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The Best Thing in the World by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


"The Best Thing in the World" is a lyrical poem of reflection on nature while using a rhetorical question to begin. She goes on to describe the many beauties the world has to offer and finally, to answer her opening question, she states, "Something out of it, I think." This means that there are too many beautiful aspects of life and nature to pick only one.

This lyrical poem consists of only ten lines. It has the rhyme scheme AABCCABBAD. The unrhymed last line of the stanza gives a jolt to the reader. It makes us think, "why did she put this here?" and "what makes it so important"? It's because she wants us to know that she truly isn't sure "What's the best thing in the world?" and whether it is something out of it or not. She thinks that there is so much beauty in the world that she isn't sure that there is anything more beautiful, on Earth or in heaven.


The Best Thing in the World

What's the best thing in the world?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Love, when, so, you're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world?
--Something out of it, I think.

Published in .

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Literary Movement
Victorian, 19th Century

Lyric, Nature, Life

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