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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

594. Sonnets from the Portuguese


MY poet, thou canst touch on all the notes

God set between His After and Before,

And strike up and strike off the general roar

Of the rushing worlds a melody that floats

In a serene air purely. Antidotes

Of medicated music, answering for

Mankind’s forlornest uses, thou canst pour

From thence into their ears. God’s will devotes

Thine to such ends, and mine to wait on thine.

How, Dearest, wilt thou have me for most use?

A hope, to sing by gladly? or a fine

Sad memory, with thy songs to interfuse?

A shade, in which to sing—of palm or pine?

A grave, on which to rest from singing? Choose.