Elizabeth Barrett Browning?

What are her poems "My heart and I" and "A Denial" about?

My heart and I

ENOUGH ! we're tired, my heart and I.

We sit beside the headstone thus,

And wish that name were carved for us.

The moss reprints more tenderly

The hard types of the mason's knife,

As heaven's sweet life renews earth's life

With which we're tired, my heart and I.


You see we're tired, my heart and I.

We dealt with books, we trusted men,

And in our own blood drenched the pen,

As if such colours could not fly.

We walked too straight for fortune's end,

We loved too true to keep a friend ;

At last we're tired, my heart and I.


How tired we feel, my heart and I !

We seem of no use in the world ;

Our fancies hang grey and uncurled

About men's eyes indifferently ;

Our voice which thrilled you so, will let

You sleep; our tears are only wet :

What do we here, my heart and I ?


So tired, so tired, my heart and I !

It was not thus in that old time

When Ralph sat with me 'neath the lime

To watch the sunset from the sky.

`Dear love, you're looking tired,' he said;

I, smiling at him, shook my head :

'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.


So tired, so tired, my heart and I !

Though now none takes me on his arm

To fold me close and kiss me warm

Till each quick breath end in a sigh

Of happy languor. Now, alone,

We lean upon this graveyard stone,

Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.


Tired out we are, my heart and I.

Suppose the world brought diadems

To tempt us, crusted with loose gems

Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.

We scarcely care to look at even

A pretty child, or God's blue heaven,

We feel so tired, my heart and I.


Yet who complains ? My heart and I ?

In this abundant earth no doubt

Is little room for things worn out :

Disdain them, break them, throw them by

And if before the days grew rough

We once were loved, used, -- well enough,

I think, we've fared, my heart and I.

A Denial


We have met late---it is too late to meet,

O friend, not more than friend!

Death's forecome shroud is tangled round my feet,

And if I step or stir, I touch the end.

In this last jeopardy

Can I approach thee, I, who cannot move?

How shall I answer thy request for love?

Look in my face and see.


I love thee not, I dare not love thee! go

In silence; drop my hand.

If thou seek roses, seek them where they blow

In garden-alleys, not in desert-sand.

Can life and death agree,

That thou shouldst stoop thy song to my complaint?

I cannot love thee. If the word is faint,

Look in my face and see.


I might have loved thee in some former days.

Oh, then, my spirits had leapt

As now they sink, at hearing thy love-praise!

Before these faded cheeks were overwept,

Had this been asked of me,

To love thee with my whole strong heart and head,---

I should have said still . . . yes, but smiled and said,

"Look in my face and see!"


But now . . . God sees me, God, who took my heart

And drowned it in life's surge.

In all your wide warm earth I have no part---

A light song overcomes me like a dirge.

Could Love's great harmony

The saints keep step to when their bonds are loose,

Not weigh me down? am I a wife to choose?

Look in my face and see---


While I behold, as plain as one who dreams,

Some woman of full worth,

Whose voice, as cadenced as a silver stream's,

Shall prove the fountain-soul which sends it forth;

One younger, more thought-free

And fair and gay, than I, thou must forget,

With brighter eyes than these . . . which are not wet . . .

Look in my face and see!


So farewell thou, whom I have known too late

To let thee come so near.

Be counted happy while men call thee great,

And one belovèd woman feels thee dear!---

Not I!---that cannot be.

I am lost, I am changed,---I must go farther, where

The change shall take me worse, and no one dare

Look in my face and see.


Meantime I bless thee. By these thoughts of mine

I bless thee from all such!

I bless thy lamp to oil, thy cup to wine,

Thy hearth to joy, thy hand to an equal touch

Of loyal troth. For me,

I love thee not, I love thee not!---away!

Here's no more courage in my soul to say

"Look in my face and see."

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