HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Robert Browning, 7 May
He is one of the greatest of the Victorian poets, but was not hugely appreciated in his lifetime. His wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was more popular than he was, but today his work is more highly regarded than hers. He was famed for his dramatic monologues – My Last Duchess is a fabulous example.
Sometimes his work can be very complex and difficult. There’s a wonderful story about Browning visiting Elizabeth in the days of their courtship and she asked him to explain a few lines in his poem Sordello. He sat thinking for a long time and then replied, “Miss Barrett, when that poem was written only God and Robert Browning understood what it meant. Now only God does!”
I love his Home Thoughts from Abroad (“Oh to be in England, now that April’s there …”) and also find fascinating the very scary poem Porphyria’s Lover which depicts a murder and is incredibly creepy. And of course there his wonderful The Pied Piper – so many great poems to re-read and to celebrate on Browning’s birthday!
Share your thoughts in the comment area below.
For further reading on both Brownings, you might like to try the titles below.
Susannah Fullerton: Poem of the Month, November 2017 – How Do I Love Thee?
Susannah Fullerton: My Visit to Northern Italy
Susannah Fullerton: HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born 6 March 1806
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