my abasement,
In her lovely silken murmur, like an angel clad in wings!