Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I thought once how Theocritus had sung

Browning writes about age. She references Theocritus in the first line and spends the entire sonnet musing about what it means to have age. Browning uses the first part of the poem to discuss what she had learned and in particular, to point out that each year of a person’s life is a gift “for mortals, old or young.” By the middle of the poem, the speaker comes to the realization that even her sweet and sad years were meaningful. I’m unclear as to what she means when she refers to “a mystic shape” but, at the end, when he holds her the reader is presented with a sense of relief. The relief comes from the fact that the answer is not “death” but rather “love.”

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