726. The Lost Mistress

Robert Browning. 1812-1889

ALL 's over, then: does truth sound bitter
  As one at first believes?
Hark, 'tis the sparrows' good-night twitter
  About your cottage eaves!

And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,
  I noticed that, to-day;
One day more bursts them open fully
  --You know the red turns gray.

To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest?
  May I take your hand in mine?
Mere friends are we,--well, friends the merest
  Keep much that I resign:

For each glance of the eye so bright and black,
  Though I keep with heart's endeavour,--
Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,
  Though it stay in my soul for ever!--

Yet I will but say what mere friends say,
  Or only a thought stronger;
I will hold your hand but as long as all may,
  Or so very little longer!

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition