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Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning By Robert Browning Characters: 3201

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

"I have gone the whole round of creation; I saw and I spoke;

I, a work of God's hand for that purpose, received in my brain240

And pronounced on the rest of his handwork-returned him again

His creation's approval or censure; I spoke as I saw;

I report, as a man may of God's work-all's love, yet all's law.

Now I lay down the judgeship he lent me. Each faculty tasked

To perceive him, has gained an abyss, where a dewdrop was asked.245

Have I knowledge? confounded it shrivels at Wisdom laid bare.

Have I forethought? how purblind, how blank, to the Infinite Care!

Do I task any faculty highest, to image success?

I but open my eyes-and perfection, no more and no less,

In the kind I imagined, full-fronts me, and God is seen God250

In the star, in the stone, in the flesh, in the soul and the clod.

And thus looking within and around me, I ever renew

(With that stoop of the soul which in bending upraises it too)

The submission of man's nothing-perfect to God's all-complete,

As by each new obeisance in spirit, I climb to his feet.255

Yet with all this abounding experience, this deity known,

I shall dare to discover some province, some gift of my own.

There's a faculty pleasant to exercise, hard to hoodwink,

I am fain to keep still in abeyance (I laugh as I think),

Lest, insisting to claim and parade in it, wot ye, I worst260

E'en the Giver in one gift.-Behold, I could love if I durst!

But I sink the pretension as fearing a man may o'ertake

God's own speed in the one way of love; I abstain for love's sake.


my soul? see thus far and no farther? when doors great and small,

Nine-and-ninety flew ope at our touch, should the hundredth appall?265

In the least things have faith, yet distrust in the greatest of all?

Do I find love so full in my nature, God's ultimate gift,

That I doubt his own love can compete with it? Here, the parts shift?

Here, the creature surpass the Creator-the end what Began?

Would I fain in my impotent yearning do all for this man,270

And dare doubt he alone shall not help him, who yet alone can?

Would it ever have entered my mind, the bare will, much less power,

To bestow on this Saul what I sang of, the marvelous dower

Of the life he was gifted and filled with? to make such a soul,

Such a body, and then such an earth for insphering the whole?275

And doth it not enter my mind (as my warm tears attest)

These good things being given, to go on, and give one more, the best?

Aye, to save and redeem and restore him, maintain at the height

This perfection-succeed with life's day-spring, death's minute of night?

Interpose at the difficult minute, snatch Saul the mistake,280

Saul the failure, the ruin he seems now-and bid him awake

From the dream, the probation, the prelude, to find himself set

Clear and safe in new light and new life-a new harmony yet

To be run, and continued, and ended-who knows?-or endure!

The man taught enough, by life's dream, of the rest to make sure;285

By the pain-throb, triumphantly winning intensified bliss,

And the next world's reward and repose, by the struggles in this.

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