Sonnets from the Portuguese


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My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes God set between His After and Before, And strike up and strike off the general roar Of the rushing worlds a melody that floats In a serene air purely. Antidotes Of medicated music, answering for Mankind’s forlornest uses, thou canst pour From thence into their ears. God’s will devotes Thine to such ends, and mine to wait on thine. How, Dearest, wilt thou have me for most use? A hope, to sing by gladly? or a fine Sad memory, with thy songs to interfuse? A shade, in which to sing—of palm or pine? A grave, on which to rest from singing? Choose.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Chicago: "XVII," Sonnets from the Portuguese Original Sources, accessed February 3, 2023,

MLA: "XVII." Sonnets from the Portuguese, Original Sources. 3 Feb. 2023.

Harvard: 1850, 'XVII' in Sonnets from the Portuguese. Original Sources, retrieved 3 February 2023, from