For two years they knew each other with mutual and =
growing dislike. He was the wild youth, pushing the envelope of =
every rule, while she was Miss Prim-and-Proper. Both were gifted =
college students, talented, in plays and choirs, but no inclination to =
think of each other.
the 13th of September 1968. Propelled together as upper classmen in a =
new university, they fought a battle of wits – with both well-armed and =
well-armored. Parry and thrust, thrust and parry, and to end the =
refrain, thrust home. A growing tension of minds, bodies, souls, =
blazing from embers into leaping tongues of fire that could not be =
They both sought parts in the fall play that season =
and the casting call required reading a dialog or monolog. Given =
parts at random, they were called together by the faculty to read as =
Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett.
Elizabeth Barrett: What’s another disaster to one =
who has known little but disaster all her life? But you’re a fighter. =
You were born for victory and triumph. Oh, and if disaster ever came to =
you through me…
Browning: Yes, a fighter. But I’m sick of fighting alone. I need a =
comrade in arms to fight beside me.
Elizabeth Barrett: But not one already wounded in =
Robert Browning: Wounded =
but undaunted, unbeaten, unbroken. What finer comrade could a man ask =
Elizabeth Barrett: Robert, have you ever thought =
that my strength may break down on the journey?
Robert Browning: It had occurred to me, yes. =
Elizabeth Barrett: Supposing I =
were to die on your hands?
Browning: Are you afraid?
Elizabeth Barrett: Afraid. You should know that I =
would rather die with you beside me than live a hundred lives without =
you. But how would you feel if I were to die? And what would the world =
say of you?
Robert Browning: I =
should be branded as a little better than a murderer. What I should =
feel… I leave you to imagine.
Elizabeth Barrett: And yet you ask me to come with =
Robert Browning: Yes. I am =
prepared to risk your life, much more my own, to get you out of that =
dreadful house and into the sun and to have you for my wife. =
Elizabeth Barrett: You love me =
Robert Browning: I =
love you like that.
Elizabeth Barrett: Papa, please. I’m not a bad =
girl, I swear I’m not, only I love him, I love him. He’s a good man, it =
can’t be wrong to love him. I want love, I can’t live without love. Oh =
Papa, remember how you loved Mama and how she loved =
Robert Browning: I’m a very modest man. =
Robert Browning: I am, really.
the 13th of December 1968. He held a ring and held her hand. =
Having met more than his match in every phase of life, he was conquered =
She answered his request for marriage with Elizabeth Barrett =
Browning’s sonnet . . .
How do =
I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and =
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 =
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 grief’s, and with my childhood’s =
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 =
19, 1970 – nearly 5 decades ago, in a small Baptist church, two =
young starry-eyed graduates stepped out to share with each other and all =
who had gathered their vows of eternal love to each =
And so we commit again to Browning’s immortal =
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, =
the last of life, for which the =
first was made.
Our times are in =
His hand who saith,
‘A whole I =
planned – youth shows but half.
Trust God: See all, nor be =
[Teresa and Bob Griffin, June 19th and =
happily ever after]
Dr Bob Griffin =
firstname.lastname@example.org www.grif.net =
"Jesus Knows Me, This I =