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 I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me.
Straightway I was 'ware, So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair: And a voice said in mastery, while I strove,-- 'Guess now who holds thee ? '--' Death,' I said.
But, there, The silver answer rang,--' Not Death, but Love.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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