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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

613. Sonnets from the Portuguese


WHEN we met first and loved, I did not build

Upon the event with marble. Could it mean

To last, a love set pendulous between

Sorrow and sorrow? Nay, I rather thrilled,

Distrusting every light that seemed to gild

The onward path, and feared to overlean

A finger even. And, though I have grown serene

And strong since then, I think that God has willed

A still renewable fear … O love, O troth …

Lest these enclaspèd hands should never hold,

This mutual kiss drop down between us both

As an unowned thing, once the lips being cold.

And Love, be false! if he, to keep one oath,

Must lose one joy, by his life’s star foretold.