Dramatis Personæ

A Face

Robert Browning

IF one could have that little head of hers
    Painted upon a background of pale gold,
Such as the Tuscan’s early art prefers!
    No shade encroaching on the matchless mould
Of those two lips, which should be opening soft
    In the pure profile; not as when she laughs,
For that spoils all: but rather as if aloft
    Yon hyacinth, she loves so, leaned its staff’s
Burthen of honey-coloured buds to kiss
And capture ’twist the lips apart for this.
Then her lithe neck, three fingers might surround,
How it should waver on the, pale gold ground
Up to the fruit-shaped, perfect chin it lifts!
I know, Correggio loves to mass, in rifts
Of heaven, his angel faces, orb on orb
Breaking its outline, burning shades absorb:
But these are only massed there, I should think,
    Waiting to see some wonder momently
    Grow out, stand full, fade slow against the sky
    (That ’s the pale ground you’d see this sweet face by),
    All heaven, meanwhile, condensed into one eye
Which fears to lose the wonder, should it wink.

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