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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

596. Sonnets from the Portuguese


THE SOUL’S Rialto hath its merchandise;

I barter curl for curl upon that mart,

And from my poet’s forehead to my heart

Receive this lock which outweighs argosies,—

As purply black, as erst to Pindar’s eyes

The dim purpureal tresses gloomed athwart

The nine white Muse-brows. For this counterpart,

The bay-crown’s shade, Belovèd, I surmise,

Still lingers on thy curl, it is so black!

Thus, with a fillet of smooth-kissing breath,

I tie the shadows safe from gliding back,

And lay the gift where nothing hindereth;

Here on my heart, as on thy brow, to lack

No natural heat till mine grows cold in death.