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
Of all the thoughts of God that are Borne inward unto souls afar, Along the Psalmist's music deep, Now tell me if that any is, For gift or grace, surpassing this— 'He giveth His belovèd sleep'? What would we give to our beloved? The hero's heart to be unmoved, The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep, The patriot's voice, to teach and rouse, The monarch's crown, to light the brows? He giveth His belovèd, sleep. What do we give to our beloved? A little faith all undisproved, A little dust to overweep, And bitter memories to make The whole earth blasted for our sake. He giveth His belovèd, sleep. 'Sleep soft, beloved!' we sometimes say, But have no tune to charm away Sad dreams that through the eye-lids creep. But never doleful dream again Shall break the happy slumber when He giveth His belovèd, sleep. O earth, so full of dreary noises! O men, with wailing in your voices! O delvèd gold, the wailers heap! O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall! God strikes a silence through you all, He giveth His belovèd, sleep. His dews drop mutely on the hill; His cloud above it saileth still, Though on its slope men sow and reap. More softly than the dew is shed, Or cloud is floated overhead, He giveth His belovèd, sleep. Aye, men may wonder while they scan A living, thinking, feeling man Confirmed in such a rest to keep; But angels say, and through the word I think their happy smile is heard— 'He giveth His belovèd, sleep.' For me, my heart that erst did go Most like a tired child at a show, That sees through tears the mummers leap, Would now its wearied vision close, Would child-like on His love repose, Who giveth His belovèd, sleep. And, friends, dear friends,—when it shall be That this low breath is gone from me, And round my bier ye come to weep, Let One, most loving of you all, Say, 'Not a tear must o'er her fall; He giveth His belovèd, sleep.'