The main ideas of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetic works changed constantly during her life,
due to significant events which occured.
Spirituality was the main focus of Barrett's writing from 1838 until 1844. Poetry became such a
large part of her life due to a spinal injury in 1821 which left her relying on opium for a long period of
time. As well as the ill-manners of her health, Barrett experienced the tragic death of her brother due to
drowning in the year of 1838. These significant events left Barrett in a state of emotional turmoil. She
found herself unable to live in the world of reality. For four years, she seperated herself from reality by
locking herself in a bedroom. During this time, the only persons she conversed with was her family and
one or two close friends.
It was during this period that poetry became such a signifacant part of Barrett's life.
to write about Jesus, Angels, and other significant biblical characters. In the poem The Seraphim, two
angels stand outside the Garden of Eden. It is there they describe and praise God for his awesome
splendor and majesty.
"Of earth, the God-created and God praised
In hour of birth
Where everynight the moon in light
Doth lead waters silver faced?
Where every day the sun doth lay
A rapture to the heart of all
The leafy and reeded pastoral,
As if the joyous shout which burst
From angel lips to see him first,
Had left a silent echo in his ray?" (The Seraphim, 1838)
The poem is a deep reflection of what Barrett feels inside at this time in her life. She is depressed,
lonely and full of agony because of all the aweful things which are happening, so she turns to spirituality.