Thursday, 29 May 2014

Anglo-Italian stories

Anything that links Italy and Britain has a special interest for me. The two countries seem to complement each other and I love them both very much. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861) wrote "Aurora Leigh" which is a story in a sort of non rhyming verse about Aurora Leigh who was born in Florence with an Italian mother and English father .Like a lot of stories, it is about  a man and a woman who if they had realized that they were meant for each other right at the beginning there would have been no story. Think Elizabeth Bennet and Mr.Darcy, Jane Eyre and Mr.Rochester.
This following excerpt from the rather long poem describes her love for England

Whoever lives true life will love true love.
I learnt to love that England. Very oft,
Before the day was born, or otherwise,
through secret windings of the afternoons,
I threw my hunters off and plunged myself
Among the deephills, as a hunted stag
Will take the waters, shivering with the fear
And passion of the course. And when at last escaped,
So many a green slope built on slope
Betwixt me and the enemy's house behind,
I dared to rest, or wander, in a rest
Made sweeter by the step upon the grass,
And view the ground's most gentler dimplement
(As if God's finger touched, but did not press
In making England) such an up and down
Of verdure, nothing too much up or down,
A ripple of land, such little hills, the sky
can stoop to tenderly, and the wheatfields climb
Such nooks of valleys lined with orchises,
Fed full of noises by invisible streams;
And open pastures where you scarcely tell
White daisies from white dew, - at intervals
The mythic oak and elm trees standing out,
Self-poised upon their prodigy of shade, -
I thought my father's land was worthy too
Of being my Shakespeare's "

Gently rolling fields in the South of England

The Lake district

Florence has always been a favourite Italian city with the British, Elizabeth browning lived here with her husband Robert Broiwning

A village church in England

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