The Bow and the Lyre: The Art of Robert Browning

The Bow and the Lyre: The Art of Robert Browning

The Bow and the Lyre: The Art of Robert Browning

The Bow and the Lyre: The Art of Robert Browning

Excerpt

Mine's freehold, by grace of the grand Lord
Who lets out the ground here,--my landlord:
To him I pay quit-rent--devotion;
Nor hence shall I budge, I've a notion,
Nay, here shall my whistling and singing
Set all his street's echoes a-ringing
Long after the last of your number
Has ceased my front-court to encumber
While, treading down rose and ranunculus,
You Tommy-make-room-for-your-Uncle us !

-- Pacchiarotto

Browning's whistling and singing are their own best apology, having safely survived, as the poet foretold, their many critics--friends and enemies alike. Anyone who attempts now to add another to the five thousand titles in the Browning bibliography must do so under threat of the poet's malediction. Yet he can proceed confidently. For even if he fail, the poet will survive; if he should succeed, he may clear away some of the critical accruement of fifty years, permitting the poems once more to speak for themselves. By describing and evaluating a repre-

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