Robert Browning



The Patriot

by Robert Browning

An old story.


It was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day!


The air broke into a mist with bells,
The old walls rocked with the crowds and cries.
Had I said, Good folks, mere noise repels --
But give me your sun from yonder skies!

They had answered, And afterward, what else?


Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun,
To give it my loving friends to keep.
Nought man could do, have I left undone,
And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.


There's nobody on the house-tops now --
Just a palsied few at the windows set --
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles' Gate --or, better yet,
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.


I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind,
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.


Thus I entered Brescia, and thus I go!
In such triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
Thou, paid by the World, -- what dost thou owe
God might have questioned: but now instead
'Tis God shall requite! I am safer so.


Men And Women
Copyright 1863
Boston: Ticknor And Fields