Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Rosalind's Scroll

I LEFT thee last, a child at heart,
    A woman scarce in years:
I come to thee, a solemn corpse
    Which neither feels nor fears.
I have no breath to use in sighs;
They laid the dead-weights on mine eyes
    To seal them safe from tears.

Look on me with thine own calm look:
    I meet it calm as thou.
No look of thine can change this smile,
    Or break thy sinful vow:
I tell thee that my poor scorn'd heart
Is of thine earth—thine earth—a part:
    It cannot vex thee now.

I have pray'd for thee with bursting sob
    When passion's course was free;
I have pray'd for thee with silent lips
    In the anguish none could see;
They whisper'd oft, 'She sleepeth soft'—
    But I only pray'd for thee.

Go to! I pray for thee no more:
    The corpse's tongue is still;
Its folded fingers point to heaven,
    But point there stiff and chill:
No farther wrong, no farther woe
Hath licence from the sin below
    Its tranquil heart to thrill.

I charge thee, by the living's prayer,
    And the dead's silentness,
To wring from out thy soul a cry
    Which God shall hear and bless!
Lest Heaven's own palm droop in my hand,
And pale among the saints I stand,
    A saint companionless.

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About the poet
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
By the same poet
The Deserted Garden
Sonnets from the Portuguese (i)
Sonnets from the Portuguese (ii)
Sonnets from the Portuguese (iii)
Sonnets from the Portuguese (iv)
Sonnets from the Portuguese (v)
A Musical Instrument
Related books
Elizabeth Barrett Browning at amazon.com

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