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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

603. Sonnets from the Portuguese


I LIVED with visions for my company

Instead of men and women, years ago,

And found them gentle mates, nor thought to know

A sweeter music than they played to me.

But soon their trailing purple was not free

Of this world’s dust, their lutes did silent grow,

And I myself grew faint and blind below

Their vanishing eyes. Then THOU didst come—to be,

Belovèd, what they seemed. Their shining fronts,

Their songs, their splendors (better, yet the same,

As river-water hallowed into fonts),

Met in thee, and from out thee overcame

My soul with satisfaction of all wants:

Because God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.