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About this Poem 

“Cheerfulness Taught by Reason” was published in Browning’s book A Drama of Exile: and other poems (H. G. Langley, 1845).

Cheerfulness Taught by Reason

I think we are too ready with complaint
In this fair world of God’s. Had we no hope
Indeed beyond the zenith and the slope
Of yon gray blank of sky, we might be faint
To muse upon eternity’s constraint
Round our aspirant souls. But since the scope
Must widen early, is it well to droop,
For a few days consumed in loss and taint?
O pusillanimous Heart, be comforted,—
And, like a cheerful traveller, take the road—
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod
To meet the flints?—At least it may be said,
“Because the way is short, I thank thee, God!”

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Born in 1806 at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a celebrated English poet of the Romantic Movement.

by this poet

What was he doing, the great god Pan,
 Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
 With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
 From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid
The face of all the world is changed, I think, 
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul 
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole 
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink 
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink, 
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole 
Of life in a new rhythm. The cup

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless—
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air,
Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness
In souls, as countries, lieth silent-bare
Under the blenching,