Dramatic Romances, by Robert Browning

The Patriot

An Old Story

I

It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:

The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,

The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,

A year ago on this very day.

II

The air broke into a mist with bells,

The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries.

Had I said, “Good folk, mere noise repels —

But give me your sun from yonder skies!”

10

They had answered, “And afterward, what else?”

III

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun

To give it my loving friends to keep!

Nought man could do, have I left undone:

And you see my harvest, what I reap

This very day, now a year is run.

IV

There’s nobody on the house-tops now —

Just a palsied few at the windows set;

For the best of the sight is, all allow,

At the Shambles’ Gate — or, better yet,

20

By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.

V

I go in the rain, and, more than needs,

A rope cuts both my wrists behind;

And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,

For they fling, whoever has a mind,

Stones at me for my year’s misdeeds.

VI

Thus I entered, and thus I go!

In triumphs, people have dropped down dead.

“Paid by the world, what dost thou owe

Me?”— God might question; now instead,

30

’Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.

“The Patriot” is a hero’s story of the reward and punishment dealt him for his services within one year. To act regardless of praise or blame, save God’s, seems safer.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/browning/robert/dramatic/poem2.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:32