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Sunday, October 15

Proof and Disproof

Proof and Disproof

Elizabeth Barett Browning

Dost thou love me, my Beloved?
Who shall answer yes or no?
What is proved or disproved
When my soul inquireth so,
Dost thou love me, my Beloved?

I have seen thy heart to-day,
Never open to the crowd,
While to love me aye and aye
Was the vow as it was vowed
By thine eyes of steadfast grey.

Now I sit alone, alone-
And the hot tears break and burn,
Now, Beloved thou art gone,
Doubt and terror have their turn.
Is it love that I have known?

I have known some bitter things,-
Angusih, anger, solitude.
Year by year an evil brings,
Year by year denies a good;
March winds violate my springs.

I have known how sickness bends,
I have known how sorrow breaks,-
How quick hopes have sudden ends,
How the heart thinks till it aches
Of the smile of buried friends.

Last, I have known thee, my brave
Noble thinker, lover, doer!
The best knowledge last I have.
But thou comest as the thrower
Of fresh flowers upon a grave.

Count what feelings used to move me!
Can this love assort with those?
Thou, who are to far above me,
Wilt thou stoop so, for repose?
Is it true that thou canst love me?

Do not blame me if I doubt thee.
I can call love by its name
When thine arm is wrapt around me;
But even love seems not the same,
When I sit alone, without thee.

In thy clear eyes I descried
Many a proof of love, to-day;
But to-night, those unbelied
Speechful eyes being gone away
There's the proof to seek, beside.

Dost thou love me, my Beloved?
Only thou canst answer yes!
And, thou gone, the proof's disapproved,
And the cry rings answerless-
Dost thou love me, my Beloved?



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