Imágenes de página

The same worked in the heart of the cedar

and moved the vine-bowers: And the little brooks witnessing murmured,

persistent and low, With their obstinate, all but hushed voices

-“E'en so, it is so!”

(So tight he kept his lips compressed,

Scarce any blood came through)
You looked twice ere you saw his breast

Was all but shot in two.


[Publ. 1872)


ALL that I know

Of a certain star Is, it can throw

(Like the angled spar) Now a dart of red,

Now a dart of blue;
Till my friends have said

They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue!
Then it stops like a bird; like a flower,

bangs furled:
They must solace themselves with the

Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world ?
Mine has opened its soul to me; there-

fore I love it.

“Well,” cried he, “ Emperor, by God's

We've got you Ratisbon !
The Marshal's in the market-place,

And you 'll be there anon
To see your flag-bird flap his vans

Where I, to heart's desire,
Perched him!” The chief's eye flashed;

his plans
Soared up again like fire.
The chief's eye flashed; but presently

Softened itself, as sheathes
A film the motber-eagle's eye

When her bruised eaglet breathes;
“You're wounded !” « Nay," the soldier's

pride Touched to the quick, he said: “I'm killed, Sire!” And his chief beside,

Smiling the boy fell dead.





That's my last Duchess painted on the

wall, You know, we French stormed Ratisbon: Looking as if she were alive. I call A mile or so away,

That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's On a little mound, Napoleon

hands Stood on our storming-day;

Worked busily a day, and there she stands. With neck out-thrust, you fancy bow, Will 't please you sit and look at her? I Legs wide, arms locked behind,

said As if to balance the prone brow

“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read Oppressive with its mind.

Strangers like you that pictured counte

: nance, Just as perhaps he mused “My plans The depth and passion of its earnest glance, That soar, to earth may fall,

But to myself they turned (since none puts Let once my army-leader Lannes Waver at yonder wall,” —

The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew | And seemed as they would ask me, if they A rider, bound on bound

durst, Full-galloping; nor bridle drew

How such a glance came there; 80, not the Until he reached the mound.


Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was Then off there flung in smiling joy,

not And held himself erect

Her husband's presence only, called that By just his horse's mane, a boy:

spot You hardly could suspect

Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps



Is ample warrant that no just pretence 50 Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we 'll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune,

though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze

for me!


Frà Pandolf chanced to say, “ Her mantle

laps Over my lady's wrist too much,” or “Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat :”

such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough

20 For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart – how shall I say ? — too soon

nade glad, Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went every

where. Sir, 't was all one! My favor at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white

mule She rode with round the terrace — all and

each Would draw from her alike the approving

speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men, —

good! but thanked Somehow - I know not how - as if she

ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to

blame This sort of trilling ? Even had you skill In speech — (which I have not) — to make

your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, “ Just Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark” — and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set 40 Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made ex

cuse, - E'en then would be some stooping; and

I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no

doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed

without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave

commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There

she stands As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We'll

meet The company below, then. I repeat, The Count your master's known munifi



This poem was written after Browning's visit to Italy in 1844. That second time they hunted me From hill to plain, from shore to sea, And Austria, hounding far and wide Her blood-hounds through the country-side, Breathed hot and instant on my trace, I made six days a hiding-place Of that dry green old aqueduct Where I and Charles, wben boys, barə

plucked The fire-flies from the roof above, Bright creeping through the moss they

love: - How long it seems since Charles was

lost ! Six days the soldiers crossed and crossed The country in my very sight; And when that peril ceased at night, The sky broke out in red dismay With signal fires; well, there I lay Close covered o'er in my recess, Up to the neck in ferns and cress, Thinking on Metternich our friend, And Charles's miserable end, And much beside, two days; the third, Hunger o'ercame me when I heard The peasants from the village go To work among the maize; you know, With us in Lombardy, they bring Provisions packed on mules, a string With little bells that cheer their task, And casks, and boughs on every cask To keep the sun's heat from the wine; These I let pass in jingling line, And, close on them, dear noisy crew, The peasants from the village, too; For at the very rear would troop Their wives and sisters in a group To help, I knew. When these had passed, I threw my glove to strike the last, Taking the chance: she did not start,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Much less cry out, but stooped apart, Than of her coming. We conferred
One instant rapidly glanced round,

Of her own prospects, and I heard
And saw me beckon from the ground; 40 She had a lover -stout and tall,
A wild bush grows and hides my crypt; She said — then let her eyelids fall,
She picked my glove up while she stripped “ He could do much ” — as if some doubt
A branch off, then rejoined the rest

Entered her heart, then, passing out, With that; my glove lay in her breast. “ She could not speak for others, who Then I drew breath: they disappeared: Had other thoughts; herself she knew:" It was for Italy I feared.

And so she brought me drink and food.

After four days, the scouts pursued 100 An hour, and she returned alone

Another path; at last arrived Exactly where my glove was thrown. The belp my Paduan friends contrived Meanwbile came many thoughts on ine To furnish me: she brought the news. Rested the hopes of Italy;

| For the first time I could not choose I had devised a certain tale

But kiss her hand, and lay my own Which, when 't was told her, could not fail Upon her head — "This faith was shown Persuade a peasant of its truth;

To Italy, our mother; she I meant to call a freak of youth

Uses my hand and blesses thee." This hiding, and give hopes of pay,

She followed down to the sea-shore; And no temptation to betray.

I left and never saw her more.

110 But when I saw that woman's face, Its calm simplicity of grace,

How very long since I have thought Our Italy's own attitude

Concerning — much less wished for-aught
In which she walked thus far, and stood, 60 | Beside the good of Italy,
Planting each naked foot so firm,

For which I live and mean to die !
To crush the snake and spare the worm - I never was in love; and since
At first sight of her eyes, I said,

Charles proved false, what shall now con“I am that man upon whose head

vince They fix the price, because I hate

My inmost heart I have a friend ?
The Austrians over us: the State

However, if I pleased to spend
Will give you gold — oh, gold so much - Real wishes on myself — say, three-
If you betray me to their clutch,

I know at least what one should be. 120
And be your death, for aught I know, I would grasp Metternich until
If once they find you saved their foe. 70 I felt bis red wet throat distil
Now, you must bring me food and drink, | In blood through these two hands. And
And also paper, pen and ink,

next And carry safe what I shall write

- Nor much for that am I perplexed To Padua, which you 'll reach at night Charles, perjured traitor, for his part, Before the duomo shuts; go in,

Should die slow of a broken heart And wait till Tenebræ begin;

Under his new employers. Last Walk to the third confessional,

- Ah, there, what should I wish? For fast Between the pillar and the wall,

Do I grow old and out of strength.
And kneeling whisper, Whence comes peace ? | If I resolved to seek at length
Say it a second time, then cease;

My father's house again, how scared
And if the voice inside returns,

They all would look, and unprepared From Christ and Freedom; what concerns My brothers live in Austria's pay The cause of Peace ?-for answer, slip - Disowned me long ago, men say; My letter where you placed your lip; And all my early mates who used Then come back happy we have done To praise me so — perhaps induced Our mother service - I, the son,

More than one early step of mine As you the daughter of our land !”. Are turning wise : while some opine

“ Freedom grows license," some suspect Three mornings more, she took her stand | “ Haste breeds delay," and recollect 140 In the same place, with the same eyes: They always said, such premature I was no surer of sunrise

90 | Beginnings never could endure!


So, with a sullen “All's for best,”
The land seems settling to its rest.
I think then, I should wish to stand
This evening in that dear, lost land,
Over the sea the thousand iniles,
And know if yet that woman smiles
With the calm smile; some little farm
She lives in there, no doubt: what harm 150
If I sat on the door-side bench,
And, while her spindle made a trench
Fantastically in the dust,
Inquired of all her fortunes - just
Her children's ages and their names,
And what may be the husband's aims
For each of them. I'd talk this out,
And sit there, for an hour about,
Then kiss her hand once more, and lay
Mine on her head, and go my way. 160

So much for idle wishing — how
It steals the time! To business now.

By many benedictions — sun's
And moon's and evening-star's at once –

And so, you, looking and loving best,
Conscious grew, your passion drew
Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,
Down on you, near and yet more near, 30
Till flesh must fade for heaven was here !
Thus leant she and lingered - joy and fear!

Thus lay she a moment on my breast. Then we began to ride. My soul Smoothed itself out, a long-cramped scroll Freshening and fluttering in the wind. Past hopes already lay behind.

What need to strive with a life awry? Had I said that, had I done this, So might I gain, so might I miss. Migbt she have loved me? just as well She might have hated, who can tell ! Where had I been now if the worst befell ?

And here we are riding, she and I.


I SAID — Then, dearest, since 't is so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seemed meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must

be My whole heart rises up to bless Your name in pride and thankfulness ! Take back the hope you gave, — I claim Only a memory of the same, - And this beside, if you will not blame, 10 Your leave for one more last ride with


Fail I alone, in words and deeds ?
Why, all men strive, and who succeeds ?
We rode; it seemed my spirit flew,
Saw other regions, cities new,

As the world rushed by on either side.
I thought, - All labor, yet no less 50
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast,
This present of theirs with the hopeful

past! I hoped she would love me; here we ride.

My mistress bent that brow of hers;
Those deep dark eyes where pride de-

When pity would be softening through,
Fixed me a breathing-while or two

With life or death in the balance: right! The blood replenished me again; My last thought was at least not vain: I and my mistress, side by side Shall be together, breathe and ride, 20 So, one day more am I deified. Who knows but the world may end to


What hand and brain went ever paired ? What heart alike conceived and dared ? What act proved all its thought had been ? What will but felt the fleshly screen?

We ride and I see her bosom heave. 60 There's many a crown for who can reach. Ten lines, a statesman's life in each ! The flag stuck on a heap of bones, A soldier's doing! what atones ? They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones. My riding is better, by their leave.

What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you expressed
You hold things beautiful the best,

And place them in rhyme so, side by side. 'T is something, nay 't is much: but then, Have you yourself what's best for men ? Are you — poor, sick, old ere your time

Hush ! if you saw some western cloud All billowy-bosomed, over-bowed

best? " good, would hea

Nearer one whit your own sublime

Now read here. “Protus ends a period Than we who never have turned a rhyme ? Of empery beginning with a god; 9 Sing, riding 's a joy! For me, I ride. Boru in the porphyry chamber at Byzant,

Queens by his cradle, proud and ministrant: And you, great sculptor - So, you gave And if he quickened breath there, 't would A score of years to Art, her slave,

like fire And that's your Venus, whence we turn so Pantingly through the dim vast realm tranTo yonder girl that fords the burn!

spire. You acquiesce, and shall I repine ?

A fame that he was missing spread afar: What, man of music, you grown gray The world, from its four corners, rose in war, With notes and nothing else to say,

Till he was borne out on a balcony Is this your sole praise from a friend, To pacify the world when it should see. “Greatly his opera's strains intend,

The captains ranged before him, one, his But in music we know how fashions end!”

band I gave my youth; but we ride, in fine. Made baby points at, gained the chief com

mand. Who knows what's fit for us? Had fate And day by day more beautiful he grew 20 Proposed bliss here should sublimate 90 In shape, all said, in feature and in hue, My being — had I signed the bond - While young Greek sculptors, gazing on Still one must lead some life beyond,

the child, Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried. Became with old Greek sculpture reconciled. This foot once planted on the goal,

Already sages labored to condense This glory-garland round my soul,

In easy tomes a life's experience: Could I descry such? Try and test ! And artists took grave counsel to impart I sink back shuddering from the quest. In one breath and one hand-sweep, all their Earth being so good, would heaven seem


To make his graces prompt as blossoming Now, heaven and she are beyond this Of plentifully-watered palms in spring: ride.

Since well beseems it, whoso mounts the throne,

30 And yet - she has not spoke so long! 100 For beauty, knowledge, strength, should What if heaven be that, fair and strong

stand alone, At life's best, with our eyes upturned And mortals love the letters of his name.” Whither life's flower is first discerned,

We, fixed so, ever should so abide ? -Stop! Have you turned two pages ? What if we still ride on, we two,

Still the same With life forever old yet new,

New reign, same date. The scribe goes on Changed not in kind but in degree,

to say The instant made eternity,

How that same year, on such a month and And heaven just prove that I and she Ride, ride together, forever ride? 110 “ John the Pannonian, gronndedly believed

A blacksmith's bastard, whose hard hand

reprieved PROTUS

The Empire from its fate the year before,

Came, had a mind to take the crown, and AMONG these latter busts we count by

wore scores,

The same for six years (during which the Half-emperors and quarter-emperors,


40 Each with his bay-leaf fillet, loose-thonged Kept off their fingers from us), till his sons vest,

Put something in his liquor” — and so forth. Loric and low-browed Gorgon on the Then a new reign. Stay — “Take at its breast,

just worth" One loves a baby face, with violets there, (Subjoins an annotator) “what I give Violets instead of laurel in the hair, Às hearsay. Some think, John let Protus As those were all the little locks could bear. | live


« AnteriorContinuar »