Dubiety

A poem by Robert Browning

I will be happy if but for once:
Only help me, Autumn weather,
Me and my cares to screen, ensconce
In luxury’s sofa-lap of leather!

Sleep? Nay, comfort with just a cloud
Suffusing day too clear and bright:
Eve’s essence, the single drop allowed
To sully, like milk, Noon’s water-white.

Let gauziness shade, not shroud, adjust,
Dim and not deaden, somehow sheathe
Aught sharp in the rough world’s busy thrust,
If it reach me through dreaming’s vapor-wreath.

Be life so, all things ever the same!
For, what has disarmed the world? Outside,
Quiet and peace: inside, nor blame
Nor want, nor wish whate’er betide.

What is it like that has happened before?
A dream? No dream, more real by much.
A vision? But fanciful days of yore
Brought many: mere musing seems not such.
Perhaps but a memory, after all!
Of what came once when a woman leant
To feel for my brow where her kiss might fall.
Truth ever, truth only the excellent!

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