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PORPHYRIA'S LOVER

by Robert Browning

 

THE rain set early in to-night

The sullen wind was soon awake

It tore the elm-tops down for spite

And did its worst to vex the lake:

I listened with heart fit to break.

When glided in Porphyria; straight

She shut the cold out and the storm

And kneeled and made the cheerless grate

Blaze upand all the cottage warm;

Which doneshe roseand from her form

Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl

And laid her soiled gloves byuntied

Her hat and let the damp hair fall

Andlastshe sat down by my side

And called me. When no voice replied

She put my arm about her waist

And made her smooth white shoulder bare

And all her yellow hair displaced

Andstoopingmade my cheek lie there

And spreado'er allher yellow hair

Murmuring how she loved me- she

Too weakfor all her heart's endeavor

To set its struggling passion free

From prideand vainer ties dissever

And give herself to me forever.

But passion sometimes would prevail

Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain

A sudden thought of one so pale

For love of herand all in vain:

Soshe was come through wind and rain.

Be sure I looked up at her eyes

Happy and proud; at last I knew

Porphyria worshipped me: surprise

Made my heart swelland still it grew

While I debated what to do.

That moment she was mineminefair

Perfectly pure and good: I found

A thing to doand all her hair

In one long yellow string I wound

Three times her little throat around

And strangled her. No pain felt she;

I am quite sure she felt no pain.

As a shut bud that hold a bee

I warily oped her lids: again

Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.

And I untightened next the tress

About her neck; her cheek once more

Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:

I propped her head up as before

Onlythis time my shoulder bore

Her headwhich droops upon it still:

The smiling rosy little head

So glad it has its utmost will

That all it scorned at once is fled

And Iits loveam gained instead!

Porphyria's love: she guessed not how

Her darling one wish would be heard.

And thus we sit together now

And all night long we have not stirred

And yet God has not said a word! - -

THE END