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“Fire shall forgive me as I forgive, "Her clasped hands stretch from her Little brother!"

bending head, (O Mother, Mary Mother,

Sister Helen; As she forgives, between Hell and Heaven !) With the loud wind's wail her sobs are

wed.” “Oh he prays you, as his heart would

“What wedding-strains hath her bridalSister Helen,

Little brother?To save his dear son's soul alive."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, “Fire cannot slay it, it shall thrive,

What strain but death's, between Hell Little brother!”

and Heaven?) (O Mother, Mary Mother, Alas, alas, between Hell and Heaven!) “She may not speak, she sinks in a


Sister Helen, “He cries to you, kneeling in the road, Sister Helen,

She lifts her lips and gasps on the moon.” To go with him for the love of God!”

"Oh! might I but hear her soul's blithe The way is long to his son's abode, Little brother.'

Little brother!” (O Mother, Mary Mother,

(O Mother, Mary Mother, The way is long, between Hell and Heaven !) Her woe's dumb cry, between Hell and

Heaven!) “A lady's here, by a dark steed brought, Sister Helen, "They've caught her to

to Westholm's So darkly clad, I saw her not.”

saddle-bow, “See her now or never see aught,

Sister Helen, Little brother!” And her moonlit hair gleams white in (O Mother, Mary Mother,

its flow.” What more

to see, between Hell and “Let it turn whiter than winter snow, Heaven?)

Little brother !"

(O Mother, Mary Mother, “Her hood falls back, and the moon

Woe-withered gold, between Hell and

Heaven !) shines fair,

Sister Helen,
On the Lady of Ewern's golden hair." "O Sister Helen, you heard the bell,
“Blest hour of my power and her despair,

Sister Helen!
Little brother !” More loud than the vesper-chime it fell."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, "No vesper-chime, but a dying knell, Hour blest and bann'd, between Hell and

Little brother !”
Heaven !)

(O Mother, Mary Mother,

His dying knell, between Hell and Heaven !) “Pale, pale her cheeks, that in pride did glow,

"Alas! but I fear the heavy sound, Sister Helen,

Sister Helen; 'Neath the bridal-wreath three days ago.” Is it in the sky or in the ground?” One morn for pride and three days for “Say, have they turned their horses

round, Little brother!”

Little brother?(O Mother, Mary Mother,

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Three days, three nights, between Hell and What would she more, between Hell and Heaven !)

Heaven ?)


“They have raised the old man from his And, as I mused it in his antique tongue, knee,

I saw, in gradual vision through my tears, Sister Helen,

The sweet, sad years, the melancholy And they ride in silence hastily."

years, “More fast the naked soul doth flee, Those of my own life, who by turns had Little brother!”

flung (O Mother, Mary Mother, A shadow across me. Straightway I The naked soul, between Hell and Heaven !)

was 'ware,

So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move “Flank to flank are the three steeds gone, Behind me, and drew me backward by Sister Helen,

the hair; But the lady's dark steed goes alone.” And a voice said in mastery, while I “And lonely her bridegroom's soul hath

strove, flown,

“Guess now who holds thee?”—“Death,” Little brother."

I said. But, there, (O Mother, Mary Mother. The silver answer rang, — “Not Death, The lonely ghost, between Hell and Heaven !)

but Love."

“Oh the wind is sad in the iron chill,

Sister Helen,
And weary sad they look by the hill.” But only three in all God's universe
“But he and I are sadder still,

Have heard this word thou hast said,
Little brother !”

Himself, beside (O Mother, Mary Mother, Thee speaking, and me listening! and Most sad of all, between Hell and Heaven !) replied

One of us that was God, . and “See, see, the wax has dropped from its

laid the curse place,

So darkly on my eyelids, as to amerce Sister Helen,

My sight from seeing thee, - that if I I And the flames are winning up apace!”

had died, “Yet here they burn but for a space, The death weights, placed there, would Little brother !”

have signified (O Mother, Mary Mother, Less absolute exclusion. “Nay” is worse Here for a space, between Hell and Heaven) From God than from all others, O my

friend! “Ah! what white thing at the door has Men could not part us with their worldly

jars, Sister Helen?

Nor seas change us, nor the tempests Ah! what is this that sighs in the frost ?”

bend; “A soul that's lost as mine is lost,

Our hands would touch for all the mounLittle brother!”

tain-bars : (O Mother, Mary Mother, And, heaven being rolled between us at Lost, lost, all lost, between Hell and Heaven !)

the end,

We should but vow the faster for the ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING



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Their wings in passing. Thou, bethink That falls in well with mine, and certes thee, art

brought A guest for queens to social pageantries, A sense of pleasant ease on such a day" –

A With gages from a hundred brighter eyes For these things in themselves, Beloved, Than tears even can make mine, to play

may thy part

Be changed, or change for thee, - and Of chief musician. What hast thou to do

love, so wrought, With looking from the lattice-lights at May be unwrought so. Neither love me me,

for A poor, tired, wandering singer, singing Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks through

dry, The dark, and leaning up a cypress tree? A creature might forget to weep, who The chrism is on thine head, on mine,

bore the dew,

Thy comfort long, and lose thy love And Death must dig the level where these thereby! agree.

But love me for love's sake, that ever




Thou mayst love on, through love's eterTHE face of all the world is changed, I

nity. think, Since first I heard the footsteps of thy

I NEVER gave a lock of hair away soul Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they

To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,

Which now upon my fingers thoughtstole

fully, Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink Of obvious death, where I, who thought "Take it." My day of youth went yes

I ring out to the full brown length and say to sink,

terday : Was caught up into love, and taught My hair no longer bounds to my foot's

the whole Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of


Nor plant I it from rose or myrtle-tree, dole

As girls do, any more; it only may God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,

Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with

of tears, thee anear. The names of country, heaven, are changed Taught drooping from the head that

hangs aside away

Through sorrow's trick. I thought the For where thou art or shalt be, there or

funeral-shears here;

Would take this first, but love is justiAnd this ... this lute and song loved yesterday,

Take it thou, finding pure, from all those (The singing angels know) are only dear

years, Because thy name moves right in what

The kiss my mother left here when she they say.



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If thou must love me, let it be for nought Say over again, and yet once over again, Except for love's sake only. Do not say That thou dost love me. Though the “I love her for her smile her look - her

word repeated way

Should seem "a cuckoo-song,” as thou Of speaking gently, - for a trick of

dost treat it, thought

Remember, never to the hill or plain,

Valley and wood, without her cuckoo

strain Comes the fresh Spring in all her green

completed. Beloved, I, amid the darkness greeted By a doubtful spirit-voice, in that doubt's

pain Cry, “Speak once more thou lovest!”

Who can fear Too many stars, though each in heaven

shall roll, Too many flowers, though each shall

crown the year? Say thou dost love


me, toll The silver iterance !-only minding, Dear, To love me also in silence with thy soul.

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from

Praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's

faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, I love thee with

the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God

choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

love me

XLIV BELOVÉD, thou hast brought me many

flowers Plucked in the garden, all the summer

through And winter, and it seemed as if they grew In this close room, nor missed the sun

and showers. So, in the like name of that love of ours, Take back these thoughts which here un

folded too, And which on warm and cold days I with

drew From my heart's ground. Indeed, those

beds and bowers Be overgrown with bitter weeds and rue, And wait thy weeding; yet here's eglan

tine, Here's ivy! — take them, as I used to do Thy flowers, and keep them where they

shall not pine. Instruct thine eyes to keep their colours

true, And tell thy soul their roots are left in


XXVIII My letters! all dead paper, mute and

white ! And yet they seem alive and quivering Against my tremulous hands which loose

the string And let them drop down on my knee

to-night. This said, he wished to have me in his

sight Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring To come and touch my hand .

simple thing, Yet I wept for it! — this, the paper's

light ... Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and

quailed As if God's future thundered on my past. This said, I am thine and so its ink has

paled With lying at my heart that beat too fast. And this ... O Love, thy words have

ill availed If, what this said, I dared repeat at last !





How do I love thee? Let me count the

ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and

height My soul can reach, when feeling out of

sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday's

From ATALANTA IN CALYDON WHEN the hounds of spring are on winter's

traces, The mother of months in meadow or

plain Fills the shadows and windy places

With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;

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