Introduction: Pippa Passes Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


New Year's Day at Asolo in the TrevisanA
A large mean airy chamber A girl Pippa from the Silk mills springing out of bedB
Faster and more fastD
O'er night's brim day boils at lastD
Boils pure gold o'er the cloud cup's brimE
Where spurting and suppressed it layC
For not a froth flake touched the rimE
Of yonder gap in the solid grayC
Of the eastern cloud an hour awayC
But forth one wavelet then another curledF
Till the whole sunrise not to be suppressedG
Rose reddened and its seething breastG
Flickered in bounds grew gold then overflowed the worldF
Oh Day if I squander a wavelet of theeH
A mite of my twelve hours' treasureI
The least of thy gazes or glancesJ
Be they grants thou art bound to or gifts above measureI
One of thy choices or one of thy chancesK
Be they tasks God imposed thee or freaks at thy pleasureI
My Day if I squander such labour or leisureI
Then shame fall on Asolo mischief on meH
Thy long blue solemn hours serenely flowingL
Whence earth we feel gets steady help and goodM
Thy fitful sunshine minutes coming goingL
As if earth turned from work in gamesome moodN
All shall be mine But thou must treat me notO
As prosperous ones are treated those who liveP
At hand here and enjoy the higher lotO
In readiness to take what thou wilt giveQ
And free to let alone what thou refusestO
For Day my holiday if thou ill usestO
Me who am only Pippa old year's sorrowR
Cast off last night will come again to morrowR
Whereas if thou prove gentle I shall borrowR
Sufficient strength of thee for new year's sorrowR
All other men and women that this earthS
Belongs to who all days alike possessT
Make general plenty cure particular dearthS
Get more joy one way if another lessT
Thou art my single day God lends to leavenA
What were all earth else with a feel of heavenA
Sole light that helps me through the year thy sun'sU
Try now Take Asolo's Four Happiest OnesU
And let thy morning rain on that superbV
Great haughty Ottima can rain disturbV
Her Sebald's homage All the while thy rainA
Beats fiercest on her shrub house window paneA
He will but press the closer breathe more warmW
Against her cheek how should she mind the stormW
And morning past if mid day shed a gloomX
O'er Jules and Phene what care bride and groomX
Save for their dear selves 'T is their marriage dayO
And while they leave church and go home their wayO
Hand clasping hand within each breast would beH
Sunbeams and pleasant weather spite of theeH
Then for another trial obscure thy eveY
With mist will Luigi and his mother grieveY
The lady and her child unmatched forsoothH
She in her age as Luigi in his youthH
For true content The cheerful town warm closeZ
And safe the sooner that thou art moroseZ
Receives them And yet once again outbreakA2
In storm at night on Monsignor they makeA2
Such stir about whom they expect from RomeB2
To visit Asolo his brothers' homeB2
And say here masses proper to releaseC2
A soul from pain what storm dares hurt his peaceC2
Calm would he pray with his own thoughts to wardO
Thy thunder off nor want the angels' guardO
But Pippa just one such mischance would spoilD2
Her day that lightens the next twelvemonth's toilD2
At wearisome silk winding coil on coilD2
And here I let time slip for noughtO
Aha you foolhardy sunbeam caughtO
With a single splash from my ewerI
You that would mock the best pursuerI
Was my basin over deepE2
One splash of water ruins you asleepE2
And up up fleet your brilliant bitsF2
Wheeling and counterwheelingA2
Reeling broken beyond healingA2
Now grow together on the ceilingA2
That will task your witsF2
Whoever it was quenched fire first hoped to seeH
Morsel after morsel fleeH
As merrily as giddilyH
Meantime what lights my sunbeam onA
Where settles by degrees the radiant crippleH
Oh is it surely blown my martagonA
New blown and ruddy as St Agnes' nippleH
Plump as the flesh bunch on some Turk bird's pollH
Be sure if corals branching 'neath the rippleH
Of ocean bud there fairies watch unrollH
Such turban flowers I say such lamps disperseG2
Thick red flame through that dusk green universeG2
I am queen of thee floweretO
And each fleshy blossomH2
Preserve I not saferI
Than leaves that embower itO
Or shells that embosomH2
From weevil and chaferI
Laugh through my pane then solicit the beeH
Gibe him be sure and in midst of thy gleeH
Love thy queen worship meH
Worship whom else For am I not this dayO
Whate'er I please What shall I please to dayO
My morn noon eve and night how spend my dayO
To morrow I must be Pippa who winds silkA2
The whole year round to earn just bread and milkA2
But this one day I have leave to goA2
And play out my fancy's fullest gamesI2
I may fancy all day and it shall be soA2
That I taste of the pleasures am called by the namesI2
Of the Happiest Four in our AsoloH
See Up the hill side yonder through the morningA2
Some one shall love me as the world calls loveJ2
I am no less than Ottima take warningA2
The gardens and the great stone house aboveJ2
And other house for shrubs all glass in frontO
Are mine where Sebald steals as he is wontO
To court me while old Luca yet reposesI2
And therefore till the shrub house door unclosesI2
I what now give abundant cause for prateO
About me Ottima I mean of lateO
Too bold too confident she'll still face downA
The spitefullest of talkers in our townA
How we talk in the little town belowH
But love love love there's better love I knowH
This foolish love was only day's first offerI
I choose my next love to defy the scofferI
For do not our Bride and Bridegroom sallyH
Out of Possagno church at noonA
Their house looks over Orcana valleyH
Why should not I be the bride as soonA
As Ottima For I saw besideO
Arrive last night that little brideO
Saw if you call it seeing her one flashK2
Of the pale snow pure cheek and black bright tressesI2
Blacker than all except the black eyelashK2
I wonder she contrives those lids no dressesI2
So strict was she the veilH
Should cover close her paleH
Pure cheeks a bride to look at and scarce touchL2
Scarce touch remember Jules For are not suchL2
Used to be tended flower like every featureI
As if one's breath would fray the lily of a creatureI
A soft and easy life these ladies leadO
Whiteness in us were wonderful indeedO
Oh save that brow its virgin dimnessI2
Keep that foot its lady primnessI2
Let those ankles never swerveM2
From their exquisite reserveM2
Yet have to trip along the streets like meH
All but naked to the kneeH
How will she ever grant her Jules a blissI2
So startling as her real first infant kissI2
Oh no not envy thisI2
Not envy sure for if you gave meH
Leave to take or to refuseI2
In earnest do you think I'd chooseI2
That sort of new love to enslave meH
Mine should have lapped me round from the beginningA2
As little fear of losing it as winningA2
Lovers grow cold men learn to hate their wivesI2
And only parents' love can last our livesI2
At eve the Son and Mother gentle pairI
Commune inside our turret what preventsI2
My being Luigi While that mossy lairI
Of lizards through the winter time is stirredO
With each to each imparting sweet intentsI2
For this new year as brooding bird to birdO
For I observe of late the evening walkA2
Of Luigi and his mother always endsI2
Inside our ruined turret where they talkA2
Calmer than lovers yet more kind than friendsI2
Let me be cared about kept out of harmH2
And schemed for safe in love as with a charmH2
Let me be Luigi If I only knewA
What was my mother's face my father tooA
Nay if you come to that best love of allH
Is God's then why not have God's love befallH
Myself as in the palace by the DomeH2
Monsignor who to night will bless the homeH2
Of his dead brother and God bless in turnA
That heart which beats those eyes which mildly burnA
With love for all men I to night at leastO
Would be that holy and beloved priestO
Now wait even I already seem to shareI
In God's love what does New year's hymn declareI
What other meaning do these verses bearI
All service rankA2

Robert Browning


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