Perplexed Music

A poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED TO E. J.


Experience, like a pale musician, holds
A dulcimer of patience in his hand,
Whence harmonies, we cannot understand,
Of God; will in his worlds, the strain unfolds
In sad-perplexed minors: deathly colds
Fall on us while we hear, and countermand
Our sanguine heart back from the fancyland
With nightingales in visionary wolds.
We murmur' Where is any certain tune
Or measured music in such notes as these?'
But angels, leaning from the golden seat,
Are not so minded their fine ear hath won
The issue of completed cadences,
And, smiling down the stars, they whisper sweet.

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