Sonnets from the Portuguese  1: I thought once how Theocritus had sung

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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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Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Death, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Time & Brevity, Growing Old, Poetry & Poets, Love, Living, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Elizabeth  Barrett Browning

Biography

Among all women poets of the English-speaking world in the nineteenth century, none was held in higher critical esteem or was more admired for the independence and courage of her views than Elizabeth Barrett Browning. During the years of her marriage to Robert Browning, her literary reputation far surpassed that of her poet-husband; when visitors came to their home in Florence, she was invariably the greater attraction. Both in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Death, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Time & Brevity, Growing Old, Poetry & Poets, Love, Living, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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