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Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese

XI

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 girt
To climb Aornus, and can scarce avail
To pipe now 'gainst the valley nightingale
A melancholy music,--why advert
To these things?  O Beloved, it is plain
I am not of thy worth nor for thy 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 thee to thy face.