Robert Browning

(1812-1889 / London / England)

In A Year

Poem by Robert Browning

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.


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.


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.


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


``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!''


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.


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?


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.


``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?''


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?

Comments about In A Year by Robert Browning

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (6/11/2016 11:20:00 PM)

    Outstanding expression and imagery's confluence with intense emotions Thanks for sharing it here.has been achieved in this great love poem by the great poet.(Report)Reply

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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (6/11/2016 4:46:00 PM)

    Not to be sexist though it will sound like I am, but I think women have the edge when it comes to loving long and loving through the hardships and loving come what may- - because women are imbued with what is needed to raise children for years and years. We're long-distance runners, raised and bred. Men and their affections are sprinters- raised and bred for short distances. Since they have to pursue and catch all those fillies, they don't have the time to be long-distance runners. This poem is a beauty, though.(Report)Reply

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  • Pranab K ChakrabortyPranab K Chakraborty (6/11/2016 10:04:00 AM)

    ``Speak, I love thee best! ''
    ``Speak, I love thee best! ''
    ``Speak, I love thee best! ''......................Tragically, it 's a dream in a lifetime!(Report)Reply

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  • Val LegendVal Legend (6/11/2016 8:16:00 AM)

    love the choice of words and thethe arrangement... nice poem(Report)Reply

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  • * Sunprincess * (6/11/2016 7:13:00 AM)

    ............a wonderful poem with an exceptional ending ★
    Well, this cold clay clod
    Was man's heart:
    Crumble it, and what comes next?
    Is it God?(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (6/11/2016 3:11:00 AM)

    Love's decay! She never seemed mine before. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: pink, smile, passion, change, truth, beauty, hope, love, alone, death, spring

Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001