A Face

By Robert Browning 1812–1889 Robert Browning
If one could have that little head of hers      
    Painted upon a background of pale gold,         
Such as the Tuscan’s early art prefers!         
    No shade encroaching on the matchless mould         
Of those two lips, which should be opening soft                     
    In the pure profile; not as when she laughs,         
For that spoils all: but rather as if aloft         
    Yon hyacinth, she loves so, leaned its staff’s         
Burthen of honey-coloured buds to kiss         
And capture ’twixt the lips apart for this.
Then her lithe neck, three fingers might surround,         
How it should waver on the pale gold ground,         
Up to the fruit-shaped, perfect chin it lifts!         
I know, Correggio loves to mass, in rifts         
Of heaven, his angel faces, orb on orb
Breaking its outline, burning shades absorb:         
But these are only massed there, I should think,         
    Waiting to see some wonder momently         
    Grow out, stand full, fade slow against the sky         
    (That’s the pale ground you’d see this sweet face by),
    All heaven, meanwhile, condensed into one eye         
Which fears to lose the wonder, should it wink.

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Poet Robert Browning 1812–1889

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

 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 Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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