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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–61

My Heart and I


ENOUGH! we ’re tired, my heart and I.

We sit beside the headstone thus,

And wish that name were carv’d 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.

You see we ’re tired, my heart and I.

We dealt with books, we trusted men,

And in our own blood drench’d the pen,

As if such colors could not fly.

We walk’d too straight for fortune’s end,

We lov’d too true to keep a friend;

At last we ’re tired, my heart and I.

How tired we feel, my heart and I!

We seem of no use in the world;

Our fancies hang gray and uncurl’d

About men’s eyes indifferently;

Our voice which thrill’d you so, will let

You sleep; our tears are only wet:

What do we here, my heart and I?

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.

’T is now we ’re tired, my heart and I.

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,

Uncheer’d, unkiss’d, my heart and I.

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.

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 lov’d, us’d,—well enough,

I think, we ’ve far’d, my heart and I.