Tag Archives: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Meeting at Night

Robert Browning composed this poem during his courtship of Elizabeth Barrett, which her father forbad. The couple eventually eloped and settled in Italy; Elizabeth was never able to reconcile with her father.

            MEETING AT NIGHT

The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low:
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

-Robert Browning

Portraits by Thomas Buchanan Read, 1852.