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 tonight. 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, Yes 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 . . . 0 Love, thy words have ill availed If, what this said, I dared repeat at last!
Elizabeth Barrett Browning - 1806-1861
Beloved, my Beloved... (Sonnet 20)
Beloved, my Beloved, when I think That thou wast in the world a year ago, What time I sate alone here in the snow And saw no footprint, heard the silence sink No moment at thy voice ... but, link by link, Went counting all my chains, as if that so They never could fall off at any blow Struck by thy possible hand ... why, thus I drink Of life's great cup of wonder! Wonderful, Never to feel thee thrill the day or night With personal act or speech,—nor ever cull Some prescience of thee with the blossoms white Thou sawest growing! Atheists are as dull, Who cannot guess God's presence out of sight.