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
To George Sand: A Recognition
True genius, but true woman! dost deny Thy woman's nature with a manly scorn And break away the gauds and armlets worn By weaker women in captivity? Ah, vain denial! that revolted cry Is sobbed in by a woman's voice forlorn— Thy woman's hair, my sister, all unshorn Floats back dishevelled strength in agony Disproving thy man's name: and while before The world thou burnest in a poet-fire, We see thy woman-heart beat evermore Through the large flame. Beat purer, heart, and higher, Till God unsex thee on the heavenly shore, Where unincarnate spirits purely aspire!