Sonnets from the Portuguese

I have loaded a load of loads from the Gutenberg servers. I edited the Sonnets from the Portuguese by EB Browning over the hols.

Here's a couple of goes: …


5 and 6:

I lift my heavy heart up solemnly, as once Electra her reliquary and looking in your eyes, I overturn the ashes at your feet.
Look and see what a great heap of grief was buried in me
And how the red wild sparks burns dim through the ash grey mess.

If your foot in scorn could tread them out to darkness utterly, it might be well, perhaps.
But if instead you wait beside me for the wind to blow the grey dust up
The laurels on your head, my Beloved,
Will not shield you so that none of all the fires shall scorch and shred the hair beneath.

Stand further off.
Then go!
Go from me.
Yet I feel that I shall stand henceforward in your shadow nevermore

Alone upon the threshold of my door of individuality I shall command the uses of my soul
Nor lift my hand serenely in the sunshine as before without the sense of that which I forbore

Your touch upon my palm.

The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves your heart in mine with pulses that beat double.
What I do and what I dream includes you, as the wine must taste of its own grape.

And when I sue God for myself, He hears that name of yours, and sees within my eyes the tears of two.

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4 thoughts on “Sonnets from the Portuguese

  1. 8 to 13:What can I give you back, O liberal and princely giver, who has brought the gold and purple of yours heart, unstained, untold and laid them on the outside of the wall for such as I to take or leave, withal in unexpected largesse?Am I cold, ungrateful, that for these most manifold high gifts I render nothing back at all?Not so; not cold but very poor instead.Ask God who knows.For frequent tears have run the colours from my life and left so dead and pale a stuff, it were not fitly done to give the same as a pillow to your head.Go farther!Let it serve to trample on.Can it be right to give what I can give?To let you sit beneath the fall of tears as salt as mine, and hear the sighing yearsRe-sighing on my lips renunciative through those infrequent smiles which fail to live, for all your adjurations?O my fears, that this can scarce be right!We are not peers,so to be lovers;And I own, and grieve, that givers of such gifts as mine are, -must be, counted with the ungenerous.Out, alas!I will not soil your purple with my dust,Nor breathe my poison on your Venice-glass,Nor give you any loveWhich were unjust.Beloved, I only love you, let it pass.Yet, love, mere love, is beautiful indeed and worthy of acceptance.Fire is bright,Let temple burn, or flax; an equal light leaps in the flame from cedar-plank or weedAnd love is fire.And when I say at need "I love you!Be sure, I love you.In your sight I stand transfigured, glorified aright, with conscience of the new rays that proceed out of my face toward yours.There's nothing low in love, when love the lowest.The least creatures who love God, God accepts while loving so.And what I feel, across the inferior features of what I am,Flashes itself, and shows how that great work of love enhances nature's.And therefore if to love can be desert, I am not all unworthy.Cheeks as pale as these you see and trembling knees that fail to bear the burden of a heavy heart,This weary minstrel life, that once was braced to climb Aornus and can scarce manage to pipe now against the valley nightingale.A melancholy music, -why advert to these things?O Beloved, it is plain I am not of your worth nor for your place.And yet, because I love thee, I obtain from that same love this vindicating grace:To live on still in love and yet in vain,To bless thee, yet renounce you to your face.Indeed this very love which is my boast and which, when rising up from breast to brow,Crowns me with a ruby large enough to draw men's eyes and prove the inner costThis love even, all my worth, to the uttermost,I should not love withal, unless you had set me an exampleShown me how, when first yours earnest eyes with mine were closed,And love called love.And thus, I cannot speak of love even, as a good thing of my own:Your soul has snatched mine, all faint and weak and placed it by you on a golden throneAnd that I loveO soul, we must be meek!Is by you only, whom I love alone.Will you have me fashion into words the love I bear you?Finding words enough?And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough, between our faces, to cast light on each?I drop it at your feet.I cannot teach my hand to hold my spirits so far from myself that I should bring you proof in words of love hid in me, out of reach.No.Let my femininity commend my woman's love to your beliefSeeing that I stand un-won, however wooedAnd rend the garment of my life, in brief, by a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,Lest one touch of this heart convey its grief.

  2. It was a bit of a struggle at time. This bit is about where I gave up:"Let my femininity commend my woman's love to your belief".I think this all went down about the 1830's. Very much of the early Victorian era I think.But it wasn't all bad.

  3. I do like this book of her poetry. Read it often during certain times of my life. It brought some comfort.Now when you say 'edit', do you mean you changed it? I don't know it by heart so I couldn't tell if it was changed or not. Happy New Year to you.

  4. LTNS.Yes I thought some of the words were too old fashioned for my tastes so I thought the world might be ready for better. I messed with the setting out too.I suppose I aught to put the lot on but then I'd have to put the Gutenberg licence on too, that would be a pain.Maybe next week.

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