Phoebe Anna Traquair’s illuminated copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’ – Sonnet 30. From the National Library of Scotland, via Flickr Commons.
I see thine image through my tears tonight,
And yet to-day I saw thee smiling. How
Refer the cause? Beloved, is it thou
Or I, who makes me sad The acolyte
Amid the chanted joy and thankful rite
May so fall flat, with pale insensate brow,
On the altar-stair. I hear thy voice and vow,
Perplexed, uncertain, since thou art out of sight,
As he, in his swooning ears, the choir’s amen.
Belovëd, dost thou love? or did I see all
The glory as I dreamed, and fainted when
Too vehement light dilated my ideal,
For my soul’s eyes? Will that light come again,
As now these tears come – falling hot and real?