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 )
Did you read them?
- Poppy, Hazel Connelly
- When Owls Do Cry, Poetic Lilly Emery
- Beautiful Sunset, John F. McCullagh
- Dull glory, Soumita Sarkar Ray
- The Blue of His Face, Marieta Maglas
- Moonlight Love, Krystal Whinery
- Haiku&, Morgan Michaels
- Haiku# Life-6, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- Swollen Heart, Ronald Chapman
- Riddle poem-2, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
- Heather Burns
Henry David Thoreau
(12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)