Robert Browning

Here you will find the Poem A Serenade At The Villa of poet Robert Browning

A Serenade At The Villa


That was I, you heard last night,
 When there rose no moon at all,
Nor, to pierce the strained and tight
 Tent of heaven, a planet small:
Life was dead and so was light.


Not a twinkle from the fly,
 Not a glimmer from the worm;
When the crickets stopped their cry,
 When the owls forbore a term,
You heard music; that was I.


Earth turned in her sleep with pain,
 Sultrily suspired for proof:
In at heaven and out again,
 Lightning!---where it broke the roof,
Bloodlike, some few drops of rain.


What they could my words expressed,
 O my love, my all, my one!
Singing helped the verses best,
 And when singing's best was done,
To my lute I left the rest.


So wore night; the East was gray,
 White the broad-faced hemlock-flowers:
There would be another day;
 Ere its first of heavy hours
Found me, I had passed away.


What became of all the hopes,
 Words and song and lute as well?
Say, this struck you---``When life gropes
 ``Feebly for the path where fell
``Light last on the evening slopes,


``One friend in that path shall be,
 ``To secure my step from wrong;
``One to count night day for me,
 ``Patient through the watches long,
``Serving most with none to see.''


Never say---as something bodes---
 ``So, the worst has yet a worse!
``When life halts 'neath double loads,
 ``Better the taskmaster's curse
``Than such music on the roads!


``When no moon succeeds the sun,
 ``Nor can pierce the midnight's tent
``Any star, the smallest one,
 ``While some drops, where lightning rent,
``Show the final storm begun---


``When the fire-fly hides its spot,
 ``When the garden-voices fail
``In the darkness thick and hot,---
 ``Shall another voice avail,
``That shape be where these are not?


``Has some plague a longer lease,
 ``Proffering its help uncouth?
``Can't one even die in peace?
 ``As one shuts one's eyes on youth,
``Is that face the last one sees?''


Oh how dark your villa was,
 Windows fast and obdurate!
How the garden grudged me grass
 Where I stood---the iron gate
Ground its teeth to let me pass!