Pacchiarotto - Prologue

A poem by Robert Browning

Oh, the old wall here! How I could pass
Life in a long midsummer day,
My feet confined to a plot of grass,
My eyes from a wall not once away!

And lush and lithe, do the creepers clothe
Yon wall I watch, with a wealth of green:
Its bald red bricks draped, nothing loth,
In lappets of tangle they laugh between.

Now, what is it makes pulsate the robe?
Why tremble the sprays? What life o’er brims
The body, the house, no eye can probe,
Divined as, beneath a robe, the limbs?

And there again! But my heart may guess
Who tripped behind; and she sang perhaps:
So, the old wall throbbed, and its life’s excess
Died out and away in the leafy wraps!

Wall upon wall are between us: life
And song should away from heart to heart!
I, prison bird, with a ruddy strife
At breast, and a lip whence storm-notes start

Hold on, hope hard in the subtle thing
That’s spirit: though cloistered fast, soar free;
Account as wood, brick, stone, this ring
Of the rueful neighbors, and forth to thee!

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