Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
A Parodist’s Apology
By James Kenneth Stephen (1859–1892)
 
IF I’ve dared to laugh at you, Robert Browning,
  ’Tis with eyes that with you have often wept:
You have oftener left me smiling or frowning,
  Than any beside, one bard except.
 
But once you spoke to me, storm-tongued poet,        5
  A trivial word in an idle hour;
But thrice I looked on your face and the glow it
  Bore from the flame of the inward power.
 
But you’d many a friend you never knew of,
  Your words lie hid in a hundred hearts,        10
And thousands of hands that you’ve grasped but few of
  Would be raised to shield you from slander’s darts.
 
For you lived in the sight of the land that owned you,
  You faced the trial, and stood the test:
They have piled you a cairn that would fain have stoned you:        15
  You have spoken your message and earned your rest.
 
 
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