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Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese

XVIII

I never gave a lock of hair away
To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,
Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully
I ring out to the full brown length and say
"Take it."  My day of youth went yesterday;
My hair no longer bounds to my foot's glee,
Nor plant I it from rose- or myrtle-tree,
As girls do, any more:  it only may
Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,
Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside
Through sorrow's trick.  I thought the funeral-shears
Would take this first, but Love is justified, -
Take it thou,--finding pure, from all those years,
The kiss my mother left here when she died.