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ALL that I know

Of a certain star

Is, it can throw

(Like the angled spar)

Now a dart of red,

Now a dart of blue;

My Star.

Till my friends have said

They would fain see, too,

My star that dartles the red and the blue!

Then it stops like a bird; like a flower, hangs furled :
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world?

Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.

Incident of the French Camp.

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:

A mile or so away

On a little mound, Napoleon

Stood on our storming-day;



2. A certain star.-The metaphor of this suggestive little poem is thus interpreted by Mrs. Orr, in her Handbook to Browning's Works":"My Star may be taken as a tribute to the personal element in love; the bright peculiar light in which the sympathetic soul reveals itself to the object of its sympathy "

1. Ratisbon. Or Regensburg, a town on the Danube, 65 miles north of Munich, not far from the river Isar. The "incident" here described was an actual occurrence.

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Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew
A rider, bound on bound

Full-galloping; nor bridle drew

Until he reached the mound.

Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect

By just his horse's mane, a boy :

You hardly could suspect―

(So tight he kept his lips compressed,
Scarce any blood came through)

You looked twice ere you saw his breast
Was all but shot in two.





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Well," cried he, "Emperor, by God's grace


We've got you Ratisbon !

The Marshal's in the market-place,

And you'll be there anon

To see your flag-bird flap his vans

Where I, to heart's desire,

Perched him!" The chief's eye flashed; his plans

Soared up again like fire.


11. My army-leader Lannes.-One of Napoleon's most distinguished marshals. He commanded in the battles of Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland, and others. For winning the battle of Montebello he was made Duke of Montebello.

29. Vans. From the French van, a wing. The wings of the imperial eagle upon the banner flap in the wind.

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"You're wounded!" "Nay," the soldier's pride

Touched to the quick, he said:

Smiling the boy fell dead.

"I'm killed, Sire !" And his chief beside,


Home Thoughts, from Abroad.

OH, to be in England now that April's there,

And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware,

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England-now!

And after April, when May follows,

And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops-at the bent spray's edge-
That's the wise thrush: he sings each song twice over
Lest you should think he never could recapture



The first fine careless rapture!

And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
And will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
-Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower !


Rabbi ben Ezra.

In Rabbi ben Ezra Mr. Browning has crystallized his religious philosophy into a shape of abiding beauty. It has been called, not rashly, the noblest of modern religious poems. Alike in substance and in form it belongs to the highest order of meditative poetry; and it has an almost unique quality of grave beauty, of severe restraint, of earnest and measured enthusiasm. This is one of those poems which can never be profitably analyzed or commented on: it must be read. What the Psalm of Life is to the people who do not think, Rabbi ben Ezra might and should be to those who do: a light through the darkness-a lantern of guidance and a beacon of hope-to the wanderers lost and weary in the selva selvaggia. It is one of those poems that mold character.

GROW old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith, "A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid !”

Not that, amassing flowers,

Youth sighed, "Which rose make ours,

Which lily leave and then as best recall?"

Not that, admiring stars,

It yearned, "Nor Jove, nor Mars;



Mine be some figured flame which blends, transcends them all!'

Not for such hopes and fears

Annulling youth's brief years,

Do I remonstrate: folly wide the mark!

Rather I prize the doubt

Low kinds exist without,

Finished and finite clods, untroubled by a spark.

2. The best is yet to be. -The poet expresses the thought in "Saul



By the spirit, when age shall o'ercome thee, thou still shalt enjoy
More indeed, than at first when inconscious, the life of a boy."


Poor vaunt of life indeed,

Were man but formed to feed

On joy, to solely seek and find and feast;

Such feasting ended, then

As sure an end to men;


Irks care the crop-full bird? Frets doubt the maw-crammed


Rejoice we are allied

To That which doth provide

And not partake, effect and not receive!

A spark disturbs our clod;

Nearer we hold of God

Who gives, than of His tribes that take, I must believe.

Then, welcome each rebuff

That turns earth's smoothness rough,

Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!

Be our joys three-parts pain!

Strive, and hold cheap the strain;

Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!

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Which comforts while it mocks,

Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail:

What I aspired to be,

And was not, comforts me:

A brute I might have been, but would not sink i' the scale.

What is he but a brute

Whose flesh hath soul to suit,





24. Irks care, etc.-Care does not annoy, nor doubt fret, the well-fed bird or beast.

29. Nearer we hold of God.-We possess the right or title to a nearer relationship with God

40, 41.-In "Saul" the poet says: "'tis not what man Does which exalts him, but what man Would do."

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