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Robert Browning


 

 

Robert Browning

British poet

born May 7, 1812, London
died Dec. 12, 1889, Venice

Major English poet of the Victorian age, noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue and psychological portraiture. His most noted work was The Ring and the Book (1868–69), the story of a Roman murder trial in 12 books.




Life.
The son of a clerk in the Bank of England in London, Browning received only a slight formal education, although his father gave him a grounding in Greek and Latin. In 1828 he attended classes at the University of London but left after half a session. Apart from a journey to St. Petersburg in 1834 with George de Benkhausen, the Russian consul general, and two short visits to Italy in 1838 and 1844, he lived with his parents in London until 1846, first at Camberwell and after 1840 at Hatcham. During this period (1832–46) he wrote his early long poems and most of his plays.

Browning’s first published work, Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession (1833, anonymous), although formally a dramatic monologue, embodied many of his own adolescent passions and anxieties. Although it received some favourable comment, it was attacked by John Stuart Mill, who condemned the poet’s exposure and exploitation of his own emotions and his “intense and morbid self-consciousness.” It was perhaps Mill’s critique that determined Browning never to confess his own emotions again in his poetry but to write objectively. In 1835 he published Paracelsus and in 1840 Sordello, both poems dealing with men of great ability striving to reconcile the demands of their own personalities with those of the world. Paracelsus was well received, but Sordello, which made exacting demands on its reader’s knowledge, was almost universally declared incomprehensible.

Encouraged by the actor Charles Macready, Browning devoted his main energies for some years to verse drama, a form that he had already adopted for Strafford (1837). Between 1841 and 1846, in a series of pamphlets under the general title of Bells and Pomegranates, he published seven more plays in verse, including Pippa Passes (1841), A Blot in the ’Scutcheon (produced in 1843), and Luria (1846). These, and all his earlier works except Strafford, were printed at his family’s expense. Although Browning enjoyed writing for the stage, he was not successful in the theatre, since his strength lay in depicting, as he had himself observed of Strafford, “Action in Character, rather than Character in Action.”

By 1845 the first phase of Browning’s life was near its end. In that year he met Elizabeth Barrett. In her Poems (1844) Barrett had included lines praising Browning, who wrote to thank her (January 1845). In May they met and soon discovered their love for each other. Barrett had, however, been for many years an invalid, confined to her room and thought incurable. Her father, moreover, was a dominant and selfish man, jealously fond of his daughter, who in turn had come to depend on his love. When her doctors ordered her to Italy for her health and her father refused to allow her to go, the lovers, who had been corresponding and meeting regularly, were forced to act. They were married secretly in September 1846; a week later they left for Pisa.

Throughout their married life, although they spent holidays in France and England, their home was in Italy, mainly at Florence, where they had a flat in Casa Guidi. Their income was small, although after the birth of their son, Robert, in 1849 Mrs. Browning’s cousin John Kenyon made them an allowance of £100 a year, and on his death in 1856 he left them £11,000.

Browning produced comparatively little poetry during his married life. Apart from a collected edition in 1849 he published only Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day (1850), an examination of different attitudes toward Christianity, perhaps having its immediate origin in the death of his mother in 1849; an introductory essay (1852) to some spurious letters of Shelley, Browning’s only considerable work in prose and his only piece of critical writing; and Men and Women (1855). This was a collection of 51 poems—dramatic lyrics such as “Memorabilia,” “Love Among the Ruins,” and “A Toccata of Galuppi’s”; the great monologues such as “Fra Lippo Lippi,” “How It Strikes a Contemporary,” and “Bishop Blougram’s Apology”; and a very few poems in which implicitly (“By the Fireside”) or explicitly (“One Word More”) he broke his rule and spoke of himself and of his love for his wife. Men and Women, however, had no great sale, and many of the reviews were unfavourable and unhelpful. Disappointed for the first time by the reception of his work, Browning in the following years wrote little, sketching and modeling in clay by day and enjoying the society of his friends at night. At last Mrs. Browning’s health, which had been remarkably restored by her life in Italy, began to fail. On June 29, 1861, she died in her husband’s arms. In the autumn he returned slowly to London with his young son.

His first task on his return was to prepare his wife’s Last Poems for the press. At first he avoided company, but gradually he accepted invitations more freely and began to move in society. Another collected edition of his poems was called for in 1863, but Pauline was not included. When his next book of poems, Dramatis Personae (1864)—including “Abt Vogler,” “Rabbi Ben Ezra,” “Caliban upon Setebos,” and “Mr. Sludge, ‘The Medium’ ”—reached two editions, it was clear that Browning had at last won a measure of popular recognition.

In 1868–69 he published his greatest work, The Ring and the Book, based on the proceedings in a murder trial in Rome in 1698. Grand alike in plan and execution, it was at once received with enthusiasm, and Browning was established as one of the most important literary figures of the day. For the rest of his life he was much in demand in London society. He spent his summers with friends in France, Scotland, or Switzerland or, after 1878, in Italy.

The most important works of his last years, when he wrote with great fluency, were the long narrative or dramatic poems, often dealing with contemporary themes, such as Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau (1871), Fifine at the Fair (1872), Red Cotton Night-Cap Country (1873), The Inn Album (1875), and the two series of Dramatic Idyls (1879 and 1880). He wrote a number of poems on classical subjects, including Balaustion’s Adventure (1871) and Aristophanes’ Apology (1875). In addition to many collections of shorter poems—Pacchiarotto and How He Worked in Distemper (1876), Jocoseria (1883), Ferishtah’s Fancies (1884), and Asolando: Fancies and Facts (1889)—Browning published toward the end of his life two books of unusually personal origin—La Saisiaz (1878), at once an elegy for his friend Anne Egerton-Smith and a meditation on mortality, and Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in Their Day (1887), in which he discussed books and ideas that had influenced him since his youth.

While staying in Venice in 1889, Browning caught cold, became seriously ill, and died on December 12. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.



Assessment.
Few poets have suffered more than Browning from hostile incomprehension or misplaced admiration, both arising very often from a failure to recognize the predominantly dramatic nature of his work. The bulk of his writing before 1846 was for the theatre; thereafter his major poems showed his increasing mastery of the dramatic monologue. This consists essentially of a narrative spoken by a single character and amplified by his comments on his story and the circumstances in which he is speaking. From his own knowledge of the historical or other events described, or else by inference from the poem itself, the reader is eventually enabled to assess the intelligence and honesty of the narrator and the value of the views he expresses. This type of dramatic monologue, since it depends on the unconscious provision by the speaker of the evidence by which the reader is to judge him, is eminently suitable for the ironist. Browning’s fondness for this form has, however, encouraged the two most common misconceptions of the nature of his poetry—that it is deliberately obscure and that its basic “message” is a facile optimism. Neither of these criticisms is groundless; both are incomplete.

Browning is not always difficult. In many poems, especially short lyrics, he achieves effects of obvious felicity. Nevertheless, his superficial difficulties, which prevent an easy understanding of the sense of a passage, are evident enough: his attempts to convey the broken and irregular rhythms of speech make it almost impossible to read the verse quickly; his elliptical syntax sometimes disconcerts and confuses the reader but can be mastered with little effort; certain poems, such as Sordello or “Old Pictures in Florence,” require a considerable acquaintance with their subjects in order to be understood; and his fondness for putting his monologues into the mouths of charlatans and sophists, such as Mr. Sludge or Napoleon III, obliges the reader to follow a chain of subtle or paradoxical arguments. All these characteristics stand in the way of easy reading.

But even when individual problems of style and technique have been resolved, the poems’ interest is seldom exhausted. First, Browning often chooses an unexpected point of view, especially in his monologues, thus forcing the reader to accept an unfamiliar perspective. Second, he is capable of startling changes of focus within a poem. For example, he chooses subjects in themselves insignificant, as in “Fra Lippo Lippi” and “Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha,” and treats through them the eternal themes of poetry. This transition from particular observation to transcendental truth presents much the same challenge to the reader as do the metaphysical poets of the 17th century and much the same excitement. Third, because Browning seldom presents a speaker without irony, there is a constant demand on the reader to appreciate exactly the direction of satiric force in the poem. Even in a melodious poem such as “A Toccata of Galuppi’s,” the valid position must be distinguished from the false at every turn of the argument, while in the major casuistic monologues, such as “Bishop Blougram’s Apology,” the shifts of sympathy are subtler still.

It has also been objected that Browning uses his poetry as a vehicle for his philosophy, which is not of itself profound or interesting, being limited to an easy optimism. But Browning’s dramatic monologues must, as he himself insisted, be recognized as the utterances of fictitious persons drawing their strength from their appropriateness in characterizing the speaker, and not as expressions of Browning’s own sentiments. Thus his great gallery of imagined characters is to be regarded as an exhaustive catalog of human motives, not as a series of self-portraits. Nevertheless, certain fundamental assumptions are made so regularly that they may be taken to represent Browning’s personal beliefs, such as his Christian faith. In matters of human conduct his sympathies are with those who show loving hearts, honest natures, and warmth of feeling; certainly these qualities are never satirized. He is in general on the side of those who commit themselves wholeheartedly to an ideal, even if they fail. By itself this might suggest rather a naive system of values, yet he also, sometimes even in the same poem, shows his understanding of those who have been forced to lower their standards and accept a compromise. Thus, although Browning is far from taking a cynical or pessimistic view of man’s nature or destiny, his hopes for the world are not simple and unreasoning.

In The Ring and the Book Browning displays all his distinctive qualities. He allows a dramatic monologue to each character he portrays—to the man on trial for murder, to his young wife, whom he has mortally wounded, to her protector, to various Roman citizens, to the opposing lawyers, and to the pope, who ultimately decides the accused’s fate. Each monologue deals with substantially the same occurrences, but each, of course, describes and interprets them differently. By permitting the true facts to emerge gradually by inference from these conflicting accounts, Browning reveals with increasing subtlety the true natures of his characters. As each great monologue illuminates the moral being of the speaker, it becomes clear that nothing less than the whole ethical basis of human actions is in question. For over 20,000 lines Browning explores his theme, employing an unfaltering blank verse, rising often to passages of moving poetry, realizing in extraordinary detail the life of 17th-century Rome, and creating a series of characters as diverse and fully realized as those in any novel.

During Browning’s lifetime, critical recognition came rapidly after 1864; and, although his books never sold as well as his wife’s or Tennyson’s, he thereafter acquired a considerable and enthusiastic public. In the 20th century his reputation, along with those of the other great Victorians, declined, and his work did not enjoy a wide reading public, perhaps in part because of increasing skepticism of the values implied in his poetry. He has, however, influenced many modern poets, such as Robert Frost and Ezra Pound, partly through his development of the dramatic monologue, with its emphasis on the psychology of the individual and his stream of consciousness, but even more through his success in writing about the variety of modern life in language that owed nothing to convention. As long as technical accomplishment, richness of texture, sustained imaginative power, and a warm interest in humanity are counted virtues, Browning will be numbered among the great English poets.

Philip Drew

 

 


DRAMATIC MONOLOGUES AND LYRICS OF BROWNING
 

Author: Robert Browning (1812-1889)
First published: Dramatic Lyrics, 1842; Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, 1845; Men and Women, 1855

 



 

Much of Browning's finest writing was done during his thirties, years which comprise most of the poems in the volumes Dramatic Lyrics, Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, and Men and Women. The intentions and procedures of these three volumes are similar, so that most often one's comments on the first two hold good for the third as well. In fact, Browning himself in a later collected edition reshuffled many of these poems, breaking down the divisions between individual books but preserving always the dominating premise that the poems should be, as he said, "though often Lyric in expression, always Dramatic in principle, and so many utterances of so many imaginary persons, not mine." During his middle years, we see Browning striving to write poems at once less sentimental and more objective than those of his early hero Shelley. He developed his own form of the dramatic monologue in the attempt to overcome subjectivity and vagueness, and his success here is in the nature of an overcompensation. The poems in these volumes, "always Dramatic in principle," are brilliant but somehow chilly.
Browning's verse-play, PippaPasses, published in 1841, immediately precedes Dramatic Lyrics and by its superb rendering of the spirit of Italy—a country which is for Browning always the dialectical counterpart of England, a kind of anti-England—the play foreshadows the skeptical attitude conveyed by the poems. In "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church," in "My Last Duchess," and in the immense narrative poem The Ring and the Book the poet was later to draw implicit and explicit contrasts between contemporary England and Renaissance Italy. His habitual approach is in this way argumentative and skeptical, the counterbalancing of opposing countries, times, sexes, and beliefs—as is suggested even by many of the titles in these volumes: "Meeting at Night" against "Parting at Morning," "Love in a Life" against "Life in a Love," "The Italian in England" against "The Englishman in Italy." The method permits Browning to end an elegant dialogue between two Venetian lovers, "In a Gondola," with a vicious stabbing. Alternately, he can present the interior monologue of a warped person, allowing the character to condemn himself by his (or her) words: as is the case of the female poisoner, crossed in love, in "The Laboratory," or the deranged murderer who speaks in "Porphyria's Lover." Perhaps the best of these interior monologues is the "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister," in which a splenetic monk grumbles against his abbot:

GR-R-R—there go, my heart's abhorrence!
Water your damn flower-pots, do!
If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
God's blood, would not mine kill you!
What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming?
Oh, that rose has prior claims—
Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?
Hell dry you up with its flames!

The lines are characteristic: Not only does the voice contradict the speaker's appearance and vocation, but the very exclamations and dashes render the punctuation histrionic and serve to define a particular habit of mind.
The monologues which imply a listener are psychologically more complex. "My Last Duchess" and "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" appeared in 1842 and 1845, respectively, and are models, in these earlier volumes, of the kind of irony and immediacy which the dramatic method at its best is capable of generating:

That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive, I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf 's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.

Browning consciously follows Donne in beginning poems with arresting first lines. Here, much of the Duke's ruth-lessness is conveyed at the very outset by his exquisitely casual reference, with the possessive "my," to his dead wife, by his evident pleasure at being able now to consider her as an art object, not as an intractable life-study:

She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked what-e'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

Subtly, Browning manages to turn the Duke's criticism of his former wife, his specious yet elegantly phrased "how shall I say?" claim that she was too much alive, too indiscriminately joyous, into an exposure of his own monstrous pride in "a nine-hundred-years-old name." Flexible couplets with unobtrusive rhymes are the fit medium for his self-justifying logic and for the vicious sweetness which informs even his dealings with his present auditor, the envoy of the woman who will probably be Ferrara's next Duchess ("Will't please you rise?" addressed to the envoy is a command in the guise of a question). By tracing a logic of association in the blank verse of "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church," Browning focuses in a similar way on an incident of crucial importance for the self-revelation of his title character, the delirious churchman whose dying words concern pagan luxury and worldly pomp rather than Christian salvation.
Two dramatic monologues from the Men and Women volume, "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "How it Strikes a Contemporary," are explicitly concerned with aesthetics and the process of composition in poetry and painting. If we read between the lines of these poems, looking for the passages which most accord with Browning's actual practice, it is clear that he believes the best art is a universalizing of individual experience; and that to this end the poet or painter must be first of all curious, preeminently a noticer. Indeed, the verbs "notice," "mark," "see" are common in Browning's dramatic lyrics, where to notice a unique scene or situation is to exert an individual consciousness, and where to notice intensely is the first step in separating the apparent from the real and in beginning to write a book that in words from The Ring and the Book "shall mean beyond the facts." Accordingly, a collection of "so many utterances of so many imaginary persons" would escape the charge of subjectivity, yet taken as a whole it would convey a meaning beyond the mathematical sum of the dramatic lyric voices involved. These speakers reveal themselves far beyond what the occasion warrants, and the poems are essentially more dramatic and romantic than lyric. Browning takes definite pleasure in the vivid selfhood of his speakers, and pleasure as well in the multiple vision of the artist who can create and embody conflicting viewpoints while remaining himself uncommitted.
Browning's interest in conflict, incongruity, even in the grotesque, has its natural complement in his dramatic technique. The range of styles and effects is as various as the range of complexity among his characters. "An Englishman in Italy" exhibits a cataloguing, descriptive style, for instance in the request that one observe a fishing skiff from Amalfi, with alien English eyes watching

...Our fisher arrive.
And pitch down his basket before us,
All trembling alive
With pink and gray jellies, your seafruit;
You touch the strange lumps,
And mouths gape there, eyes open, all manner
Of horns and lumps....

In "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," and in "Incident of the French Camp," Browning manages well two very different kinds of narrative. The mode of "Pictor Ignotus," an early monologue which looks ahead to "Andrea Del Sarto" and "Fra Lippo Lippi," is one of ratiocination, following a proud artist's ebb and flux of thought:

Î human faces, hath it spilt, my cup?
What did ye give me that I have not saved?
Nor will I say I have not dreamed (how well!)
Of going—I, in each new picture,—forth,
As, making new hearts beat and bosoms swell,
To Pope or Kaiser, East, West, South, or
North....

There is also the lyric outcry of "Home-Thoughts, From Abroad," with its famous lines, "Oh, to be in England/ Now that April's there." Browning's metrical range is diverse and experimental as well; in "Boot and Saddle" and "How They Brought the Good News From Ghent to Aix" he brilliantly turns the difficult anapestic meter to his own purposes, for both poems succeed in conveying by a kind of metrical imitation the excitement of a fast ride on a horse ("I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three"). Finally, it accords well with Browning's perspective, his prizing of unique objects and irreducible selfhood, that he should have created a new metrical or stanzaic form for almost every separate poem.
These earlier poems are a true representation of Browning in that they show him to be intellectually ingenious but no philosopher; an experimenter with both social and literary norms but by no standard a Victorian radical; a writer aware of evil and violence, but for the most part a cautious optimist. The later poems and The Ring and the Book bear out one's sense that his major achievement is in fact in these dramatic poems of his middle years, where the view of truth as relative is first impressively demonstrated in dramatic monologues. There is, of course, something deeply subversive in the notion that different points of view are equally valid, in the oblique yet damaging criticisms of Victorian sexual and religious conventions conveyed in some of these poems, in the attacks on bureaucracy such as the telling poem written against the "official" Wordsworth, "The Lost Leader." The dramatic monologue, at once objective and subjective, public and private in its methods, was the main vehicle used by Browning for criticism of Victorian society and manners; the monologue permitted ethical pronouncements to be made through someone else's voice, as it were, ventriloquially.
Thus in "My Last Duchess," in "Bishop Blougram's Apology," in many of his best poems, Browning is a public writer with disturbing private tendencies: He never pushes exposure or criticism past the point of pleasure, and his work as a whole gives an effect of hard impersonal brilliance. Browning was typically a man of his age in believing that the poet was a moral agent in his society, a "Maker-see" whose concerns were norms and value, the discovery and presentation of a heightened reality. Yet in wishing to write poems which would mean "beyond the facts" he settled on a method which from the start excluded personal directness. Because all his sincerities and critiques had to be conveyed indirectly, these poems for all their peculiar triumphs will be found to lack the keynote of passionate personal despair which is the most profound theme in the finest Victorian poetry.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Poems
 

 

 

 

 

 

A Light Woman


I.

So far as our story approaches the end,
Which do you pity the most of us three?---
My friend, or the mistress of my friend
With her wanton eyes, or me?

II.

My friend was already too good to lose,
And seemed in the way of improvement yet,
When she crossed his path with her hunting-noose
And over him drew her net.

III.

When I saw him tangled in her toils,
A shame, said I, if she adds just him
To her nine-and-ninety other spoils,
The hundredth for a whim!

IV.

And before my friend be wholly hers,
How easy to prove to him, I said,
An eagle's the game her pride prefers,
Though she snaps at a wren instead!

V.

So, I gave her eyes my own eyes to take,
My hand sought hers as in earnest need,
And round she turned for my noble sake,
And gave me herself indeed.

VI.

The eagle am I, with my fame in the world,
The wren is he, with his maiden face.
---You look away and your lip is curled?
Patience, a moment's space!

VII.

For see, my friend goes shaling and white;
He eyes me as the basilisk:
I have turned, it appears, his day to night,
Eclipsing his sun's disk.

VIII.

And I did it, he thinks, as a very thief:
``Though I love her---that, he comprehends---
``One should master one's passions, (love, in chief)
``And be loyal to one's friends!''

IX.

And she,---she lies in my hand as tame
As a pear late basking over a wall;
Just a touch to try and off it came;
'Tis mine,---can I let it fall?

X.

With no mind to eat it, that's the worst!
Were it thrown in the road, would the case assist?
'Twas quenching a dozen blue-flies' thirst
When I gave its stalk a twist.

XI.

And I,---what I seem to my friend, you see:
What I soon shall seem to his love, you guess:
What I seem to myself, do you ask of me?
No hero, I confess.

XII.

'Tis an awkward thing to play with souls,
And matter enough to save one's own:
Yet think of my friend, and the burning coals
He played with for bits of stone!

XIII.

One likes to show the truth for the truth;
That the woman was light is very true:
But suppose she says,---Never mind that youth!
What wrong have I done to you?

XIV.

Well, any how, here the story stays,
So far at least as I understand;
And, Robert Browning, you writer of plays,
Here's a subject made to your hand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lovers' Quarrel


I.

Oh, what a dawn of day!
How the March sun feels like May!
All is blue again
After last night's rain,
And the South dries the hawthorn-spray.
Only, my Love's away!
I'd as lief that the blue were grey,

II.

Runnels, which rillets swell,
Must be dancing down the dell,
With a foaming head
On the beryl bed
Paven smooth as a hermit's cell;
Each with a tale to tell,
Could my Love but attend as well.

III.

Dearest, three months ago!
When we lived blocked-up with snow,---
When the wind would edge
In and in his wedge,
In, as far as the point could go---
Not to our ingle, though,
Where we loved each the other so!

IV.

Laughs with so little cause!
We devised games out of straws.
We would try and trace
One another's face
In the ash, as an artist draws;
Free on each other's flaws,
How we chattered like two church daws!

V.

What's in the `Times''?---a scold
At the Emperor deep and cold;
He has taken a bride
To his gruesome side,
That's as fair as himself is bold:
There they sit ermine-stoled,
And she powders her hair with gold.

VI.

Fancy the Pampas' sheen!
Miles and miles of gold and green
Where the sunflowers blow
In a solid glow,
And---to break now and then the screen---
Black neck and eyeballs keen,
Up a wild horse leaps between!

VII.

Try, will our table turn?
Lay your hands there light, and yearn
Till the yearning slips
Thro' the finger-tips
In a fire which a few discern,
And a very few feel burn,
And the rest, they may live and learn!

VIII.

Then we would up and pace,
For a change, about the place,
Each with arm o'er neck:
'Tis our quarter-deck,
We are seamen in woeful case.
Help in the ocean-space!
Or, if no help, we'll embrace.

IX.

See, how she looks now, dressed
In a sledging-cap and vest!
'Tis a huge fur cloak---
Like a reindeer's yoke
Falls the lappet along the breast:
Sleeves for her arms to rest,
Or to hang, as my Love likes best.

X.

Teach me to flirt a fan
As the Spanish ladies can,
Or I tint your lip
With a burnt stick's tip
And you turn into such a man!
Just the two spots that span
Half the bill of the young male swan.

XI.

Dearest, three months ago
When the mesmerizer Snow
With his hand's first sweep
Put the earth to sleep:
'Twas a time when the heart could show
All---how was earth to know,
'Neath the mute hand's to-and-fro?

XII.

Dearest, three months ago
When we loved each other so,
Lived and loved the same
Till an evening came
When a shaft from the devil's bow
Pierced to our ingle-glow,
And the friends were friend and foe!

XIII.

Not from the heart beneath---
'Twas a bubble born of breath,
Neither sneer nor vaunt,
Nor reproach nor taunt.
See a word, how it severeth!
Oh, power of life and death
In the tongue, as the Preacher saith!

XIV.

Woman, and will you cast
For a word, quite off at last
Me, your own, your You,---
Since, as truth is true,
I was You all the happy past---
Me do you leave aghast
With the memories We amassed?

XV.

Love, if you knew the light
That your soul casts in my sight,
How I look to you
For the pure and true
And the beauteous and the right,---
Bear with a moment's spite
When a mere mote threats the white!

XVI.

What of a hasty word?
Is the fleshly heart not stirred
By a worm's pin-prick
Where its roots are quick?
See the eye, by a fly's foot blurred---
Ear, when a straw is heard
Scratch the brain's coat of curd!

XVII.

Foul be the world or fair
More or less, how can I care?
'Tis the world the same
For my praise or blame,
And endurance is easy there.
Wrong in the one thing rare---
Oh, it is hard to bear!

XVIII.

Here's the spring back or close,
When the almond-blossom blows:
We shall have the word
In a minor third
There is none but the cuckoo knows:
Heaps of the guelder-rose!
I must bear with it, I suppose.

XIX.

Could but November come,
Were the noisy birds struck dumb
At the warning slash
Of his driver's-lash---
I would laugh like the valiant Thumb
Facing the castle glum
And the giant's fee-faw-fum!

XX.

Then, were the world well stripped
Of the gear wherein equipped
We can stand apart,
Heart dispense with heart
In the sun, with the flowers unnipped,---
Oh, the world's hangings ripped,
We were both in a bare-walled crypt!

XXI.

Each in the crypt would cry
``But one freezes here! and why?
``When a heart, as chill,
``At my own would thrill
``Back to life, and its fires out-fly?
``Heart, shall we live or die?
``The rest. . . . settle by-and-by!''

XXII.

So, she'd efface the score,
And forgive me as before.
It is twelve o'clock:
I shall hear her knock
In the worst of a storm's uproar,
I shall pull her through the door,
I shall have her for evermore!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Woman's Last Word


I.

Let's contend no more, Love,
Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
---Only sleep!

II.

What so wild as words are?
I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
Hawk on bough!

III.

See the creature stalking
While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
Cheek on cheek!

IV.

What so false as truth is,
False to thee?
Where the serpent's tooth is
Shun the tree---

V.

Where the apple reddens
Never pry---
Lest we lose our Edens,
Eve and I.

VI.

Be a god and hold me
With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
With thine arm!

VII.

Teach me, only teach, Love
As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
Think thy thought---

VIII.

Meet, if thou require it,
Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
In thy hands.

IX.

That shall be to-morrow
Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
Out of sight:

X

---Must a little weep, Love,
(Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
Loved by thee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After


Take the cloak from his face, and at first
Let the corpse do its worst!

How he lies in his rights of a man!
Death has done all death can.
And, absorbed in the new life he leads,
He recks not, he heeds
Nor his wrong nor my vengeance; both strike
On his senses alike,
And are lost in the solemn and strange
Surprise of the change.
Ha, what avails death to erase
His offence, my disgrace?
I would we were boys as of old
In the field, by the fold:
His outrage, God's patience, man's scorn
Were so easily borne!

I stand here now, he lies in his place:
Cover the face!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Way Of Love


I.

June was not over
Though past the fall,
And the best of her roses
Had yet to blow,
When a man I know
(But shall not discover,
Since ears are dull,
And time discloses)
Turned him and said with a man's true air,
Half sighing a smile in a yawn, as 'twere,---
``If I tire of your June, will she greatly care?''

II.

Well, dear, in-doors with you!
True! serene deadness
Tries a man's temper.
What's in the blossom
June wears on her bosom?
Can it clear scores with you?
Sweetness and redness.
_Eadem semper!_
Go, let me care for it greatly or slightly!
If June mend her bower now, your hand left unsightly
By plucking the roses,---my June will do rightly.

III.

And after, for pastime,
If June be refulgent
With flowers in completeness,
All petals, no prickles,
Delicious as trickles
Of wine poured at mass-time,---
And choose One indulgent
To redness and sweetness:
Or if, with experience of man and of spider,
June use my June-lightning, the strong insect-ridder,
And stop the fresh film-work,---why, June will consider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavalier Tunes


. MARCHING ALONG.

I.

Kentish Sir Byng stood for his King,
Bidding the crop-headed Parliament swing:
And, pressing a troop unable to stoop
And see the rogues flourish and honest folk droop,
Marched them along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song.

II.

God for King Charles! Pym and such carles
To the Devil that prompts 'em their treasonous parles!
Cavaliers, up! Lips from the cup,
Hands from the pasty, nor bite take nor sup
Till you're---

CHORUS.---Marching along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song.

III.

Hampden to hell, and his obsequies' knell
Serve Hazelrig, Fiennes, and young Harry as well!
England, good cheer! Rupert is near!
Kentish and loyalists, keep we not here

CHORUS.---Marching along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song?

IV.

Then, God for King Charles! Pym and his snarls
To the Devil that pricks on such pestilent carles!
Hold by the right, you double your might;
So, onward to Nottingham, fresh for the fight,

CHORUS.---March we along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song!


II. GIVE A ROUSE.

I.

King Charles, and who'll do him right now?
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now?
Give a rouse: here's, in hell's despite now,
King Charles!

II.

Who gave me the goods that went since?
Who raised me the house that sank once?
Who helped me to gold I spent since?
Who found me in wine you drank once?

CHORUS.---King Charles, and who'll do him right now?
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now?
Give a rouse: here's, in hell's despite now,
King Charles!

III.

To whom used my boy George quaff else,
By the old fool's side that begot him?
For whom did he cheer and laugh else,
While Noll's damned troopers shot him?

CHORUS.---King Charles, and who'll do him right now?
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now?
Give a rouse: here's, in hell's despite now,
King Charles!


III. BOOT AND SADDLE.

I.

Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!
Rescue my castle before the hot day
Brightens to blue from its silvery grey,

CHORUS.---Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!

II.

Ride past the suburbs, asleep as you'd say;
Many's the friend there, will listen and pray
``God's luck to gallants that strike up the lay---

CHORUS.---``Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!''

III.

Forty miles off, like a roebuck at bay,
Flouts Castle Brancepeth the Roundheads' array:
Who laughs, ``Good fellows ere this, by my fay,

CHORUS.---``Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!''

IV.

Who? My wife Gertrude; that, honest and gay,
Laughs when you talk of surrendering, ``Nay!
``I've better counsellors; what counsel they?

CHORUS.---``Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!''

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavalier Tunes: Boot and Saddle


Boot, saddle, to horse and away!
Rescue my Castle, before the hot day
Brightens to blue from its silvery gray,
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!
Ride past the suburbs, asleep as you'd say;
Many's the friend there, will listen and pray
"God's luck to gallants that strike up the lay--
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"
Forty miles off, like a roebuck at bay,
Flouts Castle Brancepeth the Roundheads' array:
Who laughs, "Good fellows ere this, by my fay,
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

Who? My wife Gertrude; that, honest and gay,
Laughs when you talk of surrendering, "Nay!
I've better counsellors; what counsel they?
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavalier Tunes: Give a Rouse


King Charles, and who'll do him right now?
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now?
Give a rouse: here's, in Hell's despite now,
King Charles!

Who gave me the goods that went since?
Who raised me the house that sank once?
Who helped me to gold I spent since?
Who found me in wine you drank once?
(Chorus)
King Charles, and who'll do him right now?
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now?
Give a rouse: here's, in Hell's despite now,
King Charles!
To whom used my boy George quaff else,
By the old fool's side that begot him?
For whom did he cheer and laugh else,
While Noll's damned troopers shot him?
(Chorus)
King Charles, and who'll do him right now?
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now?
Give a rouse: here's, in Hell's despite now,
King Charles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavalier Tunes: Marching Along


Kentish Sir Byng stood for his King,
Bidding the crop-headed Parliament swing:
And, pressing a troop unable to stoop
And see the rogues flourish and honest folk droop,
Marched them along, fifty score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song.
God for King Charles! Pym and such carles
To the Devil that prompts 'em their treasonous parles!
Cavaliers, up! Lips from the cup,
Hands from the pasty, nor bite take nor sup
Till you're--
(Chorus)
Marching along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song.

Hampden to hell, and his obsequies' knell.
Serve Hazelrig, Fiennes, and young Harry as well!
England, good cheer! Rupert is near!
Kentish and loyalists, keep we not here
(Chorus)
Marching along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song?

Then, God for King Charles! Pym and his snarls
To the Devil that pricks on such pestilent carles!
Hold by the right, you double your might;
So, onward to Nottingham, fresh for the fight,
(Chorus)
March we along, fifty-score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cristina


I.

She should never have looked at me
If she meant I should not love her!
There are plenty ... men, you call such,
I suppose ... she may discover
All her soul to, if she pleases,
And yet leave much as she found them:
But I'm not so, and she knew it
When she fixed me, glancing round them,

II.

What? To fix me thus meant nothing?
But I can't tell (there's my weakness)
What her look said!---no vile cant, sure,
About ``need to strew the bleakness
``Of some lone shore with its pearl-seed.
``That the sea feels''---no strange yearning
``That such souls have, most to lavish
``Where there's chance of least returning.''

III.

Oh, we're sunk enough here, God knows!
But not quite so sunk that moments,
Sure tho' seldom, are denied us,
When the spirit's true endowments
Stand out plainly from its false ones,
And apprise it if pursuing
Or the right way or the wrong way,
To its triumph or undoing.

IV.

There are flashes struck from midnights,
There are fire-flames noondays kindle,
Whereby piled-up honours perish,
Whereby swollen ambitions dwindle,
While just this or that poor impulse,
Which for once had play unstifled,
Seems the sole work of a life-time
That away the rest have trifled.

V.

Doubt you if, in some such moment,
As she fixed me, she felt clearly,
Ages past the soul existed,
Here an age 'tis resting merely,
And hence fleets again for ages,
While the true end, sole and single,
It stops here for is, this love-way,
With some other soul to mingle?

VI.

Else it loses what it lived for,
And eternally must lose it;
Better ends may be in prospect,
Deeper blisses (if you choose it),
But this life's end and this love-bliss
Have been lost here. Doubt you whether
This she felt as, looking at me,
Mine and her souls rushed together?

VII.

Oh, observe! Of course, next moment,
The world's honours, in derision,
Trampled out the light for ever:
Never fear but there's provision
Of the devil's to quench knowledge
Lest we walk the earth in rapture!
---Making those who catch God's secret
Just so much more prize their capture!

VIII.

Such am I: the secret's mine now!
She has lost me, I have gained her;
Her soul's mine: and thus, grown perfect,
I shall pass my life's remainder.
Life will just hold out the proving
Both our powers, alone and blended:
And then, come next life quickly!
This world's use will have been ended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Thoughts, From Abroad


Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Thoughts, from the Sea


Nobly, nobly Cape Saint Vincent to the North-west died away;
Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay;
Bluish 'mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay;
In the dimmest North-east distance dawned Gibraltar grand and grey;
"Here and here did England help me: how can I help England?" -say,
Whoso turns as I, this evening, turn to God to praise and pray,
While Jove's planet rises yonder, silent over Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In A Gondola


He sings_.

I send my heart up to thee, all my heart
In this my singing.
For the stars help me, and the sea bears part;
The very night is clinging
Closer to Venice' streets to leave one space
Above me, whence thy face
May light my joyous heart to thee its dwelling-place.

_She speaks_.

Say after me, and try to say
My very words, as if each word
Came from you of your own accord,
In your own voice, in your own way:
``This woman's heart and soul and brain
``Are mine as much as this gold chain
``She bids me wear; which'' (say again)
``I choose to make by cherishing
``A precious thing, or choose to fling
``Over the boat-side, ring by ring.''
And yet once more say ... no word more!
Since words are only words. Give o'er!

Unless you call me, all the same,
Familiarly by my pet name,
Which if the Three should hear you call,
And me reply to, would proclaim
At once our secret to them all.
Ask of me, too, command me, blame---
Do, break down the partition-wall
'Twixt us, the daylight world beholds
Curtained in dusk and splendid folds!
What's left but---all of me to take?
I am the Three's: prevent them, slake
Your thirst! 'Tis said, the Arab sage,
In practising with gems, can loose
Their subtle spirit in his cruce
And leave but ashes: so, sweet mage,
Leave them my ashes when thy use
Sucks out my soul, thy heritage!

_He sings_.

I.

Past we glide, and past, and past!
What's that poor Agnese doing
Where they make the shutters fast?
Grey Zanobi's just a-wooing
To his couch the purchased bride:
Past we glide!

II.

Past we glide, and past, and past!
Why's the Pucci Palace flaring
Like a beacon to the blast?
Guests by hundreds, not one caring
If the dear host's neck were wried:
Past we glide!

_She sings_.

I.

The moth's kiss, first!
Kiss me as if you made believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed
Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide ope I burst.

II.

The bee's kiss, now!
Kiss me as if you entered gay
My heart at some noonday,
A bud that dares not disallow
The claim, so all is rendered up,
And passively its shattered cup
Over your head to sleep I bow.

_He sings_.

I.

What are we two?
I am a Jew,
And carry thee, farther than friends can pursue,
To a feast of our tribe;
Where they need thee to bribe
The devil that blasts them unless he imbibe
Thy ... Scatter the vision for ever! And now,
As of old, I am I, thou art thou!

II.

Say again, what we are?
The sprite of a star,
I lure thee above where the destinies bar
My plumes their full play
Till a ruddier ray
Than my pale one announce there is withering away
Some ... Scatter the vision for ever! And now,
As of old, I am I, thou art thou!

_He muses_.

Oh, which were best, to roam or rest?
The land's lap or the water's breast?
To sleep on yellow millet-sheaves,
Or swim in lucid shallows just
Eluding water-lily leaves,
An inch from Death's black fingers, thrust
To lock you, whom release he must;
Which life were best on Summer eves?

_He speaks, musing_.

Lie back; could thought of mine improve you?
From this shoulder let there spring
A wing; from this, another wing;
Wings, not legs and feet, shall move you!
Snow-white must they spring, to blend
With your flesh, but I intend
They shall deepen to the end,
Broader, into burning gold,
Till both wings crescent-wise enfold
Your perfect self, from 'neath your feet
To o'er your head, where, lo, they meet
As if a million sword-blades hurled
Defiance from you to the world!

Rescue me thou, the only real!
And scare away this mad ideal
That came, nor motions to depart!
Thanks! Now, stay ever as thou art!

_Still he muses_.

I.

What if the Three should catch at last
Thy serenader? While there's cast
Paul's cloak about my head, and fast
Gian pinions me, himself has past
His stylet thro' my back; I reel;
And ... is it thou I feel?

II.

They trail me, these three godless knaves,
Past every church that saints and saves,
Nor stop till, where the cold sea raves
By Lido's wet accursed graves,
They scoop mine, roll me to its brink,
And ... on thy breast I sink

_She replies, musing_.

Dip your arm o'er the boat-side, elbow-deep,
As I do: thus: were death so unlike sleep,
Caught this way? Death's to fear from flame or steel,
Or poison doubtless; but from water---feel!

Go find the bottom! Would you stay me? There!
Now pluck a great blade of that ribbon-grass
To plait in where the foolish jewel was,
I flung away: since you have praised my hair,
'Tis proper to be choice in what I wear.

_He speaks_.

Row home? must we row home? Too surely
Know I where its front's demurely
Over the Giudecca piled;
Window just with window mating,
Door on door exactly waiting,
All's the set face of a child:
But behind it, where's a trace
Of the staidness and reserve,
And formal lines without a curve,
In the same child's playing-face?
No two windows look one way
O'er the small sea-water thread
Below them. Ah, the autumn day
I, passing, saw you overhead!
First, out a cloud of curtain blew,
Then a sweet cry, and last came you---
To catch your lory that must needs
Escape just then, of all times then,
To peck a tall plant's fleecy seeds,
And make me happiest of men.
I scarce could breathe to see you reach
So far back o'er the balcony
To catch him ere he climbed too high
Above you in the Smyrna peach
That quick the round smooth cord of gold,
This coiled hair on your head, unrolled,
Fell down you like a gorgeous snake
The Roman girls were wont, of old,
When Rome there was, for coolness' sake
To let lie curling o'er their bosoms.
Dear lory,*1 may his beak retain
Ever its delicate rose stain
As if the wounded lotus-blossoms
Had marked their thief to know again!

Stay longer yet, for others' sake
Than mine! What should your chamber do?
---With all its rarities that ache
In silence while day lasts, but wake
At night-time and their life renew,
Suspended just to pleasure you
Who brought against their will together
These objects, and, while day lasts, weave
Around them such a magic tether
That dumb they look: your harp, believe,
With all the sensitive tight strings
Which dare not speak, now to itself
Breathes slumberously, as if some elf
Went in and out the chords, his wings
Make murmur wheresoe'er they graze,
As an angel may, between the maze
Of midnight palace-pillars, on
And on, to sow God's plagues, have gone
Through guilty glorious Babylon.
And while such murmurs flow, the nymph
Bends o'er the harp-top from her shell
As the dry limpet for the lymph
Come with a tune be knows so well.
And how your statues' hearts must swell!
And how your pictures must descend
To see each other, friend with friend!
Oh, could you take them by surprise,
You'd find Schidone's eager Duke
Doing the quaintest courtesies
To that prim saint by Haste-thee-Luke!
And, deeper into her rock den,
Bold Castelfranco's Magdalen
You'd find retreated from the ken
Of that robed counsel-keeping Ser---
As if the Tizian thinks of her,
And is not, rather, gravely bent
On seeing for himself what toys
Are these, his progeny invent,
What litter now the board employs
Whereon he signed a document
That got him murdered! Each enjoys
Its night so well, you cannot break
The sport up, so, indeed must make
More stay with me, for others' sake.

_She speaks_.

I.

To-morrow, if a harp-string, say,
Is used to tie the jasmine back
That overfloods my room with sweets,
Contrive your Zorzi somehow meets
My Zanze! If the ribbon's black,
The Three are watching: keep away!

II.

Your gondola---let Zorzi wreathe
A mesh of water-weeds about
its prow, as if he unaware
Had struck some quay or bridge-foot stair!
That I may throw a paper out
As you and he go underneath.

There's Zanze's vigilant taper; safe are we.
Only one minute more to-night with me?
Resume your past self of a month ago!
Be you the bashful gallant, I will be
The lady with the colder breast than snow.
Now bow you, as becomes, nor touch my hand
More than I touch yours when I step to land,
And say, ``All thanks, Siora!''---
Heart to heart
And lips to lips! Yet once more, ere we part,
Clasp me and make me thine, as mine thou art!
[_He is surprised, and stabbed_.
It was ordained to be so, sweet!---and best
Comes now, beneath thine eyes, upon thy breast.
Still kiss me! Care not for the cowards! Care
Only to put aside thy beauteous hair
My blood will hurt! The Three, I do not scorn
To death, because they never lived: but I
Have lived indeed, and so---(yet one more kiss)---can die!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life in a Bottle


Escape me?
Never--
Beloved!
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,--
So the chace takes up one's life, that's all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me--
Ever
Removed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life In A Love


Escape me?
Never---
Beloved!
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,---
So the chace takes up one's life ' that's all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me---
Ever
Removed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Among The Ruins


I.

Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Half-asleep
Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop---
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)
Of our country's very capital, its prince
Ages since
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.

II.

Now,---the country does not even boast a tree,
As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run
Into one)
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires
Up like fires
O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall
Bounding all,
Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed,
Twelve abreast.

III.

And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
Never was!
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads
And embeds
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,
Stock or stone---
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
Long ago;
Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame
Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
Bought and sold.

IV.

Now,---the single little turret that remains
On the plains,
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
Overscored,
While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
Through the chinks---
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
Sprang sublime,
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
As they raced,
And the monarch and his minions and his dames
Viewed the games.

V.

And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve
Smiles to leave
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece
In such peace,
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey
Melt away---
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
Waits me there
In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
For the goal,
When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb
Till I come.

VI.

But he looked upon the city, every side,
Far and wide,
All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades'
Colonnades,
All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,---and then,
All the men!
When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
Either hand
On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
Of my face,
Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
Each on each.

VII.

In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force---
Gold, of course.
Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
Love is best.

 

 

 

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