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The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Volume II

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THE ROMAUNT OF MARGRET. Can my affections find out nothing best,But still and still remove?



I plant a tree whose leafThe yew-tree leaf will suit:But when its shade is o'er you laid,Turn round and pluck the fruit.Now reach my harp from off the wallWhere shines the sun aslant;The sun may shine and we be cold!O hearken, loving hearts and bold,Unto my wild romaunt.Margret, Margret.


Sitteth the fair ladyeClose to the river sideWhich runneth on with a merry toneHer merry thoughts to guide:It runneth through the trees,It runneth by the hill,Nathless the lady's thoughts have foundA way more pleasant stillMargret, Margret.


The night is in her hairAnd giveth shade to shade,And the pale moonlight on her forehead whiteLike a spirit's hand is laid;Her lips part with a smileInstead of speakings done:I ween, she thinketh of a voice,Albeit uttering none.Margret, Margret.


All little birds do sitWith heads beneath their wings:Nature doth seem in a mystic dream,Absorbed from her living things:That dream by that ladyeIs certes unpartook,For she looketh to the high cold starsWith a tender human lookMargret, Margret.


The lady's shadow liesUpon the running river;It lieth no less in its quietness,For that which resteth never:Most like a trusting heartUpon a passing faith,Or as upon the course of lifeThe steadfast doom of death.Margret, Margret.


The lady doth not move,The lady doth not dream,Yet she seeth her shade no longer laidIn rest upon the stream:It shaketh without wind,It parteth from the tide,It standeth upright in the cleft moonlight,It sitteth at her side.Margret, Margret.


Look in its face, ladye,And keep thee from thy swound;With a spirit bold thy pulses holdAnd hear its voice's sound:For so will sound thy voiceWhen thy face is to the wall,And such will be thy face, ladye,When the maidens work thy pall.Margret, Margret.


"Am I not like to thee?"The voice was calm and low,And between each word you might have heardThe silent forests grow;"The like may sway the like;"By which mysterious lawMine eyes from thine and my lips from thineThe light and breath may draw.Margret, Margret.


"My lips do need thy breath,My lips do need thy smile,And my pallid eyne, that light in thineWhich met the stars erewhile:Yet go with light and lifeIf that thou lovest oneIn all the earth who loveth theeAs truly as the sun,Margret, Margret."


Her cheek had waxèd whiteLike cloud at fall of snow;Then like to one at set of sun,It waxèd red alsò;For love's name maketh boldAs if the loved were near:And then she sighed the deep long sighWhich cometh after fear.Margret, Margret.


"Now, sooth, I fear thee not—Shall never fear thee now!"(And a noble sight was the sudden lightWhich lit her lifted brow.)"Can earth be dry of streams,Or hearts of love?" she said;"Who doubteth love, can know not love:He is already dead."Margret, Margret....