Asolando - Epilogue

A poem by Robert Browning

Referring to the third verse of this poem, the Pall Mall Gazette of February 1, 1890, said: “One evening, just before his death-illness, the poet was reading this from a proof to his daughter-in-law and sister. He said: ‘It almost looks like bragging to say this, and as if I ought to cancel it; but it’s the simple truth; and as it’s truth, it shall stand.”’


At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where by death, fools think, imprisoned,
Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so,
Pity me?

Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
What had I on earth to do
With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel
Being who?

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.

No, at noonday in the bustle of man’s work-time
Greet the unseen with a cheer!
Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
“Strive and thrive!” cry “Speed, fight on fare ever
There as here!”

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