Dramatic Lyrics, by Robert Browning

“De Gustibus —”


Your ghost will walk, you lover of trees,

(If our loves remain)

In an English lane,

By a cornfield-side a-flutter with poppies.

Hark, those two in the hazel coppice —

A boy and a girl, if the good fates please,

Making love, say —

The happier they!

Draw yourself up from the light of the moon,

And let them pass, as they will too soon,

With the bean-flowers’ boon,

And the blackbird’s tune,

And May, and June!


What I love best in all the world

Is a castle, precipice-encurled,

In a gash of the wind-grieved Apennine

Or look for me, old fellow of mine,

(If I get my head from out the mouth

O’ the grave, and loose my spirit’s bands,

And come again to the land of lands)—

In a sea-side house to the farther South,

Where the baked cicala dies of drouth,

And one sharp tree —’tis a cypress — stands,

By the many hundred years red-rusted,

Rough iron-spiked, ripe fruit-o’ercrusted,

My sentinel to guard the sands

To the water’s edge. For, what expands

Before the house, but the great opaque

Blue breadth of sea without a break?

While, in the house, for ever crumbles

Some fragment of the frescoed walls,

From blisters where a scorpion sprawls.

A girl bare-footed brings, and tumbles

Down on the pavement, green-flesh melons,

And says there’s news today — the king

Was shot at, touched in the liver-wing,

Goes with his Bourbon arm in a sling:

— She hopes they have not caught the felons.

Italy, my Italy!

Queen Mary’s saying serves for me —

(When fortune’s malice

Lost her — Calais)—

Open my heart and you will see

Graved inside of it, “Italy.”

Such lovers old are I and she:

So it always was, so shall ever be!


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:50