Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  726. The Lost Mistress

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

Robert Browning. 1812–1889

726. The Lost Mistress

ALL ‘s over, then: does truth sound bitter 
  As one at first believes? 
Hark, ’tis the sparrows’ good-night twitter 
  About your cottage eaves! 
And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,         5
  I noticed that, to-day; 
One day more bursts them open fully 
  —You know the red turns gray. 
To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest? 
  May I take your hand in mine?  10
Mere friends are we,—well, friends the merest 
  Keep much that I resign: 
For each glance of the eye so bright and black, 
  Though I keep with heart’s endeavour,— 
Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,  15
  Though it stay in my soul for ever!— 
Yet I will but say what mere friends say, 
  Or only a thought stronger; 
I will hold your hand but as long as all may, 
  Or so very little longer!  20