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
The Soul's Expression
With stammering lips and insufficient sound I strive and struggle to deliver right That music of my nature, day and night With dream and thought and feeling interwound And only answering all the senses round With octaves of a mystic depth and height Which step out grandly to the infinite From the dark edges of the sensual ground. This song of soul I struggle to outbear Through portals of the sense, sublime and whole, And utter all myself into the air: But if I did it,—as the thunder-roll Breaks its own cloud, my flesh would perish there, Before that dread apocalypse of soul.