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Pacchiarotto from Robert Browning

Prologue to Pacchiarotto

I

O the old wall here! How I could pass
Life in a long Midsummer day,
My feet confined to a plot of grass,
My eyes from a wall not once away!

II

And lush and lithe, do the creepers clothe
Yon wall I watch, with a wealth of green:
Its bald red bricks draped, nothing loth,
In lappets of tangle they laugh between.

III

Now, what is it makes pulsate the robe?
Why tremble the sprays? What life o'er brims
The body,—the house, no eye can probe,—
Divined as, beneath a robe, the limbs?

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poem by Robert Browning from Pacchiarotto (1876)Report problemRelated quotes
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House

I

Shall I sonnet-sing you about myself?
Do I live in a house you would like to see?
Is it scant of gear, has it store of pelf?
"Unlock my heart with a sonnet-key?"

II

Invite the world, as my betters have done?
"Take notice: this building remains on view,
Its suites of reception every one,
Its private apartment and bedroom too;

III

"For a ticket, apply to the Publisher."
No: thanking the public I must decline.
A peep through my window, if folk prefer;
But, please you, no foot over threshold of mine!

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poem by Robert Browning from Pacchiarotto (1876)Report problemRelated quotes
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St. Martin's Summer

This name in some parts of Europe is given to the season we call Indian Summer, in honor of the good St. Martin. The title of the poem was suggested by the fact that the day it refers to was the exact date of that set apart to the Saint, the 11th of November.

Though flowers have perished at the touch
Of Frost, the early comer,
I hail the season loved so much,
The good St. Martin's summer.

O gracious morn, with rose-red dawn,
And thin moon curving o'er it!
The old year's darling, latest born,
More loved than all before it!

How flamed the sunrise through the pines!
How stretched the birchen shadows,
Braiding in long, wind-wavered lines
The westward sloping meadows!

The sweet day, opening as a flower
Unfolds its petals tender,
Renews for us at noontide's hour

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poem by Robert Browning from Pacchiarotto (1876)Report problemRelated quotes
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Shop

So, friend, your shop was all your house!
Its front, astonishing the street,
Invited view from man and mouse
To what diversity of treat
Behind its glass—the single sheet!

What gimcracks, genuine Japanese:
Gape-jaw and goggle-eye, the frog;
Dragons, owls, monkeys, beetles, geese;
Some crush-nosed human-hearted dog:
Queer names, too, such a catalogue!

I thought, "And he who owns the wealth
Which blocks the window's vastitude,
—Ah, could I peep at him by stealth
Behind his ware, pass shop, intrude
On house itself, what scenes were viewed!

"If wide and showy thus the shop,
What must the habitation prove?

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Hervé Riel

On the sea and at the Hogue, sixteen hundred ninety-two,
Did the English fight the French--woe to France!
And, the thirty-first of May, helter-skelter through the blue,
Like a crowd of frightened porpoises a shoal of sharks pursue,
Came crowding ship on ship to St. Malo on the Rance,
With the English fleet in view.

'Twas the squadron that escaped, with the victor in full chase,
First and foremost of the drove, in his great ship, Damfreville;
Close on him fled, great and small,
Twenty-two good ships in all;
And they signalled to the place,
"Help the winners of a race!
Get us guidance, give us harbour, take us quick--or, quicker still,
Here's the English can and will!"

Then the pilots of the place put out brisk and leaped on board:
"Why, what hope or chance have ships like these to pass?"
laughed they;
"Rocks to starboard, rocks to port, all the passage scarred

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Filippo Baldinucci on the Privilege of Burial

"No, boy, we must not"—so began
My Uncle (he's with God long since),
A-petting me, the good old man!
"We must not"—and he seemed to wince,
And lost that laugh whereto had grown
His chuckle at my piece of news,
How cleverly I aimed my stone—
"I fear we must not pelt the Jews!

"When I was young indeed,—ah, faith
Was young and strong in Florence too!
We Christians never dreamed of scathe
Because we cursed or kicked the crew.
But now, well, well! The olive-crops
Weighed double then, and Arno's pranks
Would always spare religious shops
Whenever he o'erflowed his banks!

"I'll tell you"—and his eye regained
Its twinkle—"tell you something choice!

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Of Pacchiarotto, and How He Worked in Distemper

I
Query: was ever a quainter
Crotchet than this of the painter
Giacomo Pacchiarotto
Who took "Reform" for his motto?

II
He, pupil of old Fungaio,
Is always confounded (heigho!)
With Pacchia, contemporaneous
No question, but how extraneous
In the grace of soul, the power
Of hand,—undoubted dower
Of Pacchia who decked (as we know,
My Kirkup!) San Bernardino,
Turning the small dark Oratory
To Siena's Art-laboratory,
As he made its straitness roomy
And glorified its gloomy,
With Bazzi and Beccafumi.

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poem by Robert Browning from Pacchiarotto (1876)Report problemRelated quotes
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