Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Parting at Morn

by Robert Browning

Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun looked over the mountain's rim--
And straight was a path of gold for him,
And the need of a world of men for me.

* * *

This is the sequel to last week's poem. I never paid much attention to it until I read it in The Virginian (by Owen Wister -- the only Western book I have ever read, but I like it). Here is the Virginian's reaction to the poem. It helps to know that "him" in the poem refers to the sun, and the speaker is the man.

* * *

"That is very, very true," murmured the Virginian, dropping his eyes from the 's intent ones.

"Had they quarrelled?" she inquired.

"Oh, no!"


"I reckon he loved her very much."

"Then you're sure they hadn't quarrelled?"

"Dead sure, ma'am. He would come back afteh he had played some more of the game."

"The game?"

"Life, ma'am. Whatever he was a-doin' in the world of men. That's a bedrock piece, ma'am!"

* * *

The Virginian is right, of course. Lovers leaving one another doesn't mean they are angry, or that all is not well. Sometimes life just takes them apart for awhile -- but if their love is true, this will only bring them closer. Love doesn't keep the man in the poem from living his life -- it gives him a reason for living it fully.

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