It is the birthday of Victorian poet and playwright Robert Browning born May 7, 1812 in Camberwell, England. "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is one of his most famous works and was written for the young son of one of Browning's friends. This ballad was written in 1842 with fun rhymes and vivid images that paint colorful pictures in the reader's head. Here is a link to the text http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15700
His relationship with fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett is one of the most famous in English literature. They began a prolific correspondence — hundreds of letters during their 20-month courtship — which began when he sent her fan mail. They eventually eloped, against her father's wishes, and moved to Italy. Browning's poetry was largely overshadowed by his wife's, at least during her lifetime. She was popular and successful, and a serious contender for the post of poet laureate in 1860, though that honor ultimately went to Tennyson.
Browning also wrote several plays, none of them successful. But writing for the stage taught him how to use the dramatic monologue to reveal character, and he adapted it to his poetry. It became a defining characteristic of his work, and his most important and lasting contribution to the art, inspiring the likes of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Robert Frost.
Today I thought of Elizabeth's famous love sonnet to Robert as I took a spring city walk through the neighborhood and park counting all the things I love about spring. It's barely been two weeks since our last snowfall. Maybe just maybe spring is here to stay. For us in Minnesota it is the small things that count the most.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
Blue skies and fluffy clouds
ball players practicing
a very noisy chorus of frogs in the pond
kids playing frisbee
and a tiny crocus just starting to sprout.