My letters! all dead paper, mute and white!
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
And let them drop down on my knee to-night.
This said, – he wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
To come and touch my hand; a simple thing,
Yet I wept for it! – this, – the paper's light
Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and quailed
As if God's future thundered on my past
This said. I am thine – and so its ink has paled
With lying at my heart that beat too fast.
And this – O Love, thy words have ill availed
If, what this said. I dared repeat at last
– text transcribed from Phoebe Anna Traquair's manuscript.
Folio 29 from Phoebe Anna Traquair's illuminated copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnets from the Portuguese', 1892-1897
Library reference: MS.8127, f.29