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While thus to love he gave his days
How spread their lures for him in vain
He thought it happier to be dead,
To die for beauty than live for bread.
The last poem I shall ask your deep admiration
Already blushes in thy cheek
The bosom-thought which thou must speak;
By cloud or isle, is flying home;
Will a woman's fan the ocean smooth?
And all our struggles and our toils
Now, I will not add any weak words of mine to the exquisite music of Emerson's muse.
If I have said anything that will induce any of my readers to study him more thoroughly, I
shall be quite satisfied with the result of my little sketch.
The eye sees what it brings the capacity to see. That is especially true of the mind's eye. Therefore the more we study, think, and feel, the better able we shall be to comprehend and love the spiritual and heaven-scaling genius of the American Plato.
ROBERT BROWNING was born at Camberwell on May 7th, 1812, and died at Venice on December 13th, 1889. His father was, like so many others, a writer of a great deal of unpublished verse of rather an old-fashioned didactic character. Robert began to write poetry at a very early age, and was also fond of drawing. He did not become a painter; but, as we all know, developed into one of the greatest poets and subtlest and strongest thinkers of the century. He ardently studied the works of Keats, Shelley, Scott, Byron, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. We all know how intensely he admired and loved the glorious Shelley. Fortunately his father withheld his youthful effusions from the public; but in after years some of the manuscripts fell into the great poet's hands, and he discovered that he had been an ardent admirer and imitator of Byron, and that his verse was "full and melodious." From the worship of Byron the boy naturally soared to a love of Shelley directly he accidentally became possessor of a piratical copy of his exquisite poems. Even
three years after Shelley's death it was very difficult to obtain a copy of his works. No respectable bookseller would even acknowledge that he was acquainted with his name. Mrs. Browning at last obtained from Messrs. Ollier, the publishers, the original editions of both Shelley and Keats, and presented them to her son. Let us pause for a moment and try, in some degree, to imagine the rapture of delight experienced by the boy-poet as he turned the leaves containing the poems of these glorious master singers! But, although he loved and admired them both so profoundly, he never imitated either. In 1826 young Browning went to school at Dulwich, and later to University College, London. Six years after, in 1832, he wrote "Pauline," and published it in 1833, when twenty-one. The poem is dated Richmond, October 22nd, 1832. In the same year Tennyson published "The Miller's Daughter," "The Dream of Fair Women," "The Palace of Art," and other of his most beautiful
and popular poems. "Pauline was almost unnoticed; but it was so greatly admired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, then a very young man, that he copied the whole of the poem from the book in the British Museum. John Stuart Mill, too, desired to review it in Tait's Magazine; but it had already been dismissed by that periodical with contempt. Fortunately the poet was not dependent for fame and fortune or vulgar bread
and cheese upon the wisdom and critical powers of the editor of that luminous periodical or of any other! If he had been, the result would have been starvation. Genius is certain to conquer in the end; but in the meantime the poet is face to face with famine. We must admit that out of one hundred volumes of verse published, ninetynine are very likely to be bad or indifferent; but the man of real critical power and insight should be on the look out for the exception, and should, in addition, feel a pleasure in introducing it to a public eager to welcome originality and real power-"there are so many echoes and so few voices."
In 1834 Mr. Browning set out on his travels, which extended to Russia. A year before he wrote "Porphyria's Lover" and "Joannes Agricola.” These and other short poems were printed in a Unitarian magazine, The Monthly Repository, edited by Mr. W. Johnson Fox, afterwards member of Parliament for Oldham. "Paracelsus " was published in 1835. In this poem Browning showed his daring originality, his utter disregard and apparent contempt for the conventional forms of fashionable poetry; and in the long soliloquies he displayed the germ of that profound insight into the workings of the heart and conscience so wonderfully manifested in his "Bishop Blougram," "Andrea del Sarto," and other masterpieces in "Men and Women." Macready's admiration for