The Lady's Yes

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
" Yes !" I answered you last night ;
    " No !" this morning, Sir, I say !
Colours, seen by candle-light,
    Will not look the same by day.

When the tabors played their best,
    Lamps above, and laughs below —
Love me sounded like a jest,
    Fit for Yes or fit for No !

Call me false, or call me free —
    Vow, whatever light may shine,
No man on your face shall see
    Any grief for change on mine.

Yet the sin is on us both —
    Time to dance is not to woo —
Wooer light makes fickle troth —
    Scorn of me recoils on you !

Learn to win a lady's faith
    Nobly, as the thing is high ;
Bravely, as for life and death —
    With a loyal gravity.

Lead her from the festive boards,
    Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
    Pure from courtship's flatteries.

By your truth she shall be true —
    Ever true, as wives of yore —
And her Yes, once said to you,
    SHALL be Yes for evermore.

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Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Living, Love, Men & Women, Romantic Love, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Ballad

 Elizabeth  Barrett Browning

Biography

Among all women poets of the English-speaking world in the nineteenth century, none was held in higher critical esteem or was more admired for the independence and courage of her views than Elizabeth Barrett Browning. During the years of her marriage to Robert Browning, her literary reputation far surpassed that of her poet-husband; when visitors came to their home in Florence, she was invariably the greater attraction. Both in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Living, Love, Men & Women, Romantic Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Ballad

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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