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"Time's Revenges" by Robert Browning

The following is the complete text of Robert Browning's "Time's Revenges." Our presentation of this poem comes from the book The Best Known Poems of Elizabeth and Robert Browning. The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.


Visit these other works by Robert Browning
"Andrea del Sarto"
"Any Wife to Any Husband"
"The Boy and the Angel"
"Caliban upon Setebos"
A collection of his short poems
"Fra Lippo Lippi"
"The Glove"
"How it Strikes a Contemporary"

"The Italian in England"
"A Lovers' Quarrel"
"Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha"
"My Last Duchess"
"The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
"Protus"
"Rabbi Ben Ezra"
"The Statue and the Bust"

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.


NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"Time's Revenges" by Robert Browning

TIME'S REVENGES

BY ROBERT BROWNING


I've a Friend, over the sea;
I like him, but he loves me.
It all grew out of the books I write;
They find such favour in his sight
That he slaughters you with savage looks
Because you don't admire my books.
He does himself though,--and if some vein
Were to snap to-night in this heavy brain,
To-morrow month, if I lived to try,
Round should I just turn quietly,
Or out of the bedclothes stretch my hand
Till I found him, come from his foreign land
To be my nurse in this poor place,
And make my broth and wash my face
And light my fire and, all the while,
Bear with his old good-humoured smile
That I told him "Better have kept away
Than come and kill me, night and day,
With, worse than fever throbs and shoots,
The creaking of his clumsy boots."
I am as sure that this he would do,
As that Saint Paul's is striking two.
And I think I rather . . . woe is me!

--Yes, rather would see him than not see,
If lifting a hand could seat him there
Before me in the empty chair
To-night, when my head aches indeed,
And I can neither think nor read
Nor make these purple fingers hold
The pen; this garret's freezing cold!

And I've a Lady--there he wakes,
The laughing fiend and prince of snakes
Within me, at her name, to pray
Fate send some creature in the way
Of my love for her, to be down-torn,
Upthrust and outward-borne,
So I might prove myself that sea
Of passion which I needs must be!
Call my thoughts false and my fancies quaint
And my style infirm and its figures faint,
All the critics say, and more blame yet,
And not one angry word you get.
But, please you, wonder I would put
My cheek beneath that lady's foot
Rather than trample under mine
That laurels of the Florentine,
And you shall see how the devil spends
A fire God gave for other ends!
I tell you, I stride up and down
This garret, crowned with love's best crown,
And feasted with love's perfect feast,
To think I kill for her, at least,
Body and soul and peace and fame,
Alike youth's end and manhood's aim,
--So is my spirit, as flesh with sin,
Filled full, eaten out and in
With the face of her, the eyes of her,
The lips, the little chin, the stir
Of shadow round her mouth; and she
--I'll tell you,--calmly would decree
That I should roast at a slow fire,
If that would compass her desire
And make her one whom they invite
To the famous ball to-morrow night.

There may be heaven; there must be hell;
Meantime, there is our earth here--well!



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