Saturday, June 22, 2013

POEMS by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING






Elizabeth Barrett Browning -  1806 – 1861



A MAN'S  REQUIREMENTS

I

Love me Sweet, with all thou art,
Feeling, thinking, seeing;
Love me in the lightest part,
Love me in full being.

II

Love me with thine open youth
In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
With its silence tender.

III

Love me with thine azure eyes,
Made for earnest grantings;
Taking colour from the skies,
Can Heaven's truth be wanting?

IV

Love me with their lids, that fall
Snow-like at first meeting;
Love me with thine heart, that all
Neighbours then see beating.

V

Love me with thine hand stretched out
Freely -- open-minded:
Love me with thy loitering foot, --
Hearing one behind it.

VI

Love me with thy voice, that turns
Sudden faint above me;
Love me with thy blush that burns
When I murmur 'Love me!'

VII


Love me with thy thinking soul,
Break it to love-sighing;
Love me with thy thoughts that roll
On through living -- dying.

VIII

Love me in thy gorgeous airs,
When the world has crowned thee;
Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,
With the angels round thee.

IX

Love me pure, as muses do,
Up the woodlands shady:
Love me gaily, fast and true,
As a winsome lady.

X

Through all hopes that keep us brave,
Farther off or nigher,
Love me for the house and grave,
And for something higher.

XI

Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear,
Woman's love no fable,
I will love thee - half a year
As a man is able.






SONNET 42 - ‘ MY FUTURE WILL NOT COPY FAIR MY PASTM’
   

   XLII

‘My future will not copy fair my past’ –
I wrote that once; and thinking at my side
My ministering life-angel justified
The word by his appealing look upcast
To the white throne of God, I turned at last,
And there, instead, saw thee, not unallied
To angels in thy soul! Then I, long tried
By natural ills, received the comfort fast,
While budding, at thy sight, my pilgrim’s staff
Gave out green leaves with morning dews impearled.
I seek no copy now of life’s first half:
Leave here the pages with long musing curled,
And write me new my future’s epigraph,
New angel mine, unhoped for in the world !








THE FACE OF ALL THE WOLRD



The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm.  The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shalt be, there or here;
And this . . . this lute and song . . . loved yesterday,
(The singing angels know) are only dear
Because thy name moves right in what they say.








CRY OF THE CHILDREN



Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years ?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
The young birds are chirping in the nest;
The young fawns are playing with the shadows;
The young flowers are blowing toward the west
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly !
They are weeping in the playtime of the others
In the country of the free.

Do you question the young children in the sorrow,
Why their tears are falling so ?
The old man may weep for his to-morrow
Which is lost in Long Ago
The old tree is leafless in the forest
The old year is ending in the frost
The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest
The old hope is hardest to be lost:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,
In our happy Fatherland ?



They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their looks are sad to see,
For the man’s grief abhorrent, draws and presses
Down the cheeks of infancy
“Your old earth,” they say, “is very dreary;”
“Our young feet,” they say, “are very weak !
Few paces have we taken, yet are weary
Our grave-rest is very far to seek.
Ask the old why they weep, and not the children,
For the outside earth is cold,
And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering,
And the graves are for the old.



“True,” say the young children, “it may happen
That we die before our time.
Little Alice died last year—the grave is shapen
Like a snowball, in the rime.
We looked into the pit prepared to take her
Was no room for any work in the close clay:
From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her
Crying, ‘Get up, little Alice! it is day.’
If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,
With your ear down, little Alice never cries !
Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her,
For the smile has time for growing in her eyes
And merry go her moments, lulled and stilled in
The shroud, by the kirk-chime!
It is good when it happens,” say the children,
“That we die before our time.”



Alas, alas, the children ! they are seeking
Death in life, as best to have !
They are binding up their hearts away from breaking,
With a cerement from the grave.
Go out, children, from the mine and from the city
Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do
Pluck your handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty
Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through !
But they answer, “Are your cowslips of the meadows
Like our weeds anear the mine ?
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
From your pleasures fair and fine !



“For oh,” say the children, “we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap
If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
For, all day, we drag our burden tiring,
Through the coal-dark, underground
Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories, round and round.



“For, all day, the wheels are droning, turning,
Their wind comes in our faces,—
Till our hearts turn,—our head, with pulses burning,
And the walls turn in their places
Turns the sky in the high window blank and reeling
Turns the long light that droppeth down the wall
Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling
All are turning, all the day, and we with all.
And, all day, the iron wheels are droning;
And sometimes we could pray,
‘O ye wheels,’ (breaking out in a mad moaning)
‘Stop! be silent for to-day !’ “



Ay! be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
For a moment, mouth to mouth
Let them touch each other’s hands, in a fresh wreathing
Of their tender human youth !
Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
Is not all the life God fashions or reveals
Let them prove their inward souls against the notion
That they live in you, os under you, O wheels !
Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward,
Grinding life down from its mark;
And the children’s souls, which God is calling sunward,
Spin on blindly in the dark.



Now, tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
To look up to Him and pray
So the blessed One, who blesseth all the others,
Will bless them another day.
They answer, “Who is God that He should hear us,
White the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred ?
When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us
Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word !
And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)
Strangers speaking at the door:
Is it likely God, with angels singing round Him,
Hears our weeping any more ?



“Two words, indeed, of praying we remember,
And at midnight’s hour of harm,—
‘Our Father,’ looking upward in the chamber,
We say softly for a charm.
We know no other words except ‘Our Father,’
And we think that, in some pause of angels’ song,
God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather,
And hold both within His right hand which is strong.
‘Our Father!’ If He heard us, He would surely
(For they call Him good and mild)
Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely,
‘Come and rest with me, my child.’



“But no!” say the children, weeping faster,
“He is speechless as a stone;
And they tell us, of His image is the master
Who commands us to work on.
Go to!” say the children,—”Up in Heaven,
Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find.
Do not mock us; grief has made us unbelieving—
We look up for God, but tears have made us blind.”
Do you hear the children weeping and disproving,
O my brothers, what ye preach ?
For God’s possible is taught by His world’s loving—
And the children doubt of each.



And well may the children weep before you;
They are weary ere they run;
They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
Which is brighter than the sun:
They know the grief of man, but not the wisdom;
They sink in man’s despair, without its calm
Are slaves, without the liberty in Christdom,
Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm,
Are worn, as if with age, yet un retrievingly
No dear remembrance keep,
Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly:
Let them weep! let them weep !



They look up, with their pale and sunken faces,
And their look is dread to see,
For they mind you of their angels in their places,
With eyes meant for Deity;
“How long,” they say, “how long, O cruel nation,
Will you stand, to move the world, on a child’s heart,
Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
And tread onward to your throne amid the mart ?
Our blood splashes upward, O our tyrants,
And your purple shows your path;
But the child’s sob curseth deeper in the silence
Than the strong man in his wrath !









GOD’S UNIVERSE



But only three in all God’s universe
Have heard this word thou hast said,–Himself, beside
Thee speaking, and me listening! and replied
One of us . . . that was God, . . . and laid the curse
So darkly on my eyelids, as to amerce
My sight from seeing thee,–that if I had died,
The death-weights, placed there, would have signified
Less absolute exclusion.  “Nay” is worse
From God than from all others, O my friend!
Men could not part us with their worldly jars,
Nor the seas change us, nor the tempests bend;
Our hands would touch for all the mountain-bars:
And, heaven being rolled between us at the end,
We should but vow the faster for the stars.








LIVING BELOVEDS



All are not taken; there are left behind
Living Belovèds, tender looks to bring
And make the daylight still a happy thing,
And tender voices, to make soft the wind:
But if it were not so – if I could find
No love in all this world for comforting,
Nor any path but hollowly did ring
Where ‘dust to dust’ the love from life disjoin’d;
And if, before those sepulchres unmoving
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth)
Crying ‘Where are ye, O my loved and loving ?’ –
I know a voice would sound, ‘Daughter, I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth ?’










WHAT CAN I GIVE THEE BACK



What can I give thee back, O liberal
And princely giver, who hast brought the gold
And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,
And laid them on the outside of the wall
For such as I to take or leave withal,
In unexpected largesse ? am I cold,
Ungrateful, that for these most manifold
High gifts, I render nothing back at all ?
Not so; not cold,–but very poor instead.
Ask God who knows.  For frequent tears have run
The colours from my life, and left so dead
And pale a stuff, it were not fitly done
To give the same as pillow to thy head.
Go farther! let it serve to trample on.









CONSOLATION



All are not taken; there are left behind
Living Belovèds, tender looks to bring
And make the daylight still a happy thing,
And tender voices, to make soft the wind:
But if it were not so—if I could find
No love in all this world for comforting,
Nor any path but hollowly did ring
Where 'dust to dust' the love from life disjoin'd;
And if, before those sepulchres unmoving
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth)
Crying 'Where are ye, O my loved and loving ?'
I know a voice would sound, 'Daughter, I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth ?'







AURORA LEIGH

Book 1

I am like,
They tell me, my dear father. Broader brows
Howbeit, upon a slenderer undergrowth
Of delicate features, — paler, near as grave ;
But then my mother’s smile breaks up the whole,
And makes it better sometimes than itself.
So, nine full years, our days were hid with God
Among his mountains : I was just thirteen,
Still growing like the plants from unseen roots
In tongue-tied Springs, — and suddenly awoke
To full life and life ‘s needs and agonies,
With an intense, strong, struggling heart beside
A stone-dead father. Life, struck sharp on death,
Makes awful lightning. His last word was, `Love –’
`Love, my child, love, love !’ — (then he had done with grief)
`Love, my child.’ Ere I answered he was gone,
And none was left to love in all the world.
There, ended childhood. What succeeded next
I recollect as, after fevers, men
Thread back the passage of delirium,
Missing the turn still, baffled by the door ;
Smooth endless days, notched here and there with knives ;
A weary, wormy darkness, spurr’d i’ the flank
With flame, that it should eat and end itself
Like some tormented scorpion. Then at last
I do remember clearly, how there came
A stranger with authority, not right,
(I thought not) who commanded, caught me up
From old Assunta’s neck ; how, with a shriek,
She let me go, — while I, with ears too full
Of my father’s silence, to shriek back a word,
In all a child’s astonishment at grief
Stared at the wharf-edge where she stood and moaned,
My poor Assunta, where she stood and moaned !
The white walls, the blue hills, my Italy,
Drawn backward from the shuddering steamer-deck,
Like one in anger drawing back her skirts
Which supplicants catch at. Then the bitter sea
Inexorably pushed between us both,
And sweeping up the ship with my despair
Threw us out as a pasture to the stars.
Ten nights and days we voyaged on the deep ;
Ten nights and days, without the common face
Of any day or night ; the moon and sun
Cut off from the green reconciling earth,
To starve into a blind ferocity
And glare unnatural ; the very sky
(Dropping its bell-net down upon the sea
As if no human heart should ‘scape alive,)
Bedraggled with the desolating salt,
Until it seemed no more that holy heaven
To which my father went. All new and strange
The universe turned stranger, for a child.
Then, land ! — then, England ! oh, the frosty cliffs
Looked cold upon me. Could I find a home
Among those mean red houses through the fog ?
And when I heard my father’s language first
From alien lips which had no kiss for mine
I wept aloud, then laughed, then wept, then wept,
And some one near me said the child was mad
Through much sea-sickness. The train swept us on.
Was this my father’s England ? the great isle ?
The ground seemed cut up from the fellowship
Of verdure, field from field, as man from man ;
The skies themselves looked low and positive,
As almost you could touch them with a hand,
And dared to do it they were so far off
From God’s celestial crystals ; all things blurred
And dull and vague. Did Shakspeare and his mates
Absorb the light here ? — not a hill or stone
With heart to strike a radiant colour up
Or active outline on the indifferent air.
I think I see my father’s sister stand
Upon the hall-step of her country-house
To give me welcome. She stood straight and calm,
Her somewhat narrow forehead braided tight
As if for taming accidental thoughts
From possible pulses ; brown hair pricked with grey
By frigid use of life, (she was not old
Although my father’s elder by a year)
A nose drawn sharply yet in delicate lines ;
A close mild mouth, a little soured about
The ends, through speaking unrequited loves
Or peradventure niggardly half-truths ;
Eyes of no colour, — once they might have smiled,
But never, never have forgot themselves
In smiling ; cheeks, in which was yet a rose
Of perished summers, like a rose in a book,
Kept more for ruth than pleasure, if past bloom,
Past fading also.
She had lived, we’ll say,
A harmless life, she called a virtuous life,
A quiet life, which was not life at all,
(But that, she had not lived enough to know)
Between the vicar and the country squires,
The lord-lieutenant looking down sometimes
From the empyrean to assure their souls
Against chance-vulgarisms, and, in the abyss
The apothecary, looked on once a year
To prove their soundness of humility.
The poor-club exercised her Christian gifts
Of knitting stockings, stitching petticoats,
Because we are of one flesh after all
And need one flannel (with a proper sense
Of difference in the quality) — and still
The book-club, guarded from your modern trick
Of shaking dangerous questions from the crease,
Preserved her intellectual. She had lived
A sort of cage-bird life, born in a cage,
Accounting that to leap from perch to perch
Was act and joy enough for any bird.
Dear heaven, how silly are the things that live
In thickets, and eat berries !
I, alas,
A wild bird scarcely fledged, was brought to her cage,
And she was there to meet me. Very kind.
Bring the clean water, give out the fresh seed.
She stood upon the steps to welcome me,
Calm, in black garb. I clung about her neck,
Young babes, who catch at every shred of wool
To draw the new light closer, catch and cling
Less blindly. In my ears, my father’s word
Hummed ignorantly, as the sea in shells,
`Love, love, my child.’ She, black there with my grief,
Might feel my love — she was his sister once,
I clung to her. A moment, she seemed moved,
Kissed me with cold lips, suffered me to cling,
And drew me feebly through the hall into
The room she sate in.
There, with some strange spasm
Of pain and passion, she wrung loose my hands
Imperiously, and held me at arm’s length,
And with two grey-steel naked-bladed eyes
Searched through my face, — ay, stabbed it through and through,
Through brows and cheeks and chin, as if to find
A wicked murderer in my innocent face,
If not here, there perhaps. Then, drawing breath,
She struggled for her ordinary calm
And missed it rather, — told me not to shrink,
As if she had told me not to lie or swear, –
`She loved my father, and would love me too
As long as I deserved it.’ Very kind.







NOT DEATH BUT LOVE



I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me.  Straightway I was ‘ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove,–
“Guess now who holds thee!”–”Death,” I said, But, there,
The silver answer rang, “Not Death, but Love.”






O PRINCELY HEART



Unlike are we, unlike, O princely Heart!
Unlike our uses and our destinies.
Our ministering two angels look surprise
On one another, as they strike athwart
Their wings in passing.  Thou, bethink thee, art
A guest for queens to social pageantries,
With gages from a hundred brighter eyes
Than tears even can make mine, to play thy part
Of chief musician.  What hast thou to do
With looking from the lattice-lights at me,
A poor, tired, wandering singer, singing through
The dark, and leaning up a cypress tree?
The chrism is on thine head,–on mine, the dew,
And Death must dig the level where these agree.






YET  LOVE

Yet, love, mere love, is beautiful indeed
And worthy of acceptation.  Fire is bright,
Let temple burn, or flax; an equal light
Leaps in the flame from cedar-plank or weed:
And love is fire.  And when I say at need
I love thee . . . mark! . . . I love thee–in thy sight
I stand transfigured, glorified aright,
With conscience of the new rays that proceed
Out of my face toward thine.  There’s nothing low
In love, when love the lowest: meanest creatures
Who love God, God accepts while loving so.
And what I feel, across the inferior features
Of what I am, doth flash itself, and show
How that great work of Love enhances Nature’s.








GRIEF

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air
Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness,
In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare
Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death–
Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:
If it could weep, it could arise and go.








GO FROM ME



Go from me.  Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow.  Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore
Thy touch upon the palm.  The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double.  What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes.  And when I sue
God for myself, He hears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes the tears of two.








COMFORT

Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
Speak to mo as to Mary at thy feet !
And if no precious gums my hands bestow,
Let my tears drop like amber while I go
In reach of thy divinest voice complete
In humanest affection  thus, in sooth,
To lose the sense of losing. As a child,
Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore
Is sung to in its stead by mother's mouth
Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
He sleeps the faster that he wept before.







TO GEORGE SAND: A DESIRE



Thou large-brained woman and large-hearted man,
Self-called George Sand ! whose soul, amid the lions
Of thy tumultuous senses, moans defiance
And answers roar for roar, as spirits can:
I would some mild miraculous thunder ran
Above the applauded circus, in appliance
Of thine own nobler nature's strength and science,
Drawing two pinions, white as wings of swan,
From thy strong shoulders, to amaze the place
With holier light ! that thou to woman's claim
And man's, mightst join beside the angel's grace
Of a pure genius sanctified from blame
Till child and maiden pressed to thine embrace
To kiss upon thy lips a stainless fame.









XIV (IF THOU MUST LOVE ME, LET IT BE FOR NOUGHT


If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
"I love her for her smile,  her look, her way
Of speaking gently, for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of ease on such a day "
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee, and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheek dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby !
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.










SONNET XXVII



My own Beloved, who hast lifted me
From this drear flat of earth where I was thrown,
And, in betwixt the languid ringlets, blown
A life-breath, till the forehead hopefully
Shines out again, as all the angels see,
Before thy saving kiss ! My own, my own,
Who camest to me when the world was gone,
And I who looked for only God, found thee !
I find thee; I am safe, and strong, and glad.
As one who stands in dewless asphodel
Looks backward on the tedious time he had
In the upper life, so I, with bosom-swell,
Make witness, here, between the good and bad,
That Love, as strong as Death, retrieves as well.










SONNET XXXIV: WITH THE SAME HEART



With the same heart, I said, I'll answer thee
As those, when thou shalt call me by my name--
Lo, the vain promise ! is the same, the same,
Perplexed and ruffled by life's strategy ?
When called before, I told how hastily
I dropped my flowers or brake off from a game,
To run and answer with the smile that came
At play last moment, and went on with me
Through my obedience. When I answer now,
I drop a grave thought, break from solitude;
Yet still my heart goes to the ponder how
Not as to a single good, but all my good !
Lay thy hand on it, best one, and allow
That no child's foot could run as fast as this blood.








SONNET XXI: SAY OVER AGAIN



Say over again, and yet once over again,
That thou dost love me. Though the word repeated
Should seem "a cuckoo-song,"as thou dost treat it,
Remember, never to the hill or plain,
Valley and wood, without her cuckoo-strain
Comes the fresh Spring in all her green completed.
Beloved, I, amid the darkness greeted
By a doubtful spirit-voice, in that doubt's pain
Cry, Speak once more thou lovest ! Who can fear
Too many stars, though each in heaven shall roll,
Too many flowers, though each shall crown the year ?
Say thou dost love me, love me, love me toll
The silver iterance ! only minding, Dear,
To love me also in silence with thy soul.








SONNET  XV: ACCUSE ME NOT



Accuse me not, beseech thee, that I wear
Too calm and sad a face in front of thine;
For we two look two ways, and cannot shine
With the same sunlight on our brow and hair.
On me thou lookest with no doubting care,
As on a bee in a crystalline;
Since sorrow hath shut me safe in love's divine
And to spread wing and fly in the outer air
Were most impossible failure, if I strove
To fail so. But I look on thee, on thee
Beholding, besides love, the end of love,
Hearing oblivion beyond memory;
As one who sits and gazes from above,
Over the rivers to the bitter sea.







ON A PORTRAIT OF WORDSWORTH



WORDSWORTH upon Helvellyn ! Let the cloud
Ebb audibly along the mountain-wind,
Then break against the rock, and show behind
The lowland valleys floating up to crowd
The sense with beauty. He with forehead bowed
And humble-lidded eyes, as one inclined
Before the sovran thought of his own mind,
And very meek with inspirations proud,
Takes here his rightful place as poet-priest
By the high altar, singing prayer and prayer

To the higher Heavens. A noble vision free

Our Haydon's hand has flung out from the mist:
No portrait this, with Academic air !
This is the poet and his poetry.







SONNET  43 - HOW DO I LOVE THEE ? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

XLIII

How do I love thee ? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life !—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.





SONNET  XLI: I THANK ALL





I thank all who have loved me in their hearts,
With thanks and love from mine. Deep thanks to all
Who paused a little near the prison-wall
To hear my music in its louder parts
Ere they went onward, each one to the mart's
Or temple's occupation, beyond call.
But thou, who, in my voice's sink and fall
When the sob took it, thy divinest Art's
Own instrument didst drop down at thy foot
To hearken what I said between my tears,...
Instruct me how to thank thee! Oh, to shoot
My soul's full meaning into future years,
That they should lend it utterance, and salute
Love that endures, from Life that disappears !








Elizabeth Browning and Robert Browning








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