Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
In a Year
By Robert Browning (1812–1889)
NEVER any more,
      While I live,
Need I hope to see his face
      As before.
Once his love grown chill,        5
      Mine may strive:
Bitterly we re-embrace,
      Single still.
Was it something said,
      Something done,        10
Vexed him? was it touch of hand,
      Turn of head?
Strange! that very way
      Love begun:
I as little understand        15
      Love’s decay.
When I sewed or drew,
      I recall
How he looked as if I sung,—
      Sweetly too.        20
If I spoke a word,
      First of all
Up his cheek the color sprung,
      Then he heard.
Sitting by my side,        25
      At my feet,
So he breathed but air I breathed,
I, too, at love’s brim
      Touched the sweet:        30
I would die if death bequeathed
      Sweet to him.
“Speak, I love thee best!”
      He exclaimed:
“Let thy love my own foretell!”        35
      I confessed:
“Clasp my heart on thine
      Now unblamed,
Since upon thy soul as well
      Hangeth mine!”        40
Was it wrong to own,
      Being truth?
Why should all the giving prove
      His alone?
I had wealth and ease,        45
      Beauty, youth:
Since my lover gave me love,
      I gave these.
That was all I meant,—
      To be just,        50
And the passion I had raised
      To content.
Since he chose to change
      Gold for dust,
If I gave him what he praised        55
      Was it strange?
Would he loved me yet,
      On and on,
While I found some way undreamed—
      Paid my debt!        60
Gave more life and more,
      Till all gone,
He should smile—“She never seemed
      Mine before.
“What, she felt the while,        65
      Must I think?
Love’s so different with us men!”
      He should smile:
“Dying for my sake—
      White and pink!        70
Can’t we touch these bubbles then
      But they break?”
Dear, the pang is brief,
      Do thy part,
Have thy pleasure! How perplexed        75
      Grows belief!
Well, this cold clay clod
      Was man’s heart:
Crumble it, and what comes next?
      Is it God?        80

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