Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Praise of Earth
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
I count the praises thou art worth,
By thy waves that move aloud,
By thy hills against the cloud,
By thy valleys warm and green,        5
By the copses’ elms between,
By their birds which, like a sprite
Scatter’d by a strong delight
Into fragments musical,
Stir and sing in every bush;        10
By thy silver founts that fall,
As if to entice the stars at night
To thine heart; by grass and rush,
And little weeds the children pull,
Mistook for flowers!
                —O, beautiful
Art thou, Earth, albeit worse
Than in heaven is callèd good!
Good to us, that we may know
Meekly from thy good to go;
While the holy crying Blood,        20
Puts its music kind and low
’Twixt such ears as are not dull,
  And thine ancient curse!
Praisèd be the mosses soft
In thy forest pathways oft,        25
And the thorns, which make us think
Of the thornless river-brink
  Where the ransom’d tread;
Praisèd be thy sunny gleams,
And the storm, that worketh dreams        30
  Of calm unfinishèd;
Praisèd be thine active days,
And thy night-time’s solemn need,
When in God’s dear book we read
  No night shall be therein;        35
Praisèd be thy dwellings warm
By household faggot’s cheerful blaze,
Where, to hear of pardon’d sin,
Pauseth oft the merry din,
Save the babe’s upon the arm,        40
Who croweth to the crackling wood;
Yea,—and, better understood,
Praisèd be thy dwellings cold,
Hid beneath the churchyard mould,
Where the bodies of the saints,        45
Separate from earthly taints,
Lie asleep, in blessing bound,
Waiting for the trumpet’s sound
To free them into blessing;—none
Weeping more beneath the sun,        50
Though dangerous words of human love
Be graven very near, above.
Earth, we Christians praise thee thus,
Even for the change that comes,
With a grief, from thee to us!        55
For thy cradles and thy tombs,
For the pleasant corn and wine,
And summer-heat; and also for
The frost upon the sycamore,
  And hail upon the vine!        60

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