(6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)

Sonnet Xviii: I Never Gave A Lock Of Hair

I never gave a lock of hair away
To a man, dearest, except this to thee,
Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully,
I ring out to the full brown length and say
Take it. My day of youth went yesterday;
My hair no longer bounds to my foot's glee,
Nor plant I it from rose or myrtle-tree,
As girls do, any more: it only may
Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,
Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside
Through sorrow's trick. I thought the funeral-shears
Would take this first, but Love is justified,--
Take it thou,--finding pure, from all those years,
The kiss my mother left here when she died.

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Comments (1)

Incredible. The rhyme and rhythm are so natural, not forced. Her change of heart from sorrow to joy and love is evident in this poem. She could have said the same thing as this whole sonnet in one or two sentences and summed it up, yet not expressed the change of heart at all, or at least not in a memorable way.