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Porphyria's Lover

Robert Browning

The rain set early in tonight, 
      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 up, and all the cottage warm; 
      Which done, she rose, and from her form 
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, 
      And laid her soiled gloves by, untied 
Her hat and let the damp hair fall, 
      And, last, she 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, 
      And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, 
      And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, 
Murmuring how she loved me--she 
      Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor, 
To set its struggling passion free 
      From pride, and vainer ties dissever, 
      And give herself to me forever. 
But passion sometimes would prevail, 
      Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain 
A sudden thought of one so pale 
      For love of her, and all in vain: 
      So, she was come through wind and rain. 
Be sure I looked up at her eyes 
      Happy and proud; at last I knew 
Porphyria worshiped me: surprise 
      Made my heart swell, and still it grew 
      While I debated what to do. 
That moment she was mine, mine, fair, 
      Perfectly pure and good: I found 
A thing to do, and 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 holds 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 
      Only, this time my shoulder bore 
Her head, which 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 I, its love, am 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!

Submitted by Tony DiLascio

Added: 1 Apr 2002 | Last Read: 18 Dec 2018 9:41 AM | Viewed: 19789 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/4282/ | Viewed on 18 December 2018.
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