Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
Sonnets from the Portuguese. i
By 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 his 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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