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The Lost Mistress by Robert Browning


"The Lost Mistress" is a poem written by Robert Browning. The poem is about exactly what the title states. It's about a man who loses his love. "[T]he leaf-buds on the vine are woolly" means that their passion is fading. He then states, "You know the red turns grey" as if to mean that their love is growing old or that they are both growing older. He later states that they are "Mere friends".

This poem consists of five stanzas with four lines in each. They are rhymed as ABAB. The odd lines are either nine or ten syllables while the even lines have six. It seems to be written in iambic-foot with some lines having a hanging syllable.


The Lost Mistress

All's over, then: does truth sound bitter
As one at first believes?
Hark, 'tis the sparrows' good-night twitter
About your cottage eaves!

And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,
I noticed that today;
One day more bursts them open fully
- You know the red turns grey.

Tomorrow we meet the same then, dearest?
May I take your hand in mine?
Mere friends are we, -well, friends the merest
Keep much that I resign:

For each glance of that eye so bright and black,
Though I keep with heart's endeavour, -
Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,
Though it stay in my soul for ever! -

- Yet I will but say what mere friends say,
Or only a thought stronger;
I will hold your hand but as long as all may,
Or so very little longer!

Next: Love in Life
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Literary Movement
Victorian, 19th Century

Lost Love, Growing Old

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