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Short poem

Robert Browning (1812-1889)


              1  At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
              2    When you set your fancies free,
              3Will they pass to where--by death, fools think, imprisoned--
              4Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so,
              5         --Pity me?

              6  Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
              7    What had I on earth to do
              8With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
              9Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel
            10         --Being--who?

            11  One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
            12    Never doubted clouds would break,
            13Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
            14Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
            15         Sleep to wake.

            16  No, at noonday in the bustle of man's work-time
            17    Greet the unseen with a cheer!
            18Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
            19"Strive and thrive!" cry "Speed,--fight on, fare ever
            20         There as here!"

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, Asolando (London: Smith, Elder, 1894). PR 4222 A7 1894 ROBA.
First publication date: 1889
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP 2.483.
Recent editing: 2:2001/12/17

Rhyme: abcdb

Other poems by Robert Browning