E. Barrett
Love Poems

Love Poems
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Robert Browning - Love Poetry
Robert Browning
Robert Browning 
(°Camberwell 1812; +Venice 1889)
by Michele Gordigiani (°Firenze 1835; +Firenze 1909).
Oil on canvas, 1858.
28 1/2 in. x 23 1/8 in. (724 mm x 587 mm).
© National Portrait Gallery, London.
He married the poetess Elizabeth Barrett in 1846 
and settled with her in Firenze.

 Now

Out of your whole life give but a moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, - so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection's endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense,
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me -
Me, sure that, despite of time future, time past,
This tick of life-time's one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet,
The moment eternal - just that and no more -
When ecstasy's utmost we clutch at the core,
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut, and lips meet!


 In a Gondola

He moth's kiss, first! 
Kiss me as if you made me believe 
You were not sure, this eve, 
How my face, your flower, had pursed 
Its petals up; so, here and there 
You brush it, till I grow aware 
Who wants me, and wide ope I burst. 
  
The bee's kiss, now! 
Kiss me as if you enter'd gay 
My heart at some noonday, 
A bud that dares not disallow 
The claim, so all is render'd up, 
And passively its shatter'd cup 
Over your head to sleep I bow.


A Woman's last Word


       I.

Let's contend no more, Love,
  Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
  Only sleep!

        II.

What so wild as words are?
  I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
  Hawk on bough!

        III.

See the creature stalking
  While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
  Cheek on cheek!

        IV.

What so false as truth is,
  False to thee?
Where the serpent's tooth is
  Shun the tree

        V.

Where the apple reddens
  Never pry
Lest we lose our Edens,
  Eve and I.

        VI.

Be a god and hold me
  With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
  With thine arm!

        VII.

Teach me, only teach, Love
  As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
  Think thy thought

        VIII.

Meet, if thou require it,
  Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
  In thy hands.

        IX.

That shall be to-morrow
  Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
  Out of sight:

        X

Must a little weep, Love,
  (Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
  Loved by thee.


 You'll love me yet

You'll love me yet!--and I can tarry 
Your love's protracted growing; 
June rear'd that bunch of flowers you carry 
From seeds of April's sowing. 

I plant a heartful now: some seed 
At least is sure to strike, 
And yield--what you'll not pluck indeed, 
Not love, but, may be, like. 

You'll look at least on love's remains, 
A grave's one violet: 
Your look?--that pays a thousand pains. 
What's death? You'll love me yet!


 Meeting at Night

The grey sea and the long black land; 
And the yellow half-moon large and low; 
And the startled little waves that leap 
In fiery ringlets from their sleep, 
As I gain the cove with pushing prow, 
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand. 

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach; 
Three fields to cross till a farm appears; 
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch 
And blue spurt of a lighted match, 
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears, 
Than the two hearts beating each to each!


 Porphyria's Lover

The rain set early in tonight, 
The sullen wind was soon awake, 
It tore the elm-tops down for spite, 
And did its worst to vex the lake: 
I listened with heart fit to break. 
When glided in Porphyria; straight 
She shut the cold out and the storm, 
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate 
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; 
Which done, she rose, and from her form 
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, 
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied 
Her hat and let the damp hair fall, 
And, last, she sat down by my side 
And called me. When no voice replied, 
She put my arm about her waist, 
And made her smooth white shoulder bare, 
And all her yellow hair displaced, 
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, 
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, 
Murmuring how she loved me--she 
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor, 
To set its struggling passion free 
From pride, and vainer ties dissever, 
And give herself to me forever. 
But passion sometimes would prevail, 
Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain 
A sudden thought of one so pale 
For love of her, and all in vain: 
So, she was come through wind and rain. 
Be sure I looked up at her eyes 
Happy and proud; at last I knew 
Porphyria worshiped me: surprise 
Made my heart swell, and still it grew 
While I debated what to do. 
That moment she was mine, mine, fair, 
Perfectly pure and good: I found 
A thing to do, and all her hair 
In one long yellow string I wound 
Three times her little throat around, 
And strangled her. No pain felt she; 
I am quite sure she felt no pain. 
As a shut bud that holds a bee, 
I warily oped her lids: again 
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain. 
And I untightened next the tress 
About her neck; her cheek once more 
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss: 
I propped her head up as before 
Only, this time my shoulder bore 
Her head, which droops upon it still: 
The smiling rosy little head, 
So glad it has its utmost will, 
That all it scorned at once is fled, 
And I, its love, am gained instead! 
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how 
Her darling one wish would be heard. 
And thus we sit together now, 
And all night long we have not stirred, 
And yet God has not said a word!


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Elisabeth Barrett-Browning
Love Poems


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Elisabeth Barrett-Browning
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© Gaston D'Haese: 07-07-2005.
Update: 25-08-2017.