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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

614. Sonnets from the Portuguese


PARDON, oh, pardon, that my soul should make,

Of all that strong divineness which I know

For thine and thee, an image only so

Formed of the sand, and fit to shift and break.

It is that distant years which did not take

Thy sovranty, recoiling with a blow,

Have forced my swimming brain to undergo

Their doubt and dread, and blindly to forsake

Thy purity of likeness and distort

Thy worthiest love to a worthless counterfeit:

As if a shipwrecked Pagan, safe in port,

His guardian sea-god to commemorate,

Should set a sculptured porpoise, gills a-snort

And vibrant tail, within the temple-gate.