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The Patriot

 An Old Story


It was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway, The church-spires flamed, such flags they had, A year ago on this very day! II The air broke into a mist with bells, The old walls rocked with the crowds and cries.
Had I said, "Good folks, mere noise repels— But give me your sun from yonder skies!" They had answered, "And afterward, what else?" III Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun, To give it my loving friends to keep.
Nought man could do have I left undone, And you see my harvest, what I reap This very day, now a year is run.
IV There's nobody on the house-tops now— Just a palsied few at the windows set— For the best of the sight is, all allow, At the Shambles' Gate—or, better yet, By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.
V I go in the rain, and, more than needs, A rope cuts both my wrists behind, And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds, For they fling, whoever has a mind, Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.
VI Thus I entered Brescia, and thus I go! In such triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
"Thou, paid by the World,—what dost thou owe Me?" God might have questioned; but now instead 'Tis God shall requite! I am safer so.

by Robert Browning
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