678. Rosalind's Scroll

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. 1806-1861

I LEFT thee last, a child at heart,
  A woman scarce in years:
I come to thee, a solemn corpse
  Which neither feels nor fears.
I have no breath to use in sighs;
They laid the dead-weights on mine eyes
  To seal them safe from tears.

Look on me with thine own calm look:
  I meet it calm as thou.
No look of thine can change this smile,
  Or break thy sinful vow:
I tell thee that my poor scorn'd heart
Is of thine earth--thine earth--a part:
  It cannot vex thee now.

I have pray'd for thee with bursting sob
  When passion's course was free;
I have pray'd for thee with silent lips
  In the anguish none could see;
They whisper'd oft, 'She sleepeth soft'--
  But I only pray'd for thee.

Go to! I pray for thee no more:
  The corpse's tongue is still;
Its folded fingers point to heaven,
  But point there stiff and chill:
No farther wrong, no farther woe
Hath licence from the sin below
  Its tranquil heart to thrill.

I charge thee, by the living's prayer,
  And the dead's silentness,
To wring from out thy soul a cry
  Which God shall hear and bless!
Lest Heaven's own palm droop in my hand,
And pale among the saints I stand,
  A saint companionless.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition