Fear: A Sonnet

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Fear: A Sonnet

By Elisabetta Lucia Portinari


I pray, do not think me cold if I fly when you draw near,

Do not think me flighty if I a hastened greeting give,

Do not think me mistrustful if you note my look of fear,

Or if I seem to slip away like fine sand through a sieve.

Whether my nature, or my humours, or our Lord Himself

Fashioned my will contrary to my wish I cannot say,

For though I long to be with whom I so admire, yourself,

Spied, fear grips me, and all my soul demands I run away.

What is this fear? Long have I sought to overcome its might,

An imp which whispers in my ear “If thou dost here remain,

A clumsy word, or jest, or stumbled step within their sight,

Shall make them think ye foolish, and cause you but greater shame.”

Such whispered poison oft infects the bravest heart with doubt,

If you do like me, then, like a hind, you must seek me out.