Phoebe Anna Traquair

'Sonnets from the Portuguese'

Sonnet 23

Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead,
Wouldst thou miss any life in losing mine?
And would the sun for thee more coldly shine
Because of grave-damps falling round my head?
I marvelled, my Belovëd, when I read
Thy thought so in the letter. I am thine –
But .. so much to thee? Can I pour thy wine
While my hands tremble so? Then my soul, instead
Of dreams of death, resumes life's lower range.
Then love me, Love! look on me – breathe on me!
As brighter ladies do not count it strange,
For love, to give up acres and degree,
I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange
My near sweet view of heaven, for earth with thee!

– text transcribed from Phoebe Anna Traquair's manuscript.

Folio 24 from Phoebe Anna Traquair's illuminated copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnets from the Portuguese', 1892-1897
Library reference: MS.8127, f.24
Date: 1895

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