« AnteriorContinuar »
A SELECTION OF
BROWNING'S SHORTER POEMS.
My Last Duchess.
THAT'S my last Duchess painted on the wall,
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
A heart.. how shall I say? . . too soon made glad,
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,-good; but thanked
With anybody's gift.
This sort of trifling?
Who'd stoop to blame
Even had you skill
In speech-(which I have not)-—to make your will
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
As if alive. Will't please you rise?
The company below, then. I repeat,
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.
AIX IN PROVENCE.
CHRIST GOD, who savest men, save most
And doubtlessly ere he could draw
All points to one, he must have schemed! That miserable morning saw
Few half so happy as I seemed, While being dressed in Queen's array To give our Tourney prize away.
I thought they loved me, did me grace
They, too, so beauteous! Each a queen
But no: they let me laugh and sing
My birthday song quite through, adjust The last rose in my garland, fling
A last look on the mirror, trust My arms to each an arm of theirs, And so descend the castle-stairs
And come out on the morning troop
Of merry friends who kissed my cheek, And called me Queen, and made me stoop Under the canopy-(a streak
That pierced it, of the outside sun,
Powdered with gold its gloom's soft dun)—
And they could let me take my state
My Queen's day-Oh, I think the cause
Howe'er that be, all eyes were bent
Upon me, when my cousins cast
The victor's crown, but . . there, 'twill last
No long time . . . the old mist again
See! Gismond's at the gate, in talk
With his two boys: I can proceed.
"Bring no crowns, I say!"
Wind the penance-sheet
About her! Let her shun the chaste,
Or lay herself before their feet!
Shall she, whose body I embraced
A night long, queen it in the day?
I? What I answered?
As I live
I never fancied such a thing
As answer possible to give.
What says the body when they spring
Some monstrous torture-engine's whole
Till out strode Gismond; then I knew
His face before, but, at first view,
I felt quite sure that God had set Himself to Satan; who would spend A minute's mistrust on the end?
He strode to Gauthier, in his throat
Gave him the lie, then struck his mouth With one back-handed blow that wrote
In blood men's verdict there. North, South, East, West, I looked. The lie was dead, And damned, and truth stood up instead.
This glads me most, that I enjoyed
God took that on him-I was bid
Did I not watch him while he let
His armorer just brace his greaves,
Rivet his hauberk, on the fret
The while! His foot. . my memory leaves
No least stamp out, nor how anon
And e'en before the trumpet's sound
Was finished, prone lay the false Knight, Prone as his lie upon the ground:
Gismond flew at him, used no sleight Of the sword, but open-breasted drove, Cleaving till out the truth he clove.