Phoebe Anna Traquair

'Sonnets from the Portuguese'

Sonnet 28

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
Date 1896

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