Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Burial of Robert Browning
 
Michael Field
 
 
      UPON St. Michael’s Isle
      They laid him for awhile
  That he might feel the Ocean’s full embrace,
        And wedded be
        To that wide sea—        5
  The subject and the passion of his race.
    As Thetis, from some lovely under-ground
      Springing, she girds him round
        With lapping sound
        And silent space:        10
  Then, on more honor bent,
  She sues the firmament,
And bids the hovering, western clouds combine
To spread their sabled amber on her lustrous brine.
 
        It might not be        15
        He should lie free
  Forever in the soft light of the sea,
  For lo! one came,
  Of step more slow than fame,
  Stooped over him—we heard her breathe his name—        20
      And, as the light drew back,
      Bore him across the track
  Of the subservient waves that dare not foil
      That veiled, maternal figure of its spoil.
 
      Ah! where will she put by        25
      Her journeying majesty?
  She hath left the lands of the air and sun;
  She will take no rest till her course be run.
      Follow her far, follow her fast,
        Until at last,        30
      Within a narrow transept led,
  Lo! she unwraps her face to pall her dead.
 
      ’T is England who has travelled far,
      England who brings
      Fresh splendor to her galaxy of Kings.        35
      We kiss her feet, her hands,
      Where eloquent she stands;
      Nor dare to lead
  A wailful choir about the poet dumb
  Who is become        40
Part of the glory that her sons would bleed
      To save from scar;
      Yea, hers in very deed
        As Runnymede,
          Or Trafalgar.        45
 

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