Esther & Eva met on holiday in Italy in 1896 – fate had them staying in the same guesthouse while recuperating from illness. Eva later immortalized their holiday romance with a poem dedicated to Esther, describing their love as “the world’s great song.”
“The Travellers, To E.G.R” by Eva Gore-Booth
Was it not strange that by the tideless sea
The jar and hurry of our lives should cease?
That under olive boughs we found our peace,
And all the world’s great song in Italy?
You whose Love’s melody makes glad the gloom
Of a long labour and a patient strife,
Is not that music greater than our Life?
Shall not a little song outlast that doom?
In 1929, three years after her partner’s death, Esther published a collection of Eva’s poetry with an introduction paying tribute to the woman she loved.
“To the hard work which we did together for thirty years she bought a spirit of adventure and gaiety which nothing daunted. Of a gallant courage and a gentle courtesy she made life together a gracious thing. Even simple everyday pleasures when shared with her became touched with magic.. At the end she looked up with that exquisite smile that always lightened up her face when she saw one she loved, then closed her eyes and was at peace.”
Esther died in April 1938 & is buried in the same grave as Eva, a quote from lesbian icon Sappho is carved on their headstone
‘Life that is Love is God ’
Eva had used the quote in her poem: “In Praise of Life”
“Sappho was right:
Life that is Love is God, and Mercy wise
Is that which never dies—
Life, Love and Light.”