Robert Browning

I.

HIS STAR.

THE Century was young — the month was May —
The spacious East was kindled with a light
That lent a sudden glory to the night,
And a new star began its upward way
Toward the high splendor of the perfect day:
With pure white flame, inexorably bright,
It reached the souls of men — no stain so slight
As to escape its all-revealing ray.

When countless voices cried, " The Star has set! "
And through the lands there surged a sea of pain,
Was it Death's triumph — victory of Woe? —
Nay! There are lights the sky may not forget:
When suns, and moons, and souls shall rise again,
In the New Life's wide East that star shall glow.

II.

The Poet of Human Life

SILENCE and Night sequestered thee in vain!
Oblivion's threats thou proudly couldst defy.
Thou art not dead — such great souls do not die:
One small world's range no longer could constrain
That strong-winged spirit of its freedom fain:
New stars, new lives, thy fearless quest would try.
Our baffled vision may not soar so high —
We mourn, as loss, thine infinite, great gain.

Yet, keen of sight, to whom men's souls lay bare,
Stripped clean of shams, unclothed of all disguise,
Revealed to thee as if at each soul's birth
Thou hadst been nigh to stamp it foul or fair —
Why shouldst thou seek new schools to make thee wise
Who shared Heaven's secrets whilst thou walked on earth?
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