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Robert Browning

(1812-1889 / London / England)

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A Woman's Last Word


I.

Let's contend no more, Love,
Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
---Only sleep!

II.

What so wild as words are?
I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
Hawk on bough!

III.

See the creature stalking
While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
Cheek on cheek!

IV.

What so false as truth is,
False to thee?
Where the serpent's tooth is
Shun the tree---

V.

Where the apple reddens
Never pry---
Lest we lose our Edens,
Eve and I.

VI.

Be a god and hold me
With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
With thine arm!

VII.

Teach me, only teach, Love
As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
Think thy thought---

VIII.

Meet, if thou require it,
Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
In thy hands.

IX.

That shall be to-morrow
Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
Out of sight:

X

---Must a little weep, Love,
(Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
Loved by thee.

Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001
Edited: Sunday, May 13, 2001

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Read poems about / on: sorrow, tree, truth, sleep, woman, love, god, night, women, lost

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  • Veteran Poet - 2,974 Points Walterrean Salley (9/18/2014 4:12:00 AM)

    Wonderful advice in this A Woman's Last Words. Learned a lot as I read with an open heart. This could benefit a lot of couples. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,974 Points Walterrean Salley (9/18/2014 4:11:00 AM)

    Wonderful advice in this A Woman's Last Words. Learned a lot as I read with an opend heart. This could benefit a lot of couples. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 13,751 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (7/6/2014 3:43:00 AM)

    Robert browning poems are most interested and having such readers aplenty through out the world. Getting chance to read this beautiful poem I take it as a pride. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,403 Points Savita Tyagi (3/2/2013 9:15:00 AM)

    Wonderful poem. Robert Browning has really gone into woman's psyche to write this. Love the style too. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie M.o Ryan (3/2/2012 8:29:00 PM)

    amazing one, i disagree with (Besa Dede) there's no such thing as best of one's poems, every single one is the best in its own way, that's why every poem of ours can be completely different from the others (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Besa Dede (3/2/2012 10:49:00 AM)

    Another love poem, interestingly written, but not one of the best of Browning (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gertrude Morris (3/2/2010 8:49:00 PM)

    'Where the apple reddens
    Never pry-
    Lest we lose our Edens,
    Eve and I.'

    The temptation of what we can't have has always intrigued us from the beginning of time. Though, while we might want it, when we have it, it either loses our interest, or there are other concequences. We are selfish creatures, and even in an act of love ponder that curiosity that either hurts us, or gets us killed, (figuratively and literally.) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (3/2/2010 10:05:00 AM)

    Keep in mind that Robert Browning was a master of the dramatic monologue - a lyric poem which reveals a 'soul in action.' The character in 'A Woman's Last Word' is a woman who speaks to a silent listener. The conversation is one-sided and the reader implicitly understands the situation of the man and woman - which was published in 1855 as a collection of many of Browning's most popular poems under the title MEN AND WOMEN. If we read the poem in that light we can grasp that many of the sentiments expressed are not spoken but are unvocalized feelings and thoughts about their relationship.

    Let's not argue, she thinks, but let's calm down and sleep in each other's arms. The wild words we exchanged earlier bring to mind quarreling birds chattering at each other. See the monster stalking us as we argue and rant! Let us hush and suppress our anger as we cling to each other. How can we accuse unless we have been seduced by the evil one? Do not question our own little garden of delight, unless we anticipate the fate of the two thrust out from Eden! Assume god like qualities as you enfold me in your arms! Teach me about love and I will learn the proper language of love! My body and soul belong to you, darling! But for now I must suffer the pangs of unrequited love and weep bitter tears! Foolish soul that I am I must weep a little longer before rest comes! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Terence George Craddock (3/2/2010 6:38:00 AM)

    Robert Browning in his poem ‘A Woman's Last Word’, is brilliant in achieved simplicity, with some exceptionally well written lines. The themes of love, sin, the fall, hurtful gossip stalking, anger, truth and reconciliation in the true speech of love; are beautifully entwined.
    Stanza II, the alliteration of ‘What so wild as words are? ’ with the metaphor of ‘I and thou In debate, as birds are, ’ contrasted with ‘Hawk on bough! ’ instead of the two doves of love is exquisite. The interplay of stanza IV and V, the tree of good and evil, reminds that Satan, the father of the lie, bound lies in truth; therefore we are advised ‘Where the serpent's tooth is Shun the tree-’. Browning immediately expands upon this with ‘Where the apple reddens Never pry-’, warning us not to eat the forbidden fruit of argument, ‘Lest we lose our Edens’ like the original Adam and Eve.
    The poem requires several thoughtful readings, or like a stone griffin untouched, we might miss the light, shining forth from the stars Browning has penned, if we do not raise our heads, to greater expectations. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joseph Poewhit (3/2/2010 6:10:00 AM)

    Touches on the nature of love very well. Like a clinging vine to a tree, a woman should be. Though, I see a little blasphemy sort of in using 10 verses. In using the 10 commandments of love. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (3/2/2010 5:47:00 AM)

    An excellent poem, though perhaps too adult for many of the denizens of this site. The woman is sick and tired of bickering with her lover. She fears it will destroy their love. She will agree with him so long as he continues to love her as he did before this wretched quarrel. She will agree with his every word, so long as their love may stay intact, though as the title suggests her word is law in the relationship! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 294 Points Ramesh T A (3/2/2010 12:40:00 AM)

    A birds' conversation like poem highlighting love safe! It's also Browning's poem on his favourite theme of love! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (3/2/2008 3:39:00 PM)

    Perhaps it is NOT Browning's best poem, that's true! But it beats hands down most of what I've read posted recently! Give Browning and me a break! (Report) Reply

Read all 19 comments »

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