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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

605. Sonnets from the Portuguese


MY letters! all dead paper, mute and white!

And yet they seem alive and quivering

Against my tremulous hands which lose the string

And let them drop down on my knee to-night.

This said,—he wished to have me in his sight

Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring

To come and touch my hand … a simple thing,

Yet I wept for it!—this, … the paper’s light …

Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and quailed

As if God’s future thundered on my past.

This said, I am thine—and so its ink has paled

With lying at my heart that beat too fast.

And this … O Love, thy words have ill availed

If, what this said, I dared repeat at last!