by Robert Browning
I SAID—Then, dearest, since ’tis so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seem’d meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must be—
My whole heart rises up to bless
Your name in pride and thankfulness!
Take back the hope you gave,—I claim
Only a memory of the same,
—And this beside, if you will not blame;
Your leave for one more last ride with me.
My mistress bent that brow of hers,
Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
When pity would be softening through,
Fix’d me a breathing-while or two
With life or death in the balance: right!
The blood replenish’d me again;
My last thought was at least not vain:
I and my mistress, side by side
Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So, one day more am I deified.
Who knows but the world may end to-night?
Hush! if you saw some western cloud
All billowy-bosom’d, over-bow’d
By many benedictions—sun’s
And moon’s and evening-star’s at once—
And so, you, looking and loving best,
Conscious grew, your passion drew
Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,
Down on you, near and yet more near,
Till flesh must fade for heaven was here!—
Thus leant she and linger’d—joy and fear!
Thus lay she a moment on my breast.
Then we began to ride. My soul
Smooth’d itself out, a long-cramp’d scroll
Freshening and fluttering in the wind.
Past hopes already lay behind.
What need to strive with a life awry?
Had I said that, had I done this,
So might I gain, so might I miss.
Might she have loved me? just as well
She might have hated, who can tell!
Where had I been now if the worst befell?
And here we are riding, she and I.
Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?
We rode; it seem’d my spirit flew,
Saw other regions, cities new,
As the world rush’d by on either side.
I thought,—All labour, yet no less
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast,
This present of theirs with the hopeful past!
I hoped she would love me; here we ride.
What hand and brain went ever pair’d?
What heart alike conceived and dared?
What act proved all its thought had been?
What will but felt the fleshly screen?
We ride and I see her bosom heave.
There ‘s many a crown for who can reach.
Ten lines, a statesman’s life in each!
The flag stuck on a heap of bones,
A soldier’s doing! what atones?
They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.
My riding is better, by their leave.
What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you express’d
You hold things beautiful the best,
And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
‘Tis something, nay ’tis much: but then,
Have you yourself what ‘s best for men?
Are you—poor, sick, old ere your time—
Nearer one whit your own sublime
Than we who never have turn’d a rhyme?
Sing, riding ‘s a joy! For me, I ride.
And you, great sculptor—so, you gave
A score of years to Art, her slave,
And that ‘s your Venus, whence we turn
To yonder girl that fords the burn!
You acquiesce, and shall I repine?
What, man of music, you grown gray
With notes and nothing else to say,
Is this your sole praise from a friend,
‘Greatly his opera’s strains intend,
But in music we know how fashions end!’
I gave my youth: but we ride, in fine.
Who knows what ‘s fit for us? Had fate
Proposed bliss here should sublimate
My being—had I sign’d the bond—
Still one must lead some life beyond,
Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.
This foot once planted on the goal,
This glory-garland round my soul,
Could I descry such? Try and test!
I sink back shuddering from the quest.
Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?
Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.
And yet—she has not spoke so long!
What if heaven be that, fair and strong
At life’s best, with our eyes upturn’d
Whither life’s flower is first discern’d,
We, fix’d so, ever should so abide?
What if we still ride on, we two
With life for ever old yet new,
Changed not in kind but in degree,
The instant made eternity,—
And heaven just prove that I and she
Ride, ride together, for ever ride?
The Dramatic Monologue – A Powerful Tool in the Art of Poetry
The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning is about two lovers, David and Lisa who were planning to get married. However, Lisa’s grandmother has died and David has lost his memories. He longs to have those memories again so he decides to propose to her. However, there is no time to get to know each other before their wedding so they make a decision to get a Motel Two for their honeymoon trip. The Last Ride Together tells the story of this couple’s misfortunes and how they’re finally able to find happiness despite everything they had been through.
The Last Ride Together starts off with a beautiful description of the author’s home. It’s a house with no soul in it. The former lover can only fill the empty void in him with every passing minute. His grandmother only wants him to be happy. She is his medicine and he longs to return to his old days where he used to feel bliss. His grandmother teaches him that true joy comes from within and not without.
It was like heaven as he and his lover were locked in the bedroom. He could hardly move because of his exhaustion. He wanted to go back to the days where he was happy but instead, he looked at his misery and felt even more enamored of his new bride. He wanted to spend every moment of his lifetime with her because they had a promise that after their wedding, there will still be a chance to enjoy his bliss.
But then fate intervenes. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t really count on but you can’t ignore it either. A few days before their final ride, David learns that his lover has been having an affair. The news shocks him because he always thought that his beloved only loves him when he’s around and he’s heartbroken to find out that she’s already strayed.
The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning is a beautifully written collection of poems about love, life, and the transient nature of human emotions. It is a collection of poems that Browning has composed mostly while sitting in a railway station waiting for the next train to take him home. The poems are sad but at the same time filled with happiness and joy and by the end of the poems, you are almost ready to burst into song because you just cannot take your eyes off the woman sitting by the window.
The title of the poem, The Last Ride Together, refers not only to the happy ending but also to the sadness of the whole situation. As the poet states in one of his poems, a long ago friend once asked him, “How do you feel when your lover or you or somebody you love dies”. Robert Browning answered that he felt like dying right then and there because he realized how short life could be. The Last Ride Together tries to remind us of this fact by reciting a number of beautiful lines that contain a powerful impact on the minds of all readers.
The poem starts with the lines “I had a beautiful lady once; / That was my friend, and I know that she was loved.” The beautiful woman whom Browning had loved and cherished very much was his friend. He knows that she was loved because she gave him joy every day, whether it was riding in the train or just sitting beside him in the army. The poet also reminds us that even if we are too busy living our own lives, there is still something inside us that will give us pleasure. The Last Ride Together recites many such examples throughout the poem and then finishes it with a final plea: “So, take me to your garden to see the flowers that I love.”
The Last Ride Together as a whole conveys the message that poetry can only be art if the poet has created it with great love and passion. This is why many people feel that the best form of art is the dramatic monologue. This is why many of today’s greatest poets include a brief monologue at the end of their poetic works. The Last Ride Together thus reminds us how important it is to let our emotions show through our poems – even if it just means reciting a beautiful poem.