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Mesmerism

Written by: Robert Browning | Biography
 | Quotes (91) |
 I.
All I believed is true! I am able yet All I want, to get By a method as strange as new: Dare I trust the same to you? II.
If at night, when doors are shut, And the wood-worm picks, And the death-watch ticks, And the bar has a flag of smut, And a cat's in the water-butt--- III.
And the socket floats and flares, And the house-beams groan, And a foot unknown Is surmised on the garret-stairs, And the locks slip unawares--- IV.
And the spider, to serve his ends, By a sudden thread, Arms and legs outspread, On the table's midst descends, Comes to find, God knows what friends!--- V.
If since eve drew in, I say, I have sat and brought (So to speak) my thought To bear on the woman away, Till I felt my hair turn grey--- VI.
Till I seemed to have and hold, In the vacancy 'Twixt the wall and me, From the hair-plait's chestnut gold To the foot in its muslin fold--- VII.
Have and hold, then and there, Her, from head to foot, Breathing and mute, Passive and yet aware, In the grasp of my steady stare--- VIII.
Hold and have, there and then, All her body and soul That completes my whole, All that women add to men, In the clutch of my steady ken--- IX.
Having and holding, till I imprint her fast On the void at last As the sun does whom he will By the calotypist's skill--- X.
Then,---if my heart's strength serve, And through all and each Of the veils I reach To her soul and never swerve, Knitting an iron nerve--- XI.
Command her soul to advance And inform the shape Which has made escape And before my countenance Answers me glance for glance--- XII.
I, still with a gesture fit Of my hands that best Do my soul's behest, Pointing the power from it, While myself do steadfast sit--- XIII.
Steadfast and still the same On my object bent, While the hands give vent To my ardour and my aim And break into very flame--- XIV.
Then I reach, I must believe, Not her soul in vain, For to me again It reaches, and past retrieve Is wound in the toils I weave; XV.
And must follow as I require, As befits a thrall, Bringing flesh and all, Essence and earth-attire, To the source of the tractile fire: XVI.
Till the house called hers, not mine, With a growing weight Seems to suffocate If she break not its leaden line And escape from its close confine.
XVII.
Out of doors into the night! On to the maze Of the wild wood-ways, Not turning to left nor right From the pathway, blind with sight--- XVIII.
Making thro' rain and wind O'er the broken shrubs, 'Twixt the stems and stubs, With a still, composed, strong mind, Nor a care for the world behind--- XIX.
Swifter and still more swift, As the crowding peace Doth to joy increase In the wide blind eyes uplift Thro' the darkness and the drift! XX.
While I---to the shape, I too Feel my soul dilate Nor a whit abate, And relax not a gesture due, As I see my belief come true.
XXI.
For, there! have I drawn or no Life to that lip? Do my fingers dip In a flame which again they throw On the cheek that breaks a-glow? XXII.
Ha! was the hair so first? What, unfilleted, Made alive, and spread Through the void with a rich outburst, Chestnut gold-interspersed? XXTII.
Like the doors of a casket-shrine, See, on either side, Her two arms divide Till the heart betwixt makes sign, Take me, for I am thine! XXIV.
``Now---now''---the door is heard! Hark, the stairs! and near--- Nearer---and here--- ``Now!'' and at call the third She enters without a word.
XXV.
On doth she march and on To the fancied shape; It is, past escape, Herself, now: the dream is done And the shadow and she are one.
XXVI.
First I will pray.
Do Thou That ownest the soul, Yet wilt grant control To another, nor disallow For a time, restrain me now! XXVII.
I admonish me while I may, Not to squander guilt, Since require Thou wilt At my hand its price one day What the price is, who can say?



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