Poetry: Robert Browning - The Laboratory - Porphyria's Lover - My Last Duchess - 14 photos - Bio data
Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in Poetry: Robert Browning - The Laboratory - Porphyria's Lover - My Last Duchess - 14 photos - Bio data | Posted on 15:43
Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze through these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy—
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?
He is with her; and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!—I am here.
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,—I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King's.
That in the mortar—you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,—is that poison too?
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree-basket!
Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastille, and Elise, with her head,
And her breast, and her arms, and her hands, should drop dead!
Quick—is it finished? The colour's too grim!
Why not soft like the phial's, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!
What a drop! She's not little, no minion like me—
That's why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those strong, great eyes,—say, "No!"
To that pulse's magnificent come-and-go.
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one-half minute fixed, she would fall,
Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all!
Not that I bid you spare her the pain!
Let death be felt and the proof remain;
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace—
He is sure to remember her dying face!
Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose,
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close:
The delicate droplet, my whole fortune's fee—
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?
Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it—next moment I dance at the King's!
The rain set early in tonight,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me--she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me forever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshiped me: surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!
That's my last duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps
"Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
"Must never hope to reproduce the faint
"Half-flush that dies along her throat": such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart--how shall I say?--too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favor at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace--all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men--good! but thanked
Somehow--I know not how--as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech--which I have not--to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
"Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
"Or there exceed the mark"--and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and make excuse,
--E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretense
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!
Legacy and cultural references
In his introduction to the Oxford University Press edition of Browning's poems 1833–1864 Ian Jack comments that Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot "all learned from Browning's exploration of the possibilities of dramatic poetry and of colloquial idiom".
In 1914, American modern composer Charles Ives created one of his most innovative and captivating pieces ever, and named it after Browning. It is the Robert Browning Overture, a densely, darkly dramatic piece with gloomy, stark overtones strongly reminiscent of the Second Viennese School.
In 1930 the story of Browning and his wife Elizabeth was made into a play The Barretts of Wimpole Street, by Rudolph Besier. The play was a success and brought popular fame to the couple in the United States. The role of Elizabeth became a signature role for the actress Katharine Cornell. It was twice adapted into film. It was also the basis of the stage musical Robert and Elizabeth, with music by Ron Grainer and book and lyrics by Ronald Millar.
In The Browning Version (Terence Rattigan's 1948 play or one of several film adaptations), a pupil makes a parting present to his teacher of an inscribed copy of Robert Browning's translation of The Agamemnon of Aeschylus.
Stephen King's The Dark Tower was chiefly inspired by the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning, whose full text was included in the final volume's appendix.
A memorial plaque on the site of his London home, Warwick Crescent, was unveiled on 11 December 1993.
Browning Close in Royston, Hertfordshire, is named after Robert Browning.
Complete list of works
Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession (1833)
Strafford (play) (1837)
Bells and Pomegranates No. I: Pippa Passes (play) (1841)
Bells and Pomegranates No. II: King Victor and King Charles (play) (1842)
Bells and Pomegranates No. III: Dramatic Lyrics (1842)
"Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister"
"My Last Duchess"
"The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
"Johannes Agricola in Meditation"
Bells and Pomegranates No. IV: The Return of the Druses (play) (1843)
Bells and Pomegranates No. V: A Blot in the 'Scutcheon (play) (1843)
Bells and Pomegranates No. VI: Colombe's Birthday (play) (1844)
Bells and Pomegranates No. VII: Dramatic Romances and Lyrics (1845)
"How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix"
"The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church"
"The Lost Leader"
"Home Thoughts from Abroad"
"Meeting at Night"
Bells and Pomegranates No. VIII: Luria and A Soul's Tragedy (plays) (1846)
Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day (1850)
Men and Women (1855)
"Love Among the Ruins"
"The Last Ride Together"
"A Toccata of Galuppi's"
"Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"
"Fra Lippo Lippi"
"Andrea Del Sarto"
"The Patriot/ An Old Story"
"A Grammarian's Funeral"
"An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab Physician"
Dramatis Personae (1864)
"Caliban upon Setebos"
"Rabbi Ben Ezra"
The Ring and the Book (1868–9)
Balaustion's Adventure (1871)
Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society (1871)
Fifine at the Fair (1872)
Red Cotton Night-Cap Country, or, Turf and Towers (1873)
Aristophanes' Apology (1875)
The Inn Album (1875)
Pacchiarotto, and How He Worked in Distemper (1876)
The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (1877)
La Saisiaz and The Two Poets of Croisic (1878)
Dramatic Idylls (1879)
Dramatic Idylls: Second Series (1880)
Ferishtah's Fancies (1884)
Parleyings with Certain People of Importance In Their Day (1887)
Poetry: Robert Browning - The Laboratory - Porphyria's Lover - My Last Duchess - 14 photos - Bio data
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