Sonnet XI

(1999)

"Sonnet XI" is the second song of Antonio Carlos Defeo's song cycle Three Simple Songs. The song sets the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Sonnet XI
by Antonio Carlos Defeo


And therefore if to love can be desert
And therefore if to love can be desert,
I am not all unworthy. Cheeks as pale
As these you see, and trembling knees that fail
To bear the burden of a heavy heart, -
This weary minstrel-life that once was girt
To climb Aornus, and can scarce avail
To pipe now 'gainst the valley nightingale
A melancholy music,--why advert
To these things? O Beloved, it is plain
I am not of thy worth nor for thy place!
And yet, because I love thee, I obtain
From that same love this vindicating grace
To live on still in love, and yet in vain, -
To bless thee, yet renounce thee to thy face.


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