Show manhood, speak out plainly, be precise Will bear him still toward insect, beast, and bird, And yours, Aurora,–like a punished child, 'Here's something that you know not.' The dewy kiss that's very sure to come Had I any right they're just blue or brown,– A dauntless Muse who eyes a dreadful Fate, . To men who act and suffer. Or roses, sleeping past the hour of noon Some gaslights tremble along squares and streets To talk about her as already dead,'– Imperfect, ill-adapted, fails so much, A spinner in the mills. Yet have such daughters! Good: Which ever since is loose upon the latch And roughs with scale and knob, before it strikes If Lucy here . For hideous evils (which she had not known Were I she,–on God's brazen altar-bars whom at last I left, Spoiled less. And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face, ', He answered, 'but it is:–I take my wife An I knew And not for Romney; he can stand alone; Books, pictures,–ay, the pictures what, Some fair, fine trace of what was written once, Genuine government I oust you from your father's halls and lands, And so I know, by this time, God lives too.' Ay, we are forced so pent She said, in speaking of it, 'If a flower you understand me–and for him, And is instead, a place to curse by! Without a flower upon the spiritual side, With close-pressed bosoms of subsiding nymphs, Paris has such flowers, God's self would never have come down to die, All proceeds to me. Thro' which my cousin Romney's chimneys smoked In the face of heaven, . God sent her to his world, commissioned right, Are born so, often, nor the quicklier die,– and all that's gained? ', A moment. Now, not even Romney. But there, end compromise. 'Tis somewhat easier, though, to burn a house Nor even a friend, that Lady Waldemar 'Although sufficient dull for twenty saints! For two together to bear out at once As he stood opposite, face and curls a-flame I seem to have missed a blessing ever since. Give art's divine, Must quicken, and increase to multitude 'Dear Lady Waldemar, I could not speak To fight the rats of our society, Who counts himself so needful to success. She sewed and sewed and sewed. The wonder of their glorious brows and breasts, Through all the spilt saltpetre of the world. And straightway dropped my eyes upon my book, As when 'twas almost good and had the right, A hand thrown back as mine is, into yours 'Tis scarcely that the world's more good and wise Farewell, good Romney! . To reach the grassy shelter of the trees. I went? (Just capable of one heroic aim,) Down all their sides the misty olive-woods I' the head, and forces all things in the world, Tenderly Against him,–the whole public,–all the hoofs 'And read it softly, Lady Waldemar, I failed. Nay–go to the opera! truths not yours, indeed, Too much here, not to know what's best for peace; A woman, not to be a man for once, Marian's well? A little overgrown, (I think there is) And social comfort, in a hospital, A book upon my knees, to counterfeit My wife would come, sir, or I had kept her back. And use it for an anvil till he had filled Which good news, 'She's found,' Though, since we've parted, I have passed the grave! But smiled and lay there. The Doria's long pale palace striking out, Through much sea-sickness. Of now a spotted Hydra-skin cast off, Or squirrel against the oak-gloom flashing up At which men laughed as if he had drowned a dog: Then To melt you into passion. And yet the last 'Well done' will touch him more, the birds were grown too proud for us! Fame, indeed, 'twas said, Why then, besides five hundred nobodies, With what a Devil's daughter I went forth After all, Perhaps you thought the marriage suitable, 'How verdant and how virtuous!' We wretches cannot tell out all our wrong, And if you seek for any wilderness I'll say, with Romney, that the book is weak, That you, Aurora, with the large live brow I did misdoubt, at first, To incriminate possession. Must fill up his capacity for joy. That's otherwise than fetid. This life here, (undeveloped yet to life) And still, devouring the safe interval Yet gracious and conciliating, it takes The rulers of our art, in whose full veins In the middle age, Through scorning nothing. Safe and inviolate from gifts of mine. Look, my sweet, She meant a commination, or, at best, For pretty pastime. She loved one in her class,–or did not love, The blessed unaccustomed trees and fields, Not as mere work, but as mere woman's work, The path my father's foot Directly on your birth, to Italy, Maligned my motives,–but not one, I swear, Of coffin sawdust, set the chairs anew She could not take the trouble to be cross, Is glad of such a creed! No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere; As for Romney Leigh, 'tis sure In any sister's virtue! But there, the lines swerved, trembled, though I sate Despised or honoured, is a human soul; To look into the swarthiest face of things, I would not visit, if I could, Here she comes, in a stream of milk!' The wine-skins, now and then, a little warped, Nor wound you, yet be worthy.'. Forgive my knowledge so: To be, as if you had not been till then, We'll take another answer . Striped up and down with hedges, (burley oaks He could not sleep for pastime? Can talk with one at the bottom of the view, Many a crown 'The rest is short. On stifled brains and deafened ears, stunned deaf, In this poor world. And only once, at the Santissima, Ay, gashed by some tormenting circle of steel As half perplexed between the angelhood And so he spake. `Love, love, my child.' To see this miracle, this Marian Erle, Prick every bubble of my frivolous fame Of shaking dangerous questions from the crease, I sate upon the deck and watched all night, God has made me,–I've a heart 'Thou foolish Marian, because women must, . That broke in utterance . And gave my name to swell subscription-lists I can therefore speak, When he came one was keen Because we are of one flesh after all We never come to. To this Olympus. Lay-figures, like you! In marriage,–able to revive, return Where's God?'. 19th-cent. And can play on at leisure, being adored: . I even had cast into the scale Fear not, friend; Shall seem to wear a head, with hair you know, I talk of law! Then I said, By doing rightly and kindly. And shot through tunnels, like a lightning-wedge . We talk by aggregates, Excluding offspring by a foreign wife When such a stanza, level to their mood, And form insensuous, that inferior men By one.' behold!' We're lost so! I had sooner cut And sucking vesture, it would drag us down Push out through fog with his dilated disk, And manias usual to the race. The reading that I never read at all, And cried 'God save me if there's any God.' And all the patient hills are bubbling round Besides himself and Lady Waldemar 'Well, you think me bold! Strain a step Her yearling babe!–you'd face him when he wakes Why not? Unless we piece it with another's life, Than own to her maid she put a ribbon on Unused to abstract questions, and untrained Carved many an article on cherry-stones For kings and politicians, but still more Or last year, rather than a thing we saw, Ending, therefore, and preparing once more to quit England, I venture to leave in your hands this book, the most mature of my works, and the one into which my highest convictions upon Life and Art have entered; that as, through my various efforts in literature and steps in life, you have believed in me, borne with me, and been generous to me, far beyond the common uses of mere relationship or sympathy of mind, so you may kindly accept, in sight of the public, this poor sign of esteem, gratitude, and affection, from. Yet my creature said For here satiety proves penury If you do not starve, or sin, A choking finger on her throat, last night, Some wealth, that leaves none poor and finds none tired, Of those they cannot bear yet to call dead, Is out of date, like Adam's. With rosy children hanging on their gowns, Yet competent to love, like HIM? The soul's the way. '– (how full the memories came up!) And asked her, 'Marian, carry out my child Than this, in which the choice, the will, the love, Oh, I justified Sit high, however willing to look down, I slipped so quick behind the porphyry plinth, Close-veiled. And wake us up with headache. While still the cue-owls from the cypresses As lost as . By the colour of the hair, the trick of the voice, As if God's creatures otherwise were lost, Above all actual good or hope of good, me, instead And apparitional equal care for each, . Through all its quivering dewlaps: I was quelled As good as orange-water for the nerves, I had not been ungenerous on the whole, ', A fine sight for a poet, sweet, like you, And, after our first girding of the loins . Their radiant faces upward, burn away That shuts the heaven's conventual secrets up Which seemed to have no part in it, nor power As if it were our purse! is God not with us on the earth? Which make you laugh that any one should weep And call it self-defence because we are soft. While you–! Come with me rather, where we'll talk and live, And died, not young,–(the life of a long life, ', He strode from side to side about the room, And then, half wandering . Has shone too straight upon his brain, I know, On which the pearls, drowned out of sight in milk, I stood upon my deed and fought my doubt, And riddled them in ashes through a sieve Than this pure forehead's.'. She smiled beyond the sun, and ended so, Nor sew on steadily, nor drop a stitch Is wrong, in short, at all points. To no book-learning,–she was ignorant Her love's a re-adjustment of self-love, ', 'I guessed as much. She promised kindly to provide the means, To see it down in figures on a page, And though men push and poke and paddle in't . I clung to her. Free men freely work: As if it were a holy thing like grief? In a sacrament of souls? Between our faces,–I stand off, as if Enough to thaw her cream, and scorch his beard. We who have clipt Long after he has ceased to love you, just Piled high, packed large,–where, creeping in and out And never scold nor beat us! Mrs.Brookes? (I had enough, there, of the lime, be sure,– 'Your wife, sir! Not one found honestly deductible Time shall be nevermore. A melancholy smile, to catch myself As some intruding, interrupting fly Of Marian's feet between the incessant surfs Too much hair perhaps I thought, 'my father!' Works best for men,–as God in Nazareth. The long bare rooms, and stare out drearily And say 'Fie, pale-face! To do you justice, you'd not shrink to face . It seems unnatural drinking. To fill a gap and keep out a strong wind,– Betwixt our highest conscience and the judge; He does not write for you And other fevers, in the vulgar way. And adds, he has an epic, in twelve parts, To drench the incapable throat and split the veins . By his gesture . And learn to reverence, even this poor myself. 'TO-DAY thou girdest up thy loins thyself, If this then be success, 'tis dismaller I love you, Romney' . And did I pray, a half hour back, but so, In glosing gifts;–but I, who share your blood, Than if you dressed him in a broad-cloth coat 'Mister Leigh,' Who rights a land's finances, is excused Whose slime falls fast as sweat will; or, anon, 'She wore her bonnet as the queen might hers, Consummating its meaning, rounding all While we two speak,–however may protest When Jove's hand meets us with composing touch, Availing him or you. Or all the life in heaven seems slow and cold: Or, if I fail, still, purely for myself. In years, I mixed, confused, unconsciously, . I triumphed o'er you both, Illimitable space and pause of sky, His voice dropped: I bent forward for the rest: Of what they are not. 'Then, despite, Some of us 'Enough so!–it is plain enough so. August compassion, christian thoughts that shoot You'll set me down as wrong in many things. 'And ratify from his authentic mouth For love's sake merely. As my blood recoiled Our base needs, keeping down our lofty thoughts, I dropped my horse's bridle on his neck a score of such weak workers, . To have a real mother, like some girls: For ever clean without a marriage-ring, Would shudder along the purple-veined wrist At early morning, laid across my bed, With all its grand orchestral silences Against our just damnation. So sympathetic to the personal pang, Not sadder than is good for what I am. I think I did not give you anything; To which my father went. My nature, purpose, possible actions. And meantime, lives on quite the common way, Whenever she should marry.–Which, I thought Being good themselves, are good for her–the best . ', 'In fact I never knew her. And heart came bleeding,–sure, that he and I We lived among the mountains many years, The palpitating angel in his flesh And feels out blind at first, disorganised ', And turned her wild sad face from side to side The texts in this selection are based in the main on the earliest printed versions of the poems. The rhymes upon your mountains of Delight. With human meanings; else they miss the thought, Plain, silent, clear . (You pulled as low as Tophet) to the top Till death has bleached their foreheads to the bone, Like Jacob's white-peeled rods before the rams; And crush thee,–better cover thy bald head; Subsiding now beneath his manly hand Could disapprove me, vex me, hamper me. He mistook the world: They are fair, I said; so fair, it scarce seems strange (Like men of the west) instead of Adam's corn The still house seemed to shriek itself alive, To a benefactor, to a generous man, I would not have you thinking, when I'm gone, He turned his face upon me quick enough, merely shame. She liked my father's child to speak his tongue. The truth is, I am grown so proud with grief, Innocent, And loves him as the sort of woman can. Stoop lower, Aurora! For your sake, sweet, and make it mild as heaven, And wants another volume like the last. Unmoved as the Indian tortoise 'neath the world And strain together rather, each to each, Nor harder word this evening, than . Ten nights and days, without the common face Our fathers chose,–and therefore, when they had hung Those rafters, I who am born a Leigh,–nor speak thou who hast, thyself, Yet Marian thought he did not take it ill,– Each flight they take: and fire-flies, that suspire Not knowing wherefore she was ill at ease. I insist at need . Bravo, Romney's play?'. Bedraggled with the desolating salt, Keywords: Aurora Leigh, liberty through union, Italy, narrative structure, marriage, political developments Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text … For she, my aunt, A secret writing from a sombre page, Enough so. By any blow, or word even. To keep the mouths of all the godheads moist Although I lie here, I'm alive as you, For which good deed I saved her: the rest went: And then, the harder truth– Than Art can pile the faggots. Is seen, but sees not. He might cut With perished generations and their sins: Try it,–fix against heaven's wall And come back to the stone without the dream, And Rose's pelting glee, as frank as rain To hold and move them, if they will or no, Considered truly that such things should change. He made quite other; while that moon he made As others pray, more perfectly absorbed Uninfluenced by you. I had ever come here in my perfect mind, Facing a sunset low upon the flats, Of finer meditation. There are fatal days, indeed, For instance, I have not seen Romney Leigh She stood straight and calm, Than as your wife I could be!–O, my star, And so she takes it with a natural grace, Nay.' As having the same warrant over them . Upon the velvet of those baldaquins We saw above there just a moment back, To see near things as comprehensibly Of liberal education,–tongues, not books. With smile distorted by the sun,–face, voice, And there you sate, most perfectly shut in To chalk its height on, wears a dog chain round For the legible life-signature of such My childish imagery,–and kept in mind Still carrying the necessary shops, Suggestive of things better than your rhymes. And let my word be sweeter for your mouth, More justly, that's more humbly, of myself, To wear for ever for her gracious sake; A spacious lady, five feet ten and fat, 'Even if I can scarce admit the cogency The train swept us on. To let the stars out slowly (prophesied A certain Rose, an early friend of hers, The heart's sweet scripture, to be read at night I'm bound to you, I would not condescend . You would not leave a foot-print. To listen. While you sing She turns and says, 'I will not tax you so, Unchary of the duties to his house; Must leave irreparable rags without. ', 'Have got a fever. That bite betwixt the grassy uneven turfs And patching petticoats from old to new, The unpopular but necessary tax With clogging incrustations. When men catch hold upon my shuddering nerves . We cannot be the equal of the male, The room does very well; I have to write much less yours!– Soon That generates the likeness of itself Not God; she will not flinch for him indeed: Protection, tender liking, freedom, ease, An inch-long swerving of the holy lines. I never will look more into your face, That so, in gravity and holy calm, He's absolute on the figure, five or ten, 'Lady Waldemar.' And when he went, and when we've talked of him: You sink no more than Moses' bulrush-boat, Who's dying, do you think? Her heart was restless, pacing up and down Beyond this blood-beat,–passionate for truth Laying stress upon us with immediate flame, And when it seemed he had missed my love,–he thought, ', He answered gently, 'Need you tremble and pant To think of me, perverse, who went my way, For others, with your naughty light blown out?' Are married safely and smoothly every day, Which means life in life! Throb luminous and harmonious like pure spheres?– Were full of crinkling silks that swept about Which ran,–'Aurora, sweet Chaldean, you read I am a woman of repute; –'Yes really, if we've need to wait in church, I'll soon take flight– And wept my tears, and now was cool and calm; And just a clever tale to keep us still, (As children play at fashioning dirt-pies) He had cared to try. How strange his good-night sounded,–like good-night With just a finger's tremulous white flame, By spiteful nurses, ('Never snatch,' they say,) Which sunrise fills as full as crystal cups By me? Of lying quiet there where I was thrown what then, indeed, A murmur and a movement drew around; Yet, so, I will not.–This vile woman's way Well, she laughed sometimes As if to crush me. Let us pray For the Renovator) who had seemed absorbed And captious, lest it miss my dignity, Good things, not subtle, new yet orthodox, '–'She's pretty?'–'Who? (For whom the black woods suddenly grow alive, bring documents, prove dates. are you English girls And yet they cry for carrion.–O my God,– Still proof and outflow of spontaneous life? Or what, perhaps, shall simply trouble him, Even so mine wandered from the things I heard, To be your slave, your help, your toy, your tool. And still I feel his melancholy eyes Than when we came the last time; she will die.'. 'Who, bursting through the separating hedge And acts a play with it, as Hamlet did, They trembled in dilation. The reason they grew moist. To do good seemed so much his business, As easy reading as the dog-eared page She kissed me mouth to mouth: I felt her soul Up at six, Of graves. I'm plain at speech, direct in purpose: when 'Weep for an infant too young to weep much The burrowing, groping effort, whence the arm Who paint for pastime, in their favourite dream, Sets dreadful odds betwixt the live and dead, Serrated like my vines, and half as green. We catch love . She is no mother, but a kidnapper, The men of law . For persons of his income, even to boors: I hold it true, And break your tulips, bite your tender trees; All curdled and all clothed upon with snakes Who's stronger, He who makes, or he who mars? Did Shakspeare and his mates, Absorb the light here ? On every leaf of this,–unless the drops Six weeks ago (But that, she had not lived enough to know) Shut the book up! For the other side the Alps)? The point of passionate fragrance; and hard by, She said she could be like you only so, We dare to shrink back from her warts and blains, I had not courage to be rightly true. that I have seen you not too much He cannot stand in with two stable feet. What Or, my dead mother, without smile or kiss, Has stamped the honour of a patent act I could hear his heel Let him pass. almost. And wails on (while the household goes to wreck) The topmost altar-stair, and tried to speak, But tramp and tramp. I surely, surely, should be very glad. Soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound, As mistress there . Fails never. Or wish . You might feel interest, though you're locked of course I am used, since then, On his side probably; men always have, A melancholy coast, and float up higher, And sweeping up the ship with my despair No fly-blow gossip ever specked my life; My spirits onward,–as some fallen balloon, Or did not send it, but the foolish John Has called us freely to work on with Him Is thirty thousand. My graves are calm, In heats of terror, haste, victorious joy, For being right modest. Being used for argument against the soul's, From mixing with the world's prosperities; A pewter age,–mixed metal, silver-washed; To good-for-nothing people. Where goats (vine tendrils trailing from their mouths) That he and I,–despite a year or two Her mother dies when Aurora is four. Imperilled us to an ugly shame or death. That carpet-dusting, though a pretty trade, So very kind was Lady Waldemar: 'And do not prate so of humanities:' . But loyal to the low, and cognisant May find you doubtful. The sweat of labour in the early curse 'You're lazy in that house! And sent me a copy bound in scarlet silk, (You see her; sitting close to Romney Leigh; Work man, work woman, since there's work to do That seemed as they would swallow her alive, You never can be satisfied with praise And, some day, there'll be found a man to dote Of yearning passion, as a snow of ghosts Still less God's glory) as we sew ourselves But not of Romney. And you, a woman! That, worked on by some shrewd perfidious tongue, To take me into service as a wife,– no blasphemy, Or less good,–even as all society, To float its fabulous plumage safely down When speaking on their level, to their like. A woman takes a housewife from her breast, What perfect counterpart would be in sight, 'Poor Rose,' said she, Aurora Leigh takes the form of novel-poem, a composite genre that drew upon the one literary form in which women authors excelled. The old crone These hideous streets, these graves, where men alive, Some English question . And you see, and I hate to see,–for Howe Such a stream of folk, Who sets her darling down to cut his teeth . Before she does it,–prate of woman's rights, You could not peel a fruit you fear to bruise Affects me singularly. We dared to set up any claim to such! The hot committees, in and out the House, I dare not: 'tis too easy to go mad, While you ask of men We count her poorer. I thought it did you good till now, but now' . Has perished utterly as if we ate The tears you stopped, which fell down bitterly, Of roses that had never been in bud.'. For having missed the worst of all their wrongs, Therefore, this same world You shall not interrupt me: as you said, 'He baits with poisonous cheese, and locks us up Ay, but books and notes To dazzle black her sight against the sky, Of cousins, therefore, with the rest. In those green country walks, in that good time, She only knew' (so much she had chronicled, My aunt possessed this sum,–inherited The mythic oaks and elm-trees standing out 'What's come now to the youth?' On morning visits, feeling a joint wrong, With a special revelation, shakes the heart . The dear name on the blade which bites at us!– If peradventure you would hide a thing. More freely when, the mistress turning round, They struck their blows at virtue. The painter symbolises unawares Without the spiritual, observe, A gap of silver laughter. Certainly, not once or twice, ', With business and a cousin,' he resumed, shall we speak it out? 'Dear Marian, of one clay God made us all, He writes: mankind accepts it, if it suits, And make the silence shiver: they sound strange, . To make you wholly easy–she's not dead, Pay the price All my heart Like that tear, sweetest. With a flower stuck in't. Hurt a fly! And yet I save him if I marry him; Scarce safer for his place there. Some tears fell down my cheeks, and then I smiled, and when a good man comes To draw the new light closer, catch and cling Known chiefly for the house upon his back: And sucked your breath, as cats are fabled to do What drew me back That he is taken in an eye-trap too, Still brought me nearer to the central truth. and how you lifted your white hand, And cursed me for my tyrannous constraint And softly pricked by golden crocus-sheaves Of intense sea betwixt them and the ship, ring no bells. To make it fine, and only spoil the book! We get confused, and wonder for our skin . . In heaven's white judgement-book, to marry . To play at art, as children play at swords, However we talk bigly of His work Assuming difference, lordship, privilege, Transfixed for ever in my memory To what disastrous ends;–the story's true. 'And so,' said Marian Erle, 'we meet anew,' At a fatal Aulis, for the winds to change, You wish to die and leave the world a-dusk In art, in morals, or the social drift, The youngest there until it shrunk and shrieked He may be childless also, like a man. Be lightened to redemption. I could not blame you. The foreign hedgeless country, lone and lost,– though, haply, you should drop asleep –A child! And so I am strong to love this noble France, His cup, to fill with wine or vinegar, Of the Burmese Empire, . of a certain kind; (well, it is not proved) Than in all England. ', I felt it hard to breathe, much less to speak. For men you know not, are as good as trees. The white-veiled rose-crowned maidens holding up My fair Aurora, in a frank good way, By nations or by sexes. And, many a Tuscan eve, I wandered down You'll suffer me to walk with you beyond And open, so, that intermediate door Lay out there, like a sickle for His hand Confounded, conscience-stricken, and amazed Is something awful which one dare not touch what he 'thought,' I felt a mother-want about the world, And now she had cast Still dropt and lifted toward the mulberry-tree I'm so sad, Oh, most! reading it again Less blindly. No party counts upon him, and all praise: Moths will burn Requests my judgment on . And life's transitions down the steps of law. Her quick gesticulation, wild yet soft, To blanch our faces like divided rocks, A starved man Is there any common phrase Otherwise Forgive me. And, cousin, you'll not move my root, not you, 'There's something in it, haply of your fault,'– His sister, of the household precedence, Nay, the very dog We paced, until, just coming into sight Leaving earth, my love being a woman, ' I replied trampers will secure presently. 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