Table of contents

1. Comfort

Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet
From out the hallelujahs2, sweet and low,
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
Speak to me as to Mary at thy feet5!
And if no precious gums my hands bestow,
Let my tears drop like amber7, while I go
In reach of thy divinest voice complete
In humanest affection—thus, in sooth9
To lose the sense of losing. As a child,
Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore,
Is sung to in its stead by mother’s mouth,
Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
He sleeps the faster14 that he wept before.

2. Explanatory Notes

hallelujahs joyful expressions praising the Lord.

Martha's sister Mary washed Christ's feet, anointed them with costly ointment (see “precious gums,” l. 6), and wiped them with her hair (John 12.3). The line may also allude to Christ's caring words for his mother Mary at the foot of the Cross during the Crucifixion (John 19.26-27).

amber a prized substance fossilized from resin, usually found near the seashore and used in jewelry and decorative arts.

sooth truth.

faster more soundly, deeply.

EBB Archive HomePoemsAbout the EBB Archive

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Date: July 16, 2009
This page is copyrighted by the EBB Archive