Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)

Rosalind's Scroll - Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I LEFT thee last, a child at heart,
   A woman scarce in years:
I come to thee, a solemn corpse
   Which neither feels nor fears.
I have no breath to use in sighs;
They laid the dead-weights on mine eyes
   To seal them safe from tears.

Look on me with thine own calm look:
   I meet it calm as thou.
No look of thine can change this smile,
   Or break thy sinful vow:
I tell thee that my poor scorn'd heart
Is of thine earth--thine earth--a part:
   It cannot vex thee now.

I have pray'd for thee with bursting sob
   When passion's course was free;
I have pray'd for thee with silent lips
   In the anguish none could see;
They whisper'd oft, 'She sleepeth soft'--
   But I only pray'd for thee.

Go to! I pray for thee no more:
   The corpse's tongue is still;
Its folded fingers point to heaven,
   But point there stiff and chill:
No farther wrong, no farther woe
Hath licence from the sin below
   Its tranquil heart to thrill.

I charge thee, by the living's prayer,
   And the dead's silentness,
To wring from out thy soul a cry
   Which God shall hear and bless!
Lest Heaven's own palm droop in my hand,
And pale among the saints I stand,
   A saint companionless.


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Read poems about / on: heaven, passion, change, woman, child, smile, heart, god, children, fear, women



Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003



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