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

Robert Browning 1812–89

One Way of Love


ALL June I bound the rose in sheaves.

Now, rose by rose, I strip the leaves

And strow them where Pauline may pass.

She will not turn aside? Alas!

Let them lie. Suppose they die?

The chance was they might take her eye.

How many a month I strove to suit

These stubborn fingers to the lute!

To-day I venture all I know.

She will not hear my music? So!

Break the string; fold music’s wing:

Suppose Pauline had bade me sing!

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? ’T is well!

Lose who may—I still can say,

Those who win heaven, bless’d are they!