Confessions

By Robert Browning 1812–1889 Robert Browning
   What is he buzzing in my ears?
      "Now that I come to die,
Do I view the world as a vale of tears?"
      Ah, reverend sir, not I!

   What I viewed there once, what I view again
      Where the physic bottles stand
On the table's edge,—is a suburb lane,
      With a wall to my bedside hand.

   That lane sloped, much as the bottles do,
      From a house you could descry
O'er the garden-wall; is the curtain blue
      Or green to a healthy eye?

   To mine, it serves for the old June weather
      Blue above lane and wall;
And that farthest bottle labelled "Ether"
      Is the house o'ertopping all.

   At a terrace, somewhere near the stopper,
      There watched for me, one June,
A girl: I know, sir, it's improper,
      My poor mind's out of tune.

   Only, there was a way... you crept
      Close by the side, to dodge
Eyes in the house, two eyes except:
      They styled their house "The Lodge."

   What right had a lounger up their lane?
      But, by creeping very close,
With the good wall's help,—their eyes might strain
      And stretch themselves to Oes,

   Yet never catch her and me together,
      As she left the attic, there,
By the rim of the bottle labelled "Ether,"
      And stole from stair to stair,

   And stood by the rose-wreathed gate. Alas,
      We loved, sir—used to meet:
How sad and bad and mad it was—
      But then, how it was sweet!

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Poet Robert Browning 1812–1889

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Relationships, Living, Love, Death, First Love, Infatuation & Crushes

Poetic Terms Imagery, Ballad

 Robert  Browning

Biography

Although the early part of Robert Browning’s creative life was spent in comparative obscurity, he has come to be regarded as one of the most important poets of the Victorian period. His dramatic monologues and the psycho-historical epic The Ring and the Book (1868-1869), a novel in verse, have established him as a major figure in the history of English poetry. His claim to attention as a children’s writer is more modest, resting . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Living, Love, Death, First Love, Infatuation & Crushes

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Imagery, Ballad

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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