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Like Mill and Ruskin, Browning was taught by his father and was
"perhaps the most learned poet in the history of English literature."
(Johnson.) "In his teens, he discovered Shelley and adopted Shelleyian
liberalism in opinion and confessionalism in poetry." (Benet's.) For more,
see Birrell's essay on "Robert Browning" found in Selected Essays
(London: Nelson, 1908) at page 158.
All the breath and the blossom of the year in the bag of one bee:
All the wonder and wealth ofthe mine in the heart of the gem:
In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:
Breath and bloom, shade and shine, - wonder, wealth, and how far above them -
Truth, that's brighter than gem -,
Trust, that's purer than pearl, -
Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe -
All were for me in the kiss of one girl.
Parting at Morning
from Pippa Passes
1 What is he buzzing in my ears?
2 "Now that I come to die,
3 Do I view the world as a vale of tears?"
4 Ah, reverend sir, not I!
5 What I viewed there once, what I view again
6 Where the physic bottles stand
7 On the table's edge,--is a suburb lane,
8 With a wall to my bedside hand.
9 That lane sloped, much as the bottles do,
10 From a house you could descry
11 O'er the garden-wall; is the curtain blue
12 Or green to a healthy eye?
13 To mine, it serves for the old June weather
14 Blue above lane and wall;
15 And that farthest bottle labelled "Ether"
16 Is the house o'ertopping all.
17 At a terrace, somewhere near the stopper,
18 There watched for me, one June,
19 A girl: I know, sir, it's improper,
20 My poor mind's out of tune.
21 Only, there was a way... you crept
22 Close by the side, to dodge
23 Eyes in the house, two eyes except:
24 They styled their house "The Lodge."
25 What right had a lounger up their lane?
26 But, by creeping very close,
27 With the good wall's help,--their eyes might strain
28 And stretch themselves to Oes,
29 Yet never catch her and me together,
30 As she left the attic, there,
31 By the rim of the bottle labelled "Ether,"
32 And stole from stair to stair,
33 And stood by the rose-wreathed gate. Alas,
34 We loved, sir--used to meet:
35 How sad and bad and mad it was--
36 But then, how it was sweet!
The Poetry Archives - Robert Browning
© 1998 Elena and Yacov Feldman