Dramatis Personae

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Collins, 1864 - 256 pages
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Page 150 - 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...
Page 71 - But here is the finger of God, a flash of the will that can, Existent behind all laws: that made them, and, lo, they are! And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man, That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
Page 78 - Poor vaunt of life indeed, Were man but formed to feed On joy, to solely seek and find and feast: Such feasting ended, then As sure an end to men; Irks care the crop-full bird? Frets doubt the mawcrammed beast?
Page 79 - For thence— a paradox Which comforts while it mocks— Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail: What I aspired to be, And was not, comforts me; A brute I might have been, but would not sink i
Page 73 - All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist; Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor good, nor power Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives for the melodist When eternity affirms the conception of an hour. The high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too hard...
Page 85 - Thoughts hardly to be packed Into a narrow act, Fancies that broke through language and escaped; All I could never be, All, men ignored in me, This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.
Page 101 - For life, with all it yields of joy and woe, "And hope and fear, — believe the aged friend, — "Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love, " How love might be, hath been indeed, and is...
Page 79 - Then, welcome each rebuff That turns earth's smoothness rough, Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go! Be our joys three-parts pain! Strive, and hold cheap the strain; Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!
Page 73 - There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before; The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound; What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more; On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round.
Page 86 - Fool ! All that is, at all, Lasts ever, past recall ; Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure : What entered into thee, That was, is, and shall be : Time's wheel runs back or stops : Potter and clay endure.

About the author (1864)

Robert Browning was the son of a well-to-do clerk in the Bank of England. He was educated by private tutors and from his own reading in his father's library and elsewhere. Browning's first publication was Pauline (1833). The work made no stir at all. The following year Browning went to St. Petersburg and from there to Italy. On his return to England in 1835 he published Paracelsus, a dramatic poem based on the life of the fifteenth-century magician and alchemist. Browning next attempted a play. Strafford was the first of the poet's dramatic failures; it ran only five nights at Covent Garden in 1836. An obscure and difficult poem, Sordello, appeared in 1840. It did a great deal toward giving Browning a reputation for being unintelligible and for limiting the circles of his readers. The most important event in Browning's life occurred in 1846, when he married Elizabeth Barrett. The marriage brought a new lightness and openness of voice to Browning's verse during the next 21 years, resulting in the great dramatic monologues of Men and Women in 1855 and the epic The Ring and the Book in 1867. It is not that these are the most beautiful poems of the Victorian Age, but they are the most perceptive; they reveal more clearly the men and women who speak the monologues, and the poet who conceived them, than any comparable works of the century. In the last two decades of his life Browning produced only a few great poems but much were grotesque and fantastic. He turned, too, to translations and transcriptions from the Greek tragedies; in spite of some powerful passages, these were not highly successful Robert Browning died in Italy in 1889. His body lies in Westminster Abbey.

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