Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
III. Perplexed Music
By Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
(Affectionately inscribed to Elizabeth Jago)

EXPERIENCE, like a pale musician, holds
A dulcimer of patience in his hand;
Whence harmonies we cannot understand
Of God’s will in his worlds, the strain unfolds
In sad, perplexéd minors. Deathly colds        5
Fall on us while we hear, and countermand
Our sanguine heart back from the fancy-land,
With nightingales in visionary wolds.
We murmur, “Where is any certain tune,
Or measured music, in such notes as these?”        10
But angels, leaning from the golden seat,
Are not so minded! Their fine ear hath won
The issue of completed cadences;
And smiling down the stars, they whisper, “Sweet.”

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