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Then died, with Lazarus by, for aught I know,
And yet was

what I said nor choose repeat,
And must have so avouched himself, in fact,
In hearing of this very Lazarus
Who saith—but why all this of what he saith?
Why write of trivial matters, things of price
Calling at every moment for remark?
I notic, { on the margin of a pool
Blue-flowering borage, the Aleppo sort,
Aboundeth, very nitrous. It is strange!

280

285

Thy pardon for this long and tedious case,
Which, now that I review it, needs must seem
Unduly dwelt upon, prolixly set forth!
Nor I myself discern in what is writ
Good cause for the peculiar interest
And awe indeed this man has touched me with.
Perhaps the journey's end, the weariness
Had wrought upon me first. I met him thus: 290
I crossed a ridge of short sharp broken hills
Like an old lion's cheek teeth. Out there came
A moon made like a face with certain spots
Multiform, manifold, and menacing:
Then a wind rose behind me. So we met

295
In this old sleepy town at unaware,
The man and I. I send thee what is writ.
Regard it as a chance, a matter risked
To this ambiguous Syrian: he may lose,
Or steal, or give it thee with equal good.

300
Jerusalem's repose shall make amends
For time this letter wastes, thy time and mine;

Till when, once more thy pardon and farewell! 281. Blue-flowering borage. A plant valued for its stimulating medical properties. The ancients deemed this plant one of the four 'cordial flowers,' for cheering the spirits, the others being the rose, violet, and alkanet.” Aleppo. A city of Syria.

289-303. Karshish apologizes for dwelling at length on the case of this recovered epileptic Jew, and promises to write at leisure from Jerusalem on matters of more

moment.

305

The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving toom.
So, thro' the thunder comes a human voice
Saying, “ O heart I made, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!
Thou hast no power nor mayst conceive of mine:
But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
And thou must love me who have died for thee!”
The madman saith He said so: it is strange.

310

Meeting at Night *

I

The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

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II

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And the blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

IO

Parting at Morning
Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun looked over the mountain's rim:
And straight was a path of gold for him,

And the need of a world of men for me. 304-312. Art and science are thrust aside : the man's very soul cries out for God,--the God of this despised "madman.”

*Meeting at Night and Parting at Morning were published in 1845 in the seventh number of Bells and Pomegranates. The speaker is a man who at night goes gladly home to peace and love, and at morning as gladly back to the world and work.

Prospice *

IO

FEAR death?-to feel the fog in my throat,

The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote

I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm, 5

The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,

Yet the strong man must go:
For the journey is done and the summit attained,

And the barriers fall,
Tho' a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,

The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so-one fight more,

The best and the last!
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,
And bade me creep past.

16 No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers

The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
Of pain, darkness, and cold.

20 For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,

The black minute's at end,
And the elements’ rage, the fiend-voices that rave,

Shall dwindle, shall blend,

* Prospice (look forward), written the fall after Mrs. Browning's death, was published in Dramatis Personæ in 1864. It expresses the poet's scorn of the idle and cowardly fear of death, and his faith in personal immortality. “ Death,” said Browning when its shadow was over him, “is life, just as our daily, our momentarily, dying body is none the less alive and ever recruiting new forces of existence. Without death, which is our crape-like churchyardy word for change, for growth, there could be no prolongation of that which we call life. For myself, I deny death as an end of anything. Never say of me that I am dead."

7. Arch Fear. Death.

11. Guerdon (LL. widerdonum. A half translation of the OHG. widarlon, widar, back again + lon, reward). Recompense.

19. Brunt (Ice. brenna, burn). “The 'brunt of the battle is the 'heat' of the battle where it burns most fiercely."— Trench.

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Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,

Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,

And with God be the rest!

IO

Epilogue to “ Asolando."*
At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,

When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned-
Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so,
-Pity me?

5 Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!

What had I on earth to do
With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel

-Being-who?
One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,

Never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, tho' right were worsted, wrong would

triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, Sleep to wake.

15 No, at noonday in the bustle of man's work-time

Greet the unseen with a cheer!
Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
Strive and thrive!” cry“ Speed,-fight on, fare ever

There as here!”

20

27.

A beautiful allusion to his wife. The Epilogue to A solando, 1889, is “the last word spoken by Browning to the world. It is an epilogue not only to Asolando but to the whole of his life . reminds us of Browning's bracing, tonic effect upon all of us, and the hopefulness and support he has afforded many in hours of gloom or trouble. Standing apart from criticism, the poem is brave, energetic, stimulant."--F. M. Wilson.

Compare with this Tennyson's swan song, Crossing the Bar. Reread also Browning's Prospice, which it suggests.

8. Mawkish (Ice. madhkr, maggot). Sickening, insipid. 13. Worsted. Defeated ; have the worst of it. 19. Fare (AS. faran, travel), Go on; often used impersonally.

5

Evelyn Hope BEAUTIFUL Evelyn Hope is dead !

Sit and watch by her side an hour. That is her book-shelf, this her bed;

She plucked that piece of geranium-flower, Beginning to die too, in the glass;

Little has yet been changed, I think; The shutters are shut, no light may pass

Save two long rays through the hinge's chink. Sixteen years old when she died !

Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name; It was not her time to love; beside,

Her life had many a hope and aim,
Duties enough and little cares,

And now was quiet, now astir,
Till God's hand beckoned unawares, —

And the sweet white brow is all of her.

IO

15

20

Is it too late, then, Evelyn Hope ?

What, your soul was pure and true, The good stars met in your horoscope,

Made you of spirit, fire and dewAnd, just because I was thrice as old

And our paths in the world diverged so wide, Each was naught to each, must I be told ?

We were fellow mortals, naught beside ?

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No, indeed! for God above

Is great to grant, as mighty to make, And creates the love to reward the love:

I claim you still, for my own love's sake! Delayed it may be for more lives yet,

Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few: Much is to learn, much to forget

Ere the time be come for taking you.

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