Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The North and the South
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
Rome, May 1861

‘NOW give us lands where the olives grow,’
    Cried the North to the South,
‘Where the sun with a golden mouth can blow
Blue bubbles of grapes down a vineyard-row!’
    Cried the North to the South.        5
‘Now give us men from the sunless plain,’
    Cried the South to the North,
‘By need of work in the snow and the rain,
Made strong, and brave by familiar pain!’
    Cried the South to the North.        10
‘Give lucider hills and intenser seas,’
    Said the North to the South,
‘Since ever by symbols and bright degrees
Art, childlike, climbs to the dear Lord’s knees,’
    Said the North to the South.        15
‘Give strenuous souls for belief and prayer,’
    Said the South to the North,
‘That stand in the dark on the lowest stair,
While affirming of God, “He is certainly there,”’
    Said the South to the North.        20
‘Yet O, for the skies that are softer and higher!’
    Sigh’d the North to the South;
‘For the flowers that blaze, and the trees that aspire,
And the insects made of a song or a fire!’
    Sigh’d the North to the South.        25
‘And O, for a seer to discern the same!’
    Sigh’d the South to the North;
‘For a poet’s tongue of baptismal flame,
To call the tree or the flower by its name!’
    Sigh’d the South to the North.        30
The North sent therefore a man of men
    As a grace to the South;
And thus to Rome came Andersen.
‘Alas, but must you take him again?’
    Said the South to the North.        35

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