From the recording First and Fairest

Mixed @ Granger Musik & VideoWerks, Inc.


by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How weak the gods of this world are -
And weaker yet their worship made me!
I have been an idolater
Of three – and three times they betrayed me!

Mind oldest worshipping was given
To natural Beauty, ay residing
In bowery earth and starry heaven,
In ebbing sea and river gliding.

But natural Beauty shuts her bosom
To what the natural feelings tell!
Albeit I sighed, the trees would blossom-
Albeit I smiled, the blossoms fell.

Then left I earthly sights to wander
Amid a grove of name diving,
Where bay-reflecting trees meander,
And Moloch Fame hath reared a shrine.

Not green, but black is that reflection;
On rocky beds those waters lie;
That grove hath chillness and dejection-
How could I sing? I had to sigh.

Last, human Love, thy Lares greeting,.
To rest and warmth I vowed my years.
To rest? How wild my pulse is beating!
To warmth? ah me! my burning tears.

Aye, they may burn – though thou be frozen
By death, and changes wint’ring on!
Fame! – Beauty! – idols madly chosen-
Were yet of gold; but thou art STONE!

Crumble like stone! my voice no longer
Shall wail their names, who silent be:
There is s voice that soundeth stronger-
‘My daughter, give thine heart to Me.’

Lord! take mine heart! O first and fairest,
Whom all creation’s ends shall hear;
Who deathless love in death declarest!
None else is beauteous – famous – dear!

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
Speak to me as to Mary at thy feet!
And if no precious gums my hands bestow,
Let my tears drop like amber while I go
In reach of thy divinest voice complete
In humanist affection – thus, in sooth,
To lose the sense of losing. As a child,
Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore,
Is sung to in its stead by mother’s mouth
Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
He sleeps the faster that he wept before.