When we met first and loved I did not build
Upon the event with marble. Could it mean
To last, a love set pendulous between
Sorrow and Sorrow? Nay, I rather thrilled,
Distrusting every light that seemed to gild
The onward path, and feared to overlean
A finger even. And, though I have grown serene
And strong since then, I think that God has willed
A still renewable fear – O love, O troth.
Lest these enclaspëd hands should never hold,
This mutual kiss drop down between us both
As an unowned thing, once the lips being cold.
And Love, be false! if he, to keep one oath,
Must lose one joy, by his life's star foretold.
– text transcribed from Phoebe Anna Traquair's manuscript.
Folio 37 from Phoebe Anna Traquair's illuminated copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnets from the Portuguese', 1892-1897
Library reference: MS.8127, f.37