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I Thought Once How Theocritus Had Sung
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Poems (1844), Aurora Leigh (1846-56, published 1857), Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), Casa Guidi Windows (1850s), Last Poems (1857-61), Poems Before Congress (1860).


I Thought Once How Theocritus Had Sung
by 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 is 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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