Songs From Pippa Passes by Robert Browning

Day!
Faster and more fast,
O’er night’s brim, day boils at last:
Boils, pure gold, o’er the cloud-cup’s brim.
Where spurting and suppressed it lay,
For not a froth-flake touched the rim
Of yonder gap in the solid gray
Of the eastern cloud, an hour away;
But forth one wavelet, then another, curled,
Till the whole sunrise, not to be suppressed,
Rose, reddened, and its seething breast
Flickered in bounds, grew gold, then overflowed the world.

All service ranks the same with God:
If now, as formerly He trod
Paradise, His presence fills
Our earth, each only as God wills
Can work–God’s puppets, best and worst,
Are we: there is no last nor first.

The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn:
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn:
God’s in His heaven–
All’s right with the world!

Give her but a least excuse to love me!
When–where–
How–can this arm establish her above me,
If fortune fixed her as my lady there,
There already, to eternally reprove me?
(“Hist!”–said Kate the queen;
But “Oh,” cried the maiden, binding her tresses,
“‘Tis only a page that carols unseen,
Crumbling your hounds their messes!”)

Is she wronged?–To the rescue of her honour,
My heart!
Is she poor?–What costs it to be styled a donor?
Merely an earth to cleave, a sea to part.
But that fortune should have thrust all this upon her!
(“Nay, list!”–bade Kate the queen;
And still cried the maiden, binding her tresses,
“‘Tis only a page that carols unseen,
Fitting your hawks their jesses!”)

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NOTE

The drama of Pippa Passes is a succession of scenes, each representing some crisis of human life, into which breaks, with beneficent influence, a song of the girl Felippa, or “Pippa,” on her holiday from the silk-mills. She is unconscious of the influence she exerts. William Sharp says these songs “are as pathetically fresh and free as a thrush’s song in a beleaguered city, and with the same unconsidered magic.”

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