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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

A False Step

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)

SWEET, thou hast trod on a heart.

Pass! there’s a world full of men;

And women as fair as thou art

Must do such things now and then.

Thou only hast stepped unaware,—

Malice, not one can impute;

And why should a heart have been there

In the way of a fair woman’s foot?

It was not a stone that could trip,

Nor was it a thorn that could rend:

Put up thy proud underlip!

’Twas merely the heart of a friend.

And yet peradventure one day

Thou, sitting alone at the glass,

Remarking the bloom gone away,

Where the smile in its dimplement was,

And seeking around thee in vain

From hundreds who flattered before,

Such a word as,—“Oh, not in the main

Do I hold thee less precious,—but more!”

Thou’lt sigh, very like, on thy part:—

“Of all I have known or can know,

I wish I had only that Heart

I trod upon, ages ago!”