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Short poem

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

My Heart and I

              1ENOUGH ! we're tired, my heart and I.
              2   We sit beside the headstone thus,
              3   And wish that name were carved for us.
              4The moss reprints more tenderly
              5   The hard types of the mason's knife,
              6   As heaven's sweet life renews earth's life
              7With which we're tired, my heart and I.

              8You see we're tired, my heart and I.
              9   We dealt with books, we trusted men,
            10   And in our own blood drenched the pen,
            11As if such colours could not fly.
            12   We walked too straight for fortune's end,
            13   We loved too true to keep a friend ;
            14At last we're tired, my heart and I.

            15How tired we feel, my heart and I !
            16   We seem of no use in the world ;
            17   Our fancies hang grey and uncurled
            18About men's eyes indifferently ;
            19   Our voice which thrilled you so, will let
            20   You sleep; our tears are only wet :
            21What do we here, my heart and I ?

            22So tired, so tired, my heart and I !
            23   It was not thus in that old time
            24   When Ralph sat with me 'neath the lime
            25To watch the sunset from the sky.
            26   `Dear love, you're looking tired,' he said;
            27   I, smiling at him, shook my head :
            28'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.

            29So tired, so tired, my heart and I !
            30   Though now none takes me on his arm
            31   To fold me close and kiss me warm
            32Till each quick breath end in a sigh
            33   Of happy languor. Now, alone,
            34   We lean upon this graveyard stone,
            35Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.

            36Tired out we are, my heart and I.
            37   Suppose the world brought diadems
            38   To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
            39Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.
            40   We scarcely care to look at even
            41   A pretty child, or God's blue heaven,
            42We feel so tired, my heart and I.

            43Yet who complains ? My heart and I ?
            44   In this abundant earth no doubt
            45   Is little room for things worn out :
            46Disdain them, break them, throw them by
            47   And if before the days grew rough
            48   We once were loved, used, -- well enough,
            49I think, we've fared, my heart and I.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Last Poems. London: Chapman and Hall, 1862. 19th-cent. STC: 5.1.510. mfe DA 533 N55.
First publication date: 1862
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: Not in printed RP.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/7

Rhyme: abbacca

Other poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning