Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE: 1, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

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SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE: 1, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I thought once how theocritus had sung
Last Line: The silver answer rang, -- 'not death, but love.'
Variant Title(s): "i Thought Once How Theocritus Had Sung"";
Subject(s): Life Change Events; Love

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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