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English poet
(1806 - 1861)
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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
  I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach . . .
      - Sonnets from the Portuguese [Love]

Very whitely still
  The lilies of our lives may reassure
    Their blossoms from their roots, accessible
      Alone to heavenly dews that drop not fewer;
        Growing straight out of man's reach, on the hill.
          God only, who made us rich, can make us poor.
      - Sonnets from the Portuguese [Lilies]

Who can fear
  Too many stars, though each in heaven shall roll--
    Too many flowers, though each shall crown the year?
      Say thou dost love me, love me, love me--toll
        The silver iterance!--only minding, Dear,
          To love me also in silence, with thy soul.
      - Sonnets from the Portuguese (sonnet XXI)

First time he kiss'd me, he but only kiss'd
  The fingers of this hand wherewith I write;
    And ever since it grew more clean and white.
      - Sonnets from the Portuguese
         (sonnet XXXVIII) [Kisses]

The soul's Rialto hath its merchandise,
  I barter for curl upon that mart.
      - Sonnets from the Portuguese (XIX)

O, brothers! let us leave the shame and sin
  Of taking vainly in a plaintive mood,
    The holy name of Grief--holy herein,
      That, by the grief of One, came all our good.
      - Sonnets--Exaggeration [Grief]

The essence of all beauty, I call love,
  The attribute, the evidence, and end,
    The consummation to the inward sense
      Of beauty apprehended from without,
        I still call love.
      - Sword Glare [Beauty]

Thank God for grace,
  Ye who weep only! If, as some have done,
    Ye grope tear-blinded in a desert place
      And touch but tombs,--look up! Those tears will run
        Soon in long rivers down the lifted face,
          And leave the vision clear for stars and sun.
      - Tears [Tears]

Thank God, bless God, all ye who suffer not
  More grief than ye can weep for. That is well--
    That is light grieving!
      - Tears [Grief]

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
  Ere the sorrow comes with years?
    They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
      And that cannot stop their tears.
      - The Cry of the Children [Childhood]

And that dismal cry rose slowly
  And sank slowly through the air,
    Full of spirit's melancholy
      And eternity's despair!
        And they heart the words it said--
          Pan is dead! great Pan is dead!
            Pan, Pan is dead!
      - The Dead Pan [Gods]

"Yes," I answered you last night;
  "No," this morning, sir, I say:
    Colors seen by candle-light
      Will not look the same by day.
      - The Lady's "Yes" [Wooing]

And her yes, once said to you,
  Shall be Yes for evermore.
      - The Lady's Yes [Decision]

How joyously the young sea-mew
  Lay dreaming on the waters blue,
    Whereon our little bark had thrown
      A little shade, the only one;
        But shadows ever man pursue.
      - The Sea-Mew [Sea Birds]

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 beloved sleep."
      - The Sleep [Sleep]

And friends, dear friends,--when it shall be
  That this low breath is gone from me,
    And gone 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 beloved sleep."
      - The Sleep (st. 9) [Tears]

The flower-girl's prayer to buy roses and pinks,
  Held out in the smoke, like stars by day.
      - The Soul's Travelling [Flowers]

Yet here's eglantine,
  Here's ivy!--take them as I used to do
    Thy flowers, and keep them where they shall not pine.
      Instruct thine eyes to keep their colours true,
        And tell thy soul their roots are left in mine.
      - Trans. from the Portuguese (XLIV)

Unless you can feel when the song is done
  No other is sweet in its rhythm;
    Unless you can feel when left by one
      That all men else go with him.
      - Unless [Love]

God's prophets of the Beautiful,
  These Poets were.
      - Vision of Poets (l. 161) [Poets]

I know--is all the mourner saith,
  Knowledge by suffering entereth;
    And Life is perfected by Death.
      - Vision of Poets (st. 321) [Life]

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