EPILOGUE to Asolando
by Robert Browning

At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
  When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned —
Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so,
     —Pity me?

Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
  What had I on earth to do
With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
  Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
  Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
     Sleep to wake.

No, at noonday in the bustle of man's work-time
  Greet the unseen with a cheer!
  Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
"Strive and thrive!" cry "Speed,—fight on fare ever
     There as here!"








Asolando, the title of Robert Browning's last book, published in 1889 on the day he died, is a coinage by Browning reflecting an homage to his all-time favorite city, Asolo, in the hills 40 miles north of Venice. It is also a play on the Italian verb "asolare," which roughly means to amuse oneself in a light or lively fashion, usually in the fresh air. Hence the subtitle for the collection of poems in Asolando: "Facts and Fancies." A poetic divertissement, if you will.