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Short poem

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Never the Time and the Place

              1Never the time and the place
              2      And the loved one all together!
              3This path--how soft to pace!
              4      This May--what magic weather!
              5Where is the loved one's face?
              6In a dream that loved one's face meets mine,
              7      But the house is narrow, the place is bleak
              8Where, outside, rain and wind combine
              9      With a furtive ear, if I strive to speak,
            10      With a hostile eye at my flushing cheek,
            11With a malice that marks each word, each sign!
            12O enemy sly and serpentine,
            13Uncoil thee from the waking man!
            14      Do I hold the Past
            15      Thus firm and fast
            16Yet doubt if the Future hold I can?
            17This path so soft to pace shall lead
            18Thro' the magic of May to herself indeed!
            19Or narrow if needs the house must be,
            20Outside are the storms and strangers: we
            21Oh, close, safe, warm sleep I and she,--
            22I and she!

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, Jocoseria (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1883). PR 4211 A1 ROBA.
First publication date: 1883
RPO poem editor: F. E. L. Priestley
RP edition: 3RP 3.193.
Recent editing: 2:2001/12/17

Rhyme: irregularly rhyming

Other poems by Robert Browning