Prospice (Robert Browning)


By Robert Browning

Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the 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 fighter, so—one fight more,
The best and the last!
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore,
And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life’s arrears
Of pain, darkness and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute’s at end,
And the elements’ rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!


Can you give me an explanation of what you think death is and if you fear death?

I think death is when I feel the fog in my throat and mist in my face. When everything turns as white as snow, but suddenly the power of the night takes over, almost like the press of a storm and from where you stand you can see death in a visible form. I don’t think you need to fear death and I also don’t fear death.

Do you think someone must always go on even if that means you’re going to die?

A strong man must always go on. He must complete his journey. The harder you will fight the more barriers that will fall and if you win the fight the reward will be colossal. I also was a fighter, but i still need to win one fight. I would not be able to stand the feeling of death, but I also want to taste the whole of it.

Do you think you had a good life? Do you think that if you have a good or bad life can change in one moment?

I have had a good life in comparison with a lot of people. I have not had a lot of pain, darkness and coldness. I have been through the change of a good to a bad life, because of one moment, when my wife died. Something like that turns the best into the brave. It feels like all the elements rage and the voices of demons rave. Then they dwindle and mix and they change. They will become a peale out of the pain and then a light, but one day I will see her again.

© Stijn Jongeengelen


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