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Short poem

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Sonnets from the Portuguese 28: My Letters!

              1My letters! all dead paper, ... mute and white ! --
              2And yet they seem alive and quivering
              3Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
              4And let them drop down on my knee to-night.
              5This said, ... he wished to have me in his sight
              6Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
              7To come and touch my hand ... a simple thing,
              8Yet I wept for it! -- this, ... the paper's light ...
              9Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and quailed
            10As if God's future thundered on my past.
            11This said, I am thine -- and so its ink has paled
            12With lying at my heart that beat too fast.
            13And this ... O Love, thy words have ill availed,
            14If, what this said, I dared repeat at last!

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