Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning. 1806–1861
682. Sonnets from the Portuguese
I THOUGHT once how Theocritus had sung 
  Of the sweet years, the dear and wish'd-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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