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And I,—what I seem to my friend, you see ;
What I soon shall seem to his love, you guess : What I seem to myself, do you ask of me?
No hero, I confess.
'T is an awkward thing to play with souls,
And matter enough to save one's own :
Yet think of my friend, and the burning coals
He played with for bits of stone !
One likes to show the truth for the truth;
That the woman was light is very true : But suppose she says,-Never mind that youth !
What wrong have I done to you?
Well, any how, here the story stays,
So far at least as I understand ;
And, Robert Browning, you writer of plays,
Here 's a subject made to your hand !
Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her-
Next time, herself !--not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume !
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew :
Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.
Yet the day wears,
And door succeeds door ;
the fresh fortune-
Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.
Still the same chance! she goes out as I enter.
Spend my whole day in the quest,—who cares ?
But 't is twilight, you see,—with such suites to explore,
Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune !
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth,
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed !
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And baffled, get up and begin again,-
So the chace takes up one's life, that 's all. While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark, No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark, I shape memEver Removed !
Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy-
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?
He is with her, and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at mè, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them !-I am here.
Grind away, inoisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,-I am not in haste !
Better sit thus and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me, and dance at the King's.
That in the mortar—you call it á gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come !
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,—is that poison too?
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures !
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket !
Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to iive !
But to light a pastile, and Elise with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should
drop dead !
Quick-is it finished? The colour 's too grim!
Why not soft like the phial's, enticing and dim ?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer !
What a drop! She's not little, no minion like me!
That 's why she ensnared him : this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,-say,
“No!” To that pulse's magnificent come-and-go.
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shrivelled ; she fell not; yet this does it all!