A Pretty Woman Poem by Robert Browning

A Pretty Woman

Rating: 2.8


I.

That fawn-skin-dappled hair of hers,
And the blue eye
Dear and dewy,
And that infantine fresh air of hers!

II.

To think men cannot take you, Sweet,
And enfold you,
Ay, and hold you,
And so keep you what they make you, Sweet!

III

You like us for a glance, you know- -
For a word's sake
Or a sword's sake,
All's the same, whate'er the chance, you know.

IV.

And in turn we make you ours, we say- -
You and youth too,
Eyes and mouth too,
All the face composed of flowers, we say.

V.

All's our own, to make the most of, Sweet- -
Sing and say for,
Watch and pray for,
Keep a secret or go boast of, Sweet!

VI.

But for loving, why, you would not, Sweet,
Though we prayed you,
Paid you, brayed you
in a mortar- -for you could not, Sweet!

VII.

So, we leave the sweet face fondly there:
Be its beauty
Its sole duty!
Let all hope of grace beyond, lie there!

VIII.

And while the face lies quiet there,
Who shall wonder
That I ponder
A conclusion? I will try it there.

IX.

As,- -why must one, for the love foregone,
Scout mere liking?
Thunder-striking
Earth,- -the heaven, we looked above for, gone!

X.

Why, with beauty, needs there money be,
Love with liking?
Crush the fly-king
In his gauze, because no honey-bee?

XI.

May not liking be so simple-sweet,
If love grew there
'Twould undo there
All that breaks the cheek to dimples sweet?

XII.

Is the creature too imperfect,
Would you mend it
And so end it?
Since not all addition perfects aye!

XIII.

Or is it of its kind, perhaps,
Just perfection- -
Whence, rejection
Of a grace not to its mind, perhaps?

XIV.

Shall we burn up, tread that face at once
Into tinder,
And so hinder
Sparks from kindling all the place at once?

XV.

Or else kiss away one's soul on her?
Your love-fancies!
- -A sick man sees
Truer, when his hot eyes roll on her!

XVI.

Thus the craftsman thinks to grace the rose,- -
Plucks a mould-flower
For his gold flower,
Uses fine things that efface the rose:

XVII.

Rosy rubies make its cup more rose,
Precious metals
Ape the petals,- -
Last, some old king locks it up, morose!

XVIII.

Then how grace a rose? I know a way!
Leave it, rather.
Must you gather?
Smell, kiss, wear it- -at last, throw away!

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Joseph Poewhit 22 April 2009

Speaks well of an earlier era of time. Where a woman was praised and placed on a pedestal. Not as today, a cheap object for a fast fling. It is more respect for a woman. Though the same inner lusts existed, they had a dog leash attached to them. How moral decay, has come upon people today, for a few gold coins. Church was the center of life, not the BIG MOM TV.

7 10 Reply
Emily Gnitt 22 April 2008

it is a good detailed poem but i lost interest in it because it was too long and well i would give this a 7.5/10

8 8 Reply
Juan Olivarez 22 April 2011

I've always had some contempt for this work it seems so beneath the great works of Browning, so average if you will.

6 7 Reply
Besa Dede 22 April 2012

Beautiful poem, beautiful description

7 6 Reply
Michael Harmon 22 April 2009

Browning, along with Tennyson and Matthew Arnold, is considered one of the great Victorian-era poets of the English language. I took a class on this subject, and though I did not read all of his dramatic monologues (or other works) , I have a hunch this particular piece would not have been selected to be studied. I couldn't finish it either. Where's My Last Duchess?

7 5 Reply
Love 10 May 2021

Love

0 0 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 03 February 2020

All's our own, to make the most of, Sweet- - Sing and say for, Watch and pray for, Keep a secret or go boast of, Sweet! sweetly loving poem penned; great jobd

0 0 Reply
Me Poet Yeps Poet 06 October 2018

Then how grace a rose? I know a way! Leave it, rather. Must you gather? Smell, kiss, wear it- -at last, throw away! The reality of love and life we come like buds floer fragrant smell than the flavour is immense when the rose is in her hair later in library books will it lay till some one comes and finds it with a signature yours in paper mache then memories of yours would a secret remain in books when one opens who was she the poets lover maybe sorry my apology Robert Browning

0 0 Reply
Seema Jayaraman 28 September 2015

One of my favourite poets.. Beauty and Roses go hand in hand... best lines I liked Then how grace a rose? I know a way! Leave it, rather. Must you gather? . Thanks

6 1 Reply
Captain Herbert Poetry 26 April 2014

Great words figuratively. Great done

4 2 Reply
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