April 6, 2012

Two in the Campagna

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--Description: 19th C, Browning., Love, Nature--

I.
I wonder do you feel to-day
As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?

II.
For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.

III.
Help me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel, run to seed
There, branching from the brickwork's cleft,
Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed
Took up the floating wet,

IV.
Where one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles,--blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,
Everywhere on the grassy slope
I traced it. Hold it fast!

V.
The champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses everywhere!
Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air--
Rome's ghost since her decease.

VI.
Such life here, through such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play,
Such primal naked forms of flowers,
Such letting nature have her way
While heaven looks from its towers!

VII.
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?

VIII.
I would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more.
Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!
Where does the fault lie? What the core
O' the wound, since wound must be?

IX.
I would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul's springs,--your part my part
In life, for good and ill.

X.
No. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul's warmth,--I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak--
Then the good minute goes.

XI.
Already how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,
Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Fixed by no friendly star?

XII.
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.


Robert Browning

--Did You Know: (7 May 1812 – 12 December 1889) Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. Browning was born in Camberwell,[1] a suburb of London, England, the first son of Robert and Sarah Anna Browning. His father was a man of both fine intellect and character, who worked as a well-paid clerk for the Bank of England. Browning’s paternal grandfather was a wealthy slave owner in St Kitts, West Indies, but Browning’s father was an abolitionist. Browning's father had been sent to the West Indies to work on a sugar plantation. Revolted by the slavery there, he soon returned to England. Browning’s mother was a musician. It is rumoured that Browning's grandmother, Margaret Tittle, was a Jamaican born mulatto who had inherited a plantation in St Kitts. In childhood, he was distinguished by a love of poetry and natural history. By twelve, he had written a book of poetry which he later destroyed when no publisher could be found. After attending several private schools he began to be educated by a tutor, having demonstrated a strong dislike for institutionalized education. Read more at: Robert Browning

--Word of the Day: slake \SLAYK\, transitive verb:
1. To satisfy; to quench; to extinguish; as, to slake thirst.
2. To cause to lessen; to make less active or intense; to moderate; as, slaking his anger.
3. To cause (as lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water.
intransitive verb:
1. To become slaked; to crumble or disintegrate, as lime.
Example:
My companions never drink pure water and the . . . beer serves as much to slake their thirst as to fill their stomachs and lubricate conversation.
-Philippe Descola, The Spears of Twilight

--Quote of the Day: Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain.
-Vivian Green

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