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Life-long, poor Browning never knew Virginia,
Or he’d not grieved in Florence for April sallies
Back to English gardens after Euclid’s linear:
Clipt yews, Pomander Walks, and preached alleys;
Primroses, prim indeed, in quiet ordered hedges,
Waterways, soberly, sedately enchanneled,
No thin riotous blade even among the sedges,
All the wild country-side tamely impaneled . .
Most things are colorful things-the sky, earth, and sea.
Black men are most men; but the white are free!
White things are rare things; so rare, so rare
They stole from out a silvered world-somewhere.
Finding earth-plains fair plains, save greenly greased,
They strewed white feathers of cowardice, as they passed;
The golden stars with lances fine
The hills all red and darkened pine,
They blanked with their wand of power;
And turned the blood in a ruby rose
To a poor white poppy flower…..
It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods;
To taunt them with the tongue’s thin tip,
Or strut in the weakness of mere humanity,
Or draw a line daring them to cross;
The gods own the searing lightning,
The drowning waters, tormenting fears
And anger of red sins.
Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly-
Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray,
Be kind, or sweat agony drops
Or lay your quick body over your feeble young;
Of you have beauty or none, if celibate
Or vowed-the gods are juggernaut,
This you may do:
Lock your heart, then quietly,
And lest they