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A Thousand Flowers, Each Seeming One

Excerpts from" A Flower in a Letter" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Oil painting entitled “Elizabeth Barrett Browning - The Anniversary: ‘I love thee to the level of everyday's most quiet need’" by Albert Chevallier Taylor, 1909.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born in London in 1809 and died in Florence in 1861.

Here are some excerpts from her poem “A Flower in a Letter”:


My lonely chamber next the sea
Is full of many flowers set free
By summer’s earliest duty:
Dear friends upon the garden-walk
Might stop amid their fondest talk
To pull the least in beauty.


A thousand flowers, each seeming one
That learnt by gazing on the sun
To counterfeit his shining;
Within whose leaves the holy dew
That falls from heaven has won anew
A glory, in declining.


Deep violets, you liken to
The kindest eyes that look on you,
Without a thought disloyal;
And cactuses a queen might don
If weary of a golden crown,
And still appear as royal.


Love’s language may be talked with these;
To work out choicest sentences,
No blossoms can be meeter;
And, such being used in Eastern bowers,
Young maids may wonder if the flowers
Or meanings be the sweeter.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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