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The Publications of the Society for 1881-2 are→

1. The Browning Society's Papers, 1881-4. Part I p. 1-116 (presented by Mr. Furnivall).

1. A Reprint of BROWNING's Introductory Essay to the 25 spurious Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1852,-On the Objective and Subjective Poet, on the relation of the Poet's Life to his Work; on Shelley, his Nature, Art, and Character.

2. A Bibliography of ROBERT BROWNING, 1833-1881: Alphabetical and
Chronological Lists of his Works, with Reprints of discontinued Pre-
faces, of Ben Karshook's Wisdom, partial collations of Sordello 1840,
1863, and Paracelsus 1835, 1863, &c.; and with Trial-Lists of the
Criticisms on BROWNING, Personal Notices of him, &c., by F. J.

2. The Browning Society's Papers, 1881-4. Part II, p. 117-258.
3. Additions to the Bibliography of R. BROWNING, by F. J. FURNIVALL.
1. Browning's Acted Plays. 2. Fresh Entries of Criticisms on Brown-
ing's Works. 3. Fresh Personal Notices of Browning. 4. Notes on
Browning's Poems and my Bibliography. 5. Short Index.

4. Mr. KIRKMAN's Address at the Inaugural Meeting of the Society, October
28, 1881.

5. Mr. SHARPE's Paper on Pietro of Abano, and Dramatic Idyls, Series II 6. Mr. NETTLESHIP'S Analysis and Sketch of Fifine at the Fair.


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Classification of Browning's Poems.

8. Mrs. ORR's Classification of Browning's Poems.

9. Mr. JAMES THOMSON'S Notes on the Genius of Robert Browning.

10. Mr. ERNEST RADFORD on the Moorish Front to the Duomo of Florence


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in Luria, I. 122-32.

on the original of "NED BRATTS," Dramatù
Lyrics, I. p. 107-143.

12. Mr. SHARPE's Analysis and Summary of Fifine at the Fair.

The Publications of the Society for 1882-3 are

3. The Browning Society's Papers, 1881-4. Part III, p. 259-380 1*-48*.

13. Mr. BURY on Browning's Philosophy.

14. Prof. JOHNSON on Bishop Blougram.

15. Prof. CORSON on "Personality, and Art as its vice-agent, as treated by Browning."

16. Miss BEALE on "The Religious Teaching of Browning."

17. A short Account of the Abbé VOGLER (ABT VOGLER), by Miss Eleanor Marx.

18. Prof. JOHNSON on "Conscience and Art in Browning."

The Monthly Abstract of such Papers as have not been printed in full, and of the Discussions on all that have been discussed. Nos. I-X. 4. Illustrations to Browning's Poems. Part I: Photographs of a. Andrea del Sarto's Picture of himself and his Wife, in the Pitti Palace, Florence, which suggested Browning's poem Andrea del Sarto; b. Fra Lippo Lippi's 'Coronation of the Virgin,' in the Accademia delle belle Arti, Florence (the painting described at the end of Browning's Fra Lippo); and c. Guercino's Angel and Child,' at Fano (for The Guardian Angel); with an Introduction by ERNEST RADFORD.

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5. Illustrations to Browning's Poems. Part II. d. A Photo-
graving of Mr. C. Fairfax Murray's drawing of Andrea del Sarto's
Picture named above. e. A Woodburytype copy of Fradelle's Cabinet
Photograph of ROBERT BROWNING in 3 sizes, to bind with the Society's
Illustrations, and Papers, and Browning's Poems: e. presented by Mrs.
Sutherland Orr. f. Reductions in fcap. 8vo, to bind with Browning's
Poems, of d, b, c, above, and of g, the engraving of Guercino's First
Sketch for his' Angel and Child.'

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The Publication of the Society for 1883-4 is :

6. The Browning Society's Papers, Part IV. pp. 381-476, 49*-84* and i.-xvi.

19. Mr. NETTLESHIP on Browning's Intuition, specially in regard to Music and the Plastic Arts.

20. Prof. B. F. WESTCOTT on Some Points in Browning's view of Life.

21. Miss E. D. WEST on One aspect of Browning's Villains.

22. Mr. REVELL on Browning's Poems on God and Immortality as bearing on Life here.

23. The Rev. H. J. BULKELEY on James Lee's Wife.

24. Mrs. TURNBULL on Abt Vogler.

The Monthly Abstract of the Proceedings of Meetings Eleven to Eighteen.
First and Second Reports of the Committee (1881-2 and 1882-3).

The first Publication of the Society for 1885-6 will be:

7. The Browning Society's Papers, Part V. pp. 477-502, 85-153*, and

xvii. -xxiii.

25. Mr. W. A. RALEIGH on Some Prominent Points in Browning's Teaching. 26. Mr. J. COTTER MORISON on "Caliban on Setebos," with some Notes on Browning's Subtlety and Humour.

27. Mrs. TURNBULL on "In a Balcony."

The Monthly Abstract of the Proceedings of Meetings Nineteenth to
Twenty-sixth, including "Scraps" contributed by MR. FURNIVALL
MR. WISE, &c.

Third Report of the Committee, 1883-4.

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8. A Handbook to Browning's Works. By Mrs. SUTHERLAND Orr. G. Bell and Sons. London.


9. Illustrations, pp. 168-170. Presented by Sir F. Leighton, P.R.A., &c. Vice-President of the Browning Society. A Woodburytype Engraving of Sir Frederick Leighton's picture (in the possession of Sir Bernhard Samuelson, Bart., M.P.) of Hercules contending with Death for the Body of Alkestis (Balaustion's Adventure).

10. The Browning Society Papers, Part VII. (Part I. of Vol. II.), pp. 1-54, 1*-88, and i.-viii.

28. Mr. ARTHUR SYMONS on Is Browning Dramatic? 29. Prof. E. JOHNSON on Mr. Sludge the Medium.

30. Mr. BERDOE on Browning as a Scientific Poet.

The Monthly Abstract of Papers and Discussions, from Oct. 31, 1884, to May 22, 1885: the Programme of the Fourth Annual Entertainment; four sets of Browning's Notes and Queries; and the Fourth Report of the Browning Society.

11. The Publications of the Society for 1886-7 will be:31. "On the Development of Browning's Genius in his capacity as Poct or Maker," by Mr. J. T. NETTLESHIP.

32. On Aristophanes' Apology, by Mr. J. B. BURY.

33. On "The Avowal of Valence" (Colombe's Birthday), by Mr. LEONARD S. OUTRAM.

34. On Andrea del Sarto, by Mr. ALBERT FLEMING.

36. On

35. On Browning as a Landscape Painter, by Mr. HOWARD S. PEARSON. The Reasonable Rhythm of some of Mr. Browning's Poems," by the Rev. H. J. BULKELEY.

Abstracts of all the Meetings held, "Notes and Queries," &c.

12. Fac-simile reprint of "Pauline" (1833).




December 21st, 1886.


Read at the 47th Meeting of the Browning Society, January 28th, 1887.

THE performance of Strafford under the direction of the Browning Society, just half a century after its first production by Macready. was a most interesting event for all lovers of Browning; and I gladly respond to Dr. Furnivall's request that I shall write a short notice of it for the Society's Abstract. My aim in doing so will be to give, as frankly and simply as I can, my own impressions on witnessing what was to me a new revelation of Browning's powers as a dramatist.

I may say at starting that Strafford is the first of Browning's plays which I have seen acted, with the exception of In a Balcony, which, in spite of clever acting, gained nothing from stage representation; and that up to the present time I have doubted the possibility of making any of them, except A Blot on the 'Scutcheon, effective on the stage. I still think that the remoteness of the spiritual cruxes which Browning loves to treat, the subtlety of the motives which actuate the personages, and the frequent obscurity of the language in which they indicate the processes of their mental analysis must render his extant plays "caviare to the general." But the performance of Strafford surprised me into wishing that Browning had "kept pegging away" at stage plays for another half-century or so, until he had compelled a hearing from the populace, and in so doing disciplined his own dramatic genius. The play gains immensely in clearness, and consequently in interest, by being seen on the stage. There is, perhaps, something of youthful Sturm und Drang in it—a straining after intensity which suggests the "spasmodic" school of its day; but it is always vivid, and often genuinely intense. It is



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full of the fine stimulating quality which all Browning's work possesses in such an eminent degree. We feel that this young dramatist might say with Whitman, I have not come to lull you." No; Browning, whether he brings us real wine or mere "nettle-broth -a genial stimulant or a vexatious irritant-aims, like Whitman, at "freeing, arousing, dilating."

I was much struck with the effectiveness of Browning's verse on the stage. It has none of the rich music and exquisite rhythm of Shakspeare's. It is indeed a sort of hybrid between prose and verse. There is no poetry prepense in Browning. He can be baldly prosaic on occasion without shame. Shakspeare broods and sings, Browning analyses and talks; but his talk at its best is "far above singing," or at least most of the singing we hear. His verse is an admirable medium for the modern actor, whom it cajoles into being colloquial, and consequently natural. The actor who has to recite Shakspeare's verse has an uneasy sense that it is verse. He has no feeling for its rhythm, and he falls into rant and mouthing, his false intonation ruining both sound and sense. If he were content to speak it as simple prose the result would be less fatal The actors were at their ease in Browning's verse, and the poetry came in in its proper place without self-consciousness. The only man who was thoroughly out of touch with his author was the younger Vane, who did not adopt the colloquial tone, and conscientiously ranted his part from beginning to end. Fortunately the newspaper critic's demand for "tragedians" was not complied with in the other parts. But before speaking more particularly of the acting, a word or two with regard to the play itself.

Strafford, though ostensibly a historical play, is not a "historie " on the Shakspearian model. It is as distinctly a new departure in English drama as Hugo's Hernani was in French. Browning's vigorous originality asserts itself not merely in the style but in the method of the play-a method as different from Shakspeare's as could well be. In Shakspeare's historical plays we are distinctly shown "the body of the time" with "his form and pressure." We stand under an English sky, upon solid English earth; we are face to face with flesh and blood men and women; we are made to feel "the pride, pomp, circumstance" of life, as the great pageant of the world passes before us. In Strafford the author, full of the modern passion for plucking the heart out of every mystery, is impatient of the external husks of life. Whatever obscurity thero is in the play is due to the cavalier fashion in which the circumstances hurrying the personages along in eddying breezes of emotion, are

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