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If such subjects are, as we have tried to show, legitimate in Art, then it is the poet's duty to convey to our minds the grim absurdity by every means at his command, to hammer and beat at his language till he twist it into the curious shape that shall follow most accurately the lines of his mental conception. And for his power to do this we call him not the lesser, but the greater, poet; for we feel him to be pre-eminently the man who realizes and reflects the dignity of life, not by denial, but by uncompromising affirmation, and who therefore translates into a poem our actual existence, instead of forcing us to the conviction that our poetry can only be found by betaking ourselves to some melancholy dream of life as it could never by any possibility be.
JOHN S. WOODMAN.
FIFTH SESSION, 1885-6.
Fifth Annual Meeting, Friday, June 25, 1886.
DR. F. J. FURNIVALL in the Chair.
The CHAIRMAN laid the Report on the table, and as copies of it were in the hands of those present, it was taken as read.
The Chairman remarked on the increasing numbers of the Society as being most encouraging. Especially might he note the increasing demand in America for Browning's works, mainly through the existence of the Society. A great deal of this was due to Mr. Lloyd Jones, who had been instrumental in forming classes for the study of the Poet.
Dr. Furnivall then reviewed briefly the Society's work during the year, stating that, to the great regret of the Committee, Mr. J. Dykes Campbell had resigned his position of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. The Society were greatly indebted to that gentleman for his past services. Dr. Furnivall had to announce that Mr. Walter B. Slater had consented to fill the vacant office. He also had to announce that a facsimile reprint of Mr. Browning's first poem, Pauline, would shortly be issued to the members.
The adoption of the Report having been carried unanimously, Mr. C. H. Herford's paper on "Prince Hohenstiel Schwangau," printed above, was read.
In opening the discussion, Dr. Furnivall questioned whether it was worth the while of the Poet to deal with such a character. For his part he always regretted that Browning took up such beings as Sludge, Louis Napoleon, &c., instead of giving the time and trouble spent on those to nobler subjects. Indeed these people are not worth the analysis given of them. As for the poem under discussion, he had read it four or five times, and was more than ever dissatisfied with it. Doubtless Mr. Browning felt indebted to Napoleon for his work regarding Italy; but the question after all was whether the man himself was worthy of Browning's analysis. One could not believe in the specious excuses put in the mouth of Louis Napoleon. It seemed to him that Browning delights to take one of these scamps, and then sit down to work with the remark, Now let us see what excuses we can make for him." Altogether he thought the poem was power wasted on an unworthy object, in spite of its occasional fine passages.
MR. REVELL had listened to the paper with much pleasure, and he considered the Lecturer had treated the poem in a fair manner; at the same time he was bound to say that he found little that was satisfactory in the poem itself.
MR. SHAW thought the paper a very good one, remarking, regarding its hero, on the fact, as long as the man was sophistical he was edifying, but when he was
BROWNING SOCIETY'S PAPERS.
(PART III. OF VOL. II.)
XXXVIII. On the Performance of Strafford. By Dr. Todhunter 147
XXXIX. On “A Death in the Desert." By Mrs. Glazebrooke 153
XL. A Grammatical Analysis of "O Lyric Love." By Dr.
F. J. Furnivall, M.A.
XLI. Some Notes on Mr. Browning's latest Volume (On
XLII. On the Musical Poems of Browning. By Miss Helen
The Monthly Abstract of Proceedings of Meetings, Forty-fourth to Fiftieth, Browning "Notes and Queries," &c.
BY N. TRÜBNER & CO., 57 & 59, LUDGATE HILL, LONDON, 1888.
Price Ten Shillings.
Papers, Part VII. (1885-6, being part I. of Vol. II.), pp. 1-54, 1*-88*, i.-viii.,
and Appendix, 1-16.
28. Mr. ARTHUR SYMONS' Paper, Is Browning Dramatic?
29. Prof. E. JOHNSON on Mr. Sludge the Medium.
30. Dr. BERDOE on Browning as a Scientific Poet.
The Monthly Abstract of Proceedings of Meetings 27 to 33, Notes and Queries, &c., Fourth Annual Report, Programme of Annual Entertainment at Prince's Hall, &c.
The Publications for the year 1886-7 will be:
Papers, Part VIII. (1886-7). (For contents see cover, p. 1).
Pauline, by ROBERT BROWNING, a facsimile Reprint of the Original Edition. An Introduction to the Works of Browning, by ARTHUR SYMONS (Cassell & Co. 2s. 6d.).
Papers, Part IX.
Part I. (1882-3) contains PHOTOGRAPHS (10 in. x 7 in.) of the following Pictures, with an Introduction by Mr. Ernest Radford ::
i. Andrea del Sarto's Picture of himself and his wife in the Pitti Gallery at Florence, which suggested Browning's Poem of Andrea del Sarto.
ii. Fra Lippo Lippi's picture of The Coronation of the Virgin in the Accademia delle Belle Arti at Florence (the painting described at the end of Fra Lippo Lippi). iii. Guercino's picture of the Angelo Custode (in the Church of St. Agostino at Fano) on which Browning wrote his Poem of The Guardian Angel.
Part II. (1882-3) contains:
iv. A facsimile (by Dawson's Typo-etching process) of Mr. C. Fairfax Murray's drawing (10 in. x 8 in.) of the picture by Andrea del Sarto named above (i.). v. A Woodburytype copy (91 × 7 in.) of Fradelle's Photographic Portrait of Mr. Browning.
vi. A copy of the Portrait (v.) of a size to bind with the Society's Papers.
vii. A copy of the Portrait (v.) of a size to bind with the Poems.
[These Portraits (v., vi., vii.) presented to the Society by Mrs. Sutherland Orr.] viii. Reduction of ii. to bind with the Poems.
ix. Reduction of iii. to bind with the Poems.
x. Reduction of iv. to bind with the Pocms.
xi. Facsimile of a drawing by Guercino, believed to be his first sketch for the Angelo Custode, to bind with the Poems.
Meetings and Papers for Session VI. 1886-7. (XLIV.—LI.)
(University College, Gower Street, (except December 21st), at 8 P.M.)
Friday, Oct. 29, 1886.-On Browning, by the Venerable ARCHPEACON FARRAR, D.D.
Tues. Dec. 21,
(Prof. E. JOHNSON, M. A., in the Chair.)
-ANNUAL ENTERTAINMENT. Performance of Strafford. Lady
Friday, Jan. 28, 1887.-On Browning's Treatment of Landscape, by J. T. NETTLE
(The Chair will be taken by ALFRED W. HUNT, Esq.)
-On A Death in the Desert, by Mrs. GLAZEBROOK.
(The Chair will be taken by REV. J. LLEWELYN DAVIES, M. A.) -A Paper by Prof, CORSON. (The Chair will be taken by Dr. BERDOE.)
-A Paper by ARTHUR SYMONS, Esq.
(The Chair will be taken by W. M. ROSSETTI, Esq.)
-On Browning's Casuistry, by Prof. P. A. BARNETT, of Firth
(The Chair will be taken by Prof. E. JOHNSON, M.A.) -Annual Meeting, Election of Officers, &c. A Paper by ERNEST RADFORD, Esq., LL.M.
(The Chair will be taken by Dr. F. J. FURNIVALL.)