Robert Browning (1812-1889)

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?”

“There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness;….and, to know, rather consists in opening out a way where the imprisoned splendor may escape, then in effecting entry for a light supposed to be without.”

“Love is the energy of life.”

“My sun sets to rise again.”

“How sad and bad and mad it was – but then, how it was sweet.”

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”

“I show you doubt, to prove that faith exists.”

“Ignorance is not innocence but sin.”

“Best be yourself, imperial, plain, and true.”

“The rain set early in tonight,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its best 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;”

“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”

“God is the perfect poet.”

“Days decrease,
And autumn grows, autumn in everything.”

“What’s the earth
With all its art, verse, music, worth —
Compared with love, found, gained, and kept?”

“If you get simple beauty and naught else, you get about the best thing god invents”

“When the fight begins within himself, a man’s worth something.”

“Love, hope, fear, faith – these make humanity; These are its sign and note and character.”

“Out of your whole life give but a moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, -so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense. ”

“In this world, who can do a thing, will not;
And who would do it, cannot, I perceive:
Yet the will’s somewhat — somewhat, too, the power —
And thus we half-men struggle.”

“Life In Love
Escape me?
Never—
Beloved!
While I am I, and you are you,
So long as the world contains us both,
Me the loving and you the loth
While the one eludes, must the other pursue.
My life is a fault at last, I fear:
It seems too much like a fate, indeed!
Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.
But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,—
So the chace takes up one’s life ‘ that’s all.
While, look but once from your farthest bound
At me so deep in the dust and dark,
No sooner the old hope goes to ground
Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,
I shape me—
Ever
Removed!”

“A man’s reach must exceed his grasp;
Or what’s a Heaven for?”

“Women hate a debt as men a gift.”

“Smiling the boy fell dead.”

“Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her – Next time, herself!-not the trouble behind her. ”

“On a day like today I am stung by the splendor of a sudden thought.”

“Pippa’s Song
The year’s at the spring
The day’s at the morn
Morning’s at seven,
The Hill side’s dew-pearled
The lark’s on the wing
The snail’s on the thorn
God’s in his heaven-
All’s right with the world”

“Each life unfulfilled, you see;
It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,
Starved, feasted, despaired, — been happy”

“… Such a scribe
you pay and praise for putting life in stones,
Fire into fog, making the past your world.
There’s plenty of ‘How did you contrive to grasp
The thread which led you through this labyrinth?
How build such solid fabric out of air?
How on so slight foundation found this tale,
Biography, narrative?’ or, in other words,
How many lies did it require to make
The portly truth you here present us with?”

“Rats
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles.
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.”

“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break, never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph.”

“I know what I want and what I might gain, and yet, how profitless to know.”

“One taste of the old time sets all to rights.”

“Our interest’s on the dangerous edge of things. The honest thief, the tender murderer, the superstitious atheist.”

“Just when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern –
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.”
“How well I know what I mean to do
When the long dark Autumn evenings come,
And where, my soul, is thy pleasant hue?
With the music of all thy voices, dumb
In life’s November too!

I shall be found by the fire, suppose,
O’er a great wise book as beseemeth age,
While the shutters flap as the cross-wind blows,
And I turn the page, and I turn the page,
Not verse now, only prose!”

“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 the next tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss . . .”

“My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.”

“What youth deemed crystal, age finds out was dew.”

“A lion may die of an ass’s kick.”

“This world’s no blot for us,
Nor blank; it means intensely, and means good:
To find its meaning is my meat and drink.”

“My whole life long I learn’d to love,
This hour my utmost art I prove.
And speak my passion —— heaven or hell?
She will not give me heaven? ‘Tis well!”

“I was ever a fighter, so — one fight more, The best and the last! I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore, and bade me creep past.”

“It is the glory and good of Art
That art remains the one way possible
Of speaking truth – to mouths like mine, at least.”

“What if all’s appearance? Is not outside seeming real as substance inside? Both are facts, so leave me dreaming.”

“Our interest is on the dangerous edge of things. The honest thief, the tender murderer, the superstitious atheist.”

“What a name! Was it love or praise?
Speech half-asleep or song half-awake?
I must learn Spanish, one of these days,
Only for that slow sweet name’s sake.”

“O lyric love! half angel half bird”

“Paracelsus
At times I almost dream
I too have spent a life the sages’ way,
And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance
I perished in an arrogant self-reliance
Ages ago; and in that act a prayer
For one more chance went up so earnest, so
Instinct with better light let in by death,
That life was blotted out — not so completely
But scattered wrecks enough of it remain,
Dim memories, as now, when once more seems
The goal in sight again.”

“God made all the creatures and them our love and out fear,
To give sign, we and they are his children, one family here. ”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: