1806–1861

Introduction

portrait
portrait

Born: March 6, 1806, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: June 29, 1861, Flo­rence, It­a­ly.

Buried: Ci­mi­te­ro deg­li In­gle­si, Flo­rence, It­a­ly.

Poem

A Supplication for Love

God, namèd Love, whose fount Thou art,
Thy crownless Church before Thee stands,
With too much hating in her heart,
And too much striving in her hands!

O loving Lord! O slain for love!
Thy blood upon Thy garments came—
Inwrap their folds our brows above,
Before we tell Thee all our shame!

Love as I have loved you, was the sound
That on Thy lips expiring sate!
Sweet words, in bitter strivings drowned!
We hated as the worldly hate.

The spear that pierced for love Thy side,
We dared for wrathful use to crave;
And with our cruel noise denied
Its silence to Thy blood-red grave!

Ah blood! that speaketh more of love
Than Abel’s!—could we speak like Cain,
And grieve and scare that holy Dove,
The parting love-gift of the Slain?

Yet Lord, Thy wrongèd love fulfill!
Thy Church, though fallen, before Thee stands—
Behold, the voice is Jacob’s still,
Albeit the hands are Esau’s hands!

Hast Thou no tears, like those besprent
Upon Thy Zion’s ancient part?
No moving looks, like those which sent
Their softness through a traitor’s heart?

No touching tale of anguish dear;
Whereby like children we may creep,
All trembling, to each other near,
And view each other’s face, and weep?

Oh, move us—Thou hast power to move—
One in the one Beloved to be!
Teach us the heights and depths of love—
Give Thine—that we may love like Thee!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The Seraphim, and Other Poems, 1838

Browning was best known as a se­cu­lar poet.

Sources

Lyrics