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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

595. Sonnets from the Portuguese


I NEVER gave a lock of hair away

To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,

Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully,

I ring out to the full brown length and say

“Take it.” My day of youth went yesterday:

My hair no longer bounds to my foot’s glee,

Nor plant I it from rose or myrtle-tree,

As girls do, any more; it only may

Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,

Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside

Through sorrow’s trick. I thought the funeral-shears

Would take this first, but love is justified,—

Take it thou, finding pure, from all those years,

The kiss my mother left here when she died.