My Heart and I

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I.
ENOUGH ! we're tired, my heart and I.
    We sit beside the headstone thus,
    And wish that name were carved for us.
The moss reprints more tenderly
    The hard types of the mason's knife,
    As heaven's sweet life renews earth's life
With which we're tired, my heart and I.

II.
You see we're tired, my heart and I.
    We dealt with books, we trusted men,
    And in our own blood drenched the pen,
As if such colours could not fly.
    We walked too straight for fortune's end,
    We loved too true to keep a friend ;
At last we're tired, my heart and I.

III.
How tired we feel, my heart and I !
    We seem of no use in the world ;
    Our fancies hang grey and uncurled
About men's eyes indifferently ;
    Our voice which thrilled you so, will let
    You sleep; our tears are only wet :
What do we here, my heart and I ?

IV.
So tired, so tired, my heart and I !
    It was not thus in that old time
    When Ralph sat with me 'neath the lime
To watch the sunset from the sky.
    Dear love, you're looking tired,' he said;
    I, smiling at him, shook my head :
'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.

V.
So tired, so tired, my heart and I !
    Though now none takes me on his arm
    To fold me close and kiss me warm
Till each quick breath end in a sigh
    Of happy languor. Now, alone,
    We lean upon this graveyard stone,
Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.

VI.
Tired out we are, my heart and I.
    Suppose the world brought diadems
    To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.
    We scarcely care to look at even
    A pretty child, or God's blue heaven,
We feel so tired, my heart and I.

VII.
Yet who complains ? My heart and I ?
    In this abundant earth no doubt
    Is little room for things worn out :
Disdain them, break them, throw them by
    And if before the days grew rough
    We once were loved, used, — well enough,
I think, we've fared, my heart and I.

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Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Men & Women, Death, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

 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 Relationships, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Men & Women, Death, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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