Robert Browning: Poems

A Wall

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!

And lush and lithe do the creepers clothe

Yon wall I watch, with a wealth of green:

Its bald red bricks draped, nothing loath,

In lappets of tangle they laugh between.

Now, what is it makes pulsate the robe?

Why tremble the sprays? What life o'erbrims 10

The body,--the house no eye can probe,--

Divined, as beneath a robe, the limbs?

And there again! But my heart may guess

Who tripped behind; and she sang, perhaps:

So the old wall throbbed, and its life's excess

Died out and away in the leafy wraps.

Wall upon wall are between us: life

And song should away from heart to heart!

I--prison-bird, with a ruddy strife

At breast, and a lip whence storm-notes start-- 20

Hold on, hope hard in the subtle thing

That's spirit: tho' cloistered fast, soar free;

Account as wood, brick, stone, this ring

Of the rueful neighbours, and--forth to thee!