Page:Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918.djvu/910

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ROBERT BROWNING

Down on you, near and yet more near, Till flesh must fade for heaven was here' Thus leant she and linger'd joy and fear' Thus lay she a moment on my breast.

Then we began to ride. My soul Smooth'd itself out, a long-cramp'd scroll Freshening and fluttering in the wind. Past hopes already lay behind.

What need to strive with a life awry? Had I said that, had I done this, So might I gain, so might I miss. Might she have loved mc ? just as well She might have hated, who can tell' Where had I been now if the worst befell?

And here we are riding, she and I.

Fail I alone, in words and deeds * Why, all men strive and who succeeds? We rode ; it seem'd my spirit flew, Saw other regions, cities new,

As the world rush'd by on either side. I thought, All labour, yet no less Bear up beneath their unsuccess. Look at the end of work, contrast The petty done, the undone vast,

1 hoped she would love me, here we ride.

What hand and brain went ever pair'd ? What heart alike conceived and dared? What act proved all its thought had been ? What will but felt the fleshly screen? We ride and I see her bosom heave.

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