XXl. Say Over Again, And Yet Once Over Again – Elizabeth Barrett Browning‏‏

by richibi

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

XXl. Say Over Again, And Yet Once Over Again

Say over again, and yet once over again,
That thou dost love me. Though the word repeated
Should seem “a cuckoo-song,” as thou dost treat it,
Remember, never to the hill or plain,
Valley and wood, without her cuckoo-strain
Comes the fresh Spring in all her green completed.
Belovèd, I, amid the darkness greeted
By a doubtful spirit-voice, in that doubt’s pain
Cry, “Speak once more–thou lovest!” Who can fear
Too many stars, though each in heaven shall roll,
Too many flowers, though each shall crown the year?
Say thou dost love me, love me, love me–toll
The silver iterance!–only minding, Dear,
To love me also in silence with thy soul.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


though we might no longer be Romantics, it isn’t
easy to forego its ideals, to succumb to the pure
illusion of unfettered, even selfless, affection,
romance still burns, though like only maybe
embers, no less searing for being undisclosed,
in our more eclectic 21st-Century consciousness

repeat again and again that “thou dost love me”
she says, though it might seem silly to him like
a “cuckoo-song”, but these bursts of apparently
mere serendipity, she defends, are to the
contrary integral to spring, and not at all

and in her “darkness” these trivialities would
reassure her

as art itself incidentally, a triviality neither,
also does and is meant to do

and indeed even the innumerable stars in the
heavens, she continues, flowers in the fields,
are none of them irrelevant, superfluous,
[t]oo many”

nor then would to say that “thou dost love me”,
“silver iterance” indeed, never forgetting
nonetheless to fit the feeling to the words

I always say “I love you” now, taking care to
ever include the feeling, upon taking leave of
those I love

maybe that’s an atavism