Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald
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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
578. Sonnets from the Portuguese
 
I
 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
 
 
I THOUGHT once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in its antique tongue,        5
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was ’ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move        10
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove,—
“Guess now who holds thee?”—“Death,” I said. But, there,
The silver answer rang,—“Not Death, but Love.”
 

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