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Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Sonnets from the Portuguese 22: When our Two Souls


              1When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
              2Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
              3Until the lengthening wings break into fire
              4At either curvéd point, -- what bitter wrong
              5Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
              6Be here contented ? Think. In mounting higher,
              7The angels would press on us, and aspire
              8To drop some golden orb of perfect song
              9Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
            10Rather on earth, Belovèd, -- where the unfit
            11Contrarious moods of men recoil away
            12And isolate pure spirits, and permit
            13A place to stand and love in for a day,
            14With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Poems. 4th edn. 3 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1856. PR 4180 E44a ROBA
First publication date: 1850
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: Not in printed RP.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/6

Composition date: 1845 - 1846
Form: sonnet


Other poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning