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What Can I Give Thee Back, O Liberal
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).


What Can I Give Thee Back, O Liberal
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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,
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
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 father! let it serve to trample on.


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