Robert Browning

Robert Browning

Robert Browning

Robert Browning

Synopsis

The latest in the successful Oxford Authors series, this edition of Browning is the most comprehensive in print, spanning the full range of his output. The selection includes the complete text of many longer poems (Pauline, Pippa Passes), "Bishop Blougram's Apology") as well as three whole books of his epic masterpiece The Ring and the Book. Over eighty shorter poems are included, among them his best-loved dramatic monologues. In addition to Browning's only significant piece of critical writing (the "Essay on Shelley"), this edition includes a generous selection of letters, including much of his courtship correspondence with Elizabeth Barrett and more general correspondence that cast unique light on the poems themselves. The text has been edited from Browning's last collected edition and annotated throughout in an accessible yet scholarly fashion. Noted Browning scholar Daniel Karlin contributes a lively introduction.

Excerpt

Plus ne suis ce que j'ai été, Et ne le sçaurois jamais être.--Marot°

NON dubito, quin titulus libri nostri raritate sua quamplurimos alliciat ad legendum: inter quos nonnulli obliquæ opinionis, mente languidi, multi etiam maligni, et in ingenium nostrum ingrati accedent, qui temeraria sua ignorantia, vix conspecto titulo clamabunt: Nos Vetita docere, hæresium semina jacere: piis auribus offendiculo, præclaris ingeniis scandalo esse:.... adeo conscientiæ suæ consulentes, ut nec Apollo, nec Musæ omnes, neque Angelus de cœlo me ab illorum execratione vindicare queant: quibus et ego nunc consulo, ne scripta nostra legant, nec intelligant, nec meminerint: nam noxia sunt, venenosa sunt: Acherontis ostium est in hoc libro, lapides loquitur, caveant, ne cerebrum illis excutiat. Vos autem, qui æqua mente ad legendum venitis, si tantam prudentiæ discretionem adhibueritis, quantam in melle legendo apes, jam securi legite. Puto namque vos et utilitatis haud parum et voluptatis plurimum accepturos. Quod si qua repereritis, quæ vobis non placeant, mittite illa, nec utimini. NAM ET EGO VOBIS ILLA NON PROBO, SED NARRO. Cætera tamen propterea non respuite..... Ideo, si quid liberius dictum sit, ignoscite adolescentiæ nostræ, qui minor quam adolescens hoc opus composui.--Hen. Corn. Agrippa, De Occult. Philosoph. in Præfat.°

LONDON: January 1833. V. A. XX.

[This introduction would appear less absurdly pretentious did it apply, as was intended, to a completed structure of which the poem was meant for only a beginning and remains a fragment.]

Pauline, mine own, bend o'er me--thy soft breast
Shall pant to mine--bend o'er me--thy sweet eyes,
And loosened hair and breathing lips, and arms
Drawing me to thee--these build up a screen
To shut me in with thee, and from all fear;
So that I might unlock the sleepless brood
Of fancies from my soul, their lurking-place,
Nor doubt that each would pass, ne'er to return
To one so watched, so loved and so secured.

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