XV. Accuse me not, beseech thee, that I wear – Elizabeth Barrett Browning‏

by richibi

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

XV. Accuse me not, beseech thee, that I wear

Accuse me not, beseech thee, that I wear
Too calm and sad a face in front of thine;
For we two look two ways, and cannot shine
With the same sunlight on our brow and hair.
On me thou lookest with no doubting care,
As on a bee shut in a crystalline;
Since sorrow hath shut me safe in love’s divine,
And to spread wing and fly in the outer air
Were most impossible failure, if I strove
To fail so. But I look on thee – on thee –
Beholding, besides love, the end of love,
Hearing oblivion beyond memory;
As one who sits and gazes from above,
Over the rivers to the bitter sea.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


having been flung into the maelstrom of love Elizabeth
Barrett Browning
has now conceded that her condition is
a fact, she might as well deal with it

and deal with it she does, in imperatives, “Accuse me not”,
she orders, after the many other stipulations she musters
in the last, her XIVth of these poems, where “… love me
for love’s sake”,
she demands after a string of other, albeit
precautionary, edicts

there are parameters to this involvement, she insists, you
must love me for who I am if we are to share destinies too
profound, and too fraught, to squander

in this I suspect she will be a woman of steel