By: Robert Bridges (1844-1930)
Robert Bridges, who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1913, published three versions of his sonnet sequence, The Growth of Love:
1876 - 24 sonnets
1889 - 79 sonnets
1898 - 69 sonnets
The second edition, which is the subject of this recording, was re-published in 1894, with an extensive introduction from another celebrated poet, Lionel Johnson.
The title of the work is a little misleading, as it suggests a process of development, a deepening understanding, by which one arrives at a more comprehensive appreciation of the mysterious entity which we call love. In fact, Bridge's journey is a meandering, rather than a goal-oriented path. Each sonnet is a window through which the poet gazes at one of the multifarious aspects of a quintessential numinosity which will always escape definition. Bridge's approach is one of gentle and courteous appreciation, observational rather than meditative, and almost completely free from the feeling of striving for salvation or apotheosis.