In A Year

A poem by Robert Browning

Never any more,
While I live,
Need I hope to see his face
As before.
Once his love grown chill,
Mine may strive
Bitterly we re-embrace,
Single still.

Was it something said,
Something done,
Vexed him? was it touch of hand,
Turn of head?
Strange! that very way
Love begun:
I as little understand
Love’s decay.

When I sewed or drew,
I recall
How he looked as if I sung,
Sweetly too.
If I spoke a word,
First of all
Up his cheek the colour sprang,
Then he heard.

Sitting by my side,
At my feet,
So he breathed but air I breathed,
I, too, at love’s brim
Touched the sweet:
I would die if death bequeathed
Sweet to him.

“Speak, I love thee best!”
He exclaimed:
“Let thy love my own foretell!”
I confessed:
“Clasp my heart on thine
Now unblamed,
Since upon thy soul as well
Hangeth mine!”

Was it wrong to own,
Being truth?
Why should all the giving prove
His alone?
I had wealth and ease,
Beauty, youth
Since my lover gave me love,
I gave these.

That was all I meant,
To be just,
And the passion I had raised,
To content.
Since he chose to change
Gold for dust,
If I gave him what he praised
Was it strange?

Would he loved me yet,
On and on,
While I found some way undreamed
Paid my debt!
Gave more life and more,
Till, all gone,
He should smile “She never seemed
Mine before.

“What, she felt the while,
Must I think?
Love’s so different with us men!”
He should smile:
“Dying for my sake
White and pink!
Can’t we touch these bubbles then
But they break?”

Dear, the pang is brief,
Do thy part,
Have thy pleasure! How perplext
Grows belief!
Well, this cold clay clod
Was man’s heart:
Crumble it and what comes next?
Is it God?

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