Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Look by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


The Savior looked on Peter. Ay, no word,

No gesture of reproach; the Heavens serene

Though heavy with armed justice, did not lean

Their thunders that way: the forsaken Lord

Looked only, on the traitor. Non record

What that look was, none guess; for those who have seen

Wronged lovers loving through a death-pang keen,

Or pale-cheeked martyrs smiling to a sword,

Have missed Jehovah at the judgment-call.

And Peter, from the height of blasphemy—

‘I never knew this man’—did quail and fall

As knowing straight THAT GOD; and turned free

And went out speechless from the face of all

And filled the silence, weeping bitterly.


The Meaning of the Look by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


I think that look of Christ might seem to say—

“Thou Peter! art thou then a common stone

Which I at last must break my heart upon

For all God’s charge to his high angels may

Guard my foot better? Did I yesterday

Wash thy feet, my beloved, that they should run

Quick to deny me ‘neath the morning sun?

And do thy kisses, like the rest, betray?

The cock crows coldly.—GO, and manifest

A late contrition, but no bootless fear!

For when they final need is dreariest,

Thou shalt not be denied, as I am here;

My voice to God and angels shall attest,

Because I KNOW this man, let him be clear.”