Sonnets from the Portuguese


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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 his antique tongue, 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 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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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Chicago: "I," Sonnets from the Portuguese Original Sources, accessed April 13, 2024,

MLA: "I." Sonnets from the Portuguese, Original Sources. 13 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: 1850, 'I' in Sonnets from the Portuguese. Original Sources, retrieved 13 April 2024, from