Robert Browning: Poems

The Patriot


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 crowd and cries.

Had I said, "Good folk, mere noise repels--

But give me your sun from yonder skies!"

They had answered "And afterward, what else?" 10

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun

To give it my loving friends to keep!

Naught 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. 20

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, and thus I go!

In triumphs, people have dropped down dead,

"Paid by the world, what dost thou owe

Me? "--God might question; now instead,

'Tis God shall repay: I am safer so. 30