Robert Browning

Ian Jack and Robert Inglesfield (eds), The Poetical Works of Robert Browning, Vol. 5: Men and Women

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THE old story.

  • I.
  • 1It was roses, roses, all the way,
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus2    With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:
  • 3The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
  • 4    The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
  • Critical Apparatus5A year ago on this very day.
  • ii.
  • pg 191Editor’s Note6The air broke into a mist with bells,
  • Critical Apparatus7    The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries.
  • Critical Apparatus8Had I said, "Good folk, mere noise repels—
  • 9    "But give me your sun from yonder skies!"
  • 10They had answered, "And afterward, what else?"
  • iii.
  • 11Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
  • Critical Apparatus12    To give it my loving friends to keep!
  • Critical Apparatus13Nought man could do, have I left undone:
  • 14    And you see my harvest, what I reap
  • 15This very day, now a year is run.
  • iv.
  • 16There's nobody on the house-tops now—
  • Critical Apparatus17    Just a palsied few at the windows set;
  • 18For the best of the sight is, all allow,
  • Editor’s Note19    At the Shambles' Gate—or, better yet,
  • 20By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.
  • v.
  • 21I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
  • Critical Apparatus22    A rope cuts both my wrists behind;
  • 23And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
  • 24    For they fling, whoever has a mind,
  • 25Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
2 1855P mad, 1855, 1856 mad.
Editor’s Note
2 myrtle: myrtle is sacred to Venus, an emblem of love.
Critical Apparatus
5 1855P65S day!
Editor’s Note
6 broke into a mist: as it seemed to him, as he rode in triumph.
Critical Apparatus
7 1855P56 the crowds and 1855P cries:
Critical Apparatus
8 1855P "Good folks mere 1855, 1856 "Good folks, mere
Critical Apparatus
12 1855 keep: 1855, 1856 keep.
Critical Apparatus
13 1855 P do, surely, I 1855P, 1856 undone, 1855 undone
Critical Apparatus
17 1855P Save the palsied
Editor’s Note
19 at the Shambles' Gate: Johnson defines shambles as 'the place where butchers kill or sell their meat'.
Critical Apparatus
22 1855P56 behind,
Critical Apparatus
26 1855P So I entered this Brescia and quit it so! 1835, 1856 entered Brescia, and
Critical Apparatus
27 1855P In such triumphs some people . . . . dead: 1855, 1856 In such triumphs,
Editor’s Note
27 triumphs: triumphal processions.
Critical Apparatus
28 1855P56 "Thou, paid
Critical Apparatus
29 1855P Me!"— . . . . might have questioned—but now, 1855, 1856 might have questioned: but now
Critical Apparatus
30 1855P It is God who requites: I 1855, 1856 shall requite! I 186365S repay!
Editor’s Note
30 God shall repay: Rom. 12: 19; cf. Luke 10: 35.
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