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by Robert Browning


FEAR death?- to feel the fog in my throat

The mist in my face

When the snows beginand the blasts denote

I am nearing the place

The power of the nightthe press of the storm

The post of the foe;

Where he standsthe Arch Fear in a visible form

Yet the strong man must go:

For the journey is done and the summit attained

And the barriers fall

Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained

The reward of it all.

I was ever a fighterso- one fight more

The best and the last!

I would hate that death bandaged my eyesand forbore

And bade me creep past.

No! let me taste the whole of itfare like my peers

The heroes of old

Bear the bruntin a minute pay glad life's arrears

Of paindarkness and cold.

For sudden the worse turns the best to the brave

The black minute's at end

And the elements' ragethe fiend-voices that rave

Shall dwindleshall blend

Shall changeshall become first a peace out of pain

Then a lightthen thy breast

O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again

And with God be the rest! - -