Robert Browning

(1812-1889 / London / England)

In A Year


Never any more,
While I live,
Need I hope to see his face
As before.
Once his love grown chill,
Mine may strive:
Bitterly we re-embrace,
Single still.

II.

Was it something said,
Something done,
Vexed him? was it touch of hand,
Turn of head?
Strange! that very way
Love begun:
I as little understand
Love's decay.

III.

When I sewed or drew,
I recall
How he looked as if I sung,
---Sweetly too.
If I spoke a word,
First of all
Up his cheek the colour sprang,
Then he heard.

IV.

Sitting by my side,
At my feet,
So he breathed but air I breathed,
Satisfied!
I, too, at love's brim
Touched the sweet:
I would die if death bequeathed
Sweet to him.

V.

``Speak, I love thee best!''
He exclaimed:
``Let thy love my own foretell!''
I confessed:
``Clasp my heart on thine
``Now unblamed,
``Since upon thy soul as well
``Hangeth mine!''

VI.

Was it wrong to own,
Being truth?
Why should all the giving prove
His alone?
I had wealth and ease,
Beauty, youth:
Since my lover gave me love,
I gave these.

VII.

That was all I meant,
---To be just,
And the passion I had raised,
To content.
Since he chose to change
Gold for dust,
If I gave him what he praised
Was it strange?

VIII.

Would he loved me yet,
On and on,
While I found some way undreamed
---Paid my debt!
Gave more life and more,
Till, all gone,
He should smile ``She never seemed
``Mine before.

IX.

``What, she felt the while,
``Must I think?
``Love's so different with us men!''
He should smile:
``Dying for my sake---
``White and pink!
``Can't we touch these bubbles then
``But they break?''

X.

Dear, the pang is brief,
Do thy part,
Have thy pleasure! How perplexed
Grows belief!
Well, this cold clay clod
Was man's heart:
Crumble it, and what comes next?
Is it God?

Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001

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