Received a thank you label, with a section to peel back, and then
Ah. life grows lovely
where you are.
Blind was born in Mannheim, Germany, the older child of a banker named Cohen and his second wife, born Friederike Ettlinger. She had a brother, Ferdinand. Cohen died in Mathilde’s infancy and her mother remarried to Karl Blind, who was involved in the Baden insurrection of 1848. They fled in 1849 to London, where Mathilde took Karl’s surname. …At the age of 18, she travelled alone to Switzerland and maintained a fondness for the country throughout her life. …While in Switzerland she was barred as a woman from entry to lectures at Zurich University, but she spent much time in company with revolutionaries. In 1866 her brother Ferdinand failed in an attempt to assassinate Otto von Bismarck, then chancellor of the North German Confederation, and committed suicide in prison.
Then wondered where the line came from. Turns out it comes from this poem, which is part of Ascent of Man, published in 1888, eight years before her death, in 1896, at the age of 55:
Love in Exile – Part 15
by Mathilde Blind
Dear, when I look into your eyes
My hurts are healed, my heart grows whole;
The barren places in my soul,
Like waste lands under April skies,
Break into flower beneath your eyes.
Ah, life grows lovely where you are;
Only to think of you gives light
To my dark heart, within whose night
Your image, though you bide afar,
Glows like a lake-reflected star.
Dare I crave more than only this;
A thrill of love, a transient smile
To gladden all my world awhile?
No more, alas! Is mortal bliss
Not transient as a lover’s kiss?
With much detail on Mathilde Blind found here, such as:
Mathilde was raised in Germany by an overbearing revolutionary stepfather who knew Karl Marx; her brother shot himself after failing to assassinate Bismarck. In her own first attempt at revolt, Mathilde was expelled from school for atheism. A feminist, journalist, critic, poet, translator, novelist and biographer, she was a fabulously beautiful wild card (and most likely a lesbian) who shared with Madox Brown an interest in radical politics. She lived as a friend with the artist and his wife on and off for 20 years, until Emma’s death in 1890. …she was also probably the most interesting woman in London at that time.
Somehow suspect that the full poem was not part of the thank you…