Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Respectability
 
Robert Browning (1812–89)
 
 
DEAR, had the world in its caprice
  Deign’d to proclaim “I know yon both,
  Have recogniz’d your plighted troth,
Am sponsor for you: live in peace!”
How many precious months and years        5
  Of youth had pass’d, that speed so fast,
  Before we found it out at last,
The world, and what it fears?
 
How much of priceless life were spent
  With men that every virtue decks,        10
  And women models of their sex,
Society’s true ornament,—
Ere we dar’d wander, nights like this,
  Thro’ wind and rain, and watch the Seine,
  And feel the Boulevart break again        15
To warmth and light and bliss?
 
I know! the world proscribes not love;
  Allows my fingers to caress
  Your lips’ contour and downiness,
Provided it supply a glove.        20
The world’s good word!—the Institute!
  Guizot receives Montalembert!
  Eh? Down the court three lampions flare:
Put forward your best foot!
 

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