Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy---
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?
He is with her, and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!---I am here.
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,---I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King's.
That in the mortar---you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,---is that poison too?
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!
Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!
Quick---is it finished? The colour's too grim!
Why not soft like the phial's, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!
What a drop! She's not little, no minion like me!
That's why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,---Say, ``no!''
To that pulse's magnificent come-and-go.
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all!
Not that I bid you spare her the pain;
Let death be felt and the proof remain:
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace---
He is sure to remember her dying face!
Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose;
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close;
The delicate droplet, my whole fortune's fee!
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?
Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it---next moment I dance at the King's!
Robert Browning's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Laboratory, The by Robert Browning )
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
- Alone And Drinking Under The Moon, Li Po
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
Poem of the Day
- Tuavatara!, Ravikumar C.P.
- Mystery Caller, Ravikumar C.P.
- Do, my dear, gajanan mishra
- Cinders of Life, Tim Labbe
- Aiy Mere Khuda Aiy Mere Khuda, Akhtar Jawad
- State of being, Ravikumar C.P.
- Flight, S.Michael Kozubek
- Undoubtedly something has gone wrong, Ravikumar C.P.
- Fire brand - Judge, gajanan mishra
- One grid, hasmukh amathalal