After Poem by Robert Browning

After

Rating: 3.1


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!

After
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Hans Vr 10 July 2011

I interpret this poem as Browning seeing the corpse (not too fresh a corpse) of one of his childhood friends with whom he had many differences of opinion. Now in death, none of these still seem to matter, nor for the deceased, not for Browning there standing by his side. Death brings us to another dimension where other things matter than here on earth. That was what Browning could feel while looking at the face of the dead man.

13 7 Reply
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4 15 Reply
Harvey Wachtel 02 December 2013

God's patience. That exquisite phrase says it all.

5 10 Reply
Michael Pruchnicki 10 July 2009

Sometimes I take a great notion to jump in the river and drown after reading the off-the-wall comments posted on this site! Robert Browning's 'After' is one of his signature poems written in a form he made famous. As usual, the speaker addresses the reader directly in a dramatic monologue. The speaker is viewing the corpse recently slain (as I read it) of someone he once knew as a boy in the fields and among the animals they tended, and what strikes him is the indifference of the dead man to any more abuse in this life. The dead man has already embarked on another voyage, albeit suddenly - 'the sudden surprise of the change' from life to death. A violent and sudden death at the speaker's hands? Perhaps. But the transition is not 'exquisite' by any means! The final couplet is a direct address to someone in the room to 'cover the face'!

9 6 Reply
Marilyn Hochfield 10 July 2011

An awfully good poem: the dramatic voice of the poem so skillfully rendered!

8 6 Reply
Ang 06 August 2022

Confused about the source and year of this as my mom has a dated portion of this poem from 1967. It prompted me to go search for it online to find out where it originates

0 0 Reply
Ang 06 August 2022

I'm confused about the source, as my Mom has soem

0 0 Reply
frank 22 November 2021

cant believe how good

0 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 22 April 2020

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.. very fine. Browning is a great poet.. tony

0 0 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 03 February 2020

I stand here now, he lies in his place: Cover the face! .........//// outstanding writing

1 0 Reply
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Robert Browning

Robert Browning

London / England
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