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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 175/175 -


Use, to charm him (so to fit a fancy), All her magic ('tis the old sweet mythos), She would turn a new side to her mortal, Side unseen of herdsman, huntsman, steersman - Blank to Zoroaster on his terrace, Blind to Galileo on his turret, Dumb to Homer, dumb to Keats - him, even! Think, the wonder of the moonstruck mortal - When she turns round, comes again in heaven, Opens out anew for worse or better! Proves she like some portent of an iceberg Swimming full upon the ship it founders, Hungry with huge teeth of splintered crystals? Proves she as the paved work of a sapphire Seen by Moses when he climbed the mountain? Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu Climbed and saw the very God, the Highest, Stand upon the paved work of a sapphire. Like the bodied heaven in his clearness Shone the stone, the sapphire of that paved work, When they ate and drank and saw God also!

XVII What were seen? None knows, none ever shall know. Only this is sure - the sight were other, Not the moon's same side, born late in Florence, Dying now impoverished here in London. God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world with, One to show a woman when he loves her!

XVIII This I say of me, but think of you, Love! This to you - yourself my moon of poets! Ah, but that's the world's side, there's the wonder, Thus they see you, praise you, think they know you! There, in turn I stand with them and praise you - Out of my own self, I dare to phrase it. But the best is when I glide from out them, Cross a step or two of dubious twilight, Come out on the other side, the novel Silent silver lights and darks undreamed of, Where I hush and bless myself with silence.

XIX Oh, their Rafael of the dear Madonnas, Oh, their Dante of the dread Inferno, Wrote one song - and in my brain I sing it, Drew one angel - borne, see, on my bosom!

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 175/175

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