Representative Poetry Online
  Poet Index   Poem Index   Random   Search  
  Introduction   Timeline   Calendar   Glossary   Criticism   Bibliography  
  RPO   Canadian Poetry   UTEL  
by Name
by Date
by Title
by First Line
by Last Line
Short poem

Robert Browning (1812-1889)


              1  What is he buzzing in my ears?
              2    "Now that I come to die,
              3Do I view the world as a vale of tears?"
              4    Ah, reverend sir, not I!

              5  What I viewed there once, what I view again
              6    Where the physic bottles stand
              7On the table's edge,--is a suburb lane,
              8    With a wall to my bedside hand.

              9  That lane sloped, much as the bottles do,
            10    From a house you could descry
            11O'er the garden-wall; is the curtain blue
            12    Or green to a healthy eye?

            13  To mine, it serves for the old June weather
            14    Blue above lane and wall;
            15And that farthest bottle labelled "Ether"
            16    Is the house o'ertopping all.

            17  At a terrace, somewhere near the stopper,
            18    There watched for me, one June,
            19A girl: I know, sir, it's improper,
            20    My poor mind's out of tune.

            21  Only, there was a way... you crept
            22    Close by the side, to dodge
            23Eyes in the house, two eyes except:
            24    They styled their house "The Lodge."

            25  What right had a lounger up their lane?
            26    But, by creeping very close,
            27With the good wall's help,--their eyes might strain
            28    And stretch themselves to Oes,

            29  Yet never catch her and me together,
            30    As she left the attic, there,
            31By the rim of the bottle labelled "Ether,"
            32    And stole from stair to stair,

            33  And stood by the rose-wreathed gate. Alas,
            34    We loved, sir--used to meet:
            35How sad and bad and mad it was--
            36    But then, how it was sweet!

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: Robert Browning, Dramatis Personae (London: Chapman and Hall, 1864). PR 4209 A1 1864 ROBA
First publication date: 1864
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP 2.480.
Recent editing: 2:2001/12/13

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Robert Browning