The Death of Mr. Barrett
Excerpted from a letter of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence to her sister Henrietta in England (between 1846 and 1859)
It is true that first words must be said —
But of the past I cannot speak. I believe
Hope had died in me long ago
Of reconciliation in this world…
Occupation is the only thing to keep one
On one’s feet a little, that I know well.
Only it is hard sometimes to force oneself
Into occupation…there’s — the hardness.
I take up books — but my heart goes walking up and down
Constantly through that house on Wimpole Street.
Till it is tired, tired, tired. The truth is,
I am made of paper, and it tears me.