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  4. Beloved by Michael Field

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Mortal, if thou art beloved
Life's offences are removed;
All the fateful things that checked thee,
Hearten, hallow, and protect thee.
Grow'st thou mellow? What is age?
Tinct on life's illumined page,
Where the purple letters glow
Deeper, painted long ago.
What is sorrow? Comfort's prime,
Love's choice Indian summer clime.
Sickness!—thou wilt pray it worse
For so blessed, balmy nurse.
And for death! when thou art dying
'Twill be Love beside thee lying.
Death is lonesome? Oh, how brave
Shows the foot-frequented grave!
Heaven itself is but the casket
For Love's treasure, ere he ask it,—
Ere with burning heart he follow,
Piercing through corruption's hollow.
If thou art beloved, oh then
Fear no grief from mortal men.

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  • Under the pseudonym Michael Field, Katherine Harris Bradley and her niece Edith Emma Cooper collaboratively published eight books of poetry and twenty-seven plays in late 19th-century Britain. The two women enjoyed a warm reception as Field in Victorian literary circles upon the release of their first major verse drama, Callirhoë and Fair Rosamond (1884), even garnering the admiration of Walter Pater, George Meredith, and Robert Browning. Though Browning, a lifelong friend, later let slip Field’s true identity and tempered the enthusiasm surrounding ‘his’ debut, Cooper and Bradley would nevertheless remain an integral part of the British literary scene up until their deaths from cancer within nine months of each other in 1913 and 1914.

    Born to a wealthy tobacco industry family in 1846, Katherine Bradley was well-educated in the arts and sufficiently financially independent to pursue that interest to the exclusion of work and marriage. She lived with and cared for...

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