Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Sonnets from the Portuguese
II. ‘What can I give thee back, O liberal’
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
WHAT can I give thee back, O liberal
  And princely giver, who hast brought the gold
  And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,
And laid them on the outside of the wall
For such as I to take or leave withal,        5
  In unexpected largesse? Am I cold,
  Ungrateful, that for these most manifold
High gifts, I render nothing back at all?
Not so; not cold,—but very poor instead.
  Ask God who knows. For frequent tears have run        10
The colours from my life, and left so dead
  And pale a stuff, it were not fitly done
To give the same as pillow to thy head.
  Go farther! let it serve to trample on.

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