MoboReader> Literature > Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning

   Chapter 13 No.13

Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning By Robert Browning Characters: 1971

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


"Oh, our manhood's prime vigor! No spirit feels waste,

Not a muscle is stopped in its playing nor sinew unbraced.70

Oh, the wild joys of living! the leaping from rock up to rock,

The strong rending of boughs from the fir-tree, the cool silver shock

Of the plunge in a pool's living water, the hunt of the bear,

And the sultriness showing the lion is couched in his lair.

And the meal, the rich dates yellowed over with gold dust divine,75

And the locust-flesh steeped in the pitcher, the full draft of wine,

And the sleep in the dried river-channel where bulrushes tell

That the water was wont to go warbling so softly and well.

How good is man's life, the mere living! how fit to employ

All the heart and the soul and the senses forever in joy!80

Hast thou loved the white locks of thy father, whose sword thou didst guard

When he trusted thee forth with the armies, for glorious reward?

Didst thou see the thin hands of thy mother, held up as

men sung

The low song of the nearly-departed, and hear her faint tongue

Joining in while it could to the witness, 'Let one more attest,85

I have lived, seen God's hand through a lifetime, and all was for best'?

Then they sung through their tears in strong triumph, not much, but the rest.

And thy brothers, the help and the contest, the working whence grew

Such result as, from seething grape-bundles, the spirit strained true;

And the friends of thy boyhood-that boyhood of wonder and hope,90

Present promise and wealth of the future beyond the eye's scope-

Till lo, thou art grown to a monarch; a people is thine;

And all gifts, which the world offers singly, on one head combine!

On one head, all the beauty and strength, love and rage (like the throe

That, a-work in the rock, helps its labor and lets the gold go)95

High ambition and deeds which surpass it, fame crowning them-all

Brought to blaze on the head of one creature-King Saul!"

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