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Remembering Romantic Robert Browning – Birthday Special

Remembering Romantic Robert Browning – Birthday Special
Image Credit - Inquiries Journal

It is the birthday of one of the most loved but underrated poet Robert Browning, who left the world indebted, for his timeless Romantic Poetry.

Browning began writing love-poetry early in his career, and continued to write of love upto the very end. His last work “Asolando”, published on the very day of his death, contains a number of love-poems which describe the passionate love with surprising intensity. Browning does not frown upon the physical aspects of love. Instead, when at his best, the physical and spiritual combine with prominence in his love-poetry. For him, the brightest and the purest truth lies often lies “in the kiss of a girl”. In one poem after another, he celebrates the physical as well as the spiritual love.

In his best love poems, he brings out the power of love to lift the lover to a higher and nobler level and give him new strength. For Browning, Love is the one thing essential for the fulfillment of life; without love even power and knowledge have no significance. He even makes his hero/heroines stronger during tragedies in their love. In his poems, failure in love is not an occasion for outburst of grief. It is the moment for the manliness of temper which gathers strength out of defeat.


Browning does not hesitate to represent love which convention frowns upon, he is also a poet of abnormal lovers and their love; many a love-situation in his poetry is traditionally looked down upon. In “Porphyria’s Lover”, the abnormal lover strangulates the girl with her own silken hair, and then sits calmly with her head on his shoulders. In “The Flight of the Duchess”, the Duchess elopes with her gipsy lover and thus attains freedom and true love.

In short, Robert Browning’s love-poems deal with the countless phases and varieties of love in all classes of society. They show how Browning, passing through the world, was continually on the watch to catch, to store up, and reproduce a crowd of motives for poetry, which his memory held and his imagination shaped. For Browning, love is the central principle of the universe, the highest attribute both of God and Man, and its triumph and immortality is never, even for a moment, clouded with doubt or uncertainty. To him, Love is the conqueror, Love is God; true lovers are bound to meet, if not, in this world, certainly in worlds to come. Browning’s faith in love and the multiplicity and variety of his love-poems entitle him to the rank of the greatest love poet in the English Language, after John Donne.

Reference : “Robert Browning” by Dr. Raghukul Tilak

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