The dominant figure of Shakespeare plucks a rose under the sign of The Mermaid, an old tavern in Bread Street, London, renowned in song and story. His contemporaries are represented at a table nearby. Legend has it that Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Donne, and Francis Beaumont would meet Shakespeare there for food, ale, and literary conversation.
In the lower half of the window, the angel figures hold symbols of Brother Sun and Sister Moon, and placed throughout the morning glory border motif are symbols related to images in the poem--a sunrise, the anchor of hope, and the barred portal. The text in the window, beginning "I find earth not gray but rosy . . .," is from the twelfth stanza and symbolizes the poem's optimism.
Excerpt from Robert Browning's
"At the 'Mermaid'"
Here's my work: does work discover--
What was rest from work--my life?
Did I live man's hater, lover?
Leave the world at peace, at strife?
Call earth ugliness or beauty?
See things there in large or small?
I find earth not gray but rosy,
Heaven not grim but fair of hue.
Do I stoop? I pluck a posy.
Do I stand and stare? All's blue.
Honoring Alice Louise Mosley, Horace Reuel Nash, Ruth Mitchell Porter, Rufus Wilson Nash, Eleanor Frances Reeves
Gift of Louise Higginbotham Nash and
Elihu Reuel Nash, Jr.