The Lady's Yes

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806 (Kelloe) – 1861 (Florence)

'Yes,' I answered you last night;
  'No,' this morning, Sir, I say.
Colours seen by candlelight,
  Will not look the same by day.

When the viols played their best,
  Lamps above, and laughs below---
Love me sounded like a jest,
  Fit for Yes or fit for No.

Call me false, or call me free---
  Vow, whatever light may shine,
No man on your face shall see
  Any grief for change on mine.

Yet the sin is on us both---
  Time to dance is not to woo---
Wooer light makes fickle troth---
  Scorn of me recoils on you.

Learn to win a lady's faith
  Nobly, as the thing is high;
Bravely, as for life and death---
  With a loyal gravity.

Lead her from the festive boards,
  Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
  Pure from courtship's flatteries.

By your truth she shall be true---
  Ever true, as wives of yore---
And her Yes, once said to you,
  SHALL be Yes for evermore.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. more…

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