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Title: The Browning Cyclopædia - A Guide to the Study of the Works of Robert Browning
Author: Berdoe, Edward
Language: English
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Libraries.)



"The Browning Cyclopædia."

_SOME OPINIONS OF THE PRESS ON THE FIRST EDITION._


"Conscientious and painstaking,"--_The Times._

"Obviously a most painstaking work, and in many ways it is very well
done."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"In many ways a serviceable book, and deserves to be widely bought."--_The
Speaker._

"A book of far-reaching research and careful industry ... will make this
poet clearer, nearer, and dearer to every reader who systematically uses
his book."--_Scotsman._

"Dr. Berdoe is a safe and thoughtful guide; his work has evidently been a
labour of love, and bears many marks of patient research."--_Echo._

"Students of Browning will find it an invaluable aid."--_Graphic._

"A work suggestive of immense industry."--_Morning Post._

"Erudite and comprehensive."--_Glasgow Herald._

"As a companion to Browning's works the Cyclopædia will be most valuable;
it is a laborious, if necessary, piece of work, conscientiously performed,
for which present and future readers and students of Browning ought to be
really grateful."--_Nottingham Daily Guardian._

"A monumental labour, and fitting company for the great compositions he
elucidates."--_Rock._

"It is very well that so patient and ubiquitous a reader as Dr. Berdoe
should have written this useful cyclopædia, and cleared the meaning of
many a dark and doubtful passage of the poet."--_Black and White._

"It is not too much to say that Dr. Berdoe has earned the gratitude of
every reader of Browning, and has materially aided the study of English
literature in one of its ripest developments."--_British Weekly._

"Dr. Berdoe's Cyclopædia should make all other handbooks
unnecessary."--_Star._

"We are happy to commend the volume to Browning students as the most
ambitious and useful in its class yet executed."--_Notes and Queries._

"A most learned and creditable piece of work. Not a difficulty is
shirked."--_Vanity Fair._

"A monument of industry and devotion. It has really faced difficulties, it
is conveniently arranged, and is well printed and bound."--_Bookman._

"A wonderful help."--_Gentlewoman._

"Can be strongly recommended as one for a favourite corner in one's
library."--_Whitehall Review._

"Exceedingly well done; its interest and usefulness, we think, may pass
without question."--_Publishers' Circular._

"In a singularly industrious and exhaustive manner he has set himself to
make clear the obscure and to accentuate the beautiful in Robert
Browning's poem ... must have involved infinite labour and research. It
cannot be doubted that the book will be widely sought for and warmly
appreciated."--_Daily Telegraph._

"Dr. Berdoe tackles every allusion, every proper name, every phase of
thought, besides giving a most elaborate analysis of each poem. He has
produced what we might almost call a monumental work."--_Literary
Opinion._

"This cyclopædia may certainly claim to be by a long way the most
efficient aid to the study of Browning that has been published, or is
likely to be published.... Lovers of Browning will prize it highly, and
all who wish to understand him will consult it with advantage."--_Baptist
Magazine._

"The work has evidently been one of love, and we doubt whether any one
could have been found better qualified to undertake it."--_Cambridge
Review._

"All readers of Browning will feel indebted to Dr. Berdoe for his
interesting accounts of the historical facts on which many of the dramas
are based, and also for his learned dissertations on 'The Ring and the
Book' and 'Sordello.'"--_British Medical Journal._

"The work is so well done that no one is likely to think of doing it over
again."--_The Critic_ (New York).

"This work reflects the greatest credit on Dr. Berdoe and on the Browning
Society, of which he is so distinguished a member,--it is simply
invaluable."--_The Hawk._

"The Cyclopædia has at any rate brought his (Browning's) best work well
within the compass of all serious readers of intelligence--Browning made
easy."--_The Month._



THE BROWNING CYCLOPÆDIA.



By the Same Author.


=BROWNING'S MESSAGE TO HIS TIME. His Religion, Philosophy, and Science.=
With Portrait and Facsimile Letters. Second edition, price 2_s._ 6_d._


_OPINIONS OF THE PRESS._

"Full of admiration and sympathy."--_Saturday Review._

"Much that is helpful and suggestive."--_Scotsman._

"Should have a wide circulation, it is interesting and
stimulative."--_Literary World._

"It is the work of one who, having gained good himself, has made it his
endeavour to bring the same good within the reach of others, and, as such,
it deserves success."--_Cambridge Review._

"We have no hesitation in strongly recommending this little volume to any
who desire to understand the moral and mental attitude of Robert
Browning.... We are much obliged to Dr. Berdoe for his volume."--_Oxford
University Herald._

"Cannot fail to be of assistance to new readers."--_Morning Post._

"The work of a faithful and enthusiastic student is here."--_Nation._



    THE BROWNING CYCLOPÆDIA

    _A GUIDE TO THE STUDY OF THE WORKS_
    OF ROBERT BROWNING

    WITH
    Copious Explanatory Notes and References
    on all Difficult Passages


    BY EDWARD BERDOE

    LICENTIATE OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS, EDINBURGH; MEMBER OF
    THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS, ENGLAND, ETC., ETC.

    _Author of "Browning's Message to his Time," "Browning as a Scientific
    Poet," etc., etc._


    LONDON: SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO. LTD.
    NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.
    1897



    FIRST EDITION, _December, 1891_.
    SECOND EDITION, _March, 1892_.
    THIRD EDITION (Revised), _September, 1897_.



    I gratefully Dedicate these pages
    TO DR. F. J. FURNIVALL
    AND MISS E. H. HICKEY,
    THE FOUNDERS OF
    THE BROWNING SOCIETY.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.


The demand for a second edition of this work within three months of its
publication is a sufficient proof that such a book meets a want,
notwithstanding the many previous attempts of a more or less partial
character which have been made to explain Browning to "the general." With
the exception of certain superfine reviewers, to whom nothing is
obscure--except such things as they are asked to explain without previous
notice--every one admits that Browning requires more or less elucidation.
It is said by some that I have explained too much, but this might be said
of most commentaries, and certainly of every dictionary. It is difficult
to know precisely where to draw the line. If I am not to explain (say for
lady readers) what is meant by the phrase "_De te fabula narratur_," I
know not why any of the classical quotations should be translated. If
Browning is hard to understand, it must be on account of the obscurity of
his language, of his thought, or the purport of his verses; very often the
objection is made that the difficulty applies to all these. I have not
written for the "learned," but for the people at large. _The Manchester
Guardian_, in a kindly notice of my book, says "the error and marvel of
his book is the supposition that any cripple who can only be crutched by
it into an understanding of Browning will ever understand Browning at
all." There are many readers, however, who understand Browning a little,
and I hope that this book will enable them to understand him a great deal
more: though all cripples cannot be turned into athletes, some undeveloped
persons may be helped to achieve feats of strength.

A word concerning my critics. No one can do me a greater service than by
pointing out mistakes and omissions in this work. I cannot hope to please
everybody, but I will do my best to make future editions as perfect as
possible.

E. B.

_March 1892._



PREFACE.


I make no apology for the publication of this work, because some such book
has long been a necessity to any one who seriously proposes to study
Browning. Up to its appearance there was no single book to which the
leader could turn, which gave an exposition of the leading ideas of every
poem, its key-note, the sources--historical, legendary, or fanciful--to
which the poem was due, and a glossary of every difficult word or allusion
which might obscure the sense to such readers as had short memories or
scanty reading. It would be affectation to pretend to believe that every
educated person ought to know, without the aid of such a work as this,
what Browning means by phrases and allusions which may be found by
hundreds in his works. The wisest reader cannot be expected to remember,
even if he has ever learned, a host of remote incidents in Italian
history, for example, to say nothing of classical terms which "every
schoolboy" ought to know, but rarely does. Browning is obscure,
undoubtedly, if a poem is read for the first time without any hint as to
its main purport: the meaning in almost every case lies more or less below
the surface; the superficial idea which a careless perusal of the poem
would afford is pretty sure to be the wrong one. Browning's poetry is
intended to make people think, and without thought the fullest commentary
will not help the reader much. "I can have little doubt," said the poet,
in his preface to the First Series of _Selections_ from his works, "that
my writing has been in the main too hard for many I should have been
pleased to communicate with; but I never designedly tried to puzzle
people, as some of my critics have supposed. On the other hand, I never
pretended to offer such literature as should be a substitute for a cigar
or a game at dominoes to an idle man. So, perhaps, on the whole, I get my
deserts, and something over--not a crowd, but a few I value more." As for
my own qualifications for the task I have undertaken, I can only say that
I have attended nearly every meeting of the Browning Society from its
inauguration; I have read every book, paper, and article upon Browning on
which I could lay my hands, have gone over every line of the poet's works
again and again, have asked the assistance of literary friends in every
difficulty, and have pegged away at the obscurities till they _seemed_ (at
any rate) to vanish. It is possible that a scientific education in some
considerable degree assists a man who addresses himself to a task of this
sort: a medical man does not like to be beaten by any difficulty which
common perseverance can conquer; when one has spent days in tracing a
nerve thread through the body to its origin, and through all its
ramifications, a few visits to the library of the British Museum, or a few
hours' puzzling over the meaning of a difficult passage in a poem, do not
deter him from solving a mystery,--and this is all I can claim. I have not
shirked any obscurities; unlike some commentators of the old-fashioned
sort, who in dealing with the Bible carefully told us that a score meant
twenty, but said nothing as to the meaning of the verse in Ezekiel's dream
about the women who wept for Tammuz--but have honestly tried to help my
readers in every case where they have a right to ask such aid. Probably I
have overlooked many things which I ought to have explained. It is not
less certain that some will say I have explained much that they already
knew. I can only ask for a merciful judgment in either case. I am quite
anxious to be set right in every particular in which I may be wrong, and
shall be grateful for hints and suggestions concerning anything which is
not clear. I have to thank Professor Sonnenschein for permission to
publish his valuable Notes to _Sordello_, with several articles on the
history of the Guelf and Ghibelline leaders: these are all indicated by
the initial [S.] at the end of each note or article. I am grateful also to
Mr. A. J. Campbell for permission to use his notes on Rabbi Ben Ezra. I
have also to thank Dr. Furnivall, Miss Frances Power Cobbe, and the Very
Rev. Canon Akers, M.A., for their kindness in helping me on certain
difficult points which came within their lines of study. It would be
impossible to read the works of commentators on Browning for the years
which I have devoted to the task without imbibing the opinions and often
insensibly adopting the phraseology of the authors: if in any case I have
used the ideas and language of other writers without acknowledging them, I
hope it will be credited to the infirmity of human nature, and not
attributed to any wilful appropriation of other men's and women's literary
valuables. As for the poet himself, I have largely used his actual words
and phrases in putting his ideas into plain prose; it has not always been
possible, for reasons which every one will understand, to put quotation
marks to every few words or portions of lines where this has occurred.
When, therefore, a beautiful thought is expressed in appropriate language,
it is most certainly not mine, but Browning's. My only aim has been to
bring the Author of the vast body of literature to which this book is an
introduction a little nearer to the English and American reading public;
my own opinions and criticisms I have endeavoured as much as possible to
suppress. In the words of Dr. Furnivall, "This is a business book," and
simply as such I offer it to the public.

EDWARD BERDOE.

LONDON, _November 28th, 1891_.



_BOOKS, ESSAYS, ETC., WHICH ARE ESPECIALLY USEFUL TO THE BROWNING
STUDENT._


BIOGRAPHICAL WORKS.

=Life of Robert Browning.= By MRS. SUTHERLAND ORR. London: 1891.

=Life of Robert Browning.= By WILLIAM SHARP. London: 1890.

    On the whole, Mr. Sharp's Biography will be found the more useful for
    the student. It contains an excellent Bibliography by Mr. John P.
    Anderson of the British Museum, and a Chronological List of the Poet's
    Works.

=Robert Browning: Chief Poet of the Age.= By W. G. KINGSLAND. London:
1890. Excellent for beginners.

=Robert Browning: Personalia.= By EDMUND GOSSE. Boston: 1890.


WORKS OF CRITICISM AND EXPOSITION.

=Robert Browning: Essays and Thoughts.= By JOHN T. NETTLESHIP. London:
1868. Artistic and suggestive.

=Stories from Robert Browning.= By F. M. HOLLAND; with Introduction by
MRS. SUTHERLAND ORR. London: 1882.

=A Handbook to the Works of Robert Browning.= By MRS. SUTHERLAND ORR.
London: 1885.

=An Introduction to the Study of Browning.= By ARTHUR SYMONS. London:
1886. Intensely sympathetic and appreciative.

=A Bibliography of Robert Browning, from 1833 to 1881.= By DR. F. J.
FURNIVALL. 1881.

=An Introduction to the Study of Robert Browning's Poetry.= By HIRAM
CORSON. Boston: 1888.

=Studies in the Poetry of Robert Browning.= By JAMES FOTHERINGHAM. London:
1887.

=Browning Guide Book.= By GEORGE WILLIS COOKE. Boston: 1891.

=Strafford: a Tragedy.= With Notes and Preface, by E. H. HICKEY, and
Introduction by S. R. GARDINER. London: 1884.

=Browning and the Christian Faith.= The Evidences of Christianity from
Browning's Point of View. By EDWARD BERDOE. London: 1896.

=Browning as a Philosophical Religious Teacher.= By Prof. HENRY JONES.
Glasgow: 1891.

=Browning's Message to His Time: His Religion, Philosophy and Science.= By
EDWARD BERDOE. London: 1890.


THE BROWNING SOCIETY'S PUBLICATIONS.

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part I.= Vol. I., 1881-4, pp. 1-116
(_presented by Dr. Furnivall_). [1881-2.

    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, 1833-81: Alphabetical and
    Chronological Lists of his Works, with Reprints of discontinued
    Prefaces, of _Ben Karshook's Wisdom_, partial collations of _Sordello_
    1840, 1863, and _Paracelsus_ 1835, 1863, etc., and with Trial-Lists of
    the Criticisms on BROWNING, Personal Notices of him, etc., by F. J.
    FURNIVALL.

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part II.= Vol. I., 1881-4, pp. 117-258.
[1881-2.

    3. Additions to the Bibliography of R. BROWNING, by F. J. FURNIVALL.
    1. Browning's Acted Plays. 2. Fresh Entries of Criticisms on
    Browning'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 28th, 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."_

    7. Mr. NETTLESHIP'S 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,
    in "Luria,"_ I., pp. 122-132.

    11. Mr. ERNEST RADFORD on _The Original of "Ned Bratt's" Dramatic
    Lyrics_, I., pp. 107-43.

    12. Mr. SHARPE'S Analysis and Summary of _Fifine at the Fair_.

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part III.= Vol. I., 1881-4, pp. 259-380,
with _Abstract_, pp. 1*-48*. [1882-3.

    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 E.
    MARX.

    18. Prof. JOHNSON on _Science 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.

=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. [1882-3.

=Illustrations to Browning's Poems. Part II.=* (_d_) A photo-engraving
of Mr. C. Fairfax Murray's drawing of Andrea del Sarto's Picture named
above. (_e_) A Woodburytype copy of Fredelle's Cabinet Photograph of
ROBERT BROWNING in three sizes, to bind with the Society's
_Illustrations_, and _Papers_, and Browning's _Poems_: 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." [1882-3.

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part IV.= Vol. I., 1881-4, pp. 381-476,
with _Abstract_, pp. 49*-84* and _Reports_, i-xvi. [1883-4.

    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 Browning Society's Papers, Part V.= Vol. I., 1881-4, pp. 477-502,
with _Abstract_ and _Notes and Queries_, pp. 85*-153*, and _Report_,
pp. xvii-xxiii. [1884-5.

    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 Nineteen to
    Twenty-six, including "Scraps" contributed by Members.

    _Third Report of the Committee_, 1883-4.

=Illustration, Part III.= Presented by Sir F. Leighton, P.R.A., etc.,
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_).

[=Part VI.= of the Browning Society's Papers, a Second Supplement to Parts
I. and II., with illustrations, is in the press.]

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part VII.= Vol. II., 1885-90, (being Part
I. of Vol. II.), pp. 1-54, with _Abstract_ and _Notes and Queries_,
1*-88*, i.-viii., and Appendix, 1-16. [1885-6.

    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 Twenty-seven to
    Thirty-three; _Notes and Queries_, _etc._; _Fourth Annual Report_;
    Programme of the Annual Entertainment at Prince's Hall, etc.

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part VIII.= Vol. II., 1885-90, pp. 55-146,
with _Abstract_ and _Notes and Queries_, 89*-164*, and Report i-vii.
[1886-7.

    31. Mr. J. T. NETTLESHIP on _The Development of Browning's Genius in
    his Capacity as Poet or Maker_.

    32. Mr. J. B. BURY on "_Aristophanes' Apology_."

    33. Mr. OUTRAM on _The Avowal of Valence_ (_Colombe's Birthday_).

    34. Mr. ALBERT FLEMING on "_Andrea del Sarto_."

    35. Mr. HOWARD S. PEARSON on _Browning as a Landscape Painter_.

    36. Rev. H. J. BULKELEY on _The Reasonable Rhythm of some of Mr.
    Browning's Poems_.

    37. Prof. C. H. HERFORD on "_Hohenstiel-Schwangau_."

    Abstracts of all Meetings held, _Notes and Queries_, _Fifth Annual
    Report_, _etc._

=Reprint of the First Edition of Browning's= _Pauline_. [1886-7.

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part IX.= (being Part III. of Vol. II.).
[1887-8.

    38. Dr. TODHUNTER on _The Performance of "Strafford."_

    39. Mrs. GLAZEBROOK on "_A Death in the Desert_."

    40. Dr. FURNIVALL on _A Grammatical Analysis of "O Lyric Love."_

    41. Mr. ARTHUR SYMONS on "_Parleyings with Certain People_."

    42. Miss HELEN ORMEROD on _The Musical Poems of Browning_.

    Abstracts of all Meetings held, _Notes and Queries_, _Sixth Annual
    Report_, _etc._

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part X.= (being Part IV. of Vol. II.).
[1888-9.

    43. Mr. REVELL on _Browning's Views of Life_.

    44. Dr. BERDOE on _Browning's Estimate of Life_.

    45. Prof. BARNETT on _Browning's Jews and Shakespeare's Jew_.

    46. Miss HELEN ORMEROD on _Abt Vogler, the Man_.

    47. Miss C. M. WHITEHEAD on _Browning as a Teacher of the Nineteenth
    Century_.

    48. Miss STODDART on "_Saul_."

    Abstracts of all Meetings held, _Notes and Queries_, _Seventh Annual
    Report_, _etc._

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part XI.= (being Part V. of Vol. II.).
[1889-90.

    49. Dr. BERDOE on _Paracelsus: the Reformer of Medicine_.

    50. Miss HELEN ORMEROD on _Andrea del Sarto and Abt Vogler_.

    51. Rev. W. ROBERTSON on "_La Saisiaz_."

    52. Mr. J. B. OLDHAM on _The Difficulties and Obscurities encountered
    in a Study of Browning's Poems_.

    53. Mr. J. KING, Jun., on "_Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_."

    54. Mrs. ALEXANDER IRELAND on "_A Toccata of Galuppi's_."

    55. Mrs. GLAZEBROOK on "_Numpheleptos and Browning's Women_."

    56. Rev. J. J. G. GRAHAM on _The Wife-love and Friend-love of Robert
    Browning_.

    Abstracts of all Meetings held, _Notes and Queries_, _Eighth Annual
    Report_, _etc._

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part XII.= (being Part I. of Vol. III.).
[1890-91.

    57. Prof. ALEXANDER'S _Analysis of "Sordello."_

    58. Dr. FURNIVALL on _Robert Browning's Ancestors_.

    59. Mrs. IRELAND on _Browning's Treatment of Parenthood_.

    60. Mr. SAGAR on _The Line-numbering, etc., in "The Ring and the
    Book."_

    61. Mr. REVELL on _The Value of Browning's Work_ (Part I.).

    62. Mr. W. M. ROSSETTI on "_Taurello Salinguerra_."

    List of Some of the Periodicals in which Notices of Robert Browning
    have appeared since his Death.

    Abstracts of all Meetings held, _Notes and Queries_, _Ninth Annual
    Report_, _etc._

=The Browning Society's Papers, Part XIII.= (being Part II. of Vol. III.,
1890-93). [1891-92.

    63. Mrs. A. IRELAND on "_Christina and Monaldeschi_."

    64. JÓN STEFÁNSSON, M.A., on _How Browning Strikes a Scandinavian_.

    65. W. F. REVELL, Esq., on _Browning's Work in Relation to Life_ (Part
    II.).

    66. J. B. OLDHAM, B.A., on _Browning's Dramatic Method in Narrative_.

    67. R. G. MOULTON, M.A., on _Browning's "Balaustion" a beautiful
    Perversion of Euripides' "Alcestis."_

    Abstracts of all Meetings held, _Notes and Queries_, _Tenth Annual
    Report_, _etc._

        *Out of print at present.



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF WORKS, ETC.


    1812. Robert Browning born at Camberwell on May 7th. He "went to the
            Rev. Thos. Ready's school at Peckham till he was near
            fourteen, then had a private tutor at home, and attended some
            lectures at the London University, now University College,
            London" (Dr. Furnivall).

    1833. _Pauline_ published.

    1834. Browning travelled in Russia.

    1835. _Paracelsus_ published.

    1836. _Porphyria_, _Johannes Agricola_, _The King_, and the lines
            "Still ailing wind" in _James Lee_ published by Mr. W. J. Fox
            in his magazine _The Monthly Repository_.

    1837. _Strafford_ published.

    1840. _Sordello_ published.

    1841-6. _Bells and Pomegranates_ appeared.

    1841. _Pippa Passes_ published.

    1842. _King Victor and King Charles_ published.
          _Dramatic Lyrics_ published.

    1843. _The Return of the Druses_ published.
          _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_ published.

    1844. _Colombe's Birthday_ published.

    1845. _The Tomb at St. Praxed's_ published in _Hood's Magazine_, March.
          _The Flight of the Duchess_ published.
          _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_ published.

    1846. _Lucia_ published.
          _A Soul's Tragedy_ published.
          Robert Browning married (34), Sept. 12th, at St. Mary-le-bone
            parish church our greatest poetess, Elizabeth Barrett, aged 37
            (Dr. Furnivall).

    1847. The Brownings resident in Florence.

    1849. March 9th, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning born.
          _Browning's Poems_ published in two vols.

    1850. _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_ published.

    1852. Browning writes the Introductory Essay to the Shelley (spurious)
            Letters.

    1855. _Men and Women_ published.
          The Brownings travel to Normandy.

    1861. June 28th, Mrs. Browning died at Casa Guidi.

    1863. _The Poetical Works_ of Robert Browning published in three vols.

    1864. _Dramatis Personæ_ published.

    1868. _The Poetical Works_ published in six vols.

    1868-9. _The Ring and the Book_ published.

    1871. _Hervé Riel_ published in the _Cornhill Magazine_.
          _Balaustion's Adventure_ published.
          _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_ published.

    1872. _Fifine at the Fair_ published.

    1873. _Red Cotton Night-Cap Country_ published.

    1875. _Aristophanes' Apology_ published.
          _The Inn Album_ published.

    1876. _Pacchiarotto_ published.

    1877. _The Agamemnon of Æschylus_ published.

    1878. _La Saisiaz_ published.
          _The Two Poets of Croisic_ published.

    1879. _Dramatic Idyls_ published.

    1880. _Dramatic Idyls_ (_Second Series_) published.

    1881. The Browning Society inaugurated, Oct. 28th.

    1883. _Jocoseria_ published.

    1884. _Ferishtah's Fancies_ published.

    1887. _Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in their Day_
            published.

    1889. _Asolando: Fancies and Facts_, published.
          Robert Browning died in Venice, December 12th; buried in
            Westminster Abbey, December 31st.



BROWNING CYCLOPÆDIA.


=Abano=, a town of Northern Italy, 6 miles S.W. of Padua, the birthplace
of PIETRO D'ABANO (_q.v._).

=Abate, Paolo= (or Paul), brother of Count Guido Franceschini. He was a
priest residing in Rome. (_Ring and the Book._)

=Abbas I.=, surnamed THE GREAT. _See_ SHAH ABBAS.

=Abd-el-Kader=, a celebrated Algerian warrior, born in 1807, who in 1831
led the combined tribes in their attempt to resist the progress of the
French in Algeria. He surrendered to the French in 1847, and was set at
liberty by Louis Napoleon in 1852. (_Through the Metidja to
Abd-el-Kader._)

=Abt Vogler.= [THE MAN.] (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) George Joseph Vogler,
usually known as Abbé Vogler, or, as Mr. Browning has called him, Abt
Vogler, was an organist and composer, and was born at Würzburg, June 15th,
1749. He was educated for the Church from his very early years, as is the
custom with Catholics; but every opportunity was taken to develop his
musical talents, which were so marked that at ten years old he could play
the organ and the violin well. In 1769 he studied at Bamberg, removing
thence in 1771 to Mannheim. In 1773 he was ordained priest in Rome, and
was admitted to the famous Academy of Arcadia, was made a Knight of the
Golden Spur, and was appointed protonotary and chamberlain to the Pope. He
returned to Mannheim in 1775, and opened a School of Music. He published
several works on music, composition, and the art of forming the voice. He
was made chaplain and _Kapellmeister_ at Mannheim, and about this time
composed a _Miserere_. In 1779 Vogler went to Munich. In 1780 he composed
an opera, _The Merchant of Smyrna_, a ballet, and a melodrama. In 1781 his
opera _Albert III._ was produced at the Court Theatre of Munich. As it was
not very favourably received, he resigned his posts of chaplain and
choirmaster. He was severely criticised by German musical critics, and
Mozart spoke of him with much bitterness. Having thus failed in his own
country, he went to Paris, and in 1783 brought out his comic opera, _La
Kermesse_. It was so great a failure that it was not possible to conclude
the performance. He then travelled in Spain, Greece, and the East. In 1786
he returned to Europe, and went to Sweden, and was appointed
_Kapellmeister_ to the King. At Stockholm he founded his second School of
Music, and became famous by his performances on an instrument which he had
invented, called the "Orchestrion." This is described by Mr. G. Grove as a
very compact organ, in which four keyboards of five octaves each, and a
pedal board of thirty-six keys, with swell complete, were packed into a
cube of nine feet. In 1789 Vogler performed without success at Amsterdam.
He then went with his organ to London, and gave a series of concerts at
the Pantheon in January 1790. These proved eminently successful: Vogler
realised over £1200, and made a name as an organist. He seems to have
excelled in pedal playing, but it is not true that pedals were unknown in
England until the Abbé introduced them. "His most popular pieces," says
the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, "were a fugue on themes from the
'Hallelujah Chorus,' composed after a visit to the Handel festival at
Westminster Abbey, and on 'A Musical Picture for the Organ,' by Knecht,
containing the imitation of a storm. In 1790 Vogler returned to Germany,
and met with the most brilliant receptions at Coblentz and Frankfort, and
at Esslingen was presented with the 'wine of honour' reserved usually for
royal personages. At Mannheim, in 1791, his opera _Castor and Pollux_ was
performed, and became very popular. We find him henceforward travelling
all over Europe. At Berlin he performed in 1800, at Vienna in 1804, and at
Munich in 1806. Next year we find him at Darmstadt, accepting by the
invitation of the Grand Duke Louis I. the post of _Kapellmeister_. He
opened his third school of music at Darmstadt, one of his pupils being
Weber, another Meyerbeer, a third Gänsbacher. The affection of these three
young students for their master was 'unbounded.' He was indefatigable in
the pursuit of his art to the last, genial, kind and pleasant to all; he
lived for music, and died in harness, of apoplexy, at Darmstadt, May 6th,
1814."

[THE POEM.] The musician has been extemporising on his organ, and as the
performance in its beauty and completeness impresses his mind with
wonderful and mysterious imagery, he wishes it could be permanent. He has
created something, but it has vanished. He compares it to a palace built
of sweet sounds, such a structure as angels or demons might have reared
for Solomon, a magic building wherein to lodge some loved princess, a
palace more beautiful than anything which human architect could plan or
power of man construct. His music structure has been real to him, it took
shape in his brain, it was his creation: surely, somewhere, somehow, it
might be permanent. It was too beautiful, too perfect to be lost. Only the
evil perishes, only good is permanent; and this music was so true, so
good, so beautiful, it could not be that it was lost, as false, bad, ugly
things are lost! But Vogler was but an extemporiser, and such musicians
cannot give permanence to their performances. He has reached a state
almost of ecstasy, and the spiritual has asserted its power over the
material, raising the soul to heaven and bringing down heaven to earth. In
the words of Milton, he had become--

                                "All ear,
    And took in strains that might create a soul
    Under the ribs of death,"

and in this heavenly rapture he saw strange presences, the forms of the
better to come, or "the wonderful Dead who have passed through the body
and gone." The other arts are inferior to music, they are more human, more
material than music,--"here is the finger of God." And this was all to
go--"Never to be again!" This reflection starts the poet on a familiar
train of thought--the permanence of good, the impermanence, the nullity of
evil. The Cabbalists taught that evil was only the shadow of the Light;
Maimonides, Spinoza, Hegel and Emerson taught the doctrine which Mr.
Browning here inculcates. Leibnitz speaks of "evil as a mere set-off to
the good in the world, which it increases by contrast, and at other times
reduces moral to metaphysical evil by giving it a merely negative
existence." "God," argued Aquinas (_Sum. Theol._, i., § 49), "created
everything that exists, but Sin was _nothing_; so God was not the Author
of it." So, Augustine and Peter Lombard maintained likewise the negative
nature of moral evil:--

    "Evil is more frail than nonentity."
                        (Proclus, _De Prov._, in Cory's _Fragm._)

"Let no one therefore say that there are precedaneous productive
principles of evil in the nature of intellectual paradigms of evil in the
same manner as there are of good, or that there is a malefic soul or an
evil-producing cause in the gods, nor let him introduce sedition or
eternal war against the First God" (Proclus, _Six Books_, trans. Thomas
Taylor, B. i., c. 27). In heaven, then, we are to find "the perfect
round," "the broken arcs" are all we can discover here. Rising in the
tenth stanza to the highest stature of the philosophical truth, the poet
proclaims his faith in the existence of a home of pure ideals. The harmony
of a few bars of music on earth suggests the eternal harmonies of the
Author of order; the rays of goodness which brighten our path here suggest
a Sun of Righteousness from which they emanate. The lover and the bard
send up to God their feeble aspirations after the beautiful and the true,
and these aspirations are stored in His treasury. Failure? It is but the
pause in the music, the discords that set off the harmony. To the musician
this is not something to be reasoned about mathematically; it is
knowledge, it is a revelation which, however informing and consoling while
it lasts, must not too long divert a man from the common things of life;
patient to bear and suffer because strengthened by the beautiful vision of
the Mount of Transfiguration, proud that he has been permitted to have
part and lot with such high matters, he can solemnly acquiesce in the
common round and daily task. He feels for the common chord, descends the
mount, gliding by semitones, glancing back at the heights he is leaving,
till at last, finding his true resting-place in the C Major of this life,
soothed and sweetly lulled by the heavenly harmonies, he falls asleep. The
Esoteric system of the Cabbalah was largely the outcome of Neo-Platonism
and Gnosticism, and from these have sprung the theosophy of Meister
Eckhart and Jacob Boehme. It is certain that Mr. Browning was a student of
the latter "theosophist" _par excellence_. In his poem _Transcendentalism_
he refers to the philosopher by name, and there are evidences that the
poet's mind was deeply tinctured with his ideas. The influence of
Paracelsus on Boehme's mind is conspicuous in his works, and the sympathy
with that great medical reformer which the poem of _Paracelsus_ betrays on
every page was no doubt largely due to Boehme's teaching. The curious
blending of theosophy and science which is found in the poem of
_Paracelsus_ is not a less faithful picture of Mr. Browning's
philosophical system than of that of his hero. Professor Andrew Seth, in
the article on theosophy in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, thus expounds
Boehme's speculation on evil: it turns "upon the necessity of reconciling
the existence and the might of evil with the existence of an all-embracing
and all-powerful God.... He faces the difficulty boldly--he insists on the
necessity of the Nay to the Yea, of the negative to the positive." Eckhart
seems to have largely influenced Boehme. We have in this poem what has
been aptly called "the richest, deepest, fullest poem on music in the
language." (Symons.) Mr. Browning was a thorough musician himself, and no
poet ever wrote what the musician felt till he penned the wonderful
music-poems _Abt Vogler_, _Master Hugues of Saxe Gotha_ and _A Toccata of
Galuppi's_. The comparison between music and architecture is as old as it
is beautiful. Amphion built the walls of Thebes to the sound of his
lyre--fitting the stones together by the power of his music, and "Ilion's
towers," they say, "rose with life to Apollo's song." The "Keeley Motor"
was an attempt in this direction. Coleridge, too, in _Kubla Khan_, with
"music loud and long would build that dome in air." In the May 1891 number
of the _Century Magazine_ there is a very curious and a very interesting
account by Mrs. Watts Hughes of certain "Voice-figures" which have lately
excited so much interest in scientific and musical circles. "By a simple
method figures of sounds are produced which remain permanent. On a thin
indiarubber membrane, stretched across the bottom of a tube of sufficient
diameter for the purpose, is poured a small quantity of water or some
denser liquid, such as glycerine; and into this liquid are sprinkled a few
grains of some ordinary solid pigment. A note of music is then sung down
the tube by Mrs. Watts Hughes, and immediately the atoms of suspended
pigment arrange themselves in a definite form, many of the forms bearing a
curious resemblance to some of the most beautiful objects in
Nature--flowers, shells, or trees. After the note has ceased to sound the
forms remain, and the pictorial representations given in the _Century_
show how wonderfully accurate is the lovely mimicry of the image-making
music." (_Spectator_, May 16th, 1891.) The thought of some soul of
permanence behind the transience of music, provided the motive of
Adelaide Procter's _Lost Chord_. In the _Idylls of the King_ Lord Tennyson
says--

                      "The city is built
    To music, therefore never built at all,
    And therefore built for ever."

Cardinal Newman, too, as the writer in the _Spectator_ points out,
expresses the same thought in his Oxford sermon, "The Theory of
Development in Christian Doctrine." The preacher said: "Take another
example of an outward and earthly form of economy, under which great
wonders unknown seem to be typified--I mean musical sounds, as they are
exhibited most perfectly in instrumental harmony. There are seven notes in
the scale: make them fourteen; yet what a slender outfit for so vast an
enterprise! What science brings so much out of so little? Out of what poor
elements does some great master create his new world! Shall we say that
all this exuberant inventiveness is a mere ingenuity or trick of art, like
some fashion of the day, without reality, without meaning?... Is it
possible that inexhaustible evolution and disposition of notes, so rich
yet so simple, so intricate yet so regulated, so various yet so majestic,
should be a mere sound which is gone and perishes? Can it be that those
mysterious stirrings of heart, and keen emotions, and strange yearnings
after we know not what, and awful impressions from we know not whence,
should be wrought in us by what is unsubstantial, and comes and goes, and
begins and ends in itself? It is not so! It cannot be."

NOTES.--STANZA I. "_Solomon willed._" Jewish legend gave Solomon
sovereignty over the demons and a lordship over the powers of Nature. In
the Moslem East these fables have found a resting-place in much of its
literature, from the Koran onwards. Solomon was thought to have owed his
power over the spiritual world to the possession of a seal on which the
"most great name of God was engraved" (see Lane, _Arabian Nights_,
Introd., note 21, and chap. i., note 15). In Eastern philosophy, the
"Upādana" or the intense desire produces WILL, and it is the _will_
which develops _force_, and the latter generates _matter_, or an object
having form (see _Isis Unveiled_, Blavatsky, vol. ii., p. 320). "_Pile him
a palace._" Goethe called architecture "petrified music." "_The ineffable
Name_": the unspeakable name of God. Jehovah is the European
transcription of the sacred tetragrammaton [Hebrew: YHWH]. The later Jews
substituted the word Adonai in reading the ineffable Name in their law and
prayers. Mysterious names of the Deity are common in other religions than
the Jewish. In the Egyptian _Funeral Ritual_, and in a hymn of the Soul,
the Word and the Name are referred to in connection with hidden secrets.
The Jewish enemies of Christ said that the miracles were wrought by the
power of the ineffable Name, which had been stolen from the Sanctuary.
(See _Isis Unveiled_, vol. ii, p. 387.)--STANZA III. _Rampired_: an old
form of ramparted. "_The Illumination of Rome's Dome._" One of the great
sights of Rome used to be the illumination of the dome of St. Peter's on
great festivals, such as that of Easter. Since the occupation of Rome by
the Italian Government such spectacles, if not wholly discontinued, have
been shorn of most of their splendour.--STANZA IV. "_No more near nor
far._" Hegel says that "Music frees us from the phenomena of time and
space," and shows that they are not essentials, but accidents of our
condition here.--STANZA V. "_Protoplast._" The thing first formed, as a
copy to be imitated.--STANZA VII. "_That out of three sounds he frame, not
a fourth sound, but a star._" "A star is perfect and beautiful, and rays
of light come from it." STANZA XII. "_Common chord._" A chord consisting
of the fundamental tone with its third and fifth. "_Blunt it into a
ninth._" A ninth is (_a_) An interval containing an octave and a second;
(_b_) a chord consisting of the common chord, with the eighth advanced one
note. "_C Major of this life._" Miss Helen Ormerod, in a paper read to the
Browning Society of London, November 30th, 1888, has explained these
musical terms and expressions. "C Major is what may be called the natural
scale, having no sharps or flats in its signature. A Minor, with A (a
third below C) for its keynote, has the same signature, but sharps are
introduced for the formation of correct intervals. Pauer says that minor
keys are chosen for expressing 'intense seriousness, soft melancholy,
longing, sadness, and passionate grief'; whilst major keys with sharps and
flats in their signatures are said to have distinctive qualities;--perhaps
Browning chose C major for the key, as the one most allied to matters of
everyday life, including rest and sleep. The common chord, as it is
called, the keynote with its third and fifth, contains the rudiments of
all music."

=Adam, Lilith, and Eve= (_Jocoseria_, 1883). The Talmudists, in their
fanciful commentaries on the Old Testament, say that Adam had a wife
before he married Eve, who was called Lilith; she was the mother of
demons, and flew away from Adam, and the Lord then created Eve from one of
his ribs. Lilith had been formed of clay, and was sensual and disobedient;
the more spiritual Eve became his saviour from the snares of his first
wife. Mr. Browning in this poem merely uses the names, and makes no
reference to the Talmudic or Gnostic legends connected with them. Under
the terror inspired by a thunderstorm, two women begin a confession of
which they make light when the danger has passed away. The man says he saw
through the joke, and the episode was over. It is a powerful and
suggestive story of falsehood, fear, and a forgiveness too readily
accorded by a man who makes a joke of guilt when he has lost nothing by
it.

=Adelaide, The Tuscan= (_Sordello_), was the second wife of Eccelino da
Romano, of the party of the Ghibellines.

=Admetus= (_Balaustion's Adventure_). King of Pheræ, in Thessaly. Apollo
tended his flocks for one year, and obtained the favour that Admetus
should never die if another person could be found to lay down his life for
him: his wife, Alcestis, in consequence cheerfully devoted herself to
death for him.

=Æschylus.= The Greek tragic poet who wrote the _Agamemnon_ translated by
Mr. Browning. Æschylus was born in the year 525 before Christ, at Eleusis,
a town of Attica opposite the island of Salamis. When thirty-five years
old Æschylus not only fought at Marathon, but distinguished himself for
his valour. He was fifty-three years old when he gained the prize at
Athens, B.C. 472, for his trilogy or set of three connected plays. He
wrote some seventy pieces, but only seven have come down to our times:
they are _Prometheus Chained_, _The Suppliants_, _The Seven Chiefs against
Thebes_, _Agamemnon_, _The Choëphoræ_, _The Furies_, and _The Persians_.
The _Agamemnon_, which Mr. Browning has translated, is one of the plays of
the Oresteia, the _Choëphoræ_ and the _Eumenides_ or Furies completing the
trilogy. The poet died at Gela, in Sicily, B.C. 456. Æschylus both in
order of time and power was the first of the three great tragic poets of
ancient Greece. Euripides and Sophocles were the other two.

=After.= See BEFORE and AFTER.

=Agamemnon of Æschylus, The.= A translation published in London, 1877. The
scene of the play is laid by Æschylus at Argos, before the palace of
Agamemnon, Mycenæ, however, really being his seat. Agamemnon was a son of
Atreus according to Homer, and was the brother of Menelaus. In a later
account he is described as the son of Pleisthenes, who was the son of
Atreus. He was king over Argolis, Corinth, Achaia, and many islands. He
married Clytemnestra, daughter of Tyndarus, king of Sparta, by whom he had
three daughters Chrysothemis, Iphigenia and Electra, and one son Orestes.
When Helen was carried off by Paris, Agamemnon was chosen to be
commander-in-chief of the expedition sent against Troy by the Greeks, as
he was the mightiest prince in Greece. He contributed one hundred ships
manned with warriors, besides lending sixty more to the Arcadians. The
fleet being detained at Aulis by a storm, it was declared that Agamemnon
had offended Diana by slaying a deer sacred to her, and by boasting that
he was a better hunter than the goddess; and he was compelled to sacrifice
his daughter Iphigenia to appease her anger. Diana is said by some to have
accepted a stag in her place. Homer describes Agamemnon as one of the
bravest warriors before Troy, but having received Chryseis, the daughter
of Chryses, priest of Apollo, as a prize of war, he arrogantly refused to
allow her father to ransom her. This brought a plague on the Grecian host,
and their ruin was almost completed by his carrying off Briseis, who was
the prize of Achilles--who refused in consequence to fight, remaining
sulking in his tent. After the fall of Troy the beautiful princess
Cassandra fell to Agamemnon as his share of the spoils. She was endowed
with the gift of prophecy, and warned him not to return home. The warning,
however, was disregarded, although he was assured that his wife would put
him to death. During the absence of Agamemnon Clytemnestra had formed an
adulterous connection with Ægisthus, the son of Thyestes and Pelopia; and
when he returned, the watchman having announced his approach to his
palace, Clytemnestra killed Cassandra, and her lover murdered Agamemnon
and his comrades. The tragic poets, however, make Clytemnestra throw a net
over her husband while he was in his bath, and kill him with the
assistance of Ægisthus, in revenge for the sacrifice of her daughter
Iphigenia. In the introduction to the translation of the Agamemnon in
_Morley's Universal Library_ we have an excellent description of the great
play. "In this tragedy the reader will find the strongest traces of the
genius of Æschylus, and the most distinguishing proofs of his skill. Great
in his conceptions, bold and daring in his metaphors, strong in his
passion, he here touches the heart with uncommon emotions. The odes are
particularly sublime, and the oracular spirit that breathes through them
adds a wonderful elevation and dignity to them. Short as the part of
Agamemnon is, the poet has the address to throw such an amiable dignity
around him that we soon become interested in his favour, and are
predisposed to lament his fate. The character of Clytemnestra is finely
marked--a high-spirited, artful, close, determined, dangerous woman. But
the poet has nowhere exerted such efforts of his genius as in the scene
where Cassandra appears: as a prophetess, she gives every mark of the
divine inspiration, from the dark and distant hint, through all the noble
imagery of the prophetic enthusiasm; till, as the catastrophe advances,
she more and more plainly declares it; as a suffering princess, her grief
is plaintive, lively, and piercing; yet she goes to meet her death, which
she clearly foretells, with a firmness worthy the daughter of Priam and
the sister of Hector; nothing can be more animated or more interesting
than this scene. The conduct of the poet through this play is exquisitely
judicious: every scene gives us some obscure hint or ominous presage,
enough to keep our attention always raised, and to prepare us for the
event; even the studied caution of Clytemnestra is finely managed to
produce that effect; whilst the secrecy with which she conducts her design
keeps us in suspense, and prevents a discovery till we hear the dying
groans of her murdered husband." As Mr. Browning announces in his preface
to his translation of the tragedy, he has aimed at being literal at every
cost, and has everywhere reproduced the peculiarities of the original. He
has also made an attempt to reproduce the Greek spelling in English, which
has made the poem more difficult than some other translations to the
non-classical reader. We have ample recompense for this peculiarity by the
way in which he has imbibed the spirit of his author, and so faithfully
reproduced, not alone his phraseology, but his mind. It required a rugged
poet to interpret for us correctly the ruggedness of an Æschylus. Line
for line and word for word we have the tragedy in English as the Greeks
had it in their own tongue. If there are obscurities, we must not in the
present instance blame Mr. Browning: a reference to the original, so
authorities tell us, will prove that Greek poets were at times obscure.
The _Agamemnon_ is part of the Oresteian Trilogy or group of three plays;
this trilogy of Æschylus is our only example extant, and it is necessary
to say something of the other parts. Atreus, the son of Pelops, was king
of Mycenæ. By his wife Ærope were born to him Pleisthenes, Menelaus, and
Agamemnon. Thyestes, the brother of Atreus, had followed him to Argos, and
there seduced his wife, by whom he had two, or according to some, three
children. Thyestes was banished from court on account of this, but was
soon afterwards recalled by his brother that he might be revenged upon
him. He prepared a banquet where Thyestes was served with the flesh of the
children who were the offspring of his incestuous connection with his
sister-in-law the queen. When the feast was concluded, the heads of the
murdered children were produced, that Thyestes might see of what he had
been partaking. It was fabled that the sun in horror shrank back in his
course at the horrible sight. Thyestes fled. The crime brought the most
terrible evils upon the family of which Agamemnon was a member. When this
hero was murdered by his wife and her paramour, young Orestes was saved
from his mother's dagger by his sister Electra. When he reached the years
of manhood, he visited his ancestral home, and assassinated both his
mother and her lover Ægisthus. In consequence of this he was tormented by
the Furies, and he exiled himself to Athens, where Apollo purified him.
The murder of Clytemnestra by her son is described in the second play of
the Trilogy, called the _Choëphoræ or the Libation Pourers_. _The Furies_
is the title of the third and concluding play of the Trilogy. (For an
account of Æschylus see p. 8.)

NOTES.--[N.B. The references here are to the pages of the poem in the last
edition of the complete works in sixteen vols.]--P. 269, _Atreidai_, a
patronymic given by Homer to Agamemnon and Menelaus, as being the sons of
Atreus; _Troia_, the capital of Troas == Troy. p. 270, _Ilion_, a citadel
of Troy; _Menelaos_, a king of Sparta, brother of Agamemnon. p. 271,
_Argives_, the inhabitants of Argos and surrounding country; _Alexandros_,
the name of Paris in the Iliad: _Atreus_, son of Pelops, was king of
Mycenæ; _Danaoi_, a name given to the people of Argos and to all the
Greeks; _Troes_ == Trojans. p. 272, _Tundareus_, king of Lacedæmon, who
married Leda; _Klutaimnestra_ == Clytemnestra, daughter of Tyndarus by
Leda. p. 273, _Teukris land_, the land of the Trojans--from Teucer, their
king; "_Achaians' two-throned empery_": the brother kings Agamemnon and
Menelaos. p. 274, _Linos_, the personification of a dirge or lamentation;
_Priamos_, the last king of Troy, made prisoner by Hercules when he took
the city. p. 275, _Icïos Paian_, an epithet of Apollo; _Kalchas_, a
soothsayer who accompanied the Greeks to Troy. p. 277, _Kalchis_, the
chief city of Eubœa, founded by an Athenian colony; _Aulis_, a town of
Bœotia, near Kalchis; _Strumon_, a river which separates Thrace from
Macedonia. p. 282, _Hephaistos_, the god of fire, according to Homer the
son of Zeus and Hera. The Romans called the Greek Hephaistos Vulcan,
though Vulcan was an Italian deity. The news of the fall of Troy was
brought to Mycenæ by means of beacon fires, so fire was the messenger.
_Ide_ == Mount Ida; _of Lemnos_, an island in the Ægean Sea. p. 283,
_Athoan_, of Mount Athos; _Makistos_ == Macistos, a city of Tryphylia;
_Euripos_, a narrow strait separating Eubœa from Bœotia;
_Messapios_, a name of Bœotia; _Asopos_, a river of Thessaly; _Mount
Kitharion_, sacred to the Muses and Jupiter. Hercules killed the great
lion there; _Mount Aigiplanktos_ was in Megaris; _Strait Saronic_:
Saronicus Sinus was a bay of the Ægean Sea; _Mount Arachnaios_, in
Argolis. p. 286, _Ate_, the goddess of revenge; _Ares_, the Greek name of
the war-god Mars. p. 288, _Aphrodite_, a name of Venus. p. 290, _Erinues_
== the Furies. p. 292, _Puthian_ == Delphic; _Skamandros_, a river of
Troas. p. 293, _Priamidai_, the patronymic of the descendants of Priam. p.
300, _Threkian breezes_ == Thracian breezes; _Aigaian Sea_, the Ægean Sea;
_Achaian_, pertaining to Achaia, in Greece. p. 301, _Meneleos_, son of
Atreus, brother to Agamemnon and husband of Helen; _water-Haides_, the
engulfing sea. p. 302, _Zephuros_, the west wind; _Simois_, a river in
Troas which rises in Mount Ida and falls into the Xanthus. p. 304,
_Erinus_, an avenging deity. p. 307, _the Argeian monster_ == the company
of Argives concealed in the wooden horse; _Pleiads_, a name given to seven
of the daughters of Atlas by Pleione, one of the Oceanides. They became a
constellation in the heavens after death. p. 309, "_triple-bodied Geruon
the Second_," Geryon, king of the Balearic Isles, fabled to have three
bodies and three heads: Hercules slew him; _Strophios the Phokian_, at
whose house Orestes was brought up with Pylades son of Strophios. p. 316,
_Kassandra_, daughter of Priam, slain by Clytemnestra. p. 317, "_Alkmene's
child_"--Hercules was the son of Alkmene. p. 319, _Ototoi_--alas!;
_Loxias_, a surname of Apollo. p. 322, _papai, papai_ == O strange!
wonderful! p. 324, _Itus_, or _Itys_, son of Tereus, killed by his mother.
p. 325, "_Orthian style_," in a shrill tone. p. 332, _Lukeion
Apollon_--Lyceus was a surname of Apollo. p. 335, _Surian_ == Syrian. p.
343, _Chruseids_, the patronymic of the descendants of Astynome, the
daughter of Chryses. p. 348, _Iphigeneia_, daughter of Agamemnon and
Clytemnestra; her father offered to sacrifice her to appease the wrath of
Diana. p. 350, _The Daimon of the Pleisthenidai_, the genius of
Agamemnon's family. p. 351, _Thuestes_, son of Pelops, brother of Atreus;
_Pelopidai_, descendants of Pelops, son of Tantalus.

=Agricola, Johannes=, (_Johannes Agricola in Meditation_,) was one of the
foremost of the German Reformers. He was born at Eisleben, April 20th,
1492. He met Luther whilst a student at Wittenberg, and became attached to
him, accompanying him to the Leipsic Assembly of Divines, where he acted
as recording secretary. He established the reformed religion at Frankfort.
In 1536 he was called to fill a professorial chair at Wittenberg. Here he
first taught the views which Luther termed _Antinomian_. He held that
Christians were entirely free from the Divine law, being under the Gospel
alone. He denied that Christians were under any obligations to keep the
ten commandments. Mr. Browning has quite accurately, though unsparingly,
exposed his impious teaching in his poem _Johannes Agricola in Meditation_
(_q.v._).

=Agrippa, Henry Cornelius=, the mediæval doctor and magician, was born at
Cologne in 1486, and was educated at the university of that city. He was
denounced in 1509 by the monks, who called him an "impious cabalist"; in
1531 he published his treatise _De Occulta Philosophia_, written by the
advice and with the assistance of the Abbot Trithemius of Wurzburg, the
preceptor of Paracelsus. In 1510 he came to London on a diplomatic
mission, and was the guest of Dean Colet at Stepney. He afterwards fought
at the battle of Ravenna. In 1511 he attended the schismatic council of
Pisa as a theologian. In 1515 he lectured at the university of Pavia. We
afterwards find him at Metz, Geneva, and Freiburg, where he practised as a
physician. In 1529 he was appointed historiographer to Charles V. He died
at Grenoble in 1535. A man of such vast and varied learning could hardly
in those days have avoided being accused of diabolical practices and
heretical opinions; the only wonder is that he was not burned alive for
his scientific attainments, which were looked upon as dangerous in the
highest degree. (_Pauline_ in the Latin prefatory note.)

="A King lived long ago."= Song in _Pippa Passes_, which is sung by the
girl as she passes the house of Luigi. Mr. Browning first published the
song in the _Monthly Repository_, in 1835 (vol ix., N.S., pp. 707-8), it
was reprinted with added lines, and was revised throughout, in _Pippa
Passes_ 1841.

=Alberic= (_Sordello_). Son of Eccelino the monk, described in the poem as
"many-muscled, big-boned Alberic."

=Alcestis= (_Balaustion's Adventure_), the daughter of Pelias, was the
wife of Admetus, son of Pheres, who was king of Pheræ in Thessaly. Apollo,
when--for an offence against Jupiter--he was banished from heaven, had
been kindly received by Pheres, and had obtained from the Fates a promise
that his benefactor should never die if he could find another person
willing to lay down his life for him. The story how this promise was
obtained is set forth with great dramatic force in Mr. Browning's _Apollo
and the Fates_ (_q.v._). Alcestis volunteered to die in the place of her
husband when he lay sick unto death. Her sacrifice was accepted, and she
died. But Hercules, who had been hospitably entertained by Pheres, hearing
of the tragic circumstance, brought Alcestis from Hades out of gratitude
to his host, and presented her to her grief-stricken husband. Euripides
has used these circumstances as the basis of his tragedy of _Alcestis_.

="All Service ranks the same with God."= A song in _Pippa Passes_.

=Amphibian.= The Prologue to _Fifine at the Fair_ is headed "Amphibian,"
under which title it is included in the _Selections_.

=Anael.= A Druse girl who loves Djabal and believes him to be divine (_The
Return of the Druses_).

=Andrea del Sarto= [THE MAN] _Men and Women_, 1855, called "the faultless
painter," also Andrea senza Errori (Andrew the Unerring) was a great
painter of the Florentine School. His father was a tailor (_sarto_), so
the Italians, with their passion for nicknames, dubbed him "The Tailor's
Andrew." He was born in Gualfonda, Florence, in 1487. It is not certain
what was his real name: Vannuchi has been constantly given, but without
authority. He was at first put to work with a goldsmith, but he disliked
the business, and preferred drawing his master's models. He was next
placed with a wood-carver and painter, one Gian Barill, with whom he
remained till 1498. He then went to the draughtsman and colourist, Piero
di Cosimo, under whom he studied the cartoons of Leonardo da Vinci and
Michelangelo. We next find him opening a shop in partnership with his
friend Francia Bigio, but the arrangement did not last long. The
brotherhood of the Servi employed Andrea from 1509 to 1514 in adorning
their church of the Annunziata at Florence. Mrs. Jameson, in her _Legends
of the Monastic Orders_, thus describes the church and cloisters
identified with the work of this painter at Florence: "Every one who has
been at Florence must remember the Church of the 'Annunziata'; every one
who remembers that glorious church, who has lingered in the cloisters and
the cortile where Andrea del Sarto put forth all his power--where the
_Madonna del Sacco_ and the _Birth of the Virgin_ attest what he could
_do_ and _be_ as a painter--will feel interested in the Order of the
SERVI. Among the extraordinary outbreaks of religious enthusiasm in the
thirteenth century, this was in its origin one of the most singular. Seven
Florentines, rich, noble, and in the prime of life, whom a similarity of
taste and feeling had drawn together, used to meet every day in a chapel
dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (then outside the
walls of Florence), there to sing the _Ave_ or evening service in honour
of the Madonna, for whom they had an especial love and veneration. They
became known and remarked in their neighbourhood for those acts of piety,
so that the women and children used to point at them as they passed
through the streets and exclaim, _Guardate i Servi di Maria_ (Behold the
_Servants_ of the Virgin!) Hence the title afterwards assumed by the
Order." These seven gentlemen at length forsook the world, sold all their
possessions and distributed their money to the poor, and retired to a
solitary spot in the mountains about six miles out of Florence; here they
built themselves huts of boughs and stones, and devoted themselves to the
service of the Virgin. It was for the cloisters of the church of the Servi
at Florence that Andrea del Sarto painted the _Riposo_. His _Nativity of
the B.V. Mary_ is a grand fresco, the characters are noble and dignified,
and "draped in the magnificent taste which distinguished Andrea." The
following account of the artist's life is summarised from the article on
Del Sarto by Mr. W. M. Rossetti in the _Encyc. Brit._ He was an easy-going
plebeian, to whom a modest position in life and scanty gains were no
grievances. As an artist he must have known his own value; but he probably
rested content in the sense of his superlative powers as an executant, and
did not aspire to the rank of a great inventor or leader, for which,
indeed, he had no vocation. He led a social sort of life among his
compeers of the art. He fell in love with Lucrezia del Fede, wife of a
hatter named Carlo Recanati; the latter dying opportunely, the tailor's
son married her on December 26th, 1512. She was a very handsome woman, and
has come down to us treated with great suavity in many a picture of her
lover-husband, who constantly painted her as a Madonna or otherwise; and
even in painting other women he made them resemble Lucrezia in general
type. Vasari, who was at one time a pupil of Andrea, describes her as
faithless, jealous, overbearing, and vixenish with the apprentices. She
lived to a great age, surviving her second husband forty years. Before the
end of 1516, a Pietà of his composition, and afterwards a Madonna, were
sent to the French Court. These were received with applause; and the
art-loving monarch Francis I. suggested in 1518 that Andrea should come to
Paris. He left his wife in Florence and went accordingly, and was very
cordially received, and moreover for the first time in his life handsomely
remunerated. His wife urged him to return to Italy. The king assented, on
the understanding that his absence was to be short; and he entrusted
Andrea with a sum of money to be expended in purchasing works of art for
the king. Andrea could not resist temptation, and spent the king's money
and some of his own in building a house for himself in Florence. He fell
into disgrace with the king, but no serious punishment followed. In 1520
he resumed work in Florence, and painted many pictures for the cloisters
of Lo Scalzo. He dwelt in Florence throughout the memorable siege, which
was followed by an infectious pestilence. He caught the malady, struggled
against it with little or no tending from his wife, who held aloof, and
died, no one knowing much about it at the moment, on January 22nd, 1531,
at the early age of forty-three. He was buried unceremoniously in the
church of the Servi. Mr. Rossetti gives the following criticisms on his
work as an artist. "Andrea had true pictorial style, a very high standard
of correctness, and an enviable balance of executive endowments. The point
of technique in which he excelled least was perhaps that of discriminating
the varying textures of different objects and surfaces. There is not much
elevation or ideality in his works--much more of reality." He lacked
invention notwithstanding his great technical skill. He had no inward
impulse toward the high and noble; he was a man without fervour, and had
no enthusiasm for the true and good. It is said that Michelangelo once
remarked that if he had attempted greater things he might have rivalled
Rafael, but Andrea was not a man for the mountain-top--the plains sufficed
for him.

[THE POEM.] On the bare historical facts, as recorded by Vasari in his
life of Andrea del Sarto, Mr. Browning has framed this wonderful art-poem.
He has taken Vasari's "notes" and framed "not another sound but a star,"
as he says in his _Abt Vogler_. Given the Vasari life, he has mixed it
with his thought, and has transfigured it so that the sad, infinitely
pathetic soul, in its stunted growth and wasted form, lives before us in
Mr. Browning's lines. As _Abt Vogler_ is his greatest music-poem, so this
is his greatest art-poem, and both are unique. No poet has ever given us
such utterances on music and painting as we possess in these works: if all
the poet's work were to perish save these, they would suffice to insure
immortality for their author. It is said that the poem was suggested by a
picture in the Pitti Palace at Florence. "Faultless but soulless" is the
verdict of art critics on Andrea's works. Why is this? Mr. Browning's poem
tells us in no hesitating phrase that the secret lay in the fact that
Andrea was an immoral man, an infatuated man, passionately demanding love
from a woman who had neither heart nor intellect, a wife for whom he
sacrificed his soul and the highest interests of his art. He knew and
loved Lucrezia while she was another man's wife; he was content that she
should also love other men when she was his. He robbed King Francis, his
generous patron, that he might give the money to his unworthy spouse. He
neglected his parents in their poverty and old age. Is there not in these
facts the secret of his failure? To Mr. Browning there is, and his poem
tells us why. But, it will be objected, many great geniuses have been
immoral men. This is so, but we cannot argue the point here; the poet's
purpose is to show how in this particular case the evil seed bore fruit
after its kind. The poem opens with the artist's attempts to bribe his
wife by money to accord him a little semblance of love: he promises to
paint that he may win gold for her. The keynote of the poem is struck in
these opening words. It is evening, and Andrea is weary with his work, but
never weary of praising Lucrezia's beauty; sadly he owns that he is at
best only a shareholder in his wife's affections, that even her pride in
him is gone, that she neither understands nor cares to understand his art.
He tells her that he can do easily and perfectly what at the bottom of his
heart he wishes for, deep as that might be; he could do what others
agonise to do all their lives and fail in doing, yet he knows for all that
there burns a truer light of God in them than in him. Their works drop
groundward, though their souls have glimpses of heaven that are denied to
him. He could have beaten Rafael had he possessed Rafael's soul; for the
Urbinate's technical skill, as he half hesitatingly shows, is inferior to
his own; and had his Lucrezia urged him, inspired him, to claim a seat by
the side of Michelangelo and Rafael, he might for her sake have done it.
He sees he is but a half-man working in an atmosphere of silver-grey. He
had his chance at Fontainebleau; there he sometimes seemed to leave the
ground, but he had a chain which dragged him down. Lucrezia called him.
Not only for her did he forsake the higher art ambitions, but the common
ground of honesty; he descended to cement his walls with the gold of King
Francis which he had stolen, and for her. From dishonesty to connivance at
his wife's infidelity is an easy step; and so, while in the act of
expressing his remorse at his ingratitude to the king, we find him asking
Lucrezia quite naturally, as a matter of ordinary occurrence--

                          "Must you go?
    That cousin here again? he waits outside?
    Must see you--you, and not with me?"

Here we discover the secret of the soullessness: the fellow has the tailor
in his blood, even though the artist is supreme at the fingers' ends. He
is but the craftsman after all. Think of Fra Angelico painting his saints
and angels on his knees, straining his eyes to catch the faintest glimpse
of the heavenly radiance of Our Lady's purity and holiness, feeling that
he failed, too dazzled by the brightness of Divine light, to catch more
than its shadow, and we shall know why there is soul in the great
Dominican painter, and why there is none in the Sarto. Lucrezia,
despicable as she was, was not the cause of her husband's failure. His
marriage, his treatment of Francis, his allowing his parents to starve, to
die of want, while he paid gaming debts for his wife's lover,--all these
things tell us what the man was. No woman ruined his soul; he had no soul
to ruin!

NOTES.--_Fiesole_, a small but famous episcopal city of Italy, on the
crown of a hill above the Arno, about three miles to the west of Florence.
_Morello_, a mountain of the Apennines. _The Urbinate_: Rafael was born at
Urbino. _George Vasari_, painter and author of the "Lives of the Most
Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors and Architects." _Rafael_, Raphael
Sanzio of Urbino. _Agnolo_: Michel Agnolo is the more correct form of
Michael Angelo. _Francis_, King Francis I. of France, the royal patron of
Andrea. _Fontainebleau_, a town of France 37 miles S.E. of Paris; its
palace is one of the most sumptuous in France. "_The Roman's is the better
when you pray._" Catholics, however, do not use the works of the great
masters for devotional purposes nearly so much as might be supposed. No
"miraculous" picture is by this class. _Cue-owls_: The Scops Owl: Scops
Giú (Scopoli). Its cry is a ringing "ki-ou"--whence Italian "chiù" or
"ciù." "_Walls in the New Jerusalem._" Revelation xxi. 15-17. _Leonard_,
Leonardo da Vinci.

=Andromeda.= In _Pauline_, Mr. Browning has commemorated the fascination
for his youthful mind which was exercised by an engraving of a picture by
Caravaggio of Andromeda and Perseus. This picture was always before him as
a boy, and he loved the story of the divine deliverer and the innocent
victim which it presented. The lines begin

                "Andromeda!
    And she is with me,--years roll, I shall change,
    But change can touch her not."

=Another Way of Love.= See _One Way of Love_, this poem being its sequel.

=Any Wife to Any Husband.= A dying wife finds the bitterest thing in death
to be the certainty that her husband's love for her, which, would life but
last, she could retain, will fade and wither when she is no longer present
to tend it:

          "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,
    'Tis woman's whole existence."

The great pure love of a wife is a reign of love. Woman's love is more
durable and purer than man's, and few men are entirely worthy of being the
objects of that which they can so imperfectly understand. Mr. Nettleship,
commenting on this poem, very truly says, "The real love of the man is
never born until the love of the woman supplements it." The wife of the
poem feels that there would be no difficulty in her case about being
faithful to the memory of her husband; but she foresees that his love will
not long survive the loss of her personal presence. This will be to
depreciate the value of his life to him; his love will come back to her
again at last, back to the heart's place kept for him, but with a stain
upon it. The old love will be re-coined, re-issued from the mint, and
given to others to spend, alas! with some alloy as well as with a new
image and superscription. She foresees that he will dissipate his soul in
the love of other woman, he will excuse himself by the assurance that the
light loves will make no impression on the deep-set memory of the woman
who is immortally his bride; he will have a Titian's Venus to desecrate
his wall rather than leave it bare and cold,--but the flesh-loves will not
impair the soul-love.

=Apollo and the Fates.= (See Prologue to _Parleyings_.) Apollo (the Sun
God), having offended Jupiter by slaying the Cyclopes, who forged his
thunderbolts by which he had killed Æsculapius for bringing dead men to
life, had been banished from heaven. He became servant to Admetus, king of
Thessaly, in whose employment he remained nine years as one of his
shepherds. He was treated with great kindness by his master, and they
became true lovers of each other. When Apollo, restored to the favour of
heaven, had left the service of Admetus and resumed his god-like offices,
he heard that his old master and friend was sick unto death, and he
determined to save his life. Accordingly he descended on Mount Parnassus,
and penetrated to the abode of the Fates, in the dark regions below the
roots of the mountains, and there he found the three who preside over the
destinies of mankind--Clotho with her distaff, Lachesis with her spindle,
and Atropos with a pair of scissors about to cut the thread of Admetus'
life--and begins to plead for the life of his friend Admetus, whom Atropos
has just doomed to death. The Fates bid Apollo go back to earth and wake
it from dreams. Apollo demands a truce to their doleful amusement, and
requests them to extend the years of Admetus to threescore and ten. The
Fates ask him if he thinks it would add to his friend's joy to have his
life lengthened, seeing that life is only illusion? Infancy is but
ignorance and mischief, youth becomes foolishness, and age churlishness.
Apollo should ask for life for one whom he hates, not for the friend he
loves. The Sun's beams produce such semblance of good as exists by simply
gilding the evil. Apollo objects that if it were happier to die, men's
greeting would not be "Long life!" but "Death to you!" Man loves his life,
and he ought to know best. The Fates say this is all the glamour shed by
Apollo's rays. Apollo concedes that man desponds when debarred of
illusion: "suppose he has in himself some compensative law?" and the God
then produces a bowl of wine, man's invention, of which he invites them to
taste. The Fates, after some objection, drink and get tipsy and merry,
Atropos even declaring she could live at a pinch! Apollo delivers them a
lecture; he tells them Bacchus invented the wine; as he was the youngest
of the gods, he had to discover some new gift whereby to claim the homage
of man. He tampered with nothing already arranged, yet would introduce
change without shock. As the sunbeams and Apollo had transformed the
Fates' cavern without displacing a splinter, so has the gift of Bacchus
turned the adverse things of life to a kindlier aspect; man accepts the
good with the bad, and acquiesces in his fate; this is the work of Zeus.
He demands of the Fates if, after all, Life be so devoid of good? "Quashed
be our quarrel!" they exclaim, and they dance till an explosion from the
earth's centre brings them to their senses once more, and the pact is
dissolved. They learn that the powers above them are not to be cajoled
into interfering with the laws of life and the inevitable decrees of which
the Fates are but the ministers. At last they agree to lengthen the life
of Admetus if any mortal can be found to forgo the fulfilment of his own
life on his account. Apollo protests that the king's subjects will strive
with one another for the glory of dying that their king may survive. First
in all Pheræ will his father offer himself as his son's substitute. "Bah!"
says Clotho. "Then his mother," suggests Apollo; "or, spurning the
exchange, the king may choose to die." With the jeers of the three the
scene closes. Mr. Browning's lovely poem _Balaustion's Adventure_ should
be read next after this, as the Prologue to the _Parleyings_ has little or
no relation to the rest of the volume.

NOTES.--_Parnassus_, a mountain of Greece, sacred to the Muses and Apollo
and Bacchus. _Dire ones_, the Fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.
_Admetus_, the husband of Alcestis, whose wife died to save his life. _The
Fates_, the Destinies, the goddesses supposed to preside over human life:
_Clotho_, who spins the thread of life; _Lachesis_, who determines the
length of the thread; _Atropos_, who cuts it off. _Woe-purfled_,
embroidered with woe. _Weal-prankt_, decked out with prosperity. _Moirai_,
the Parcæ, the Fates. _Zeus_, Jupiter, the Supreme Being. _Eld_, old age.
_Sweet Trine_, the Three, the Trinity of Fates. _Bacchus_, the Wine-God.
_Semele's Son_: Semele was the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia; when Zeus
appeared to her in his Divine splendour she was consumed by the flames and
gave birth to Bacchus, whom Zeus saved from the fire and hid in his thigh.
Bacchus, when made a god, raised her to heaven under the name of Thyone.
_Swound_, a swoon. _Cummers_, gossips, female acquaintances. _Collyrium_,
eye-wash. _Pheræ_, a town in Thessaly, where King Pheres reigned, who was
the father of Admetus.

=Apparent Failure.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) Mr. Ruskin has laboured
hard to save St. Mark's, Venice, from the destroying hand of the restorer.
Mr. Browning wrote this poem to save from complete destruction a much less
important, though a celebrated building, the Paris Morgue, the deadhouse
wherein are exposed the bodies of persons found dead, that they may be
claimed by their friends. The Doric little Morgue is close to Notre Dame,
on the banks of the Seine, and is one of the sights of Paris--repulsive as
it is--which everybody makes a point of seeing. The poet entered the
building and saw behind the great screen of glass three bodies exposed for
identification on the copper couch fronting him. They were three men who
had killed themselves, and the poet mentally questions them why they
abhorred their lives so much. You "poor boy" wanted to be an emperor,
forsooth; you "old one" were a red socialist, and this next one fell a
prey to misdirected love. The three deadly sins of Pride, Covetousness,
and Lust had each its victim. And before them stands the poet of optimism,
not staggered in his doctrine even by this sad sight. Not for a moment
does his faith fail that "what God blessed once can never prove accurst."
His optimism in this poem is at high-water mark; where some weak-kneed
believers in humanity would have found a breaking link in the chain, Mr.
Browning sees but "apparent failure," and declines to believe the doom of
these poor wrecks of souls to be final.

=Apparitions.= (Introduction to _The Two Poets of Croisic_, 1878.) This
exquisite poem is a tribute to the charm exercised by a human face, from
which looks out God's own smile, gladdening a cold and scowling prospect
as a burst of May soon dispels the lingering chills of winter.

=Appearances.= (_Pacchiarotto, with other Poems_, 1876.) Metaphysicians
would explain this poem by an essay on the association of ideas; strong as
imagination is, it can never exceed experience which has come to us
through sight. Feelings are associated with one another according as they
have been operant in more or less frequent succession. Reasoning may
associate ideas, but for force and permanence our actual sight, and
contact are the wonder-workers in this department of soul-life. Nothing
can beautify the place where we have in the past suffered some great
mental distress or wrong; so no place can ever be unbeautiful where the
true lover wins his life's prize. When the upholsterer's art does more for
a room than the memory of a first love, that love is not of the eternal
sort our poet sings.

=Aprile.= The Italian poet who sought to love, as Paracelsus sought to
know. He represents the Renaissance spirit in its emotional aspect, as
Paracelsus represents the spirit of the Reformation in its passion for
knowledge. As Mr. Browning says, they were the "two halves of a dissevered
world." (_Paracelsus._)

=Arcades Ambo.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) If a man runs away in battle when the
balls begin to fly, we call him a coward. He may excuse himself by the
argument that man must at all risks shun death. This is the excuse made by
the vivisector: he is often a kind and amiable man in every other relation
of life than in that aspect of his profession which demands, as he holds,
the torture of living animals for the advancement of the healing art.
Health of the body must be preserved at all costs; the moral health is of
little or no consequence in comparison with that of the body; above all we
must not die, death is the one thing to be avoided, hide therefore from
the darts of the King of Terrors behind the whole creation of lower
animals. Mr. Browning says this is cowardice exactly parallel with that of
the soldier who runs away in battle; the principle being that at all costs
life is the one thing to be preserved. The Anti-Vivisectionist principles
of Mr. Browning were very pronounced. He was for many years associated
with Miss F. P. Cobbe in her efforts to suppress the practice of torturing
animals for scientific purposes, and was a Vice-President of the Victoria
Street Society for the Protection of Animals from Vivisection at the time
of his death. See my _Browning's Message to his Time_ (chapter on
"Browning and Vivisection").

=Aristophanes=, the celebrated comic poet of Athens, was born probably
about the year 448 B.C. His first comedy was brought out in 427 B.C. Plato
in his _Symposium_ gives Aristophanes a position at the side of Socrates.
The festivals of Dionysus greatly promoted the production of tragedies,
comedies and satiric dramas. The greater Dionysia were held in the city of
Athens in the month of March, and were connected with the natural feeling
of joy at the approach of summer. These Bacchanalian festivals were scenes
of gross licentiousness, and the coarseness which pervades much of the
work of the great Greek comedian was due to the fact that the popular
taste demanded grossness of allusion on occasions like these. The Athenian
dramatist of the old school was entirely unrestrained. He could satirise
even the Eleusinian mysteries, could deal abundantly in personalities,
burlesque the most sacred subjects, and ridicule the most prominent
persons in the republic. Professor Jebb, in his article on Aristophanes in
the _Encyclopedia Britannica_, says: "It is neither in the denunciation
nor in the mockery that he is most individual. His truest and highest
faculty is revealed by those wonderful bits of lyric writing in which he
soars above everything that can move to laughter or tears, and makes the
clear air thrill with the notes of a song as free, as musical and as wild
as that of the nightingale invoked by his own chorus in the _Birds_. The
speech of Dikaios Logos in the _Clouds_, the praises of country life in
the _Peace_, the serenade in the _Eccleziazusæ_, the songs of the Spartan
and Athenian maidens in the _Lysistrata_; above all, perhaps, the chorus
in the _Frogs_, the beautiful chant of the Initiated,--these passages, and
such as these, are the true glories of Aristophanes. They are the strains,
not of an artist, but of one who warbles for pure gladness of heart in
some place made bright by the presence of a god. Nothing else in Greek
poetry has quite this wild sweetness of the woods. Of modern poets
Shakespeare alone, perhaps, has it in combination with a like richness and
fertility of fancy." Fifty-four comedies were ascribed to Aristophanes. We
possess only eleven: these deal with Athenian life during a period of
thirty-six years. The political satires of the poet, therefore, cannot be
understood without a knowledge of Athenian history, and an acquaintance
with its life during the period in which the poet wrote. "Aristophanes was
a natural conservative," says Professor Jebb; "his ideal was the Athens of
the Persian wars. He detested the vulgarity and the violence of mob-rule;
he clove to the old worship of the gods; he regarded the new ideas of
education as a tissue of imposture and impiety. As a mocker he is
incomparable for the union of subtlety with wit of the comic imagination.
As a poet he is immortal." The momentous period in the history of Greece
during which Aristophanes began to write, forms the groundwork, more or
less, of so many of his comedies, that it is impossible to understand
them, far less to appreciate their point, without some acquaintance with
its leading events. All men's thoughts were occupied by the great contest
for supremacy between the rival states of Athens and Sparta, known as the
Peloponnesian War. It is not necessary here to enter into details; but the
position of the Athenians during the earlier years of the struggle must be
briefly described. Their strength lay chiefly in their fleet; in the other
arms of war they were confessedly no match for Sparta and her confederate
allies. The heavy-armed Spartan infantry, like the black Spanish bands of
the fifteenth century, was almost irresistible in the field. Year after
year the invaders marched through the Isthmus into Attica, or were landed
in strong detachments on different points of the coast, while the powerful
Bœotian cavalry swept all the champaign, burning the towns and
villages, cutting down the crops, destroying vines and
olive-groves,--carrying this work of devastation almost up to the very
walls of Athens. For no serious attempt was made to resist these
periodical invasions. The strategy of the Athenians was much the same as
it had been when the Persian hosts swept down upon them fifty years
before. Again they withdrew themselves and all their movable property
within the city walls, and allowed the invaders to overrun the country
with impunity. Their flocks and herds were removed into the islands on the
coasts, where, so long as Athens was mistress of the sea, they would be in
comparative safety. It was a heavy demand upon their patriotism; but, as
before, they submitted to it, trusting that the trial would be but brief,
and nerved to it by the stirring words of their great leader Pericles. The
ruinous sacrifice, and even the personal suffering, involved in this
forced migration of a rural population into a city wholly inadequate to
accommodate them, may easily be imagined, even if it had not been forcibly
described by the great historian of those times. Some carried with them
the timber framework of their homes, and set it up in such vacant spaces
as they could find. Others built for themselves little "chambers on the
wall," or occupied the outer courts of the temples, or were content with
booths and tents set up under the Long Walls, which connected the city
with the harbour of Piræus. Some--if our comic satirist is to be
trusted--were even fain to sleep in tubs and hen-coops. Provisions grew
dear and scarce. Pestilence broke out in the overcrowded city; and in the
second and third years of the war the great plague carried off, out of
their comparatively small population, about 10,000 of all ranks. But it
needed a pressure of calamity far greater than the present to keep a good
citizen of Athens away from the theatre. If the times were gloomy, so much
the more need of a little honest diversion. The comic drama was to the
Athenians what a free press is to modern commonwealths. It is probable
that Aristophanes was himself earnestly opposed to the continuance of the
war, and spoke his own sentiments on this point by the mouth of his
characters; but the prevalent disgust at the hardships of this
long-continued siege--for such it practically was--would in any case be a
tempting subject for the professed writer of burlesques; and the
caricature of a leading politician, if cleverly drawn, is always a success
for the author. The _Thesmophoriazusæ_ is a comedy about the fair sex,
whose whole point--like that also of the comedy of the _Frogs_--lies in a
satire upon Euripides. Aristophanes never wearied of holding this poet up
to ridicule. Why this was so is not to be discovered: it may have been
that the conservative principles of Aristophanes were offended by some
new-fashioned ideas of his brother poet. The _Thesmophoria_ was a festival
of women only, in honour of Ceres and Proserpine. Euripides was reputed to
be a woman-hater: in one of his tragedies he says,

    "O thou most vile! thou--_woman!_--for what word
    That lips could frame, could carry more reproach?"

He can hardly, however, have been a woman-hater who created the beautiful
characters of Iphigenia and Alcestis. In this comedy the Athenian ladies
have resolved to punish Euripides, and the poet is in dismay in
consequence, and takes measures to defend himself. He offers terms of
peace to the offended fair sex, and promises never to abuse them in
future.

=Aristophanes' Apology=; including a Transcript from Euripides, being the
last adventure of Balaustion. London, 1875.--As Aristophanes' Apology is
the last adventure of Balaustion, it is necessary to read _Balaustion's
Adventure_ (_q.v._) before commencing this poem. Balaustion has married
Euthukles, the young man whom she met at Syracuse. She has met the great
poet Euripides, paid her homage to his genius, and has received from his
own hands his tragedy of _Hercules_. The poet is dead, and Athens fallen.
She returns to the city after its capture by the Spartans, but she can no
longer remain therein. Athens will live in her heart, but never again can
she behold the place where ghastly mirth mocked its overthrow and death
and hell celebrated their triumph. She has left the doomed city, now that
it is no longer the free Athens of happier times, and has set sail with
her husband for Rhodes. The glory of the material Athens has departed. But
Athens will live as a glorious spiritual entity--

    "That shall be better and more beautiful,
    And too august for Sparté's foot to spurn!"

She and Euthukles are exiles from the dead Athens, not the living: "That's
in the cloud there, with the new-born star!" As they voyage, for her
consolation she will record her recollections of her Euripides in Athens,
and she bids her husband set down her words as she speaks. She must "speak
to the infinite intelligence, sing to the everlasting sympathy." There are
dead things that are triumphant still; the walls of intellectual
construction can never be overthrown; there are air-castles more real and
permanent than the work of men's hands. She will tell of Euripides and his
undying work. She recalls the night when Athens was still herself, when
they heard the news that Euripides was dead--"gone with his Attic ivy home
to feast." Dead and triumphant still! She reflected how the Athenian
multitude had ever reproached him: "All thine aim thine art, the idle poet
only." It was not enough in those times that thought should be "the soul
of art." The Greek world demanded activity as well as contemplation. The
poet must leave his study to command troops, forsake the world of ideas
for that of action, otherwise he was a "hater of his kind." The world is
content with you if you do nothing for it; if you do aught you must do
all. But when Euripides was at rest, censorious tongues ceased to wag, and
the next thing to do was to build a monument for him! But for the hearts
of Balaustion and her husband no statue is required: he stood within their
hearts. The pure-souled woman says, "What better monument can be than the
poem he gave me? Let him speak to me now in his own words; have out the
Herakles and re-sing the song; hear him tell of the last labour of the
god, worst of all the twelve." And lovingly and reverently the precious
gift of the poet was taken from its shrine and opened for the reading.
Suddenly torchlight, knocking at the door, a cry "Open, open! Bacchos
bids!" and a sound of revelry and the drunken voices of girl dancers and
players, led by Aristophanes, the comic poet of Greece. A splendid
presence, "all his head one brow," drunk, but in him sensuality had become
a rite. Mind was here, passions, but grasped by the strong hand of
intellect. Balaustion rose and greeted him. "Hail house," he said,
"friendly to Euripides!" and he spoke flatteringly, but in a slightly
mocking tone, as men who are sensual defer to spiritual women whom they
rather affect to pity while they admire. Balaustion loves genius; to her
mind it is the noblest gift of heaven: she can bow to Aristophanes though
he is drunk. (Greek intoxication was doubtless a very different thing from
Saxon!) The comic poet had just achieved a great triumph: his comedy had
been crowned. The "Women's Festival" (the _Thesmophoriazusæ_ as it was
called in Greek) was a play in which the fair sex had the chief part. It
was written against Euripides' dislike of women, for which the women who
are celebrating the great feast of Ceres and Proserpine (the Thesmophoria)
drag him to justice. And so, with all his chorus troop, he comes to the
home of Balaustion, as representing the Euripides whom he disliked and
satirised, to celebrate his success. The presence of Balaustion has
stripped the proper Aristophanes of his "accidents," and under her
searching gaze he stands undisguised to be questioned. She puts him on his
defence, and hence the "Apology." He recognises the divine in her, and she
in him. The discussion, therefore, will be on the principles underlying
the works of Euripides, the man of advance, the pioneer of the newer and
better age to come, and those of the conservative apologist of
prescription, Aristophanes the aristocrat. He defends his first
_Thesmophoriazusæ_, which failed; his _Grasshopper_, which followed and
failed also. There was reason why he wrote both: he painted the world as
it was, mankind as they lived and walked, not human nature as seen though
the medium of the student's closet. "Old wine's the wine; new poetry
drinks raw." The friend of Socrates might weave his fancies, but flesh and
blood like that of Aristophanes needs stronger meat. "Curds and whey"
might suit Euripides, the Apologist must have marrowy wine. The author of
the _Alkestis_, which Balaustion raved about, was but a prig: he wrote of
wicked kings. Aristophanes came nearer home, and attacked infamous abuses
of the time, and scourged too with tougher thong than leek-and-onion
plait. He wrote _The Birds_, _The Clouds_, and _The Wasps_. The
poison-drama of Euripides has mortified the flesh of the men of Athens, so
nothing but warfare can purge it. The play that failed last year he has
rearranged; he added men to match the women there already, and had a hit
at a new-fangled plan by which women should rule affairs. It succeeded,
and so they all flocked merrily to feast, and merrily they supped till
something happened,--he will confess its influence upon him. Towards the
end of the feast there was a sudden knock: in came an old pale-swathed
majesty, who addressed the priest, "Since Euripides is dead to-day, my
choros, at the Greater Feast next month, shall, clothed in black, appear
ungarlanded!" Sophocles (for it was he) mutely passed outwards and left
them stupefied. Soon they found their tongues and began to make satiric
comment, but Aristophanes swore that at the moment death to him seemed
life and life seemed death. The play of which he had made a laughingstock
had meaning he had never seen till now. The question who was the greater
poet, once so large, now became so small. He remembers his last discussion
with the dead poet, two years since, when he said, "Aristophanes, you know
what kind's the nobler--what makes grave or what makes grin!" He pointed
out why his Ploutos failed: he had tried, alas! but with force which had
been spent on base things, to paint the life of Man. The strength demanded
for the race had been wasted ere the race began. Such thoughts as these,
long to relate, but floating through the mind as solemn convictions are
wont to do, occupied him till the Archon, the Feast-Master, divining what
was passing in his mind, thought best to close the feast. He gave "To the
good genius, then!" as a parting cup. Young Strattis cried, "Ay, the Comic
Muse"; but Aristophanes, stopping the applause, said, "Stay! the Tragic
Muse" (in honour of the dead Tragic Poet), and then he told of all the
work of the man who had gone from them. But he had mocked at him so often
that his audience would not believe him to be serious now, and burst into
laughter, exclaiming, "The unrivalled one! He turns the Tragic on its
Comic side!" He felt that he was growing ridiculous, and had to repair
matters; so he thanked them for laughing with him, and also those who wept
rather with the Lord of Tears, and bade the priest--president alike over
the Tragic and Comic function of the god,--

    "Help with libation to the blended twain!"

praising complex poetry operant for body as for soul, able to move to
laughter and to tears, supreme in heaven and earth. The soul should not be
unbodied; he would defend man's double nature. But, even as he spoke, he
turned to the memory of "Cold Euripides," and declared that he would not
abate attack if he were to encounter him again, because of his
principle--"Raise soul, sink sense, Evirate Hermes!" And so, as they left
the feast, he asked his friends to accompany him to Balaustion's home, to
the lady and her husband who, passionate admirers of Euripides, had not
been present on his triumph-day. When they heard the night's news,
neither, he knew, would sleep, but watch; by right of his crown of triumph
he would pay them a visit. Balaustion said, "Commemorate, as we,
Euripides!" "What?" cried the comic poet, "profane the temple of your
deity!--for deity he was, though as for himself he only figured on men's
drinking mugs. And then, as his glance fell on the table, he saw the
Herakles which the Tragic Poet had given to Balaustion. "Give me the
sheet," he asks. She interrupted, "You enter fresh from your worst infamy,
last instance of a long outrage--throw off hate's celestiality, show me a
mere man's hand ignobly clenched against the supreme calmness of the dead
poet." Scarcely noticing her, he said, "Dead and therefore safe; only
after death begins immunity of faultiness from punishment. Hear Art's
defence. Comedy is coeval with the birth of freedom, its growth matches
the greatness of the Republic. He found the Comic Art a club, a means of
inflicting punishment without downright slaying: was he to thrash only the
crass fool and the clownish knave, or strike at malpractice that affects
the State? His was not the game to change the customs of Athens, lead age
or youth astray, play the demagogue at the Assembly or the sophist at the
Debating Club, or (worst and widest mischief) preach innovation from the
theatre, bring contempt on oaths, and adorn licentiousness. And so he
new-tipped with steel his cudgel, he had demagogues in coat-of-mail and
cased about with impudence to chastise; he was spiteless, for his attack
went through the mere man to reach the principle worth purging from
Athens. He did not attack Lamachos, but war's representative; not Cleon,
but flattery of the populace; not Socrates, but the pernicious seed of
sophistry, whereby youth was perverted to chop logic and worship
whirligig. His first feud with Euripides was when he maintained that we
should enjoy life as we find it instead of magnifying our miseries.
Euripides would talk about the empty name, while the thing's self lay
neglected beneath his nose. Aristophanes represented the whole
Republic,--gods, heroes, priests, legislators, poets--all these would have
been in the dust, pummelled into insignificance, had Euripides had his
way. To him heroes were no more, hardly so much, as men. Men were ragged,
sick, lame, halt, and blind, their speech but street terms; and so, having
drawn sky earthwards, he must next lift earth to sky. Women, once mere
puppets, must match the male in thinking, saying, doing. The very slave he
recognised as man's mate. There are no gods. Man has no master, owns
neither right nor wrong, does what he likes, himself his sole law. As
there are no gods, there is only "Necessity" above us. No longer to
Euripides is there one plain positive enunciation, incontestable, of what
is good, right, decent here on earth. And so Euripides triumphed, though
he rarely gained a prize. And Aristophanes, wielding the comic weapon,
closed with the enemy in good honest hate, called Euripides one name and
fifty epithets. He hates "sneaks whose art is mere desertion of a trust."
And so he doses each culprit with comedy, doctors the word-monger with
words. Socrates he nicknames chief quack, necromancer; Euripides--well, he
acknowledges every word is false if you look at it too close, but at a
distance all is indubitable truth behind the lies. Aristophanes declares
the essence of his teaching to be, Accept the old, contest the strange,
misdoubt every man whose work is yet to do, acknowledge the work already
done. Religion, laws, are old--that is, so much achieved and victorious
truth, wrung from adverse circumstance by heroic men who beat the world
and left their work in evidence. It was Euripides who caused the fight,
and Aristophanes has beaten him; if, however, Balaustion can adduce
anything to contravene this, let her say on." Balaustion replies that she
is but a mere mouse confronting the forest monarch, a woman with no
quality, but the love of all things lovable. How should she dare deny the
results he says his songs are pregnant with? She is a foreigner too. Many
perhaps view things too severely, as dwellers in some distant isles,--the
Cassiterides, for example,--ignorant and lonely, who seeing some statue of
Phidias or picture of Teuxis, might feebly judge that hair and hands and
fashion of garb, not being like their own, must needs be wrong. So her
criticism of art may be equally in fault as theirs, nevertheless she will
proceed if she may. "Comedy, you say, is prescription and a rite; it rose
with Attic liberty, and will fall with freedom; but your games, Olympian,
Pythian and the others, the gods gave you these; and Comedy, did it come
so late that your grandsires can remember its beginning? And you were
first to change buffoonery for wit, and filth for cleanly sense. You
advocate peace, support religion, lash irreverence, yet rebuke
superstition with a laugh. Innovation and all change you attack: with you
the oldest always is the best; litigation, mob rule and mob favourites you
attack; you are hard on sophists and poets who assist them: snobs, scamps,
and gluttons you do not spare,--all these noble aims originated with you!
Yet Euripides in Cresphontes sang Peace before you! Play after play of his
troops tumultuously to confute your boast. No virtue but he praised, no
vice but he condemned ere you were boy! As for your love of peace, you did
not show your audience that war was wrong, but Lamachos absurd, not that
democracy was blind, but Cleon a sham, not superstition vile but Nicias
crazy. You gave the concrete for the abstract, you pretended to be earnest
while you were only indifferent. You tickled the mob with the idea that
peace meant plenty of good things to eat, while in camp the fare is hard
and stinted. Peace gives your audience flute girls and gaiety. War freezes
the campaigners in the snow. And so, with all the rest you advocate; do
not go to law: beware of the Wasps! but as for curing love of lawsuits,
you exhibit cheating, brawling, fighting, cursing as capital fun! And when
the writer of the new school attacks the vile abuses of the day,
straightway to conserve the good old way, you say the rascal cannot read
or write, is extravagant, gets somebody to help his sluggish mind, and
lets him court his wife; his uncle deals in crockery, and himself--a
stranger! And so the poet-rival is chased out of court. And this is
Comedy, our sacred song, censor of vice and virtue's safeguard! You are
indignant with sophistry, and say there is but a single side to man and
thing; but the sophists at least wish their pupils to believe what they
teach, and to practise what they believe; can you wish that? Assume I am
mistaken: have you made them end the war? Has your antagonist Euripides
succeeded better? He spoke to a dim future, and I trust truth's inherent
kingliness. 'Arise and go: both have done honour to Euripides!'" But
Aristophanes demands direct defence, and not oblique by admonishment of
himself. Balaustion tells him that last year Sophocles was declared by his
son to be of unsound mind, and for defence his father just recited a
chorus chant of his last play. The one adventure of her life that made
Euripides her friend was the story of Hercules and Alcestis. When she met
the author last, he said, "I sang another Hercules; it gained no prize,
but take it--your love the prize! And so the papyrus, with the pendent
style, and the psalterion besides, he gave her: by this should she
remember the friend who loved Balaustion once. May I read it as defence? I
read." [The HERAKLES, or Raging Hercules of Euripides, is translated
literally by Mr. Browning on the principles which he laid down in the
preface to the Agamemnon. In Potter's _Translation of the Tragedies of
Euripides_ we have the following from the introduction to the play: "The
first scenes of this tragedy are very affecting; Euripides knew the way to
the heart, and as often as his subject leads him to it, he never fails to
excite the tenderest pity. We are relieved from this distress by the
unexpected appearance of Hercules, who is here drawn in his private
character as the most amiable of men: the pious son, the affectionate
husband, and the tender father win our esteem as much as the unconquered
hero raises our admiration. Here the feeling reader will perhaps wish that
the drama had ended, for the next scenes are dreadful indeed, and it must
be confessed that the poet has done his subject terrible justice, but
without any of that absurd extravagance which, in Seneca becomes _un
tintamarre horrible qui se passe dans le tête de ce Héros devenu fou_.
From the violent agitation into which we are thrown by these deeds of
honour, we are suffered by degrees to subside into the tenderest grief, in
which we are prepared before to sympathise with the unhappy Hercules by
that esteem which his amiable disposition had raised in us; and this
perhaps is the most affecting scene of sorrow that ever was produced in
any theatre. Upon the whole, though this tragedy may not be deemed the
most agreeable by the generality of readers, on account of the too
dreadful effects of the madness of Hercules, yet the various turns of
fortune are finely managed, the scenes of distress highly wrought, and the
passions of pity, terror and grief strongly touched. The scene is at
Thebes before the palace of Hercules. The persons of the
Drama--Amphitryon, Megara, Lycus, Hercules, Iris, Lyssa (the goddess of
madness), Theseus, Messenger; Chorus of aged Thebans."] They were silent
after the reading for a long time. "Our best friend--lost, our best
friend!" mused Aristophanes, "and who is our best friend?" He then
instances in reply a famous Greek game, known as _kottabos_, played in
various ways, but the latest with a sphere pierced with holes. When the
orb is set rolling, and wine is adroitly thrown a figure suspended in a
certain position can be struck by the fluid; but its only chance of
being so hit is when it fronts just that one outlet. So with Euripides: he
gets his knowledge merely from one single aperture--that of the High and
Right; till he fronts this he writes no play. When the hole and his head
happen to correspond, in drops the knowledge that Aristophanes can make
respond to every opening--Low, Wrong, Weak; all the apertures bring him
knowledge; he gets his wine at every turn; why not? Evil and Little are
just as natural as Good and Great, and he demands to know them, and not
one phase of life alone. So that he is the "best friend of man." No doubt,
if in one man the High and Low could be reconciled, in tragi-comic verse
he would be superior to both when born in the Tin Islands (as he
eventually was in the person of Shakespeare). He will sing them a song of
Thamyris, the Thracian bard, who boasted that he could rival the Muses,
and was punished by them by being deprived of sight and voice and the
power of playing the lute. Before he had finished the song, however, he
laughed, "Tell the rest who may!" He had not tried to match the muse and
sing for gods; he sang for men, and of the things of common life. He bids
this couple farewell till the following year, and departs. In a year many
things had happened. Aristophanes had produced his play, _The Frogs_. It
had been rapturously applauded, and the author had been crowned; he is now
the people's "best friend." He had satirised Euripides more vindictively
than before; he had satirised even the gods and the Eleusinian Mysteries;
and, in the midst of the "frog merriment," Lysander, the Spartan, had
captured Athens, and his first word to the people was, "Pull down your
long walls: the place needs none!" He gave them three days to wreck their
proud bulwarks, and the people stood stupefied, stonier than their walls.
The time expired, and when Lysander saw they had done nothing, he ordered
all Athens to be levelled in the dust. Then stood forth Euthukles,
Balaustion's husband, and "flung that choice flower," a snatch of a
tragedy of Euripides, the _Electra_; then--

    "Because Greeks are Greeks, though Sparté's brood,
    And hearts are hearts, though in Lusandros' breast,
    And poetry is power, and Euthukles
    Had faith therein to, full face, fling the same--
    Sudden, the ice thaw!"

And the assembled foe cried, "Reverence Elektra! Let stand Athenai!" and
so, as Euripides had saved the Athenian exiles in Syracuse harbour, now he
saved Athens herself. But her brave long walls were destroyed, destroyed
to sound of flute and lyre, wrecked to the kordax step, and laid in the
dust to the mocking laughter of a Comedy-chorus. And so no longer would
Balaustion remain to see the shame of the beloved city. "Back to Rhodes!"
she cried. "There are no gods, no gods! Glory to God--who saves
Euripides!" [The long walls of Athens consisted of the wall to Phalerum on
the east, about four miles long, and of the wall to the harbour of Piraeus
on the west, about four and a half miles long; between these two, at a
short distance from the latter and parallel to it, another wall was
erected, thus making two walls leading to the Piraeus, with a narrow
passage between them. The entire circuit of the walls was nearly
twenty-two miles, of which about five and a half miles belonged to the
city, nine and a half to the long walls, and seven miles to Piraeus,
Munychia, and Phalerum.]

Plutarch, in his life of Lysander, tells how Euripides saved Athens from
destruction and the Athenians from slavery:--"After Lysander had taken
from the Athenians all their ships except twelve, and their fortifications
were delivered up to him, he entered their city on the sixteenth of the
month Munychon (April), the very day they had overthrown the barbarians in
the naval fight at Salamis. He presently set himself to change their form
of government; and finding that the people resented his proposal, he told
them 'that they had violated the terms of their capitulation, for their
walls were still standing after the time fixed for the demolishing of them
was passed; and that, since they had broken the first articles, they must
expect new ones from the council.' Some say he really did propose, in the
council of the allies, to reduce the Athenians to slavery; and that
Erianthis, a Theban officer, gave it as his opinion that the city should
be levelled with the ground, and the spot on which it stood turned to
pasturage. Afterwards, however, when the general officers met at an
entertainment, a musician of Phocis happened to begin a chorus in the
_Electra_ of Euripides, the first lines of which are these--

    'Unhappy daughter of the great Atrides,
    Thy straw-crowned palace I approach.'

The whole company were greatly moved at this incident, and could not help
reflecting how barbarous a thing it would be to raze that noble city,
which had produced so many great and illustrious men. Lysander, however,
finding the Athenians entirely in his power, collected the musicians of
the city, and having joined to them the band belonging to the camp, pulled
down the walls, and burned the ships, to the sound of their instruments."

NOTES. [The pages are those of the complete edition, in 16 vols.]--P. 3,
_Euthukles_, the husband of Balaustion, whom she met first at Syracuse. p.
4, _Koré_, the daughter of Ceres, the same as Proserpine. p. 6,
_Peiraios_, the principal harbour of Athens, with which it was connected
by the long walls; "_walls, long double-range Themistoklean_": after
Themistocles, the Athenian general, who planned the fortifications of
Athens; _Dikast_ and _heliast_: the Dikast was the judge (_dike_, a suit,
was the term for a civil process); the heliasts were jurors, and in the
flourishing period of the democracy numbered six thousand. p. 7,
_Kordax-step_, a lascivious comic dance: to perform it off the stage was
regarded as a sign of intoxication or profligacy; _Propulaia_, a court or
vestibule of the Acropolis at Athens; _Pnux_, a place at Athens set apart
for holding assemblies: it was built on a rock; _Bema_, the elevated
position occupied by those who addressed the assembly. p. 8, _Dionusia_,
the great festivals of Bacchus, held three times a year, when alone
dramatic representations at Athens took place; "_Hermippos to pelt
Perikles_": Hermippos was a poet who accused Aspasia, the mistress of
Pericles, of impiety; "_Kratinos to swear Pheidias robbed a shrine_":
Kratinos was a comic poet of Athens, a contemporary of Aristophanes;
_Eruxis_, the name of a small satirist. (Compare "_The Frogs_" ll.
933-934.) _Momos_, the god of pleasantry: he satirised the gods;
_Makaria_, one of the characters in the _Heraclidæ_ of Euripides: she
devoted herself to death to enable the Athenians to win a victory. p. 9,
"_Furies in the Oresteian song_"--Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megæra: they
haunted Orestes after he murdered his mother Clytemnestra: "_As the
Three_," etc., the three tragic poets, Æschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.
_Klutaimnestra_, wife of Agamemnon and mother of Orestes, Iphigenia, and
Electra: she murdered her husband on his return from Troy; _Iocasté_,
Iocasta, wife of Laius and mother of Œdipus; _Medeia_, daughter of
Aetes: when Jason repudiated her she killed their children; _Choros_: the
function of the chorus, represented by its leader, was to act as an ideal
public: it might consist of old men and women or maidens; dances and
gestures were introduced, to illustrate the drama. p. 10, _peplosed and
kothorned_, robed and buskined. _Phrunicos_, a tragic poet of Athens: he
was heavily fined by the government for exhibiting the sufferings of a
kindred people in a drama. (Herod., vi., 21.) "_Milesian smart-place_,"
the Persian conquest of Miletus. p. 11, _Lenaia_, a festival of Bacchus,
with poetical contentions, etc.; _Baccheion_, a temple of Bacchus;
_Andromedé_, rescued from a sea-monster by Perseus; _Kresphontes_, one of
the tragedies of Euripides; _Phokis_, a country of northern Greece, whence
came the husband of Balaustion, who saved Athens by a song from Euripides;
_Bacchai_, a play by Euripides, not acted till after his death. p. 12,
_Amphitheos_, a priest of Ceres at Athens, ridiculed by Aristophanes to
annoy Euripides. p. 14, _stade_, a single course for foot-races at
Olympia--about a furlong; _diaulos_, the double track of the racecourse
for the return. p. 15, _Hupsipule_, queen of Lemnos, who entertained Jason
in his voyage to Colchis: "_Phoinissai_" (_The Phœnician Women_), title
of one of the plays of Euripides; "_Zethos against Amphion_": Zethos was a
son of Jupiter by Antiope, and brother to Amphion; _Macedonian Archelaos_,
a king of Macedonia who patronised Euripides. p. 16, _Phorminx_, a harp or
guitar; "_Alkaion_," a play of Euripides; _Pentheus_, king of Thebes, who
refused to acknowledge Bacchus as a god; "_Iphigenia in Aulis_," a play by
Euripides; _Mounuchia_, a port of Attica between the Piræus and the
promontory of Sunium; "_City of Gapers_," Athens--so called on account of
the curiosity of the people; _Kopaic eel_: the eels of Lake Copais, in
Bœotia, were very celebrated, and to this day maintain their
reputation. p. 17, _Arginousai_, three islands near the shores of Asia
Minor; _Lais_, a celebrated courtesan, the mistress of Alcibiades;
_Leogoras_, an Athenian debauchee; _Koppa-marked_, branded as high bred;
_choinix_, a liquid measure; _Mendesian wine_: Wine from Mende, a city of
Thrace, famous for its wines; _Thesmophoria_, a women's festival in honour
of Ceres, made sport of by Aristophanes. p. 18, _Krateros_, probably an
imaginary character. _Arridaios_ and _Krateues_, local poets in royal
favour; _Protagoras_, a Greek atheistic philosopher, banished from Athens,
died about 400 B.C.; "_Comic Platon_," Greek poet, called "the prince of
the middle comedy," flourished 445 B.C.; _Archelaos_, king of Macedonia.
p. 19, "_Lusistraté_" a play by Aristophanes, in which the women demand a
peace; _Kleon_: Cleon was an Athenian tanner and a great popular
demagogue, 411 B.C., distinguished afterwards as a general; he was a great
enemy of Aristophanes. p. 20, _Phuromachos_, a military leader; _Phaidra_,
fell in love with Hippolytus, her son-in-law, who refused her love, which
proved fatal to him. p. 21, _Salabaccho_, a performer in Aristophanes'
play, _The Lysistrata_, acting the part of "Peace"; _Aristeides_, an
Athenian general, surnamed the Just, banished 484 B.C.; _Miltiades_, the
Athenian general who routed the armies of Darius, died 489 B.C.; "_A
golden tettix in his hair_" (a grasshopper), an Athenian badge of honour
worn as indicative that the bearer had "sprung from the soil"; _Kleophon_,
a demagogue of Athens. p. 22, _Thesmophoriazousai_, a play by Aristophanes
satirising women and Euripides, B.C. 411. p. 23, _Peiraios_, the seaport
of Athens; _Alkamenes_, a statuary who lived 448 B.C., distinguished for
his beautiful statues of Venus and Vulcan; _Thoukudides_ (Thucydides), the
Greek historian, died at Athens 391 B.C. p. 24, _Herakles_ (Hercules), who
had brought Alcestis back to life: the subject of a play by Euripides. p.
25, _Eurustheus_, king of Argos, who enjoined Hercules the most hazardous
undertakings, hoping he would perish in one of them; _King Lukos_, the son
of an elder Lukos said to have been the husband of Dirke; _Megara_,
daughter of Creon, king of Thebes, and wife of Hercules; _Thebai_--_i.e._,
of Creon of Thebes; _Heracleian House_, the house of Hercules. p. 26,
_Amphitruon_, a Theban prince, foster-father of Herakles, _i.e._, the
husband of Alkmene the mother of Herakles by Zeus; _Komoscry_, a "Komos"
was a revel; _Dionusos_, _Bacchos_, _Phales_, _Iacchos_ (all names of
Bacchus): the goat was sacrificed to Bacchus on account of the propensity
that animal has to destroy the vine. p. 27, _Mnesilochos_, the
father-in-law of Euripides, a character in the _Thesmophoriazousai_;
_Toxotes_, an archer in the same play; _Elaphion_, leader of the chorus of
females or flute-players. p. 30, _Helios_, the God of the Sun; _Pindaros_,
the greatest lyric poet of Greece, born 552 B.C.; "_Idle cheek band_"
refers to a support for the cheeks worn by trumpeters; _Cuckoo-apple_, the
highly poisonous tongue-burning Cuckoo-pint (_Arum maculatum_); _Thasian_,
Thasus, an island in the Ægean Sea famous for its wine; _threttanelo_ and
_neblaretai_, imitative noises; _Chrusomelolonthion-Phaps_, a dancing
girl's name. p. 31, _Artamouxia_, a character in the _Thesmophoriazousai_
of Aristophanes; _Hermes_ == Mercury; _Goats-breakfast_, improper
allusions, connected with Bacchus; _Archon_, a chief magistrate of Athens;
"_Three days' salt fish slice_": each soldier was required to take with
him on the march three days' rations. p. 32, _Archinos_, a rhetorician of
Athens (Schol. in Aristoph. Ran.); _Agurrhios_, an Athenian general in
B.C. 389: he was a demagogue; "_Bald-head Bard_": this describes
Aristophanes, and the two following words indicate his native place;
_Kudathenaian_, native of the Deme Cydathenê; _Pandionid_, of the tribe of
Pandionis; "_son of Philippos_": Aristophanes here gives the names of his
father and of his birthplace; _anapæsts_, feet in verse, whereof the first
syllables are short and the last long; _Phrunichos_ (see on p. 10);
_Choirilos_, a tragic poet of Athens, who wrote a hundred and fifty
tragedies. p. 33, _Kratinos_, a severe and drunken satirist of Athens, 431
B.C.; "_Willow-wicker-flask_," _i.e._, "Flagon," the name of a comedy by
Kratinos which took the first prize, 423 B.C.; _Mendesian_, from Mende in
Thrace. p. 36, "_Lyric shell or tragic barbiton_," instruments of music:
the barbiton was a lyre; shells were used as the bodies of lyres;
_Tuphon_, a famous giant chained under Mount Etna. p. 38, _Sousarion_, a
Greek poet of Megara, said to have been the inventor of comedy;
_Chionides_, an Athenian poet, by some alleged to have been the inventor
of comedy. p. 39, "_Grasshoppers_," a play of Aristophanes;
"_Little-in-the-Fields_," suburban or village feasts of Bacchus. p. 40,
_Ameipsias_, a comic poet ridiculed by Aristophanes for his insipidity;
_Salaminian_, of Salamis, an island on the coast of Attica. p. 41,
_Archelaos_, king of Macedonia, patron of Euripides. p. 42, _Iostephanos_
(violet-crowned), a title applied to Athens; _Dekeleia_, a village of
Attica north of Athens; _Kleonumos_, an Athenian often ridiculed by
Aristophanes; _Melanthios_, a tragic poet, a son of Philocles;
_Parabasis_, an address in the old comedy, where the author speaks through
the mouth of the chorus; "_The Wasps_," one of the famous plays of
Aristophanes. p. 43, _Telekleides_, an Athenian comic poet of the age of
Pericles; _Murtilos_, a comic poet; _Hermippos_, a poet, an elder
contemporary of Aristophanes; _Eupolis_: is coupled with Aristophanes as a
chief representative of the old comedy (born 446 B.C.); _Kratinos_, a
contemporary comic poet, who died a few years after Aristophanes began to
write for the stage; _Mullos_ and _Euetes_, comic poets of Athens;
_Megara_, a small country of Greece, p. 44, _Morucheides_, an archon of
Athens, in whose time it was ordered that no one should be ridiculed on
the stage by name; _Sourakosios_, an Athenian lawyer ridiculed by the
poets for his garrulity; _Tragic Trilogy_, a series of three dramas,
which, though complete each in itself, bear a certain relation to each
other, and form one historical and poetical picture--_e.g._, the three
plays of the _Oresteia_, the _Agamemnon_, the _Choëphoræ_, and the
_Eumenides_ by Æschylus. p. 45, "_The Birds_," the title of one of
Aristophanes' plays. p. 46, _Triphales_, a three-plumed helmet-wearer;
_Trilophos_, a three-crested helmet-wearer; _Tettix_ (the grasshopper), a
sign of honour worn as a golden ornament; "_Autochthon-brood_": the
Athenians so called themselves, boasting that they were as old as the
country they inhabited; _Taügetan_, a mountain near Sparta. p. 47,
_Ruppapai_, a sailor's cry; _Mitulené_, the capital of Lesbos, a famous
seat of learning, and the birthplace of many great men; _Oidipous_, son of
Laius, king of Thebes, and Jocasta: he murdered his own father; _Phaidra_,
who fell in love with her son Hippolytus; _Augé_, the mother of Telephus
by Hercules; _Kanaké_, a daughter of Æolus, who bore a child to her
brother Macareus; _antistrophé_, a part of the Greek choral ode. p. 48,
_Aigina_, an island opposite Athens. p. 49, _Prutaneion_, the large hall
at Athens where the magistrates feasted with those who had rendered great
services to the country; _Ariphrades_, a person ridiculed by Aristophanes
for his filthiness; _Karkinos_ and his sons were Athenian dancers:
supposed here to have been performing in a play of Ameipsias. p. 50,
_Parachoregema_, the subordinate chorus; _Aristullos_, an infamous poet;
"_Bald Bard's hetairai_," Aristophanes' female companions. p. 51,
_Murrhiné_ and _Akalanthis_, chorus girls representing "good-humour" and
"indulgence"; _Kailligenia_, a name of Ceres: here it means her festival
celebrated by the woman chorus of the _Thesmophoriaxousai_; _Lusandros_ ==
Lysander, a celebrated Spartan general; _Euboia_, a large island in the
Ægean Sea; "_The Great King's Eye_," the nickname of the Persian
ambassador in the play of _The Acharnians_; _Kompolakuthes_, a puffed-up
braggadocio. p. 52, _Strattis_, a comic poet; _klepsudra_, a water clock;
_Sphettian vinegar_ == vinegar from the village of Sphettus; _silphion_, a
herb by some called masterwort, by some benzoin, by others pellitory;
_Kleonclapper_, _i.e._, a scourge of Cleon; _Agathon_, an Athenian poet,
very lady-like in appearance, a character in _The Women's Festival_ of
Aristophanes; "_Babaiax!_" interjection of admiration. p. 54, "_Told him
in a dream_" (see Cicero, _Divinatione_, xxv); _Euphorion_, a son of
Æschylus, who published four of his father's plays after his death, and
defeated Euripides with one of them; _Trugaios_, a character in the comedy
of _Peace_: he is a distressed Athenian who soars to the sky on a beetle's
back; _Philonides_, a Greek comic poet of Athens; _Simonides_, a
celebrated poet of Cos, 529 B.C.: he was the first poet who wrote for
money: he bore the character of an avaricious man; _Kallistratos_, a comic
poet, rival of Aristophanes; _Asklepios_ == Æsculapius; _Iophon_, a son of
Sophocles, who tried to make out that his father was an imbecile. p. 58,
_Maketis_, capital of Macedonia; _Pentelikos_, a mountain of Attica,
celebrated for its marble. p. 60, _Lamachos_: the "Great Captain" of the
day was the brave son of Xenophanes, killed before Syracuse B.C. 414:
satirised by Aristophanes in _The Acharnians_; _Pisthetairos_, a character
in Aristophanes' _Birds_; _Strepsiades_, a character in _The Clouds_ of
Aristophanes; _Ariphrades_ (see under p. 49). p. 63, "_Nikias,
ninny-like_," the Athenian general who ruined Athens at Syracuse--was very
superstitious. p. 64, _Hermai_, statues of Mercury in the streets of
Athens: we have one in the British Museum. p. 67, _Sophroniskos_, was the
father of Socrates. p. 75, _Kephisophon_, a friend of Euripides, said to
have afforded him literary assistance. p. 79, _Palaistra_, the boy's
school for physical culture. p. 82, _San_, the letter S, used as a
horse-brand. p. 81, _Aias_ == Ajax. p. 82, _Pisthetairos_, an enterprising
Athenian in the comedy of the _Birds_. p. 83, "_Rocky-ones_" == Athenians;
_Peparethian_, famous wine of Peparethus, on the coast of Macedonia. p.
85, _Promachos_, a defender or champion, name of a statue: the bronze
statue of _Athene Promachos_ is here referred to, which was erected from
the spoils taken at Marathon, and stood between the Propylæa and the
Erechtheum: the proportions of this statue were so gigantic that the
gleaming point of the lance and the crest of the helmet were visible to
seamen on approaching the Piræus from Sunium (Seyffert, _Dict. Class.
Ant._); _Oresteia_, the trilogy or three tragedies of Æschylus--the
_Agamemnon_, the _Choëphoræ_, and the _Eumenides_. p. 86, _Kimon_, son of
Miltiades: he was a famous Athenian general, and was banished by the
_Boulé_, or council of state; _Prodikos_, a Sophist put to death by the
Athenians about 396 B.C., satirised by Aristophanes. p. 87, _Kottabos_, a
kind of game in which liquid is thrown up so as to make a loud noise in
falling: it was variously played (_see_ Seyffert's _Dict. Class. Ant._, p.
165); _Choes_, an Athenian festival; _Theoros_, a comic poet of infamous
character. p. 88, _Brilesian_, Brilessus, a mountain of Attica. p. 89,
"_Plataian help_," prompt assistance: the Platæans furnished a thousand
soldiers to help the Athenians at Marathon; _Saperdion_, a term of
endearment; _Empousa_, a hobgoblin or horrible sceptre: "Apollonius of
Tyana saw in a desert near the Indus an empousa or ghûl taking many forms"
(_Philostratus_, ii., 4); _Kimberic_, name of a species of vestment. p.
93, "_Kuthereia's self_," a surname of Venus. p. 94, _plethron square_,
100 square feet; _chiton_, the chief and indispensible article of female
dress, or an undergarment worn by both sexes. p. 95, _Ion_, a tragic poet
of Chios; _Iophon_, son of Sophocles, a poor poet; _Aristullos_, an
infamous poet. p. 98, _Cloudcuckooburg_, in Aristophanes' play _The Birds_
these animals are persuaded to build a city in the air, so as to cut off
the gods from men; _Tereus_, a king of Thrace, who offered violence to his
sister-in-law Philomela; _Hoopoe triple-crest_: Tereus was said to have
been changed into a hoopoe (_The Birds_); _Palaistra tool_, _i.e._, one
highly developed; _Amphiktuon_, a council of the wisest and best men of
Greece; _Phrixos_, son of Athamas, king of Thebes, persecuted by his
stepmother was fabled to have taken flight to Colchis on a ram. p. 99,
_Priapos_, the god of orchards, gardens, and licentiousness; _Phales
Iacchos_, indecent figure of Bacchus. p. 102, _Kallikratidas_, a Spartan
who routed the Athenian fleet about 400 B.C.; _Theramenes_, an Athenian
philosopher and general of the time of Alcibiades. p. 103, _chaunoprockt_,
a catamite. p. 113, _Aristonumos_, a comic poet, contemporary with
Aristophanes; _Ameipsias_, a comic poet satirised by Aristophanes;
_Sannurion_, a comic poet of Athens: _Neblaretai! Rattei!_ exclamations of
joy. p. 117, _Sousarion_, a Greek poet of Megara, who introduced comedy at
Athens on a movable stage, 562 B.C.: he was unfriendly to the ladies. p.
118, _Lemnians_, _The Hours_, _Female Playhouse_, etc., these are all lost
plays of Aristophanes. p. 119, _Kassiterides_, "the tin islands": the
Scilly Islands, Land's End, and Lizard Point. p. 121, "_Your games_":
_Olympian_, in honour of Zeus at Olympia; _Pythian_, held near Delphi;
_Isthmian_, held in the Isthmus of Corinth; _Nemeian_, celebrated in the
valley of Nemea. p. 126, _Phoibos_, name of Apollo or the sun; _Kunthia_
== Cynthia, a surname of Diana, from Mount Cynthus, where she was born. p.
128, _skiadeion_, the umbel or umbrella-like head of plants like fennel or
anise--hence a parasol or umbrella; _Huperbolos_, an Athenian demagogue.
p. 129, _Theoria_, festival at Athens in honour of Apollo--character in
_The Peace_; _Opôra_, a character in _The Peace_. p. 133, "_Philokleon
turns Bdelukleon_," an admirer of Cleon, turned detester of Cleon:
character in Aristophanes' comedy _The Wasps_. p. 135, _Logeion_, the
stage where the actors perform--properly "the speaking place." p. 137,
_Lamia-shape_, as of the monsters with face of a woman and body of a
serpent; _Kukloboros_, roaring--a noise as of the torrent of the river in
Attica of that name; _Platon_ == Plato. p. 140, _Konnos_, the play of
Ameipsias which beat the _Clouds_ of Aristophanes in the award of the
judges; _Moruchides_, a magistrate of Athens, in whose time it was decided
that no one should be ridiculed on the stage by name; _Euthumenes_,
_Argurrhios_, _Surakosios_, _Kinesias_, Athenian rulers who endeavoured to
restrain the gross attacks of the comic poets. p. 141, _Acharnes_,
Aristophanes' play _The Acharnians_: it is the most ancient specimen of
comedy which has reached us. p. 143, _Poseidon_, the Sea == Neptune. p.
144, _Triballos_, a vulgar deity. p. 145, _Kolonos_, an eminence near
Athens; _stulos_, a style or pen to write with on wax tablets;
_psalterion_, a musical instrument like a harp, a psaltery. p. 146,
_Pentheus_, king of Thebes, who resisted the worship of Bacchus, and was
driven mad by the god and torn to pieces by his own mother and her two
sisters in their Bacchic frenzy. p. 147, _Herakles_ == Hercules; _Argive
Amphitruon_, son of Alkaios and husband of Alcmene; _Alkaios_, father of
Amphitruon and grandfather of Hercules; _Perseus_, son of Jupiter and
Danae; _Thebai_, capital of Bœotia, founded by Cadmus; _Sown-ones_, the
armed men who rose from the dragons' teeth sown by Cadmus; _Ares_, Greek
name of Mars; _Kadmos_, founder of Bœotian Thebes; _Kreon_, king of
Thebes, father of Megara slain by Lukos; _Menoikeus_, father of the Kreon
above referred to. p. 148, _Kuklopian city_: Argos, according to
Euripides, was built by the seven Cyclopes: "These were architects who
attended Prœtus when he returned out of Asia; among other works with
which they adorned Greece were the walls of Mycenæ and Tiryns, which were
built of unhewn stones, so large that two mules yoked could not move the
smallest of them" (Potter); _Argos_, an ancient city, capital of Argolis
in Peloponnesus; _Elektruon_, a son of Perseus; _Heré_ == Juno;
_Tainaros_, a promontory of Laconia, where was the cavern whence Hercules
dragged Cerberus; _Dirké_, wife of the Theban prince Lukos; _Amphion_:
"His skill in music was so great that the very stones were said to have
been wrought upon by his lyre, and of themselves to have built the walls
of Thebes"--_Carey_ (_see_ ABT VOGLER); _Zethos_, brother of Amphion;
_Euboia_, the largest island in the Ægean Sea, now Negroponte. p. 149,
_Minuai_, the Argonauts, companions of Jason. p. 150, _Taphian town_,
Taphiæ, islands in the Ionian Sea. p. 153, _peplos_, a robe. p. 154,
_Hellas_ == Greece; _Nemeian monster_, the lion slain by Hercules. p. 156,
_Kentaur race_, a people of Thessaly represented as half men and half
horses; _Pholoé_, a mountain in Arcadia; _Dirphus_, a mountain of Eubœa
which Hercules laid waste; _Abantid_: Abantis was an ancient name of
Eubœa. p. 158, _Parnasos_, a mountain of Phocis. p. 165, _Peneios_, a
river of Thessaly; _Mount Pelion_, a celebrated mountain of Thessaly;
_Homole_, a mountain of Thessaly; _Oinoé_ == Œne, a small town of
Argolis; _Diomede_, a king of Thrace who fed his horses on human flesh,
and was himself destroyed by Hercules. p. 166, _Hebros_, the principal
river of Thrace; _Mukenaian tyrant_, Eurystheus, king of Mycenæ;
_Amauros_, Amaurus, a river of Thessaly near the foot of Pelion; _Kuknos_,
a son of Mars by Pelopea, killed by Hercules; _Amphanaia_, a Dorian city;
_Hesperian_, west, towards Spain; _Maiotis_, Lake Mæotis, _i.e._, the Sea
of Azof. p. 167, _Lernaian snake_, the hydra slain by Hercules, who then
drained the marsh of Lerna; _Erutheia_, an island near Cadiz, where
Hercules drove the oxen of Geryon. p. 169, _Pelasgia_ == Greece;
_Daidalos_, mythical personage, father of Icarus; _Oichalia_, a town of
Laconia, destroyed by Hercules. p. 177, _Ismenos_, a river of Bœotia
flowing through Thebes. p. 180, _Orgies_, festivals of Bacchus;
_Chthonia_, a surname of Ceres; _Hermion_, a town of Argolis where Ceres
had a famous temple; _Theseus_, king of Athens, conqueror of the Minotaur.
p. 182, _Aitna_ == Etna. p. 183, _Mnemosuné_, the mother of the Muses;
_Bromios_, a surname of Bacchus; _Delian girls_, of Delos, one of the
Cyclades islands; _Latona_, mother of Apollo and Diana. p. 188,
_Acherontian harbour_: Acheron was one of the rivers of hell. p. 189,
_Asopiad sisters_, daughters of the god of the river Asopus; _Puthios_,
surname of the Delphian Apollo; _Helikonian muses_: Mount Helicon, in
Bœotia, was sacred to Apollo and the Muses. p. 190, _Plouton_ == Pluto,
god of hell; _Paian_, name of Apollo, the healer; _Iris_, the swift-footed
messenger of the gods. p. 193, _Keres_, the daughters of Night and
personified necessity of Death. p. 194, _Otototoi_, woe! alas! p. 195,
_Tariaros_ == Hades; _Pallas_, _i.e._, Minerva. p. 198, _Niso's city_,
port town of Megara; _Isthmos_, the isthmus of Corinth. p. 201, _Argolis_,
a country of Peloponnesus, now Romania; _Danaos_, son of Belus, king of
Egypt: he had fifty daughters, who murdered the fifty sons of Egyptus;
_Prokné_, daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, wife of Tereus, king of
Thrace. p. 202, _Itus_, son of Prokné. p. 206, _Taphioi_, the Taphians,
who made war against Electryon, and killed all his sons; _Erinues_ == the
Furies. p. 213, _Erechtheidai's town_ == Athens. p. 215, _Hundredheaded
Hydra_, a dreadful monster slain by Hercules. p. 216, _Phlegruia_, a place
of Macedonia, where Hercules defeated the giants. p. 234, _Iostephanos_,
violet-crowned, a name of Athens. p. 235, _Thamuris_, an ancient Thracian
bard; _Poikilé_, a celebrated portico of Athens, adorned with pictures of
gods and benefactors; _Rhesus_ was king of Thrace and ally of the Trojans;
_Blind Bard_ == Thamuris. p. 236, _Eurutos_, a king of Œchalia, who
offered his daughter to a better shot than himself: Hercules won, but was
denied the prize; _Dorion_, a town of Messenia, where Thamyris challenged
the Muses to a trial of skill; _Balura_, a river of Peloponnesus. p. 241,
_Dekeleia_, a village of Attica north of Athens, celebrated in the
Peloponnesian war; _spinks_, chaffinches. p. 242, _Amphion_, son of
Jupiter and inventor of Music: he built the walls of Thebes to the sound
of his lyre. p. 245, _Castalian dew_, the fountain of Castalia, near
Phocis, at the foot of Parnassus. p. 247, _Pheidippides_, the celebrated
runner, a character also in _The Clouds_. p. 248, _Aigispoiamoi_,
Ægospotamos was the river where the Athenians were defeated by Lysander,
B.C. 405; _Elaphebolion month_, stag-hunting time, when the poetical
contests took place; _Lusandros_, the celebrated Spartan general Lysander;
_triremes_, galleys with three banks of oars one above another. p. 249,
_Bakis-prophecy_, Bacis was a famous soothsayer of Bœotia. p. 253,
_Elektra_, daughter of Agamemnon, king of Argos; _Orestes_, brother of
Elektra, who saved his life. p. 254, _Klutaimnestra_, murdered her husband
Agamemnon. p. 255, _Kommos_, a great wailing; _eleleleleu_, a loud crying;
_Lakonians_, the Lacedæmonians == the Spartans. p. 258, _Young Philemon_,
a Greek comic poet; there was an old Philemon, contemporary with
Menander.--Mr. Fotheringham, in his "Studies in the Poetry of Robert
Browning," says: "Browning's _preference for Euripides_ among Greek
dramatists, and his defence of that poet in the person of Balaustion
against Aristophanes, shows how distinctly he has considered the
principles raised by the later drama of Greece, and how deliberately he
prefers Euripidean art and aims to Aristophanic naturalism. He likes the
human and ethical standpoint, the serious and truth-loving spirit of the
tragic rather than the pure Hellenism of the comic poet; while the
_Apology_ suggests a broader spirit and a larger view, an art that unites
the realism of the one with the higher interests of the other--delight in
and free study of the world with ideal aims and spiritual truth" (p. 356).

=Arezzo.= A city of Tuscany, the residence of Count Guido Franceschini,
the husband of Pompilia and her murderer. It is now a clean, well-built,
well-paved, and flourishing town of ten thousand inhabitants. It is
celebrated in connection with many remarkable men, as Mæcenas, Guido the
musician, Guittone the poet, Cesalpini the botanist, Vasari, the author of
the "Lives of the Painters," and many others. (_The Ring and the Book._)

=Art Poems.= The great poems dealing with painting are "Fra Lippo Lippi,"
"Andrea del Sarto," "Old Pictures in Florence," "Pictor Ignotus," and "The
Guardian Angel."

=Artemis Prologizes.= (_Dramatic Lyrics_, in _Bells and Pomegranates_, No.
III. 1842.) Theseus became enamoured of Hippolyta when he attended
Hercules in his expedition against the Amazons. Before she accepted him as
her lover, he had to vanquish her in single combat, which difficult and
dangerous task he accomplished. She accompanied him to Athens, and bore
him a son, Hippolytus. The young prince excelled in every manly virtue,
but he was averse to the female sex, and grievously offended Venus by
neglecting her and devoting himself entirely to the worship of Diana,
called by the Greeks Artemis. Venus was enraged, and determined to ruin
him. Hippolyta in process of time died, and Theseus married Phædra, the
daughter of Minos, the king of Crete. Unhappily, as soon as Phædra saw the
young and accomplished Hippolytus, she conceived for him a guilty
passion--which, however, she did her utmost to conceal. It was Venus who
inspired her with this insane love, out of revenge to Hippolytus, whom she
intended to ruin by this means. Phædra's nurse discovered the secret, and
told it to the youth, notwithstanding the commands of her mistress to
conceal it. The chaste young man was horrified at the declaration, and
indignantly resented it. The disgraced and betrayed Phædra determined to
take her own life; but dying with a letter in her hand which accused
Hippolytus of attempts upon her virtue, the angry father, without asking
his son for explanations, banished him from the kingdom, having first
claimed the performance from Neptune of his promise to grant three of his
requests. As Hippolytus fled from Athens, his horses were terrified by a
sea monster sent on shore by Neptune. The frightened horses upset the
chariot, and the young man was dragged over rocks and precipices and
mangled by the wheels of his chariot. In the tragedy, as left by
Euripides, Diana appears by the young man's dying bed and comforts him,
telling him also that to perish thus was his fate:--

                            "But now
    Farewell: to see the dying or the dead
    Is not permitted me: it would pollute
    Mine eyes; and thou art near this fatal ill."

The tragedy ends with the dying words of Hippolytus:--

    "No longer I retain my strength: I die;
    But veil my face, now veil it with my vests."

So far Euripides. Mr. Browning, however, carries the idea further, and
makes Diana try to save the life of her worshipper, by handing him over to
the care of Æsculapius, to restore to life and health by the wisest
pharmacies of the god of healing. Mr. Browning's poem closes with the
chaste goddess watching and waiting for the result of the attempt to save
his life. The poet has adopted the Greek spelling in place of that to
which we are more accustomed. The Greek names require their Latin
equivalents for non-classical scholars. _Artemis_ is the Greek name for
_Diana_; _Asclepios_ is _Æsculapius_; _Aphrodite_, the Greek name of
_Venus_; _Poseidon_ is _Neptune_; and _Phoibus_ or _Phœbus_ is
_Apollo_, the Sun. _Heré_ == Hera or Juno, Queen of Heaven. _Athenai_ ==
Minerva. _Phaidra_, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, who married Theseus.
_Theseus_, king of Athens. _Hippolutos_, son of Theseus and Hippolyte.
_Henetian horses_, or _Enetian_, of a district near Paphlagonia.

=Artemisia Genteleschi= (Beatrice Signorini, _Asolando_), "the consummate
Artemisia" of the poem, was a celebrated artist (1590-1642). _See_
BEATRICE SIGNORINI.

="Ask not the least word of praise,"= the first line of the lyric at the
end of "A Pillar at Sebzevah," No. 11 of _Ferishtah's Fancies_.

=Asolando: Fancies and Facts.= Published in London, December 12th, 1889,
on the day on which Mr. Browning died in Venice. _Contents_: Prologue;
Rosny; Dubiety; Now; Humility; Poetics; Summum Bonum; A Pearl, A Girl;
Speculative; White Witchcraft; Bad Dreams, I., II., III., IV.;
Inapprehensiveness; Which? The Cardinal and the Dog; The Pope and the Net;
The Bean-Feast; Muckle-mouth Meg; Arcades Ambo; The Lady and the Painter;
Ponte dell' Angelo, Venice; Beatrice Signorini; Flute Music, with an
Accompaniment; "Imperante Augusto, Natus est ----"; Development; Rephan;
Reverie; Epilogue. The volume is dedicated to the poet's friend, Mrs.
Arthur Bronson. In the dedication the poet explains the title Asolando: it
was a "_title-name popularly ascribed to the inventiveness of the ancient
secretary of Queen Cornaro, whose palace-tower still overlooks us_."
Asolare--"to disport in the open air, amuse oneself at random." "The
objection that such a word nowhere occurs in the works of the Cardinal is
hardly important. Bembo was too thorough a purist to conserve in print a
term which in talk he might possibly toy with; but the word is more likely
derived from a Spanish source. I use it for love of the place, and in
requital of your pleasant assurance that an early poem of mine first
attracted you thither; where and elsewhere, at La Mura as Cà Alvisi, may
all happiness attend you!--Gratefully and affectionately yours, R.
B."--Asolo, _Oct. 5th, 1889_.

=Asolo= (_Pippa Passes--Sordello--Asolando_), the ancient Acelum: a very
picturesque mediæval fortified town, in the province of Treviso, in
Venetia, Italy, 5500 inhabitants, at the foot of a hill surmounted by the
ruins of a castle, from which one of the most extensive panoramas of the
great plain of the Brenta and the Piave, with the encircling Alps, and the
distant insulated group of the Euganean hills, opens before the traveller.
On a fine summer evening the two silver lines of the Piave and the Brenta
may be followed from their Alpine valleys to the sea, in the midst of the
green alluvial plain in which Treviso, Vicenza and Padua are easily
recognised. Venice, with its cupolas and steeples, is seen near the
extreme east horizon, which is terminated by the blue line of the
Adriatic; whilst behind, to the north, the snow-capped peaks of the Alps
rise in majestic grandeur. The village of Asolo is surrounded by a wall
with mediæval turrets, and several of its houses present curiously
sculptured façades.--The castle, a quadrangular building with a high
tower, is an interesting monument of the thirteenth century. It was the
residence of the beautiful Caterina Cornaro, the last queen of Cyprus,
after the forced resignation of her kingdom to the Venetians in 1489. Here
this lady of elegant tastes and refined education closed her days in
comparative obscurity, in the enjoyment of an empty title and a splendid
income, and surrounded by a small court and several literary characters.
Of these, one of the most celebrated was Pietro Bembo, the historian of
Venice, afterwards Cardinal, whose celebrated philosophical dialogues on
the nature of love, the _Asolani_, have derived their name from this
locality. Mr. Browning visited Asolo first when a young man; it was here
that he gathered ideas for _Pippa Passes_ and _Sordello_, and in the last
year of his life his loving footsteps found their way to the little
hill-town of that Italy whose name was graven on his heart. Here, as Mr.
Sharp reminds us in his _Life of Browning_, the poet heard again the echo
of Pippa's song--

    "God's in His heaven, All's right with the world!"

He heard it as a young man, he hears it as he nears the dark river, the
conviction had never left his soul for a moment in all the length of
intervening years. Asolo will be a pilgrim spot for Browning lovers. The
Catherine Cornaro referred to was the wife of King James II., of Cyprus;
his marriage with this Venetian lady of rank was designed to secure the
support of the Republic of Venice. After his death, and that of his son
James III., Queen Catherine felt she was unable to withstand the attacks
of the Turks, and was induced to abdicate in favour of the Republic of
Venice, which in 1487 took possession of the island. Catherine was
assigned a palace and court at Asolo, as already mentioned. Her palace was
the resort of the learned and accomplished men and women of Venice, famous
amongst whom was her secretary, Cardinal Pietro Bembo, the celebrated
author of the _History of Venice_, from 1487 to 1513, and a number of
essays, dialogues, and poems. His dialogue on Platonic love is entitled
_Gli Asolani_. He died in 1547. When Queen Catherine settled in her
beautiful castle of Asolo, she could have found little cause to regret the
circumstances which led her from her troubled kingdom of Cyprus to the
idyllic sweetness of her later life. Surrounded by her twelve maids of
honour and her eighty serving-men, her favourite negress, her parrots,
apes, peacocks, and hounds, her peaceful life passed in ideal
pleasantness. But the wealth and luxury of her surroundings did not make
her selfish, or unconcerned for the welfare of her little kingdom. In all
that concerned the happiness and well-being of her people she was as
deeply interested as the monarchs of more important states. She opened a
pawnbroking bank for the poor, imported corn from Cyprus and distributed
it, and appointed competent officials to settle the complaints and
difficulties of her subjects. She lived for her people's welfare, and won
their affections by her goodness and grace. For twenty years she lived at
Asolo, leaving it on only three occasions: to visit her brother in
Brescia; to walk to Venice across the frozen lagoon; and once when troops
occupied her little town. She died then, at Venice, on July 10th, 1510,
and was buried by the republic of the city in the sea, with its utmost
magnificence. The fate could scarcely have been called cruel which gave a
royal residence amid scenery such as Asolo can boast, under such
conditions as blessed the later years of good Queen Catherine.

=At the Mermaid.= The Mermaid Tavern, in Cheapside, was the favourite
resort of the great Elizabethan dramatists and poets. Raleigh's Club at
the Mermaid was the meeting-place of Shakespeare's contemporaries, where
he feasted with Raleigh, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford,
Massinger, Donne, Drayton, Camden, Selden, and the rest. "At this
meeting-place of the gods," says Heywood, in his _Hierarchy of Angels_:--

    "Mellifluous Shakespeare, whose enchanting quill
    Commanded mirth or passion, was but _Will_,
    And famous Jonson, tho' his learned pen
    Be dipt in Castaly, is still but _Ben_."

Mr. Browning introduces us to Shakespeare protesting that he makes no
claim and has no desire to be the leader of a new school of poetry. In the
person of Shakespeare Mr. Browning tells the world that if they want to
know anything about him they must take his ideas as they are expressed in
his works, not seek to pry into his life and opinions behind them. His
works are the world's, his rest is his own. He protests, too, that when he
utters opinions and expresses ideas dramatically they are not to be
snatched at by leaders of sects and parties, and bottled as specimens for
their museums, or used to give authority to their own pet principles. He
does not set open the door of his bard's breast: on the contrary, he bars
his portal, and leaves his work and his inquisitive visitors alike
"outside." Notwithstanding this emphatic declaration, it is probable that
few great poets have opened their hearts to the world more completely than
Mr. Browning: it is as easy to construct his personality from his works as
it is to reconstruct an old Greek temple from the sculptured stones which
are scattered on its site. All Mr. Browning's characters talk the Browning
tongue, and are as little given to barring their portals as he to closing
the door of his breast. This fact must not, of course, be unduly pressed.
The utterances of Caliban are not to be put on the same level as the
thoughts, expressed a hundred times, which justify the ways of God to man.
Having declared himself as determined to let the public have no glimpse
inside his breast, in Stanza 10 be proceeds to admit us to his innermost
soul, in its joy of life and golden optimism. It is as perfect a picture
of the poet's healthy mind as he could possibly have given us, and is an
earnest deprecation of the idea that a poet must necessarily be more or
less insane. NOTES.--_Oreichalch_ (7), a mixed metal resembling
brass--bronze. "_Threw Venus_" (15): in dice the best cast (three sixes)
was called "Venus." Ben Jonson tells us that his own wife was "a shrew,
yet honest."

=Austin Tresham.= Gwendolen Tresham's betrothed, in _A Blot in the
'Scutcheon_. He is next heir to the earldom.

=Azoth= (_Paracelsus_). The universal remedy of Paracelsus, in alchemy.
The term was applied to mercury, which was supposed to exist in every
metallic body, and constitute its basis. The Azoth of Paracelsus,
according to Mr. Browning, was simply the laudanum which he had
discovered. The alchemists by Azoth sometimes meant to express the
creative principle of nature. As "he was commonly believed to possess the
double tincture, the power of curing diseases and transmuting metals," as
Mr. Browning explains in a note to the poem, the expression is often
difficult to define precisely, as indeed are many of the terms used by
alchemists.

=Azzo.= Lords of Este (_Sordello_): Guelf leaders. The poem is concerned
with Azzo VI. (1170-1212), who became the head of the Guelf party. During
the whole lifetime of Azzo VI. a civil war raged almost without
interruption in the streets of Ferrara, each party, it is said, being ten
times driven from the city. Azzo VII. (1205-64) was constantly at war with
Eccelino III. da Romano, who leagued himself with Salinguerra. Azzo
married Adelaide, niece of Eccelino, and died 1264. (_Encyc. Brit._)



=Bad Dreams.= (_Asolando._) I. In the first dream the lover sees that the
face of the loved one has changed: love has died out of the eyes, and the
charm of the look has gone. Love is estranged, for faith has gone. With a
breaking heart the lover can say love is still the same for him. II. A
weird dream of a strange ball, a dance of death and hell, where,
notwithstanding harmony of feet and hands, "man's sneer met woman's
curse." The dreamer creeps to the wall side, avoiding the dance of haters,
and steps into a chapel where is performed a strange worship by a priest
unknown. The dreamer sees a worshipper--his wife--enter, to palliate or
expurgate her soul of some ugly stain. How contracted? "A mere dream" is
an insufficient excuse. The soul in sleep, free from the disguises of the
day, wanders at will. Perhaps it may indeed be that our suppressed evil
thoughts--thoughts that, kept down by custom, conventionality, and respect
for public opinion, never become incarnate in act--walk at night and
revel in unfettered freedom, as foul gases rise from vaults and basements
when the house is closed at night, and the purifying influences of the
light and air are excluded. III. Is a dream of a primeval forest: giant
trees, impenetrable tangle of enormous undergrowths, where lurks some
brute-type. A lucid city of bright marbles, domes and spires, pure streets
too fine for smirch of human foot, its solitary traverser the soul of the
dreamer; and all at once appears a hideous sight: the beautiful city is
devoured by the forest, the trees by the pavements turned to teeth. Nature
is represented by the forest, Art by the city and its palaces. Each in its
place is seen to be good and worthy, but when each devours the other both
are accurst. The man seems to think that his wife conceals some part of
her life from him; her nature is good and true, but he fears her art (or
perhaps arts, we should say) destroys it. IV. A dream of infinite pathos.
The wife's tomb, its slab weather-stained, its inscription overgrown with
herbage, its name all but obliterated. Her husband comes to visit the
grave. Was he her lover?--rather the cold critic of her life. She had felt
her poverty in all that he demanded, and she had resigned him and life
too; and as she moulders under the herbage, she sees in spirit her
husband's strength and sternness gone, and he broken and praying that she
were his again, with all her foibles, her faults: aye, crowned as queen of
folly, he would be happy if her foot made a stepping-stone of his
forehead. What had worked the miracle? Was the date on the stone the
record of the day when his chance stab of scorn had killed her? There are
cruel deeds and still more cruel words that no veiling herbage of balm and
mint shall keep from haunting us in the time when repentance has come too
late.

=Badman, Mr.= _The Life and Death of Mr. Badman_, as told by John Bunyan,
contains the story of "Old Tod," which suggested to Mr. Browning the poem
of _Ned Bratts_ (_q.v._).

=Balaustion.= The name of the Greek girl of Rhodes, who, when the
Athenians were defeated at Syracuse and her countrymen had determined to
side with the enemies of Athens, refused to forsake Athens, the light and
life of the world. She saved her companions in the ship by which she fled
from Rhodes by reciting to the people of Syracuse the _Alcestis_ of
Euripides. Her story is told in _Balaustion's Adventure_, and
_Aristophanes' Apology_, which is its sequel. Her name means "wild
pomegranate flower."

=Balaustion's Adventure=, including a transcript from Euripides. London,
1871.--The adventure of Balaustion in the harbour of Syracuse came about
as follows. Nicias (or Nikias as he is called in the poem), the Athenian
general, was appointed, much against his inclination, to conduct the
expedition against Sicily. After a long series of ill-successes he was
completely surrounded by the enemy and was compelled to surrender with all
his army. He was put to death, and all his troops were sent to the great
stone quarries, there to perish of disease, hard labour and privation. At
Syracuse Athens was shamed, and lost her ships and men, gaining a "death
without a grave." After the disgraceful news had reached Greece the people
of Rhodes rose in tumult, and, casting off their allegiance to Athens,
they determined to side with Sparta. Balaustion, though only a girl, was
so patriotic that she cried to all who would hear, begging them not to
throw Athens off for Sparta's sake, nor be disloyal to all that was worth
calling the world at all. She begged that all who agreed with her would
take ship for Athens at once; a few heard and accompanied her. They were
by adverse winds driven out of their course, and, being pursued by
pirates, made for the island of Crete. Balaustion, to encourage the
rowers, sprang upon the altar by the mast, crying to the sons of Greeks to
free their wives, their children, and the temples of the gods; so the oars
"churned the black waters white," and soon they saw to their dismay Sicily
and the city of Syracuse,--they had run upon the lion from the wolf. A
galley came out, demanding "if they were friends or foes?" "Kaunians,"
replied the captain. "We heard all Athens in one ode just now. Back you
must go, though ten pirates blocked the bay." It was explained to the
exiles that they wanted no Athenians there to spirit up the captives in
the quarries. The captain prayed them by the gods they should not thrust
suppliants back, but save the innocent who were not bent on traffic. In
vain! And as they were about to turn and face the foe, one cried, "Wait!
that was a song of Æschylus: how about Euripides? Might you know any of
his verses too?" The captain shouted, "Praise the god. Here she
stands--Balaustion. Strangers, greet the lyric girl!" And Balaustion said,
"Save us, and I will recite that strangest, saddest, sweetest song of
his--ALKESTIS. Take me to Herakles' temple you have here. I come a
suppliant to him; put me upon his temple steps, to tell you his
achievement as I may!" And so they rowed them in to Syracuse, crying, "We
bring more of Euripides!" The whole city came out to hear, came rushing to
the superb temple, on the topmost step of which they placed the girl; and
plainly she told the play, just as she had seen it acted in Rhodes. A
wealthy Syracusan brought a whole talent, and bade her take it for
herself; she offered it to the god--

          "For had not Herakles a second time
    Wrestled with death and saved devoted ones?"

The poor captives in the quarries, when they heard the tale, sent her a
crown of wild pomegranate flower--the name (Balaustion in Greek) she
always henceforth bore. But there was a young man who every day, as she
recited on the temple steps, stood at the foot; and, when liberated, they
set sail again for Athens. There in the ship was he: he had a hunger to
see Athens, and soon they were to marry. She visited Euripides, kissed his
sacred hand, and paid her homage. The Athenians loved him not, neither did
they love his friend Socrates; but they were fellows, and Socrates often
went to hear him read.--Such was her adventure; and the beautiful
Alcestis' story which she told is transcribed from the well-known play of
Euripides in the succeeding pages of Mr. Browning's book. Whether the
story has undergone transformation in the process we must leave to the
decision of authorities on the subject. A comparison between the Greek
original and Mr. Browning's translation or "transcript" certainly shows
some important divergences from the classic story. We have only to compare
the excellent translation of Potter in Morley's "Universal Library," vol.
54 (Routledge, 1_s._), to discern this fact at once. As the question is
one of considerable literary importance, it is necessary to call attention
to it in this work. For those of my readers who may have forgotten the
_Alkestis_ tragedy, it may be well to recall its principal points. Potter,
in his translation of the _Alkestis_ of Euripides, gives the following
prefatory note of the plot:--"Admetus and Alcestis were nearly related
before their marriage. Æolus, the third in descent from Prometheus, was
the father of Cretheus and Salmoneus; Æson, the father of Jason, and
Pheres, the father of Admetus, were sons of Cretheus; Tyro, the daughter
of Salmoneus, was by Neptune mother to Pelias, whose eldest daughter
Alcestis was. The historian, who relates the arts by which Medea induced
the daughters of Pelias to cut their father in pieces in expectation of
seeing him restored to youth, tells us that Alcestis alone, through the
tenderness of her filial piety, concurred not with her sisters in that
fatal deed (Diodor. Sic.). Pheres, now grown old, had resigned his kingdom
to his son, and retired to his paternal estate, as was usual in those
states where the sceptre was a spear. Admetus, on his first accession to
the regal power, had kindly received Apollo, who was banished from heaven,
and compelled for the space of a year to be a slave to a mortal; and the
god, after he was restored to his celestial honours, did not forget that
friendly house, but, when Admetus lay ill of a disease from which there
was no recovery, prevailed upon the Fates to spare his life, on condition
that some near relation should consent to die for him. But neither his
father nor his mother, nor any of his friends, was willing to pay the
ransom. Alcestis, hearing this, generously devoted her own life to save
her husband's.--The design of this tragedy is to recommend the virtue of
hospitality, so sacred among the Grecians, and encouraged on political
grounds, as well as to keep alive a generous and social benevolence. The
scene is in the vestibule of the house of Admetus. Palæphatus has given
this explanation of the fable: After the death of Pelias, Acastus pursued
the unhappy daughters to punish them for destroying their father. Alcestis
fled to Pheræ; Acastus demanded her of Admetus, who refused to give her
up; he therefore advanced towards Pheræ with a great army, laying the
country waste with fire and sword. Admetus marched out of the city to
check these devastations, fell into an ambush, and was taken prisoner.
Acastus threatened to put him to death. When Alcestis understood that the
life of Admetus was in this danger on her account, she went voluntarily
and surrendered herself to Acastus, who discharged Admetus and detained
her in custody. At this critical time Hercules, on his expedition to
Thrace, arrives at Pheræ, is hospitably entertained by Admetus, and being
informed of the distress and danger of Alcestis, immediately attacks
Acastus, defeats his army, rescues the lady, and restores her to
Admetus."--At the eighty-fourth meeting of the London Browning Society
(June 26th, 1891), Mr. R. G. Moulton, M.A. Camb., read a paper on
_Balaustion's Adventure_, which he described as "a beautiful
misrepresentation of the original." In this he said: "To those who are
willing to decide literary questions upon detailed evidence, I submit that
analysis shows the widest divergence between the Admetus of Euripides and
the Admetus sung by Balaustion. And, in answer to those who are influenced
only by authority, I claim that I have on my side of the question an
authority who on this matter must rank higher than even Browning himself;
and the name of my authority is Euripides." The following extracts from
Mr. Moulton's able and scholarly criticism will explain his chief points.
(The whole paper is published in the Transactions of the Browning Society,
1890-1.) Mr. Moulton says: "My position is that Browning, in common with
the greater part of modern readers, has entirely misread and
misrepresented Euripides' play of _Alcestis_. If any one wishes to
pronounce "Balaustion's Adventure" a more beautiful poem than the Greek
original, I have no wish to gainsay his estimate; but I maintain,
nevertheless, that the one gives a distorted view of the other. The
English poem is no mere translation of the Greek, but an interpretation
with comments freely interpolated. And the poet having caught a wrong
impression as to one of the main elements of the Greek story, has
unconsciously let this impression colour his interpretations of words and
sentences, and has used his right of commenting to present his mistaken
conception with all the poetic force of a great master, until I fear that
the Euripidean setting of the story is for English readers almost
hopelessly lost. The point at issue is the character of Admetus. Taken in
the rough, the general situation has been understood by modern readers
thus: A husband having obtained from Fate the right to die by substitute,
when no other substitute was forthcoming his wife Alcestis came forward,
and by dying saved Admetus. And the first thought of every honest heart
has been, "Oh, the selfishness of that husband to accept the sacrifice!"
But my contention is, that if Euripides' play be examined with open and
unbiassed mind, it will be found that not only Admetus is not selfish,
but, on the contrary, he is as eminent for unselfishness in his sphere of
life as Alcestis proves in her own. If this be so, the modern readers,
with Browning at their head, have been introducing into the play a
disturbing element that has no place there. And they have further, I
submit, missed another conception--to my thinking a much more worthy
conception--which really does underlie and unify the whole play. If
Admetus is in fact selfish, how comes it that no personage in the whole
play catches this idea?--no one, that is, except Pheres, whose words go
for nothing, since he never discovers this selfishness of Admetus until he
is impelled to fasten on another the accusation which has been hurled at
himself. Except Pheres, all regard Admetus as the sublime type of
generosity. Apollo, as representing the gods, uses the unexpected word
"holy" to describe the demeanour with which his human protector cherished
him during the trouble that drove him to earth in human shape. The Chorus,
who, it is well known, represent in a Greek play public opinion, and are a
channel by which the author insinuates the lesson of the story, cannot
restrain their admiration at one point of the action, and devote an ode to
the lofty character of their king. And Hercules, so grandly represented by
Browning himself as the unselfish toiler for others, feels at one moment
that he has been outdone in generosity by Admetus. There can be no
question, then, what Euripides thought about the character of Admetus. And
will the objector seriously contend that Euripides has, without intending
it, presented a character which must in fact be pronounced selfish? The
suggestion that the poet who created Alcestis did not know selfishness
when he saw it, seems to me an improbability far greater than the
improbability that Browning and the English readers should go wrong.
Browning's suggestion of Pheres as Admetus "push'd to completion" seems to
me grossly unfair: it ignores all Admetus' connection with Apollo and
Hercules, and all his world-wide fame for hospitality. There is nothing in
the legend or in the play to suggest that Pheres is anything more than an
ordinary Greek: certainly the gods never came down from heaven to wonder
at Pheres, nor did Hercules ever recognise him as generous beyond himself.
In no view can the scene be other than a painful one. But it is
intelligible only when we see in it, not the son rebuking his father, but
the head of the State pouring out indignation on the officer whose
self-preserving instinct has shirked at once a duty and an honourable
opportunity to sacrifice, and thereby lost a life more valuable than his
own. In this light the situation before us wears a different aspect. It is
no case of a wife dying for a husband, but it is a subject dying to save
the head of the State. And nothing can be clearer than that such a
sacrifice is _taken for granted_ by the personages who appear before us in
Euripides' play. For I must warn the reader of _Balaustion_ that there is
not the shadow of a shade of foundation in the original for the scornful
words of the English poet telling how the idea of a substitute for their
king nowhere appears unnatural to the personages of the play; the sole
surprise they express is that the substitute should be the youthful
Alcestis and not the aged parents. The situation may fairly be paralleled
in this respect with the crisis that arises in Sir Walter Scott's _Fair
Maid of Perth_, when the seven sons of Torquil go successively to certain
death to shield their chief; and, while they cover themselves with glory,
no one accuses Hector of selfishness for allowing the sacrifice: the
sentiment of clan institutions makes it a matter of course. The
hospitality of Admetus is the foundation of the story; for it is this
which has led Apollo (as he tells us in the prologue) to wring out of Fate
the sparing to earth of the generous king on condition of a substitute
being found."

The stone quarries of ancient Syracuse are now called Latomia, the largest
and most picturesque of which is named Latomia de' Cappuccini. It is a
vast pit, from eighty to a hundred feet in depth, and is several acres in
extent. Murray, describing these vast quarries, says: "It is certain that
they existed before the celebrated siege by the Athenians, 415 B.C.; and
that some one of them was then deep enough to serve for a prison, and
extensive enough to hold the unhappy seven thousand, the relics of the
great Athenian host who were captured at the Asinarus. There is every
probability that that of the Capuchins is the one described by Thucydides,
who gives a touching picture of the misery the Athenians were made to
endure from close confinement, hunger, thirst, filth, exposure and
disease. Certain holes in the angles of the rocks are still pointed out by
tradition as the spots where some of the Athenians were chained. The
greater part of them perished here, but Plutarch tells us that some among
them who could recite the verses of Euripides were liberated from
captivity." Lord Byron's lines in _Childe Harold_ may be quoted in this
connection--

    "When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
    And fettered thousands bore the yoke of war,
    Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse--
    Her voice the only ransom from afar.
    See! as they chaunt the tragic hymn, the car
    Of the o'ermastered victor stops; the reins
    Fall from his hands; his idle scimitar
    Starts from his belt: he rends his captive's chains,
    And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains."

"Some there were who owed their preservation to Euripides. Of all the
Grecians, his was the muse whom the Sicilians were most in love with. From
every stranger that landed in their island, they gleaned every small
specimen or portion of his works, and communicated it with pleasure to
each other. It is said that on this occasion a number of Athenians, upon
their return home, went to Euripides, and thanked him in the most
respectful manner for their obligations to his pen; some having been
enfranchised for teaching their masters what they remembered of his poems,
and others having got refreshments, when they were wandering about after
the battle, for singing a few of his verses. Nor is this to be wondered
at, since they tell us that when a ship from Caunus, which happened to be
pursued by pirates, was going to take shelter in one of their ports, the
Sicilians at first refused to admit her; but upon asking the crew whether
they knew any of the verses of Euripides, and being answered in the
affirmative, they received both them and their vessel." (Plutarch's life
of Nicias.)

NOTES. [The numbers refer to the pages in the complete edition of the
Works.]--P. 5, _Kameiros_, a Dorian town on the west coast of Rhodes, and
the principal town before the foundation of Rhodes itself; _The League_,
the Spartan league against the domination of Athens. p. 6, _Knidos_, city
famous for the statue of Venus by Praxiteles, in one of her temples there;
_Ilissian_, Trojan; _gate of Diomedes_, the Diomæan gate, leading to a
grove and gymnasium; _Hippadai_, the gate of Hippadas, leading to the
suburb of Cerameicus; _Lakonia_ or _Laconica_ or _Lacedæmon_: Sparta was
the only town of importance--in this connection it means Sparta; _Choës_
(the Pitchers) an Athenian festival of Dionysus or Bacchus; _Chutroi_, a
Bacchic festival at Athens--the feast of pots; _Agora_, the Athenian
market and chief public place; _Dikasteria_, tribunals; _Pnux_ == the
Pnyx, the place of public assembly for the people of Athens; _Keramikos_,
two suburban places at Athens were thus called: the one a market and
public walk, the other a cemetery; _Salamis_, an island on the west coast
of Attica, memorable for the battle in which the Greeks defeated the fleet
of Xerxes, 480 B.C.; _Psuttalia_, a small island near Salamis; _Marathon_:
the plain of Marathon was twenty-two miles from Athens, and the famous
battle there was fought 490 B.C.; _Dionusiac Theatre_, the great theatre
of Athens on the Acropolis. p. 7, _Kaunos_, one of the chief cities of
Caria, which was founded by the Cretans. p. 8, _Ortugia_, the island close
to Syracuse, and practically part of the city. p. 9, _Aischulos_ == the
song was from Æschylus, the great tragic poet of Greece; _pint of corn_:
the wretched captives in the quarries were kept alive by half the
allowance of food given to slaves. Thucydides says (vii. 87): "They were
tormented with hunger and thirst; for during eight months they gave each
of them daily only a _cotyle_ (the _cotyle_ was a little more than half an
English pint) of water, and two of corn." p. 10, _salpinx_, a trumpet. p.
11, _rhesis_, a proverb; _monostich_, a poem of a single verse; _region of
the steed_: horses were supposed by the Greeks to have originated in their
land. p. 12, _Euoi_, _Oöp_, _Babai_, exclamations of wonder. p. 13, _Rosy
Isle_, Rhodes, the Greek word meaning rose. p. 16, _Anthesterion month_ ==
February-March; _Peiraieus_, the chief harbour of Athens, about five miles
distant; _Agathon_, a tragic poet of Athens, born 448 B.C.--a friend of
Euripides and Plato; _Iophon_, son of Sophocles: he was a distinguished
tragic poet; _Kephisophon_, a contemporary poet; _Baccheion_, the
Dionysiac temple. p. 17, _The mask of the actor_: it should be remembered
that the Greek actors were all masked. p. 20, _Phoibos_, the _bright_ or
_pure_--a name of Apollo; _Asklepios_ == Æsculapius, the god of medicine;
_Moirai_, the Fates--Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, the divinities of
human life. p. 25, _Eurustheus_, king of Mycenæ, who imposed the "twelve
labours" on Hercules. p. 26, _Pelias' child_: Alcestis was the daughter of
Pelias, son of Poseidon and of Tyro; _Paian_, a surname of Apollo, derived
from _pæan_, a hymn which was sung in his honour. p. 27, _Lukia_ == Lycia,
a country of Asia Minor; _Ammon_, a god of Libya and Upper Egypt: Jupiter
Ammon with the horns of a ram. p. 32, _pharos_, a veil or cloak covering
the eyes. p. 35, _Iolkos_, a town in Thessaly. p. 41, _Koré_, the Maiden,
a name by which Proserpine is often called. p. 47, _Acherontian lake_:
Acheron was one of the rivers of hell; _Karneian month_ ==
August-September, when the Carnean festival was celebrated in honour of
Apollo Carneus, protector of flocks. p. 48, _Kokutos' stream_, a river in
the lower world: the river Cocytus is in Epirus. p. 51, _Thrakian
Diomedes_, a king of Thrace who fed his horses on human flesh: it was one
of the labours of Hercules to destroy him; _Bistones_ == Thracians. p. 53,
_Ares_, Greek name of Mars; _Lukaon_, a mythical king of Arcadia;
_Kuknos_, son of Mars and Pelopia == Cycnus. p. 60, _Lyric Puthian_:
musical contentions in honour of Apollo at Delphi were called the Pythian
modes: so Apollo, worshipped with music, was called the lyric Pythian, in
commemoration of his victory over the Python, the great serpent; _Othrus'
dell_, in the mountains of Othrys, in Thessaly, the residence of the
Centaurs. p. 61, _Boibian lake_, in Thessaly, near Mount Ossa; _Molossoi_,
a people of Epirus, in Greece. p. 68, _Ludian_ == Lydian; _Phrugian_ ==
Phrygian. p. 73, _Akastos_, the son of Peleus, king of Iolchis; he made
war against Admetus. p. 74, _Hermes the infernal_: he was the son of Zeus
and Maia, and was herald of the gods and guide of the dead in Hades--hence
the epithet "infernal." p. 78, _Turranos_, Tyrant or King. p. 79, _Ai, ai!
Pheu! pheu! e, papai_ == woe! alas, alas! oh, strange! p. 81, _The Helper_
== Hercules. p. 83, _Kupris_, Venus, the goddess of Cyprus. p. 87,
"_Daughter of Elektruon, Tiruns' child_": Electryon was the father of
Alcmene, Tiryns was an ancient town in Argolis. p. 88, _Larissa_, a city
in Thessaly. p. 94, _Thrakian tablets_, the name of Orpheus is associated
with Thrace: the Orphic literature contained treatises on medicine,
plants, etc., originally written on tablets, and preserved in the temple;
_Orphic voice_, of Orpheus, which charmed all Nature; _Phoibos_, Apollo
was the god of medicine, and taught the art to Æsculapius; _Asklepiadai_,
who received from Phoibos or Apollo the medical remedies. p. 95,
_Chaluboi_, a people of Asia Minor, near Pontus. p. 96, _Alkmené_ was the
daughter of Electryon: she was the mother of Hercules, conceived by
Jupiter. p. 99, _Pheraioi_, the belongings of Admetus as a native of
Pheræ. p. 110, "_The Human with his droppings of warm tears_," a quotation
from a poem by Mrs. Browning, entitled _Wine of Cyprus_. p. 111, _Mainad_,
a name of the priestesses of Bacchus. p. 119, "_Straying among the flowers
in Sicily_": Proserpine, daughter of Ceres, one day gathering flowers in
the meadows of Enna, was carried away by Pluto into the infernal regions,
of which she became queen. p. 121, "_a great Kaunian painter_":
Protogenes, a native of Caunus in Caria, a city subject to the Rhodians,
flourished 332-300 B.C., and was one of the most celebrated of Greek
painters. "The story of his friendly rivalry with Apelles, who was the
first to recognise his genius, is familiar to all."--_Browning Notes and
Queries_ (Pt. vii. 25): the description of the picture refers to Sir
Frederick Leighton's noble work on this subject. p. 122, _Poikilé_, the
celebrated portico at Athens, which received its name from the variety of
the paintings which it contained. It was adorned with pictures of the gods
and of public benefactors.

=Balkis= ("Solomon and Balkis," _Jocoseria_ 1883). The Queen of Sheba who
came to visit Solomon. See SOLOMON AND BALKIS.

=Bean Feast, The= (_Asolando_). Pope Sixtus the Fifth (Felice Peretti) was
pope from 1585 to 1590. He was born in 1521, and certainly in humble
circumstances, but there seems no proof that he was the son of a
swineherd, as described in the poem (see _Encyc. Brit._, vol. xxii, p.
104). He was a great preacher, and one of the most vigorous and able of
the popes that ever filled the papal chair. Within two years of his
election he issued seventy-two bulls for the reform of the religious
orders alone. When anything required to be done, he did it himself, and
was evidently of the same opinion as Mr. Spurgeon, who holds that a
committee should never consist of more than one person. He reformed the
condition of the papal finances, and expended large sums in public works;
he completed the dome of St. Peter's, and erected four Egyptian obelisks
in Rome. Ever anxious to reform abuses, he made it his business to examine
into the condition of the people and see with his own eyes their mode of
life. Mr. Browning's poem relates how, going about the city in disguise,
he one day turned into a tumbledown house where a man and wife sat at
supper with their children. He inquired if they knew of any wrongs which
wanted righting; bade them not stop eating, but speak freely of their
grievances, if any. He bade them have no fear when he threw his hood back
and let them see it was the Pope. The poor people were filled with a
joyful wonder, the more so as the Pope begged a plate of their tempting
beans. He sat down on the doorstep, and having eaten, thanked God that he
had appetite and digestion.

=Bean-Stripe, A: also Apple Eating.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, No. 12.) One
of Ferishtah's scholars demanded to know if on the whole Life were a good
or an evil thing. He is asked if beans are taken from a bushelful, what
colour predominates? Make the beans typical of our days. What is Life's
true colour,--black or white? The scholar agrees with Sakya Muni, the
Indian sage who declared that Life, past, present and future, was black
only--existence simply a curse. Memory is a plague, evil's shadow is cast
over present pleasure. Ferishtah strews beans, blackish and whitish,
figuring man's sum of moments good and bad; in companionship the black
grow less black and the white less white: both are modified--grey
prevails. So joys are embittered by sorrows gone before and sobered by a
sense of sorrow that may come; thus deepest in black means white most
imminent. Pain's shade enhances the shine of pleasure, the blacks and
whites of a lifetime whirl into a white. But to the objector the world is
so black, no speck of white will unblacken it. Ferishtah bids his pupil
contemplate the insect on a palm frond: what knows he of the uses of a
palm tree? It has other uses than such as strike the aphis. It may be so
with us: our place in the world may, in the eye of God, be no greater than
is to us the inch of green which is cradle, pasture and grave of the palm
insect. The aphis feeds quite unconcerned, even if lightning sear the moss
beneath his home. The philosopher sees a world of woe all round him; his
own life is white, his fellows' black. God's care be God's: for his own
part the sorrows of his kind serve to sober with shade his own shining
life. There is no sort of black which white has not power to disintensify.
His philosophy, he admits, may be wrecked to-morrow, but he speaks from
past experience. He cannot live the life of his fellow, yet he knows of
those who are not so blessed as to live in Persia, yet it would not be
wise to say: "No sun, no grapes,--then no subsistence!" There are lands
where snow falls; he will not trouble about cold till it comes to Persia.
But the Indian sage, the Buddha, concluded that the best thing of Life was
that it led to Death! The dervish replied that though Sakya Muni said so
he did not believe it, as he lived out his seventy years and liked his
dinner to the last--he lied, in fact. The pupil demands truth at any cost,
and is told to take this: God is all-good, all-wise, all-powerful. What
is man? Not God, yet he is a creature, with a creature's qualities. You
cannot make these two conceptions agree: God, that only can, does not;
man, that would, cannot. A carpet web may illustrate the meaning: the sage
has asked the weaver how it is that apart the fiery-coloured silk, and the
other of watery dimness, when combined, produce a medium profitable to the
sight. The artificer replies that the medium was what he aimed at. So the
quality of man blended with the quality of God assists the human sight to
understand Life's mystery. Man can only know _of_ and think _about_, he
cannot understand, earth's least atom. He cannot know fire thoroughly,
still less the mystery of gravitation. But, it is objected, force has not
mind; man does not thank gravitation when an apple drops, nor summer for
the apple: why thank God for teeth to bite it? Forces are the slaves of
supreme power. The sense that we owe a debt to somebody behind these
forces assures us there is somebody to take it. We eat an apple without
thanking it. We thank Him but for whose work orchards might grow
gall-nuts.

Ferishtah in the Lyric asks no praise for his work on behalf of mankind.
He who works for the world's approval, or even for its love, must not be
surprised if both are withheld. He has sought, found and done his duty.
For the rest he looks beyond.

=Beatrice Signorini= (_Asolando_, 1889) was a noble Roman lady who married
Francesco Romanelli, a painter, a native of Viterbo, in the time of Pope
Urban VIII. He was a favourite of the Barberini family. Soon after his
marriage he became attached to Artemisia Gentileschi, a celebrated lady
painter. One day he proposed to her that she should paint him a picture
filled with fruit, except a space in the centre for her own portrait,
which he would himself insert. He kept this work amongst his treasures;
and one day, wishing to make his wife jealous, he unveiled it in her
presence, dilating on the graces and beauty of the original. His wife was
a very beautiful woman also, and was not inclined to tolerate this rivalry
for her husband's affections; she therefore destroyed the face of the fair
artist in the picture, so that it could not be recognised. Her husband was
not angry at this, but admired and loved his wife all the more for this
outburst of natural wrath, and soon ceased to think further of his quondam
love. Artemisia Gentileschi, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, lived
1590-1642. She was a pupil of Guido, and acquired great fame as a portrait
painter. She was a beautiful woman; her portrait painted by herself is in
Hampton Court. Her greatest work is the picture of Judith and Holofernes,
in the Pitti Palace, Florence. She came to England with her father in the
reign of Charles I., and painted for him David with the head of Goliath.
She soon returned to Italy, and passed the remainder of her life at
Naples. Baldinucci tells the story of Romanelli.

=Beer.= See NATIONALITY IN DRINKS (_Dramatic Lyrics_).

="Before and After."= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) Two men have quarrelled, and a duel is proposed. It is
urged that the injured man should forgive his enemy, but a philosophical
adviser considers that Christianity is hardly equal to this particular
matter: "Things have gone too far." Forgiveness is all very well in good
books, but these men are sunk in a slough where they must not be left to
"stick and stink." As the offender never pardons, and the offended in this
case will not, there is nothing for it but to fight. Besides, "while God's
champion lives" (the just man), "wrong shall be resisted" and the
wrong-doer punished. These two men have quarrelled, and it is impossible
to say which of them is the injured and which the injurer. Wrong has been
done--this much is certain; beyond that human judgment is at fault, and
the Divine must be invoked. Let them fight it out, then! Of course the
poet is speaking dramatically, and not laying down the principle that
where we see evil done, especially in our own concerns, we are bound to
avenge the wrong. This sentiment is that of the philosophical observer of
the feud, though there are phrases here and there quite in accord with Mr.
Browning's axioms: "Better sin the whole sin"; "Go, live his life out";
"Life will try his nerves." [This teaching is much in the way of that in
the concluding verses of _The Statue and the Bust_ (_q.v._)] For the
culprit there, the speaker says, it is better he should add daring courage
to face the consequences of his crime, than by running away from them be
coward as well as criminal. He may come off victor, but his future life,
his garden of pleasure, will have a warder, a leopard-dog thing (his sin),
ever at his side. This leering presence, this "sly, mute thing," crouching
under every "rose wall" and "grape-tree," will exact the penalty of past
sin, and mayhap sting the sinner to repentance. "So much for the
culprit." The injured, "the martyred man," has borne so much, he can at
least bear another stroke--"give his blood and get his heaven." If death
end it, well for him--"he forgives"; if he be victor he has punished sin
as God's minister of justice. In "After," what is not said is more
powerful than any words which could have filled the intervening space
between these two poems. The imagination here is all-sufficient. The chill
presence of death has altered the aspect of everything. The rush of
thought, the casuistry, the intensity of the preceding poem, is all hushed
and silent here. Death makes things so real in its presence, masks drop
off from souls' faces, and truth can make her voice heard above the
contentions of sophistry. The victor speaks--he has no desire to
masquerade here as God's avenging angel; he recognises that even his foe
has the rights of a man, and as the spirit of the dead man wanders,
absorbed in his new life, he heeds not his wrongs nor the vengeance of his
slayer; the great realities of the other world make those of this world
trivial, and the victor estimates at its true value the worthlessness of
his conquest. If they could be as they were of old! So forgiveness would
have been better and Christ's command is vindicated--"I say unto you that
ye resist not evil." There are some victories which are always the worst
of defeats.

="Bells and Pomegranates."= Under this title Mr. Browning published a
cheap edition, in serial form, of his poems in 1841. The following works
appeared in this manner:--_Pippa Passes_; _King Victor and King Charles_;
_Dramatic Lyrics_; _The Return of the Druses_; _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_;
_Colombe's Birthday_; _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_; _Luria_; and _A
Soul's Tragedy_. ("A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a
pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about."--EXOD. xxviii. 34,
35.) "The reason supposed in the Targum for the directions given to the
priest is that the priest's approach should be _cautious_ to the innermost
'Holy of Holies,' or Sanctuary of the Tabernacle. The sound of the small
bells upon his robe was intended to announce his approach before his
actual appearance." Philo says the bells were to denote the harmony of the
universe. St. Jerome says they also indicated that every movement of the
priest should be for edification. Mr. Browning, however, intimated that he
had no such symbolical intention in the choice of his title. In the
preface to the last number of the series, he said: "Here ends my first
series of 'Bells and Pomegranates,' and I take the opportunity of
explaining, in reply to inquiries, that I only meant by that title to
indicate an endeavour towards something like an alternation or mixture of
music with discoursing, sound with sense, poetry with thought; which looks
too ambitious, thus expressed, so the symbol was preferred. It is little
to the purpose that such is actually one of the most familiar of the many
Rabbinical (and Patristic) acceptations of the phrase; because I confess
that, letting authority alone, I supposed the bare words, in such
juxtaposition, would sufficiently convey the desired meaning. 'Faith and
good works' is another fancy, for instance, and, perhaps, no easier to
arrive at; yet Giotto placed a pomegranate fruit in the hand of Dante, and
Raffaelo crowned his theology (in the _Camera della Segnatura_) with
blossoms of the same; as if the Bellari and Vasari would be sure to come
after, and explain that it was merely '_simbolo delle buone opere--il qual
Pomogranato, fu però usato nelle vesti del Pontefice appresso gli
Ebrei_.'--R. B."

="Ben Karshook's Wisdom."= Mr. Sharp says, in his _Life of Browning_, "In
the late spring (April 27th, 1854), also, he wrote the short dactylic
lyric, "Ben Karshook's Wisdom." This little poem was given to a friend for
appearance in one of the then popular _keepsakes_--literally given, for
Browning never contributed to magazines. As "Ben Karshook's Wisdom,"
though it has been reprinted in several quarters, will not be found in any
volume of Browning's works, and was omitted from _Men and Women_ by
accident, and from further collections by forgetfulness, it may be fitly
quoted here. _Karshook_, it may be added, is the Hebraic word for a
thistle.

    "'Would a man 'scape the rod?'--
      Rabbi Ben Karshook saith,
    'See that he turns to God,
      The day before his death.'

    'Ay, could a man inquire,
      When it shall come!' I say,
    The Rabbi's eye shoots fire--
      'Then let him turn to-day!'

    Quoth a young Sadducee,--
      'Reader of many rolls,
    Is it so certain we
      Have, as they tell us, souls?'--

    'Son, there is no reply!'
      The Rabbi bit his beard;
    'Certain, a soul have _I_,--
      We may have none,' he sneered.

    Thus Karshook, the Hiram's-Hammer,
      The Right-hand Temple column,
    Taught babes in grace their grammar,
      And struck the simple, solemn."
                          (ROME, _April 27th, 1854_.)

The reference in the last verse is to 1 Kings vii. 13-22. Hiram was a
Phœnician king, and a skilful builder of temples. The Temple columns
referred to were called Jachin and Boaz, and were made of brass and set up
at the entrance; Boaz (_strength_) on the left hand, and Jachin
(_stability_) on the right. The Freemasons have adopted the names of these
pillars in their ceremonial and symbolism.

=Bernard de Mandeville= [THE MAN] (1670-1733) was a native of Rotterdam,
and the son of a physician who practised in that city. He studied medicine
at Leyden, and came to England "to learn the language." He did this with
such effect that it was doubted if he were a foreigner. He practised
medicine in London, and is known to fame by his celebrated book _The Fable
of the Bees_, a miscellaneous work which includes "_The Grumbling Hive, or
Knaves Turned Honest_; _An Inquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue_; _An
Essay on Charity Schools_; and _A Search into the Origin of Society_."
When, in 1705, the country was agitated by the question as to the
continuance of Marlborough's war with France, Mandeville published his
_Grumbling Hive_. All sorts of charges were being made against public
officials; every form of corruption and dishonesty was freely charged on
these persons, and it was in the midst of this agitation that Mandeville
humorously maintained that "private vices are public benefits,"--that
self-seeking, luxury, ambition, and greed are all necessary to the
greatness and prosperity of a nation. "Fools only strive to make a great
and honest hive." "The bees of his fable," says Professor Minto,
"grumbled, as many Englishmen were disposed to do,--cursed politicians,
armies, fleets, whenever there came a reverse, and cried, 'Had we but
honesty!'" Jove, at last, in a passion, swore that he would "rid the
canting hive of fraud," and filled the hearts of the bees with honesty and
all the virtues, strict justice, frugal living, contentment with little,
acquiescence in the insults of enemies. Straightway the flourishing hive
declined, till in time only a small remnant was left; this took refuge in
a hollow tree, "blest with content and honesty," but "destitute of arts
and manufactures." "He gives the name of virtue to every performance by
which man, contrary to the impulse of nature, should endeavour the benefit
of others, or the conquest of his own passions, out of a rational ambition
of being good"; while everything which, without regard to the public, man
should commit to gratify any of his appetites, is vice." He finds
self-love (a vice by the definition) masquerading in many virtuous
disguises, lying at the root of asceticism, heroism, public spirit,
decorous conduct,--at the root, in short, of all the actions that pass
current as virtuous." He taught that "the moral virtues are the political
offspring which flattery begot upon pride." Politicians and moralists have
worked upon man to make him believe he is a sublime creature, and that
self-indulgence makes him more akin to the brutes. In 1723 Mandeville
applied his analysis of virtue in respect to the then fashionable
institution of charity schools, and a great outcry was raised against his
doctrines. His book was presented to the justices, the grand jury of
Middlesex, and a copy was ordered to be burned by the common hangman. It
is probable that Mandeville was not serious in all he wrote; much of his
writings must be considered merely as a political _jeu d'esprit_. His was
an age of speculation upon ethical questions, and a humorous foreigner
could not but be moved to satirise English methods, which are frequently
peculiarly open to this kind of attack.

[THE POEM.] (_Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in their Day_:
London, 1887.) The sketch of Mandeville's opinion given above will afford
a key to the drift of Mr. Browning's poem. His aim is to point out the
great truths which, on a careful examination, will be found to underlie
much of the old philosopher's paradoxical teaching; not as understood by
fools, he says, but by those who let down their sounding line below the
turbid surface to the still depths where evil harmoniously combines with
good, Mandeville's teaching is worthy of examination. We must take life as
we find it, ever remembering that law deals the same with soul and body;
life's rule is short, infancy's probation is necessary to bodily
development; and we might as well expect a new-born infant to start up
strong, as the soul to stand in its full-statured magnificence without the
necessary faculty of growth. Law deals with body as with soul. Both, stung
to strength through weakness, strive for good through evil. And all the
while the process lasts men complain that "no sign, no stirring of God's
finger," indicates His preference for either. Never promptly and beyond
mistake has God interposed between oppression and its victim. But suppose
the Gardener of mankind has a definite purpose in view when he plants evil
side by side with good? How do we know that every growth of good is not
consequent on evil's neighbourhood? As it is certain that the garden was
planted by intelligence, would not the sudden and complete eradication of
evil repeal a primal law of the all-understanding Gardener? "But," retorts
the objector, "suppose these ill weeds were interspersed by an enemy?"
Man's faculty avails not to see the whole sight. When we examine the plan
of an estate, we do not ask where is the roof of the house--where the
door, the window. We do not seek a thing's solid self in its symbol:
looking at Orion on a starry night, who asks to see the man's flesh in the
star-points? If it be objected that we have no need of symbols, and that
we should be better taught by facts, it is answered that a myth may teach.
The rising sun thrills earth to the very heart of things; creation
acknowledges its life-giving impulse and murmurs not, but, unquestioning,
uses the invigorating beams. Is man alone to wait till he comprehends the
sun's self to realise the energy that floods the universe? Prometheus drew
the sun's rays into a focus, and made fire do man service. Thus to utilise
the sun's influence was better than striving to follow beam and beam upon
their way, till we faint in our endeavour to guess their infinitude of
action. The teaching of the poem is, that to make the best use of the
world as we find it, is wiser than torturing our brains to comprehend
mysteries which by their nature and our own weakness are insoluble.

=Bifurcation.= (_Pacchiarotto and other Poems_: London, 1876.) A woman
loves a man, but "prefers duty to love"--enters a convent, perhaps, or
adopts some life for reasons which she considers imperative, and so cannot
marry. Rejecting love, she thinks she rejects the tempter's bribe when the
paths before her diverge. It is a sacrifice, she feels, and a great one;
but her heart tells her, probably because it has been suggested by those
whose influence over her was very great, that heaven will repair the
wrongs of earth. She chooses the darkling half of life, and waits her
reward in the world "where light and darkness fuse." The man loved the
woman. Love was a hard path for him, but duty was a pleasant road. When
the ways parted, and his love forsook him to abide by duty, she told him
their roads would converge again at the end, and bade him be constant to
his path, as she would be to hers, that they might meet once more. But,
when the guiding star is gone, man's footsteps are apt to stray, and every
stumbling-block brought him to confusion. And after his falls and
flint-piercings he would rise and cry "All's well!" and struggle on, since
he must be content with one of the halves that make the whole. He would
have the story of each inscribed on their tomb, and he demands to know
which tomb holds sinner and which holds saint! If love be all--if earth
and its best be our highest aim--then the woman was the sinner for not
marrying her lover, and settling down in a suburban villa, and surrounding
herself with children and domestic pleasures. But if the ideal life--if a
love infinitely higher and purer than any earthly affection--be taken into
account; if in her soul she had heard the call, "Leave all and follow Me,"
and she obeyed with breaking heart, in a perfect spirit of self-sacrifice,
then was she no sinner, but saint indeed. Surely there are higher paths in
life than even the holy one of wedded love. Mr. Browning's own married
life was so ideally perfect that he has been led into some exaggeration of
its advantages to the mass of mankind.

=Bishop Blougram's Apology.= (_Men and Women_, vol. i., 1855.) Bishop
Blougram is a _bon vivant_, a man of letters, of fastidious taste and of
courtly manners--a typical Renaissance prince of the Church, in fact. He
has been successful in life, as he understands it, and there seems no
reason why he should make any apology for an existence so in every way
congenial to his nature. Mr. Gigadibs is a young literary man, smart at
"articles" for the magazines, but possessing no knowledge outside the
world of books, and incapable of deep thought on the great problems of
life and mind. He can settle everything off-hand in his flippant,
free-thinking style, and he has arrived at the conclusion that a man of
Blougram's ability cannot really believe in the doctrines which he
pretends to defend, and that he is only acting a part; as such a life
cannot be "ideal," he considers his host more or less of an impostor. By
some means he finds himself dining with the Bishop, and after dinner he is
treated to his lordship's "Apology." The ecclesiastic has taken the
measure of his man, and good-humouredly puts the case thus: "You say the
thing is my trade, that I am above the humbug in my heart, and sceptical
withal at times, and so you despise me--to be plain. For your own part you
must be free and speak your mind. You would not choose my position if you
could you would be great, but not in my way. The problem of life is not to
fancy what were fair if only it could be, but, taking life as it is, to
make it fair so far as we can. For a simile, we mortals make our
life-voyage each in his cabin. Suppose you attempt to furnish it after a
landsman's idea. You bring an Indian screen, a piano, fifty volumes of
Balzac's novels and a library of the classics, a marble bath, and an "old
master" or two; but the ship folk tell you you have only six feet square
to deal with, and because they refuse to take on board your piano, your
marble bath, and your old masters, you set sail in a bare cabin. You peep
into a neighbouring berth, snug and well-appointed, and you envy the man
who is enjoying his suitable sea furniture; you have proved your artist
nature, but you have no furniture. Imagine we are two college friends
preparing for a voyage; my outfit is a bishop's, why won't you be a bishop
too? In the first place, you don't and can't believe in a Divine
revelation; you object to dogmas, so overhaul theology; you think I am by
no means a fool, so that I must find believing every whit as hard as you
do, and if I do not say so, possibly I am an impostor. Grant that I do not
believe in the fixed and absolute sense--to meet you on your own
premise--overboard go my dogmas, and we both are unbelievers. Does that
fix us unbelievers for ever? Not so: all we have gained is, that as
unbelief disturbed us by fits in our believing days, so belief will ever
and again disturb our unbelief, for how can we guard our unbelief and make
it bear fruit to us? Just when we think we are safest a flower, a
friend's death, or a beautiful snatch of song, and lo! there stands before
us the grand Perhaps! The old misgivings and crooked questions all are
there--all demanding solution, as before. All we have gained by our
unbelief is a life of doubt diversified by faith, in place of one of faith
diversified by doubt. "But," says Gigadibs, "if I drop faith and you drop
doubt, I am as right as you!" Blougram will not allow this: "the points
are not indifferent; belief or unbelief bears upon life, and determines
its whole course; positive belief brings out the best of me, and bears
fruit in pleasantness and peace. Unbelief would do nothing of the sort for
me: you say it does for you? We'll try! I say faith is my waking life; we
sleep and dream, but, after all, waking is our real existence--all day I
study and make friends; at night I sleep. What's midnight doubt before the
faith of day? You are a philosopher; you disbelieve, you give to dreams at
night the weight I give to the work of active day; to be consistent, you
should keep your bed, for you live to sleep as I to wake--to unbelieve, as
I to still believe. Common-sense terms you bedridden: common-sense brings
its good things to me; so it's best believing if we can, is it not? Again,
if we are to believe at all, we cannot be too decisive in our faith; we
must be consistent in all our choice--succeed, or go hang in worldly
matters. In love we wed the woman we love most or need most, and as a man
cannot wed twice, so neither can he twice lose his soul. I happened to be
born in one great form of Christianity, the most pronounced and absolute
form of faith in the world, and so one of the most potent forms of
influencing the world. External forces have been allowed to act upon me by
my own consent, and they have made me very comfortable. I take what men
offer with a grace; folks kneel and kiss my hand, and thus is life best
for me; my choice, you will admit, is a success. Had I nobler instincts,
like you, I should hardly count this success; grant I am a beast, beasts
must lead beasts' lives; it is my business to make the absolute best of
what God has made. At the same time, I do not acknowledge I am so much
your inferior, though you do say I pine among my million fools instead of
living for the dozen men of sense who observe me, and even they do not
know whether I am fool or knave. Be a Napoleon, and if you disbelieve,
where's the good of it? Then concede there is just a chance: doubt may be
wrong--just a chance of judgment and a life to come. Fit up your cabin
another way. Shall we be Shakespeare? What did Shakespeare do? Why, left
his towers and gorgeous palaces to build himself a trim house in
Stratford. He owned the worth of things; he enjoyed the show and respected
the puppets too. Shakespeare and myself want the same things, and what I
want I have. He aimed at a house in Stratford--he got it; I aim at higher
things, and receive heaven's incense in my nose. Believe and get
enthusiasm, that's the thing. I can achieve nothing on the denying
side--ice makes no conflagration." Gigadibs says, "But as you really lack
faith, you run the same risk by your indifference as does the bold
unbeliever; an imperfect faith like that is not worth having; give me
whole faith or none!" Blougram fixes him here. "Own the use of faith, I
find you faith!" he replies. "Christianity may be false, but do you wish
it true? If you desire faith, then you've faith enough. We could not
tolerate pure faith, naked belief in Omnipotence; it would be like viewing
the sun with a lidless eye. The use of evil is to hide God. I would rather
die than deny a Church miracle." Gigadibs says, "Have faith if you will,
but you might purify it." Blougram objects that "if you first cut the
Church miracle, the next thing is to cut God Himself and be an atheist, so
much does humanity find the cutting process to its taste." If Gigadibs
says, "All this is a narrow and gross view of life," Blougram answers, "I
live for this world now; my best pledge for observing the new laws of a
new life to come is my obedience to the present world's requirements. This
life may be intended to make the next more intense. Man ever tries to be
beforehand in his evolution, as when a traveller throws off his furs in
Russia because he will not want them in France; in France spurns flannel
because in Spain it will not be required; in Spain drops cloth too
cumbrous for Algiers; linen goes next, and last the skin itself, a
superfluity in Timbuctoo. The poor fool was never at ease a minute in his
whole journey. I am at ease now, friend, worldly in this world, as I have
a right to be. You meet me," continues Blougram, "at this issue: you think
it better, if we doubt, to say so; act up to truth perceived, however
feebly. Put natural religion to the test with which you have just
demolished the revealed, abolish the moral law, let people lie, kill, and
thieve, but there are certain instincts, unreasoned out and blind, which
you dare not set aside; you can't tell why, but there they are, and there
you let them rule, so you are just as much a slave, liar, hypocrite, as
I--a conscious coward to boot, and without promise of reward. I but follow
my instincts, as you yours. I want a God--must have a God--ere I can be
aught, must be in direct relation with Him, and so live my life; yours,
you dare not live. Something we may see, all we cannot see. I say, I see
all: I am obliged to be emphatic, or men would doubt there is anything to
see at all" Then the Bishop turns upon his opponent and presses him:
"Confess, don't you want my bishopric, my influence and state? Why, you
will brag of dining with me to the last day of your life! There are men
who beat me,--the zealot with his mad ideal, the poet with all his life in
his ode, the statesman with his scheme, the artist whose religion is his
art--such men carry their fire within them; but you, you Gigadibs, poor
scribbler,--but not so poor but we almost thought an article of yours
might have been written by Dickens,--here's my card, its mere production,
in proof of acquaintance with me, will double your remuneration in the
reviews at sight. Go, write,--detest, defame me, but at least you cannot
despise me!" The average superficial reasoner is in the constant habit of
setting down as insincere such learned persons as make a profession of
faith in the dogmas of Christianity. The ordinary man of the world
considers the mass of Christian people as bound to their faith by the
fetters of ignorance. Such men, however, as it is impossible to term
ignorant, who profess to hold the dogmas of Christianity in their
integrity, are actuated, they say, by unworthy motives, self-interest, the
desire to make the best of both worlds, unwillingness to cast in their lot
with those who put themselves to the pain and discredit of thinking for
themselves, and casting off the fetters of superstition. So, say these
cynics, the dignified clergy of the Established Church repeat creeds which
they no longer believe, that they may live in splendour and enjoy the best
things of life, while the poorer clergy retain their positions as a decent
means of gaining a livelihood. When such flippant thinkers and impulsive
talkers contemplate the lives of such men as Cardinal Wiseman or Cardinal
Newman, who were acknowledged to be learned and highly cultivated men,
they say it is impossible such men can be sincere when they profess to
believe the teachings of the Catholic Church, which they hold to be
contemptible superstition; they must be actuated by unworthy motives, love
of power over men's minds, craving for worldly dignities and the adulation
of men and the like. That a man like Newman should give up his
intellectual life at Oxford "to perform mummeries at a Catholic altar" in
Birmingham, was plainly termed insanity, intellectual suicide, or sheer
knavery. The late Cardinal Wiseman was an exceedingly learned man, of
great scientific ability, and such admirable _bonhomie_ that this class of
critic had no difficulty whatever in relegating his Eminence to what was
considered his precise moral position. Mr. Browning in this monologue
accurately postulates the popular conception of the Cardinal's character
in the utterances of one Gigadibs, a young man of thirty who has rashly
expressed his opinions of the great churchman's religious character. The
poet, though completely failing to do justice to the Bishop's side of the
question, has presented us with a character perfectly natural, but which
in every aspect seems more the picture of an eighteenth-century
fox-hunting ecclesiastic than that of a bishop of the Roman Church, who
would have had a good deal more to say on the subject of faith as
understood by his Church than the poet has put into the mouth of his
Bishop Blougram. As it is impossible to see in the description given of
the Bishop anybody but the late Cardinal Wiseman, it is necessary to say
that the description is to the last degree untrue, as must have been
obvious to any one personally acquainted with him. A review of the poem
appeared in the magazine known as the _Rambler_, for January 1856, which
is credibly supposed to have been written by the Cardinal himself. "The
picture drawn in the poem," says the article in question, "is that of an
arch hypocrite, and the frankest of fools." The writer says that Mr.
Browning "is utterly mistaken in the very groundwork of religion, though
starting from the most unworthy notions of the work of a Catholic bishop,
and defending a self-indulgence which every honest man must feel to be
disgraceful, is yet in its way triumphant."

NOTES.--"_Brother Pugin_," a celebrated Catholic architect, who built many
Gothic churches for Catholic congregations in England. "_Corpus Christi
Day_," the Feast of the Sacrament of the Altar, literally the Body of
Christ; it occurs on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. _Che, che_, what,
what! _Count D'Orsay_ (1798-1852), a French savant, and an intellectual
dandy. "_Parma's pride--the Jerome_" the St. Jerome by Correggio, one of
the most important paintings in the Ducal Academy at Parma. There is a
curious story of the picture in Murray's Guide to North Italy. _Marvellous
Modenese_--the celebrated painter Correggio was born in the territory of
Modena, Italy. "_Peter's Creed, or rather, Hildebrand's_," Pope Hildebrand
(Gregory VII., 1073-85). The temporal power of the popes, and the
authority of the Papacy over sovereigns, were claimed by this pope. _Verdi
and Rossini_, Verdi wrote a poor opera, which pleased the audience on the
first night, and they loudly applauded. Verdi nervously glanced at
Rossini, sitting quietly in his box, and read the verdict in his face.
_Schelling_, Frederick William Joseph von, a distinguished German
philosopher (1775-1854). _Strauss_, David Friedrich (1808-74), who wrote
the Rationalistic _Life of Jesus_, one of the Tübingen philosophers. _King
Bomba_, a soubriquet given to Ferdinand II. (1810-59), late king of the
Two Sicilies; it means King Puffcheek, King Liar, King Knave. _lazzaroni_,
Naples beggars--so called from Lazarus. _Antonelli_, Cardinal, secretary
of Pope Pius IX., a most astute politician, if not a very devout
churchman. "_Naples' liquefaction._" The supposed miracle of the
liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius the Martyr. A small quantity of
the saint's blood in a solid state is preserved in a crystal reliquary;
when brought into the presence of the head of the saint it melts, bubbles
up, and, when moved, flows on one side. It is preserved in the great
church at Naples. On certain occasions, as on the feast of St. Januarius,
September 19th, the miracle is publicly performed. See Butler's _Lives of
the Saints_ for September 19th. The matter has been much discussed, but no
reasonable theory has been set up to account for it. Mr. Browning is quite
wrong in suggesting that belief in this, or any other of this class of
miracles, is obligatory on the Catholic conscience. A man may be a good
Catholic and believe none of them. He could not, of course, be a Catholic
and deny the miracles of the Bible, because he is bound to believe them on
the authority of the Church as well as that of the Holy Scriptures. Modern
miracles stand on no such basis. _Fichte_, Johann Gottlieb (1762-1814). An
eminent German metaphysician. He defined God as the _moral order_ of the
universe. "_Pastor est tui Dominus_," the Lord is thy Shepherd. _In
partibus, Episcopus_, A bishop _in partibus infidelium_. In countries
where the Roman Catholic faith is not regularly established, as it was not
in England before the time of Cardinal Wiseman, there were no bishops of
sees in the kingdom itself, but they took their titles from heathen lands;
so that an English bishop would perhaps be called Bishop of Mesopotamia
when he was actually appointed to London. This is now altered, so far as
this country is concerned.

="Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church, The"= (Rome, 15--.
_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics--Bells and Pomegranates_ No. VII.,
1845).--First published in _Hood's Magazine_, 1845, and the same year in
_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_; in 1863 it appeared under _Men and Women_:
St. Praxed or Praxedes. An old _title_ or parish church in Rome bears the
name of this saint. It was mentioned in the life of Pope Symmachus (A.D.
498-514). It was repaired by Adrian I. and Paschal I., and lastly by St.
Charles Borromeo, who took from it his title of cardinal. He died 1584;
there is a small monument to his memory now in the church. St. Praxedes,
Virgin, was the daughter of Pudens, a Roman senator, and sister of St.
Pudentiana. She lived in the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. She
employed all her riches in relieving the poor and the necessities of the
Church. The poem is a monologue of a bishop of the art-loving, luxurious,
and licentious Renaissance, who lies dying, and, instead of preparing his
soul for death, is engaged in giving directions about a grand tomb he
wishes his relatives to erect in his church. He has secured his niche, the
position is good, and he desires the monument shall be worthy of it. Mr.
Ruskin, in _Modern Painters_, vol. iv., pp. 377-79, says of this poem:
"Robert Browning is unerring in every sentence he writes of the Middle
Ages--always vital, right, and profound; so that in the matter of art,
with which we are specially concerned, there is hardly a principle
connected with the mediæval temper that he has not struck upon in these
seemingly careless and too rugged lines of his" (here the writer quotes
from the poem, "As here I lie, In this state chamber dying by degrees," to
"Ulpian serves his need!"). "I know no other piece of modern English prose
or poetry in which there is so much told, as in these lines, of the
Renaissance spirit--its worldliness, inconsistency, pride, hypocrisy,
ignorance of itself, love of art, of luxury, and of good Latin. It is
nearly all that I have said of the central Renaissance, in thirty pages
of the _Stones of Venice_, put into as many lines, Browning's also being
the antecedent work." It was inevitable that the great period of the
Renaissance should produce men of the type of the Bishop of St. Praxed's;
it would be grossly unfair to set him down as the type of the churchmen of
his time. As a matter of fact, the Catholic church was undergoing its
Renaissance also. The Council of Trent is better known by some historians
for its condemnation of heresies than for the great work it did in
reforming the morals of Catholic nations. The regulations which it
established for this end were fruitful in raising up in different
countries some of the noblest and most beautiful characters in the history
of Christianity. St. Charles Borromeo, archbishop of Milan, whose
connection with St. Praxed's Church is noticed above, was the founder of
Sunday-schools, the great restorer of ecclesiastical discipline and the
model of charity. St. Theresa rendered the splendour of the monastic life
conspicuous, leading a life wholly angelical, and reviving the fervour of
a great number of religious communities. The congregation of the Ursulines
and many religious orders established for the relief of corporeal
miseries--such as the Brothers Hospitallers, devoted to nursing the sick;
the splendid missionary works of St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis
Xavier--all these, and many other evidences of the awakening life of the
Catholic Church, were the products of an age which is as often
misrepresented as it is imperfectly understood. There were bishops of St.
Praxed's such as the poet has so inimitably sketched for us; but had there
been no others of a more Christian type, religion in southern Europe would
have died out instead of starting up as a giant refreshed to win, as it
did, the world for Christ. The worldly bishop of the poem is an "art for
art's sake" ecclesiastic, who is not at all anxious to leave a life which
he has found very satisfactory for a future state about which he has
neither anxiety nor concern. What he is concerned for is his tomb. His old
rival Gandolf has deprived him of the position in the church which he
longed for as a resting-place, but he hopes to make up for the loss by a
more tasteful and costly monument, with a more classical inscription than
his. The old fellow is as much Pagan as Christian, and his ornaments have
as much to do with the gods and goddesses of old Rome as with the Church
of which he is a minister. In all this Mr. Browning finely satirises the
Renaissance spirit, which, though it did good service to humanity in a
thousand ways, was much more concerned with flesh than spirit.

NOTES.--_Basalt_, trap rock of a black, bluish, or leaden-grey colour;
_peach-blossom marble_, an Italian marble used in decorations;
_olive-frail_ == a rush basket of olives; _lapis lazuli_, a mineral,
usually of a rich blue colour, used in decorations; _Frascati_ is a
beautiful spot on the Alban hills, near Rome; _antique-black_ == Nero
antico, a beautiful black stone; _thyrsus_, a Bacchanalian staff wrapped
with ivy, or a spear stuck into a pine-cone; _travertine_, a cellular
calc-tufa, abundant near Tivoli; _Tully's Latin_ == Cicero's, the purest
classic style; _Ulpian_, a Roman writer on law, chiefly engaged in
literary work (A.D. 211-22). "_Blessed mutter of the mass_"; To devout
Catholics the low monotone of the priest saying a low mass, in which there
is no music and only simple ceremonies, is more devotional than the high
mass, where there is much music and ritual to divert the attention from
the most solemn act of Christian worship; _mortcloth_, a funeral pall;
_elucescebat_, he was distinguished; _vizor_, that part of a helmet which
defends the face; _term_, a bust terminating in a square block of stone,
similar to those of the god Terminus; _onion-stone_ == cippolino,
cipoline, an Italian marble, white, with pale-green shadings.

=Blot in the 'Scutcheon, A.= (Part V. of _Bells and Pomegranates_, 1843.)
_A Tragedy._ Time, 17--. The story is exceedingly dramatic, though simple.
Thorold, Earl Tresham, is a monomaniac to family pride and conventional
morality: his ancestry and his own reputation absorb his whole attention,
and the wreck of all things were a less evil to him than a stain on the
family honour. He is the only protector of his motherless sister, Mildred
Tresham, who has in her innocence allowed herself to be seduced by Henry,
Earl Mertoun, whose estates are contiguous to those of the Treshams. He,
too, has a noble name, and he could have lawfully possessed the girl he
loved if he had not been deterred by a mysterious feeling of awe for Lord
Tresham, and had asked her in marriage. But he is anxious to repair the
wrong he has done, and the play opens with his visit to Thorold to
formally present himself as the girl's lover. Naturally the Earl, seeing
no objection to the match, makes none. The difficulty seems at an end;
but, unfortunately, Gerard, an old and faithful retainer, has seen a man,
night after night, climb to the lady's chamber, and has watched him leave.
He has no idea who the visitor might be, and, after some struggles with
contending emotions, decides to acquaint his master with the things which
he has seen. Thorold is in the utmost mental distress and perturbation,
and questions his sister in a manner that is as painful to him as to her.
She does not deny the circumstances alleged against her. Her brother is
overwhelmed with distress at the sudden disgrace brought upon his noble
line, and confounded at the idea of the attempt which has been made to
involve in his own disgrace the nobleman who has sought an alliance with
his family. Mildred refuses to say who her lover is, and weakly--as it
appears to her brother--determines to let things take the proposed course.
Naturally Thorold looks upon his sister as a degraded being who is dead to
shame and honour, and he rushes from her presence to wander in the grounds
in the neighbourhood of the house, till at midnight he sees the lover
Mertoun preparing to mount to his sister's room. They fight, and the Earl
falls mortally wounded. In the chamber above the signal-light in the
window has been placed as usual by Mildred, who awaits Thorold in her
room. He does not appear, and her heart tells her that her happiness is at
an end. Now she sees all her guilt, and the consequences of her
degradation to her family. In the midst of these agonising reflections her
brother bursts into her room. She sees at once that he has killed Mertoun,
sees also that he himself is dying of poison which he has swallowed. Her
heart is broken, and she dies. Mildred's cousin Gwendolen, betrothed to
the next heir to the earldom, Austin Tresham, is a quick, intelligent
woman, who saw how matters stood, and would have rectified them had it not
been rendered impossible by the adventure in the grounds, when the unhappy
young lover allowed Thorold to kill him. Mr. Forster, in his _Life of
Charles Dickens_ (Book iv. I), says: "This was the date [1842], too, of
Mr. Browning's tragedy of the _Blot in the 'Scutcheon_, which I took upon
myself, after reading it in the manuscript, privately to impart to
Dickens; and I was not mistaken in the belief that it would profoundly
touch him. 'Browning's play,' he wrote (November 25th), 'has thrown me
into a perfect passion of sorrow. To say that there is anything in its
subject save what is lovely, true, deeply affecting, full of the best
emotion, the most earnest feeling, and the most true and tender source of
interest, is to say that there is no light in the sun and no heat in
blood. It is full of genius, natural and great thoughts, profound and yet
simple and beautiful in its vigour. I know nothing that is so
affecting--nothing in any book I have ever read--as Mildred's recurrence
to that "I was so young--I had no mother!" I know no love like it, no
passion like it, no moulding of a splendid thing after its conception like
it. And I swear it is a tragedy that MUST be played; and must be played,
moreover, by Macready. There are some things I would have changed if I
could (they are very slight, mostly broken lines); and I assuredly would
have the old servant _begin his tale upon the scene_, and be taken by the
throat, or drawn upon, by his master in its commencement. But the tragedy
I never shall forget, or less vividly remember, than I do now. And if you
tell Browning that I have seen it, tell him that I believe from my soul
there is no man living (and not many dead) who could produce such a
work.'" Mr. Browning wrote the play in five days, at the suggestion of
Macready, who read it with delight. The poet had been led to expect that
Macready would play in it himself, but was annoyed to hear that he had
given the part he had intended to take to Mr. Phelps, then an actor quite
unknown. Evidently Macready expected that Mr. Browning would withdraw the
play. On the contrary, he accepted Phelps, who, however, was taken
seriously ill before the rehearsal began. The consequence was (though
there was clearly some shuffling on Macready's part) that the great
tragedian himself consented to take the part at the last moment. It is
evident that Macready had changed his mind. He had, however, done more: he
had changed the title to _The Sisters_, and had changed a good deal of the
play, even to the extent of inserting some lines of his own. Meanwhile,
Phelps having recovered, and being anxious to take his part, Mr. Browning
insisted that he should do so; and, to Macready's annoyance, the old
arrangement had to stand. The play was vociferously applauded, and Mr.
Phelps was again and again called before the curtain. Mr. Browning was
much displeased at the treatment he had received, but his play continued
to be performed to crowded houses. It was a great success also when Phelps
revived it at Sadlers Wells. Miss Helen Faucit (who afterwards became Lady
Martin) played the part of Mildred Tresham on the first appearance of
_The Blot_ in 1843. The Browning Society brought it out at St. George's
Hall on May 2nd, 1885; and again at the Olympic Theatre on March 15th,
1888, when Miss Alma Murray played Mildred Tresham in an ideally perfect
manner. It was, as the _Era_ said, "a thing to be remembered. From every
point of view it was admirable. Its passion was highly pitched, its
elocution pure and finished, and its expression, by feature and gesture,
of a quality akin to genius. The agonising emotions which in turn thrill
the girl's sensitive frame were depicted with intense truth and keen and
delicate art, and an excellent discretion defeated any temptation to
extravagance." It cannot be seriously held by any unprejudiced person that
_A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_ has within it the elements of success as an
acting play. The subject is unpleasant, the conduct of Thorold
monomaniacal and improbable, the wholesale dying in the last scene
"transpontine." The characters philosophise too much, and dissect
themselves even as they die. They come to life again under the stimulation
of the process, only to perish still more, and to make us speculate on the
nature of the poison which permitted such self-analysis, and on the nature
of the heart disease which was so subservient to the patient's
necessities. An analytic poet, we feel, is for the study, not for the
boards.

=Bluphocks.= (_Pippa Passes._) The vagabond Englishman of the poem. "The
name means _Blue-Fox_, and is a skit on the _Edinburgh Review_, which is
bound in a cover of blue and fox." (Dr. Furnivall.)

=Bombast.= The proper name of _Paracelsus_; "probably acquired," says Mr.
Browning in a note to _Paracelsus_, "from the characteristic phraseology
of his lectures, that unlucky signification which it has ever since
retained." This is not correct. Bombast, in German _bombast_, cognate with
Latin _bombyx_ in the sense of cotton. "Bombast, the cotton-plant growing
in Asia" (Phillips, _The New World of Words_). It was applied also to the
cotton wadding with which garments were lined and stuffed in Elizabeth's
time; hence inflated speech, fustian. (See Stubbes, _The Anatomy of
Abuses_, p. 23; Trench, _Encyc. Dict._, etc.)

=Boot and Saddle.= No. III. of the "Cavalier Songs," published in _Bells
and Pomegranates_ in 1842, under the title "Cavalier Tunes."

=Bottinius.= (_The Ring and the Book._) Juris Doctor Johannes-Baptista
Bottinius was the Fisc or Public Prosecutor and Advocate of the Apostolic
Chamber at Rome. The ninth book of the poem contains his speech as
prosecutor of Count Guido.

=Boy and the Angel, The.= (_Hood's Magazine_, vol. ii., 1844, pp. 140-42.)
Reprinted, revised, and with five fresh couplets, in "Dramatic Romances
and Lyrics" (1845), No. VII. _Bells and Pomegranates._ Theocrite was a
poor Italian boy who, morning, evening, noon and night, ever sang "Praise
God!" As he prayed well and loved God, so he worked well and served his
master faithfully and cheerfully. Blaise, the monk, heard him sing his
_Laudate_, and said: "I doubt not thou art heard, my son, as well as if
thou wert the Pope, praising God from Peter's dome this Easter day"; but
Theocrite said: "Would God I might praise Him that great way and die!"
That night there was no more Theocrite, and God missed the boy's innocent
praise. Gabriel the archangel came to the earth, took Theocrite's humble
place, and praised God as did the boy, only with angelic song,--playing
well, moreover, the craftsman's part, content at his poor work, doing
God's will on earth as he had done it in heaven. But God said: "There is
neither doubt nor fear in this praise; it is perfect as the song of my
new-born worlds; I miss my little human praise." Then the flesh disguise
fell from the angel, and his wings sprang forth again. He flew to Rome: it
was Easter Day, and the new pope Theocrite, once the poor work-lad, stood
in the tiring room by the great gallery from which the popes are wont to
bless the people on Easter morning, and he saw the angel before him, who
told him he had made a mistake in bringing him from his trade to set him
in that high place; he had done wrong, too, in leaving his angel-sphere:
the stopping of that infant praise marred creation's chorus; he must go
back, and once more that early way praise God--"back to the cell and poor
employ"; and so Theocrite grew to old age at his former home, and Rome had
a new pope, and the angel's error was rectified. Legends and stories of
saints, angels, and our Lord Himself, are common in all Catholic
countries, where these heavenly beings are far more real to the minds of
the people than they are to the colder intelligence of Protestant and more
logical lands. In southern Europe, hosts of such stories as these cluster
round our Lady and the Saints. The Holy Virgin does not disdain to take
her needle and sew buttons on the clothing of her worshippers, and the
angels and saints think nothing of a little domestic or trade employment
if it will assist their devout clients.

In _Notes and Queries_, 3rd Series, xii. 6, July 6, 1867, there appeared
two queries on this poem by "John Addis, Jun.": "1. What is the precise
inner meaning? 2. On what legend is it founded? With regard to my first
question, I see dimly in the poem a comparison of three kinds of
praise--viz., human, ceremonial, and angelic. Further, I see dimly a
contrasting of Gabriel's humility with Theocrite's ambition.... The poem
... has been recalled to me by reading 'Kyng Roberd of Cysillé' (Hazlitt's
_Early Popular Poetry_, vol. i., p. 264). There is a general analogy (by
contrast perhaps rather than likeness) between the two poems, which
points, I think, to the existence of a legend kindred to 'Kyng Roberd' as
the prototype of Browning's poem, rather than to 'Kyng Roberd' itself as
that prototype.... To 'Sir Gowghter' and the Jovinianus story of _Gesta
Romanorum_, I have not present access; but both I fancy (while akin to
'Kyng Roberd of Cysillé') have nothing in common with 'The Boy and the
Angel.'" At page 55 another correspondent says that according to Warton
(ii. 22), "'Sir Gowghter' is only another version of 'Robert the Devil,'
and therefore of 'King Roberd of Cysillé.' He goes on to say that
Longfellow has closely followed the old poem in 'King Robert of Sicily'
printed in _Tales of a Wayside Inn_; but no answer is given to Mr. Addis'
queries about 'The Boy and the Angel'" (_Browning Notes and Queries_, No.
13, Pt. I., vol. ii.) Leigh Hunt, in his _Jar of Honey_, chap. vi., gives
the story of King Robert of Sicily. We can only include the following
abbreviation here of the beautiful legend told so delightfully by the
great essayist.

One day, when King Robert of Sicily was hearing vespers on St. John's Eve,
he was struck by the words of the _Magnificat_--"Deposuit potentes de
sede, et exaltavit humiles" ("He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble"). He asked a chaplain near him what the words
meant; and when they were explained to him, scoffingly replied that men
like himself were not so easily put down, much less supplanted by those
contemptible poor folk. The chaplain was horrified, and made no reply, and
the king relieved his annoyance by going to sleep. After some time the
king awoke and found himself in the church with no creature present
except an old deaf woman who was dusting it. When the old lady saw the man
who was trying to make her hear, she cried "Thieves!" and scuttled off to
the door, closing it behind her. King Robert looked at the door, then at
the empty church, then at himself. His ermine robe was gone, his coronet,
his jewels, all the insignia of his royalty had disappeared. Raging at the
door, he demanded that it should be opened; but they only mocked him
through the keyhole and threatened him with the constable; but as the
sexton mocked the captive king the great door was burst open in his face,
for the king was a powerful man and had dashed it down with his foot. He
strode towards his palace, but they would not admit him, and to all his
raving replied "Madman!" Then the king caught sight of his face in a
glass, which he tore from the hands of one of his captains who was
admiring himself, and saw that he was changed: it was not his own face.
Fear came upon him: he knew it was witchcraft, and his violence was
increased when the bystanders laughed to hear him declare he was his
majesty changed. Next the attendants came from the palace to say the king
wanted to see the madman they had caught; and so he was taken to the
presence chamber, where he found himself face to face with another King
Robert, whom the changed king called "hideous impostor," which made the
court laugh consumedly, because the king on the throne was very handsome,
and the man who fell asleep in the church was very coarse and vulgar. And
now the latter could see that it was an angel who had taken his place, and
hated him accordingly. He was still more disgusted when the king told him
he would make him his court fool, because he was so amusing in his
violence; and he had to submit while they cut his hair and crowned the
king of fools with the cap and bells. King Robert then gave way, for he
felt he was in the power of the devil and it was no use to resist; and so
went out to sup with the dogs, as he was ordered. Matters went on in this
way for two years. The new king was good and kind to everybody except the
degraded monarch, whom he never tired of humiliating in every possible
way. At the end of two years the king went to visit his brother the Pope
and his brother the Emperor, and he dressed all his court magnificently,
except the fool, whom he arrayed in fox-tails and placed beside an ape.
The crowds of people who came out to see the grand procession laughed
heartily at the sorry figure cut by the poor fool. He, however, was glad
he was going to see the Pope, as he trusted the meeting would dispel the
magic by which he was enchained; but he was disappointed, for neither Pope
nor Emperor took the slightest notice of him. Now, it happened that day it
was again St. John's Eve, and again they were all at vespers singing: "He
hath put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted the humble." And now
with what different feelings he heard those words! The crowded church was
astonished to see the poor fool in his ridiculous disguise bathed in
tears, meekly kneeling in prayer, his head bowed in penitence and sorrow.
Somehow every one felt a little holier that day: Pope and Emperor wished
to be kinder and more sympathetic to their people, and the sermon went to
every one's heart, for it was all about charity and humility. After
service they told the angel-king of the singular behaviour of the fool. Of
course he knew all about it, though he did not say so; but he sent for the
fool, and, when he had him in private (except that the ape was there, to
whom the fool had become much attached), he asked him, "Art thou still a
king?" "I am a fool, and no king." "What wouldst thou, Robert?" asked the
angel gently. "What thou wouldst," replied poor King Robert. Then the
angel touched him, and he felt an inexpressible calm diffuse itself
through his whole being. He knelt, and began to thank the angel. "Not to
me," the heavenly being said--"not to me! Let us pray." They knelt in
prayer; and when the King rose from his knees the angel was gone, the
ermine was once more on the King's shoulder and the crown upon his brow;
his humiliation was over, but his pride never returned. He lived long and
reigned nobly, and died in the odour of sanctity. Mr. Browning may have
drawn upon some Italian legend for his story of Theocrite: it may even
have been suggested by the legend of King Robert; but he must have been so
familiar with the Catholic idea of the interest in human affairs taken by
angels and saints, that he might readily have invented the story. Nothing
can be easier to understand than its lesson. With God there is no great or
small, no lofty or mean, nothing common or unclean. To do the will of God
in the work lying nearest us, to praise God in our daily task and the
common things of life as they arise, this is better for us and more
acceptable service to Him than doing some great thing, as we, with our
false estimates of things, may be led to apprise it.

=By the Fireside.= (First published in vol. i. of _Men and Women_, 1855.)
A man of middle life and very learned is addressing his wife. He looks
forward to his old age, and prophesies how it will be passed. He will
pursue his studies; but, deep as he will be in Greek, his soul will have
no difficulty in finding its way back to youth and Italy, and he will
delight to reconstruct the scene in his imagination where he first made
all his own the heart of the woman who blessed him with her love and
became his wife. Once more he will be found on that mountain path, again
he will conjure from the past the Alpine scene by the ruined chapel in the
gorge, the poor little building where on feast days the priest comes to
minister to the few folk who live on the mountain-side. The bit of fresco
over the porch, the date of its erection, the bird which sings there, and
the stray sheep which drinks at the pond, the very midges dancing over the
water, and the lichens clinging to the walls,--all will be present, for it
was there heart was fused with heart, and two souls were blent in one.
"With whom else," he asks his wife, "dare he look backward or dare pursue
the path grey heads abhor?" Old age is dreaded by the young and
middle-aged, none care to think of it; but the speaker dreads it not, he
has a soul-companion from whom not even death can separate him, and with
the memory of this moment of irrevocable union he can face the bounds of
life undaunted. "The moment one and infinite," to which both their lives
had tended, had wrought this happiness for him that it could never cease
to bear fruit, never cease to hallow and bless his spirit; the mountain
stream had sought the lake below, and had lost itself in its bosom; two
lives were joined in one without a scar. "How the world is made for each
of us!" everything tending to a moment's product, with its infinite
consequences--the completion, in this case, of his own small life, whereby
Nature won her best from him in fitting him to love his wife. The

                    "great brow
    And the spirit small hand propping it,"

refer to Mrs. Browning, and the whole poem, though the incidents are
imaginary, is without doubt a confession of his love for her, and its
influence on his own spiritual development.



=Caliban upon Setebos; or, Natural Theology in the Island.= (_Dramatis
Personæ_, 1864.) The original of Caliban is the savage and deformed slave
of Shakespeare's _Tempest_. The island may be identified with the Utopia
(ουτοπος, the nowhere) of Hythloday. Setebos was the Patagonian god
(Settaboth in Pigafetta), which was by 1611 familiar to the hearers of
_The Tempest_. Patagonia was discovered by Magellan in 1520. The new
worlds which Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Gomara, Lane, Harriott and
Raleigh described, should, according to the popular fancy of the time, be
peopled by just such beings of bestial type as the Caliban of _The
Tempest_. The ancients thought the inhabitants of strange and distant
lands were half human, half brutal, and monstrous creatures, ogres, and
"anthropophagi, men who each other eat." The famous traveller Sir John
Mandeville, in the fourteenth century, describes "the land of Bacharie,
where be full evil folk and full cruel. In that country been many
Ipotaynes, that dwell sometimes in the water and sometimes on the land;
half-man and half-horse, and they eat men when they may take them." Marco
Polo (1254-1324) represents the Andaman Islanders as a most brutish savage
race, having heads, eyes and teeth resembling the canine species, who ate
human flesh raw and devoured every one on whom they could lay their hands.
The islander as monster was therefore familiar enough to English readers
in Shakespeare's time, and the date of the old book of travels "Purchas
his Pilgrimage," very nearly corresponding with the probable date of the
production of _The Tempest_, affords reasonable proof that the poet has
embodied the story given in that work of the pongo, the huge brute-man
seen by Andrew Battle in the kingdom of Congo, where he lived some nine
months. This pongo slept in the trees, building a roof to shelter himself
from the rain, and living wholly on nuts and fruits. Mr. Browning has
taken the Caliban of Shakespeare, "the strange fish legged like a man, and
his fins like arms," yet "no fish, but an islander that hath lately
suffered by a thunderbolt," and has evolved him into "a savage with the
introspective powers of a Hamlet and the theology of an evangelical
churchman." Shakespeare's monster did not speculate at all; he liked his
dinner, liked to be stroked and made much of, and was willing to be taught
how to name the bigger light and how the less. He could curse, and he
could worship the man in the moon; he could work for those who were kind
to him, and had a doglike attachment to Prospero. Mr. Browning's Caliban
has become a metaphysician; he talks Browningese, and reasons high

    "Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
    Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute."

He has studied Calvin's _Institutes of Theology_, and knows enough of St.
Augustine to caricature his teaching. Considered from the anthropologist's
point of view, the poem is not a scientific success; Caliban is a
degradation from a higher type, not a brute becoming slowly developed into
a man. Mr. Browning's early training amongst the Nonconformists of the
Calvinistic type had familiarised him with a theology which, up to fifty
years ago, was that of a very large proportion of the Independents, the
Baptists, and a considerable part of the Evangelical school in the Church
of England. Without some acquaintance with this theological system it is
impossible to understand the poem. At the head is a quotation from Psalm
l. 21, where God says to the wicked, "thou thoughtest that I was
altogether such an one as thyself," and the object of the poem is to
rebuke the anthropomorphic idea of God as it exists in minds of a narrow
and unloving type. It is not a satire upon Christianity, as has been
sometimes declared, but is an attempt to trace the evolution of the
concrete idea of God in a coarse and brutal type of mind. Man from his
advent on the earth has everywhere occupied himself in creating God in his
own image and likeness:

    "Make us a god, said man:
    Power first the voice obeyed;
    And soon a monstrous form
    Its worshippers dismayed."

The motto of the poem shows us how much nobler was the Hebrew conception
of God than that of the nations who knew Him not. The poem opens with
Caliban talking to himself in the third person, while he sprawls in the
mire and is cheating Prospero and Miranda, who think he is at work for
them. He begins to speculate on the Supreme Being--Setebos: he thinks His
dwelling-place is the moon, thinks He made the sun and moon, but not the
stars--the clouds and the island on which he dwells; he has no idea of
any land beyond that which is bounded by the sea. He thinks creation was
the result of God being ill at ease. The cold which He hated and which He
was powerless to change impelled Him. So He made the trees, the birds and
beasts and creeping things, and made everything in spite. He could not
make a second self to be His mate, but made in envy, listlessness or sport
all the things which filled the island as playthings. If Caliban could
make a live bird out of clay, he would laugh if the creature broke his
brittle clay leg; he would play with him, being his and merely clay. So he
(Setebos). It would neither be right nor wrong in him, neither kind nor
cruel--merely an act of the Divine Sovereignty. If Caliban saw a
procession of crabs marching to the sea, in mere indifferent playfulness
he might feel inclined to let twenty pass and then stone the twenty-first,
pull off a claw from one with purple spots, give a worm to a third fellow,
and two to another whose nippers end in red, all the while "Loving not,
hating not, just choosing so!" [Apart from revelation, mankind has not
reached the conception of the Fatherhood of God, whose tender mercies are
over all His works. The gods of the heathen are gods of caprice, of malice
and purposeless interference with creatures who are not the sheep of their
pastures, but the playthings of unloving Lords.] But he will suppose God
is good in the main; He has even made things which are better than
Himself, and is envious that they are so, but consoles Himself that they
can do nothing without Him. If the pipe which, blown through, makes a
scream like a bird, were to boast that it caught the birds, and made the
cry the maker could not make, he would smash it with his foot. That is
just what God Setebos does; so Caliban must be humble, or pretend to be.
But why is Setebos cold and ill at ease? Well, Caliban thinks there may be
a something over Setebos, that made Him, something quiet, impassible--call
it The Quiet. Beyond the stars he imagines The Quiet to reside, but is not
much concerned about It. He plays at being simple in his way--makes
believe: so does Setebos. His mother, Sycorax, thought The Quiet made all
things, and Setebos only troubled what The Quiet made. Caliban does not
agree with that. If things were made weak and subject to pain they were
made by a devil, not by a good or indifferent being. No! weakness and pain
meant sport to Him who created creatures subject to them. Setebos makes
things to amuse himself, just as Caliban does; makes a pile of turfs and
knocks it over again. So Setebos. But He is a terrible as well as a
malicious being; His hurricanes, His high waves, His lightnings are
destructive, and Caliban cannot contend with His force, neither can he
tell that what pleases Him to-day will do so to-morrow. We must all live
in fear of Him therefore, till haply The Quiet may conquer Him. All at
once a storm comes, and Caliban feels that he was a fool to gibe at
Setebos. He will lie flat and love Him, will do penance, will eat no
whelks for a month to appease Him.

There are few, if any, systems of theology which escape one or other of
the arrows of this satire. Anthropomorphism in greater or less degree is
inseparable from our conceptions of the Supreme. The abstract idea of God
is impossible to us, the concrete conception is certain to err in making
God to be like ourselves. That the Almighty must in Himself include all
that is highest and noblest in the soul of man is a right conception, when
we attribute to Him our weaknesses and failings we are but as Caliban. The
doctrine of election, and the hideous doctrine of reprobation, are most
certainly aimed at in the line--

    "Loving not, hating not, just choosing so."

The doctrine of reprobation is thus stated in the Westminster Confession
of Faith, iii. 7. "The rest of mankind [_i.e._ all but the elect] God was
pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He
extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His
sovereign power over His creatures to pass by, and to ordain them to
dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious grace."
Calvin, in his _Institutes of the Christian Religion_, taught that "God
has predestinated some to eternal life, while the rest of mankind are
predestinated to condemnation and eternal death" (_Encyc. Brit._ iv., art.
"Calvin," p. 720).

=Camel Driver, A.= (Punishment by Man and by God: _Ferishtah's Fancies_,
7.) A murderer had been executed, the criminal acknowledging the justice
of his punishment, but lamenting that the man who prompted him to evil had
escaped; the murderer reflected with satisfaction that God had reserved a
hell for him. But punishment is only man's trick to teach; if he could see
true repentance in the sinner's soul, the fault would not be repeated.
God's process in teaching or punishing nowise resembles man's. Man lumps
his kind in the mass, God deals with each individual soul as though they
two were alone in the universe, "Ask thy lone soul what laws are plain to
thee," said Ferishtah, "then stand or fall by them!" Ignorance that sins
is safe,--our greatest punishment is knowledge. No other hell will be
needed for any man than the reflection that he deliberately spurned the
steps which would have raised him to the regard of the Supreme. In the
Lyric it is complained that mankind is over-severe with mere
imperfections, which it magnifies into crimes; but the greater faults,
which should have been crushed in the egg, are either not suspected at all
or actually praised as virtues.

=Caponsacchi= (_The Ring and the Book_), the chivalrous priest, Canon of
Arezzo, who aided Pompilia in her flight to Rome from the tyranny of Count
Guido.

=Cardinal and the Dog, The.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) The Papal Legate, at the
later sessions of the Council of Trent in 1551 and 1552, was Marcel
Crescenzio, who came of a noble Roman family. At the fifteenth session of
the Council (March 20th, 1552) he was writing to the Pope nearly the whole
night, although he was ill at the time; and as he rose from his seat he
saw a black dog of great size, with flaming eyes and ears hanging down to
the ground, which sprang into the chamber, making straight for him, and
then stretched himself under the table where Crescenzio wrote. He called
his servants and ordered them to turn out the beast, but they found none.
Then the Cardinal fell melancholy, took to his bed and died. As he lay on
his death-bed at Verona he cried aloud to every one to drive away the dog
that leapt on his bed, and so passed away in horror. The poem was written
at the request of William Macready, the eldest son of the great actor. He
asked the poet to write something which he might illustrate. This was in
1840, but the work was only published in the _Asolando_ volume in 1889.
Howling dogs have from remote times been connected with death. In Ossian
we have: "The mother of Culmin remains in the hall--his dogs are howling
in their place--'Art thou fallen, my fair-haired son, in Erin's dismal
war?'" There is no doubt that the howling of the wind suggested the idea
of a great dog of death. The wind itself was a magnified dog, heard but
not seen. Burton, in _The Anatomy of Melancholy_, says (Part I., sect ii.,
mem. 1, subs. 2): "Spirits often foretell men's death by several signs,
as knockings, groanings, etc., though Rich. Argentine, c. 18, _De
præstigiis dæmonum_, will ascribe these predictions to good angels, out of
the authority of Ficinus and others; prodigies frequently occur at the
deaths of illustrious men, as in the Lateran Church in Rome the popes'
deaths are foretold by Sylvester's tomb. Many families in Europe are so
put in mind of their last by such predictions; and many men are forewarned
(if we may believe Paracelsus) by familiar spirits in divers shapes--as
cocks, crows, owls--which often hover about sick men's chambers." The dog
is such a faithful friend of man that we are unwilling to believe him,
even in spirit-form, the harbinger of evil to any one. Cardinal
Crescenzio, had he been a vivisector, would have been very appropriately
summoned to his doom in the manner described in the poem. If the men who,
like Professor Rutherford of Edinburgh University, boast of their ruthless
torturing of dogs by hundreds, should ever find themselves in Cardinal
Crescenzio's plight, there would be a fitness in things we could readily
appreciate. The devil in the form of a great black dog is a familiar
subject with mediæval historians. Not all black dogs were evil,
though--for example, the black dog which St. Dominic's mother saw before
the birth of the saint. Some of the animals called dogs were probably
wolves; but even these appeared not entirely past redemption, such as the
one of which we read in the _Golden Legend_, who was converted by the
preaching of St. Francis, and shed tears of repentance, and became as meek
as a lamb, following the saint to every town where he preached! Such is
the power of love. In May 1551 the eleventh session of the Council of
Trent was held, under the presidency of Cardinal Crescenzio, sole legate
in title, but with two nuncios--Pighini and Lippomani. It was merely
formal, as was also the twelfth session, in September 1551. It was
Crescenzio who refused all concession, even going so far as to abstract
the Conciliar seal, lest the safe-conduct to the Protestant theologians
should be granted. He was, however, forced to yield to pressure, and had
to receive the Protestant envoys in a private session at his own house.
The legate in April 1552 was compelled to suspend the Council for two
years, in consequence of the perils of war. There was a general stampede
from Trent at once, and the legate Crescenzio, then very ill, had just
strength to reach Verona, where he died three days after his arrival
(_Encyc. Brit._, art. "Trent," vol. xxiii.). Moreri (_Dict. Hist._) tells
the story in almost the same way as Mr. Browning has given it, and adds:
"It could have been invented only by ill-meaning people, who lacked
respect for the Council."

=Carlisle, Lady.= (_Strafford._) Mr. Browning says: "The character of Lady
Carlisle in the play is wholly imaginary," but history points clearly
enough to the truth of Mr. Browning's conception.

=Cavalier Tunes.= (Published first in _Bells and Pomegranates_ in 1842.)
Their titles are: "Marching Along," "Give a Rouse," and "Boot and Saddle."
Villiers Stanford set them to music.

=Cenciaja.= (_Pacchiarotto, with other Poems_, London, 1876.)

    "Ogni cencio vuol entrare in bucato."

The explanation of the title of this poem, as also of the Italian motto
which stands at its head, is given in the following letter written by the
poet to Mr. Buxton Forman:--

    "19, WARWICK CRESCENT, W., _July 27th, '76_.

    "DEAR MR. BUXTON FORMAN,--There can be no objection to such a simple
    statement as you have inserted, if it seems worth inserting. 'Fact,'
    it is. Next: 'Aia' is generally an accumulative yet depreciative
    termination. 'Cenciaja,' a bundle of rags--a trifle. The proverb means
    'every poor creature will be pressing into the company of his
    betters,' and I used it to deprecate the notion that I intended
    anything of the kind. Is it any contribution to 'all connected with
    Shelley,' if I mention that my 'Book' (_The Ring and the Book_)
    [rather the 'old square yellow book,' from which the details were
    taken] has a reference to the reason given by Farinacci, the advocate
    of the Cenci, of his failure in the defence of Beatrice? 'Fuisse
    punitam Beatricem' (he declares) 'pœnâ ultimi supplicii, non quia
    ex intervallo occidi mandavit insidiantem suo honori, sed quia ejus
    exceptionem non probavi tibi. Prout, et idem firmiter sperabatur de
    sorore Beatrice si propositam excusationem probasset, prout non
    probavit.' That is, she expected to avow the main outrage, and did
    not; in conformity with her words, 'That which I ought to confess,
    that will I confess; that to which I ought to assent, to that I
    assent; and that which I ought to deny, that will I deny.' Here is
    another Cenciaja!

    "Yours very sincerely, ROBERT BROWNING."

The opening lines of the poem refer to Shelley's terrible tragedy, _The
Cenci_, in the preface to which the story on which the work is founded, is
briefly told as follows: "A manuscript was communicated to me during my
travels in Italy, which was copied from the archives of the Cenci Palace
at Rome, and contains a detailed account of the horrors which ended in the
extinction of one of the noblest and richest families of that city, during
the pontificate of Clement VIII., in the year 1599. The story is, that an
old man, having spent his life in debauchery and wickedness, conceived at
length an implacable hatred towards his children; which showed itself
towards one daughter under the form of an incestuous passion, aggravated
by every circumstance of cruelty and violence. This daughter, after long
and vain attempts to escape from what she considered a perpetual
contamination both of body and mind, at length plotted with her
mother-in-law and brother to murder their common tyrant. The young maiden,
who was urged to this tremendous deed by an impulse which overpowered its
horror, was evidently a most gentle and amiable being; a creature formed
to adorn and be admired, and thus violently thwarted from her nature by
the necessity of circumstances and opinion. The deed was quickly
discovered; and, in spite of the most earnest prayers made to the Pope by
the highest persons in Rome, the criminals were put to death. The old man
had, during his life, repeatedly bought his pardon from the Pope for
capital crimes of the most enormous and unspeakable kind, at the price of
a hundred thousand crowns; the death, therefore, of his victims can
scarcely be accounted for by the love of justice. The Pope, among other
motives for severity, probably felt that whosoever killed the Count Cenci
deprived his treasury of a certain and copious source of revenue." This
explanation is exactly what might be expected from a priest-hater and
religion-despiser like Shelley. The _Encyclopædia Britannica_, in the
article on Clement VIII., says: "Clement was an able ruler and a sagacious
statesman. He died in March 1605, leaving a high character for prudence,
munificence, and capacity for business." Mr. Browning's contribution to
the Cenci literature affords a more reasonable motive for refusing to
spare the lives of the Cenci. Sir John Simeon lent the poet a copy of an
old chronicle, of which he made liberal use in the poem we are
considering. According to this account, the Pope would probably have
pardoned Beatrice had not a case of matricide occurred in Rome at the
time, which determined him to make an example of the Cenci. The Marchesa
dell' Oriolo, a widow, had just been murdered by her younger son, Paolo
Santa Croce. He had quarrelled with his mother about the family rights of
his elder brother, and killed her because she refused to aid him in an act
of injustice. Having made his escape, he endeavoured to involve his
brother in the crime, and the unfortunate young man was beheaded, although
he was perfectly innocent. In _Cenciaja_ Mr. Browning throws light on the
tragic events of the Cenci story. When Clement was petitioned on behalf of
the family, he said: "She must die. Paolo Santa Croce murdered his mother,
and he is fled; she shall not flee at least!"

=Charles Avison.= [THE MAN.] (_Parleyings with Certain People of
Importance in their Day._ 1887. No. VII.) "Charles Avison, a musician, was
born in Newcastle about 1710, and died in the same town in 1770. He
studied in Italy, and on his return to England became a pupil of
Geminiani. He was appointed organist of St. Nicholas' Church, Newcastle,
in 1736. In 1752 appeared his celebrated _Essay on Musical Expression_,
which startled the world by the boldness with which it put the French and
Italian schools of music above the German, headed by Handel himself. This
book led to a controversy with Dr. Hayes, in which, according to the
_Dictionary of National Biography_, from which we take the facts, 'Hayes
had the best of the argument, though Avison was superior from a literary
point of view.' Avison, who is reported to have been a man of great
culture and polish, published several sets of sonatas and concertos, but
there are probably few persons at the present day who have ever heard any
of his music." (_Pall Mall Gazette_, Jan. 18th, 1887.)

[THE POEM.] This is a criticism of the province and office of music in its
influence on the mind of man.

    "There is no truer truth obtainable
    By man, than comes of music,"

says Mr. Browning. Underneath Mind rolls the unsounded sea--the Soul.
Feeling from out its deeps emerges in flower and foam.

    "Who tells of, tracks to source the founts of Soul?"

Music essays to solve how we feel, to match feeling with knowledge.
Manifest Soul's work on Mind's work, how and whence come the hates, loves,
joys, hopes and fears that rise and sink ceaselessly within us? Of these
things Music seeks to tell. Art may arrest some of the transient moods of
Soul; Poetry discerns, Painting is aware of the seething within the gulf,
but Music outdoes both: dredging deeper yet, it drags into day the abysmal
bottom growths of Soul's deep sea.

NOTES.--ii., "_March_": Avison's _Grand March_ was possessed in MS. by
Browning's father. The music of the march is added to the poem. iv.,
"_Great John Relfe_": Browning's music master--a celebrated contrapuntist.
_Buononcini, Giovanni Battista_, Italian musician. He was a gifted
composer, declared by his clique to be infinitely superior to Handel, with
whom he wrote at one time in conjunction. _Geminiani, Francesco_, Italian
violinist (1680-1762). He came to London under the protection of the Earl
of Essex in 1714. His musical opinions are said to have had no foundation
in truth or principle. _Pepusch, John Christopher_, an eminent theoretical
musician, born at Berlin about 1667. He performed at Drury Lane in about
1700. He took the degree of Mus. Doc. at Oxford at the same time with
Croft, 1713. He was organist at the Charter-House, and died in 1752. v.,
_Hesperus_. The song to the Evening Star in _Tannhauser_, "O Du mein
holder Abendstern," is referred to here (Mr. A. Symons). viii.,
"_Radamista_," the name of an opera by Handel, first performed at the
Haymarket in 1720. "_Rinaldo_," the name of the opera composed by Handel,
and performed under his direction at the Haymarket for the first time on
Feb. 24th, 1711. xv., "_Little Ease_," an uncomfortable punishment similar
to the stocks or the pillory.

=Charles I.= (_Strafford._) The character of this king, who basely
sacrifices his best friend Strafford, is founded in fact, but his weakness
and meanness are doubtless exaggerated by the poet--to show his meaning,
as the artists say.

=Cherries.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, 9.) "On Praise and Thanksgiving." All
things are great and small in their degree. A disciple objects to
Ferishtah that man is too weak to praise worthily the All-mighty One; he
is too mean to offer fit praise to Heaven,--let the stars do that! The
dervish tells a little story of a subject of the Shah who came from a
distant part of the realm, and wandered about the palace wonderingly, till
all at once he was surprised to find a nest-like little chamber with his
own name on the entry, and everything arranged exactly to his own peculiar
taste. Yet to him it was as nothing: he had not faith enough to enter into
the good things provided for him. He tells another story. Two beggars owed
a great sum to the Shah. This one brought a few berries from his
currant-bush, some heads of garlic, and five pippins from a seedling tree.
This was his whole wealth; he offered that in payment of his debt. It was
graciously received; teaching us that if we offer God all the love and
thanks we can, it will gratify the Giver of all good none the less because
our offering is small, and lessened by admixture with lower human motives.
For the grateful flavour of the cherry let us lift up our thankful hearts
to Him who made that, the stars, and us. We know why He made the
cherry,--why He made Jupiter we do not know. The Lyric compares
verse-making with love-making. Verse-making is praising God by the stars,
too great a task for man's short life; but love-making has no depths to
explore, no heights to ascend; love now will be love evermore: let us give
thanks for love, if we cannot offer praise the poet's own great way.

=Chiappino.= (_A Soul's Tragedy._) The bragging friend of Luitolfo, who
was compelled to be noble against his inclination, and who became "the
twenty-fourth leader of a revolt" ridiculed by the legate.

="Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came."= (_Men and Women_, 1855;
_Romances_, 1863; _Dramatic Romances_, 1868.) The story of a knight who
has undertaken a pilgrimage to a certain dark tower, the way to which was
full of difficulties and dangers, and the right road quite unknown to the
seeker. Those who had preceded him on the path had all failed, and he
himself is no sooner fairly engaged in the quest than he is filled with
despair, but is impelled to go on. At the stage of his journey which is
described in the poem he meets a hoary cripple, who gives him directions
which he consents to follow, though with misgivings. The day was drawing
to a close, the road by which he entered on the path to the tower was
gone; when he looked back, nothing remained but to proceed. Nature all
around was starved and ignoble: flowers there were none; some weeds that
seemed to thrive in the wilderness only added to its desolation; dock
leaves with holes and rents, grass as hair in leprosy; and wandering on
the gloomy plain, one stiff, blind horse, all starved and stupefied,
looking as if he were thrust out of the devil's stud. The pilgrim tried to
think of earlier, happier sights: of his friend Cuthbert--alas! one
night's disgrace left him without that friend; of Giles, the soul of
honour, who became a traitor, spit upon and curst. The present horror was
better than these reflections on the past. And now he approached a petty,
yet spiteful river, over which black scrubby alders hung, with willows
that seemed suicidal. He forded the stream, fearing to set his foot on
some dead man's cheek; the cry of the water-rat sounded as the shriek of a
baby. And as he toiled on he saw that ugly heights (mountains seemed too
good a name to give such hideous heaps) had given place to the plain, and
two hills in particular, couched like two bulls in fight, seemed to
indicate the place of the tower. Yes! in their midst was the round, squat
turret, without a counterpart in the whole world. The sight was as that of
the rock which the sailor sees too late to avoid the crash that wrecks his
ship. The very hills seemed watching him; he seemed to hear them cry,
"Stab and end the creature!" A noise was everywhere, tolling like a bell;
he could hear the names of the lost adventurers who had preceded him.
There they stood to see the last of him. He saw and knew them all, yet
dauntless set the horn to his lips and blew, "_Childe Roland to the Dark
Tower came_."

NOTES.--At the head of the poem is a note: "See Edgar's song in _Lear_."
In Act III., scene iv., Edgar, disguised as a madman, says, while the
storm rages: "Who gives anything to poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led
through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, over bog and
quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and halters in his pew;
set ratsbane by his porridge; made him proud of heart to ride on a bay
trotting-horse over four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
traitor.--Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold.--O do de, do de, do,
de.----Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom
some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes." At the end of the scene Edgar
sings:--

    "Childe Rowland to the dark tower came,
      His word was still,--Fie, foh, and fum
    I smell the blood of a British man."

"Childe Roland was the youngest brother of Helen. Under the guidance of
Merlin he undertook to bring back his sister from elf-land, whither the
fairies had carried her, and he succeeded in his perilous exploit."--Dr.
Brewer. (See the ancient Ballade of _Burd Helen_.) _Childe_ was a term
specially applied to the scions of knightly families before their
admission to the degree of knighthood, as "Chyld Waweyn, Loty's Sone"
(_Robert of Gloucester_).

This wonderful poem, one of the grandest pieces of word-painting in our
language, has exercised the ingenuity of Browning students more than any
other of the poet's works. _Sordello_ is difficult to understand, but it
was intended by the poet to convey a definite meaning and important
lessons, but _Childe Roland_, we have been warned again and again, was
written without any moral purpose whatever. "We may see in it," says Mrs.
Orr, "a poetic vision of life.... The thing we may not do is to imagine
that we are meant to recognise it." A paper was read at the Browning
Society on this poem by Mr. Kirkman (_Browning Society Papers_, Part iii.,
p. 21) suggesting an interpretation of the allegory. In the discussion
which followed, Dr. Furnivall said "he had asked Browning if it was an
allegory, and in answer had, on three separate occasions, received an
emphatic 'no'; that it was simply a dramatic creation called forth by a
line of Shakespeare's. Browning had written it one day in Paris, as a
vivid picture suggested by Edgar's line; the horse was suggested by the
figure of a red horse in a piece of tapestry in Browning's house....
Still, Dr. Furnivall thought, it was quite justifiable that any one should
use the poem to signify whatever image it called up in his own mind. But
he must not confuse the poet's mind with his. The poem was _not_ an
allegory, and was never meant to be one." The Hon. Roden Noel, who was in
the chair on this occasion, said "he himself had never regarded _Childe
Roland_ as having any hidden meaning; nor had cared so to regard it. But
words are mystic symbols: they mean more, very often, than the utterer of
them, poet or puppet, intended." When some one asked Mendelssohn what he
meant by his _Lieder ohne Worte_, the musician replied that "they meant
what they said." A poem so consistent as a whole, with a narrative in
which every detail follows in a perfectly regular and natural sequence,
must inevitably convey to the thinking mind some great and powerful idea,
suiting itself to his view of life considered as a journey or pilgrimage.
The wanderings of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land
may be considered simply as a historical event, like the migrations of the
Tartars or the Northmen; or they may be viewed as an allegory of the
Christian life, like Bunyan's immortal dream. The historian of the Exodus
could never have had in his mind all the interpretations put upon the
incidents which he recorded; yet we have the warrant of St. Paul for
allegorising the story. Any narrative of a journey through a desert to a
definite end held in view throughout the way, is certain to be pounced
upon as an allegory; and it is impossible but that Mr. Browning must have
had some notion of a "central purpose" in his poem. Indeed, when the Rev.
John W. Chadwick visited the poet, and asked him if constancy to an
ideal--"He that endureth to the end shall be saved"--was not a sufficient
understanding of the central purpose of the poem, he said, "Yes, just
about that." Mr. Kirkman, in the paper already referred to, says, "There
are overwhelming reasons for concluding that this poem describes, after
the manner of an allegory, the sensations of a sick man very near to
death--_Rabbi Ben Ezra_ and _Prospice_--are the two angels that lead on to
_Childe Roland_." Mr. Nettleship, in his well-known essay on the poem,
says the central idea is this: "Take some great end which men have
proposed to themselves in life, which seemed to have truth in it, and
power to spread freedom and happiness on others; but as it comes in sight,
it falls strangely short of preconceived ideas, and stands up in hideous
prosaicness." Mrs. James L. Bagg, in the _Interpretation of Childe
Roland_, read to the Syracuse (U.S.) Browning Club, gives the following on
the lesson of the poem:--"The secrets of the universe are not to be
discovered by exercise of reason, nor are they to be reached by flights of
fancy, nor are duties loyally done to be recompensed by revealment. A life
of _becoming_, _being_, and _doing_, is not loss, nor failure, nor
discomfiture, though the dark tower for ever tantalise and for ever
withhold." Some have seen in the poem an allegory of _Love_, others of
_the Search after Truth_. Others, again, understand the Dark Tower to
represent Unfaith, and the obscure land that of Doubt--Doubting Castle and
the By-Path Meadow of John Bunyan, in short. For my own part, I see in the
allegory--for I can consider it no other--a picture of the Age of
Materialistic Science, a "science falsely so called," which aims at the
destruction of all our noblest ideals of religion and faith in the unseen.
The pilgrim is a truth-seeker, misdirected by the lying spirit--the hoary
cripple, unable to be or do anything good or noble himself; in him I see
the cynical, destructive critic, who sits at our universities and
colleges, our medical schools and our firesides, to point our youth to the
desolate path of Atheistic Science, a science which strews the ghastly
landscape with wreck and ruthless ruin, with the blanching bones of
animals tortured to death by its "engines and wheels, with rusty teeth of
steel"--a science which has invaded the healing art, and is sending
students of medicine daily down the road where surgeons become
cancer-grafters (as the Paris and Berlin medical scandals have revealed),
and where physicians gloat over their animal victims--

          "Toads in a poisoned tank,
    Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage,"

in their passion to reach the dark tower of Knowledge, which to them has
neither door nor window. The lost adventurers are the men who, having
followed this false path, have failed, and who look eagerly for the next
fool who comes to join the band of the lost ones. "In the Paris School of
Medicine," says Mr. Lilly in his _Right and Wrong_, "it has lately been
prophesied that, 'when the rest of the world has risen to the intellectual
level of France, the present crude and vulgar notions regarding morality,
religion, Divine providence, and so forth, will be swept entirely away,
and the dicta of science will remain the sole guide of sane and educated
men.'" Had Mr. Browning intended to write for us an allegory in aid of our
crusade, a sort of medical Pilgrim's Progress, he could scarcely have
given the world a more faithful picture of the spiritual ruin and
desolation which await the student of medicine who sets forth on the fatal
course of an experimental torturer. I have good authority for saying that,
had Mr. Browning seen this interpretation of his poem, he would have
cordially accepted it as at least one legitimate explanation. Most of the
commentators agree that when Childe Roland "dauntless set the slug horn to
his lips and blew '_Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came_,'" he did so as
a warning to others that he had failed in his quest, and that the way of
the Dark Tower was the way of destruction and death.

=Christmas Eve.= (_Christmas Eve and Easter Day_: London, 1850.) Two poems
on the same subject from different points of view. The scene is a country
chapel, a barnlike structure, from which ornament has been rigorously
excluded, not so much on account of want of funds as horror of anything
which should detract from "Gospel simplicity." The night is stormy, and
Christmas Day must have fallen on a Monday that year, or surely no
worshippers in that building would have troubled themselves about keeping
the vigil of such a "Popish feast" as Christmas. It must have been Sunday
night as well as Christmas Eve, that year of '49. The congregation eyed
the stranger "much as some wild beast," for "not many wise" were called to
worship in their particular way, and the stranger was evidently not of
their faith or class. In came the flock: the fat woman with a wreck of an
umbrella; the little old-faced, battered woman with the baby, wringing the
ends of her poor shawl soaking with the rain; then a "female something" in
dingy satins; next a tall, yellow man, like the Penitent Thief; and from
him, as from all, the interloper got the same surprised glance. "What,
you, Gallio, here!" it expressed. And so, after a shoemaker's lad, with a
wet apron round his body and a bad cough inside it, had passed in, the
interloper followed and took his place, waiting for his portion of New
Testament meat, like the rest of them. What with the hot smell of greasy
coats and frowsy gowns, combined with the preacher's stupidity, the
visitor soon had enough of it, and he "flung out of the little chapel" in
disgust. As he passed out he found there was a lull in the rain and wind.
The moon was up, and he walked on, glad to be in the open air, his mind
full of the scene he had left. After all, why should he be hard on this
case? In many modes the same thing was going on everywhere--the endeavour
to make you believe--and with much about the same effect. He had his own
church; Nature had early led him to its door; he had found God visibly
present in the immensities, and with the power had recognised his love too
as the nobler dower. Quite true was it that God stood apart from
man--apart, that he might have room to act and use his gifts of brain and
heart. Man was not perfect, not a machine, not unaware of his fitness to
pray and praise. He looked up to God, recognised how infinitely He
surpassed man in power and wisdom, and was convinced He would never in His
love bestow less than man requires. In this great way _he_ would seek to
press towards God; let men seek Him in a narrow shrine if they would. And
as he mused thus, suddenly the rain ceased and the moon shone out, the
black clouds falling beneath her feet; a moon rainbow, vast and perfect,
rose in its chorded colours. Then from out the world of men the worshipper
of God in Nature was called, and at once and with terror he saw Him with
His human air, the back of Him--no more. He had been present in the poor
chapel--He, with His sweeping garment, vast and white, whose hem could
just be recognised by the awed beholder, He who had promised to be where
two or three should meet to pray--and He had been present as the friend of
these poor folk! He was leaving him who had despised the friends of the
Human-Divine. Then he clung to the salvation of His vesture, and told Him
how he had thought it best He should be worshipped in spirit and becoming
beauty; the uncouth worship he had just left was scarcely fitted for Him.
Then the Lord turned His whole face upon him, and he was caught up in the
whirl of the vestment, and was up-borne through the darkness and the cold,
and held awful converse with his God; and then he came to know who
registers the cup of cold water given for His sake, and who disdains not
to slake His Divine thirst for love at the poorest love ever offered--came
to know it was for this he was permitted to cling to the vesture himself.
And so they crossed the world till they stopped at the miraculous dome of
God, St. Peter's Church at Rome, with its colonnade like outstretched
arms, as if desiring to embrace all mankind. The whole interior of the
vast basilica is alive with worshippers this Christmas Eve. It is the
midnight mass of the Feast of the Nativity under Rome's great dome. The
incense rises in clouds; the organ holds its breath and grovels latent, as
if hushed by the touch of God's finger. The silence is broken only by the
shrill tinkling of a silver bell. Very man and Very God upon the altar
lies, and Christ has entered, and the man whom He brought clinging to His
garment's fold is left outside the door, for He must be within, where so
much of love remains, though the man without is to wait till He return:

    "He will not bid me enter too,
    But rather sit as I now do."

He muses as he remains in the night air, shut out from the glory and the
worship within, and he desires to enter. He thinks he can see the error of
the worshippers; but he is sure also that he can see the love, the power
of the Crucified One, which swept away the poetry, rhetoric and art of old
Rome and Greece, "till filthy saints rebuked the gust" which gave them the
glimpse of a naked Aphrodite. Love shut the world's eyes, and love
sufficed. Again he is caught up in the vesture's fold, and transferred
this time to a lecture-hall in a university town in Germany, where a
hawk-nosed, high-cheek-boned professor, with a hacking cough, is giving a
Christmas Eve discourse on the Christ myth. He was just discussing the
point whether there ever was a Christ or not, and the Saviour had entered
here also; but He would not bid His companion enter "the exhausted
air-bell of the critic." Where Papist with Dissenter struggles the air may
become mephitic; but the German left no air to poison at all. He rejects
Christ as known to Christians; yet he retains somewhat. Is it His
intellect that we must reverence? But Christ taught nothing which other
sages had not taught before, and who did not damage their claim by
assuming to be one with the Creator. Are we to worship Christ, then, for
His goodness? But goodness is due from man to man, still more to God, and
does not confer on its possessor the right to rule the race. Besides, the
goodness of Christ was either self-gained or inspired by God. On neither
ground could it substantiate His claim to put Himself above us. We praise
Nature, not Harvey, for the circulation of the blood; so we look from the
gift to the Giver--from man's dust to God's divinity. What is the point of
stress in Christ's teaching? "Believe in goodness and truth, now
understood for the first time"? or "Believe in Me, who lived and died, yet
am Lord of Life"? And all the time Christ remains inside this
lecture-room. Could it be that there was anything which a Christian could
be in accord with there? The professor has pounded the pearl of price to
dust and ashes, yet he does not bid his hearers sweep the dust away. No;
he actually gives it back to his hearers, and bids them carefully treasure
the precious remains, venerate the myth, adore the man as before! And so
the listener resolved to value religion for itself, be very careless as to
its sects, and thus cultivate a mild indifferentism; when, lo! the storm
began afresh, and the black night caught him and whirled him up and flung
him prone on the college-step. Christ was gone, and the vesture fast
receding. It is borne in upon him then that there must be one best way of
worship. This he will strive to find and make other men share, for man is
linked with man, and no gain of his must remain unshared by the race. He
caught at the vanishing robe, and, once more lapped in its fold, was
seated in the little chapel again, as if he had never left it, never seen
St. Peter's successor nor the professor's laboratory. The poor folk were
all there as before--a disagreeable company, and the sermon had just
reached its "tenthly and lastly." The English was ungrammatical; in a
word, the water of life was being dispensed with a strong taint of the
soil in a poor earthen vessel. This, he thinks, is his place; here, to his
mind, is "Gospel simplicity"; he will criticise no more.

NOTES.--Sect. ii., "_a carer for none of it, a Gallio_": "And Gallio cared
for none of these things" (Acts xviii. 17). "_A Saint John's candlestick_"
(see Rev. i. 20). "_Christmas Eve of 'Forty-nine_": Dissenters do not keep
Christmas Eve, nor Christmas Day itself; they would not, therefore, have
been found at chapel unless Christmas happened to fall on a Sunday. In
1849 Christmas Eve fell on a Monday. Sect. x., _the baldachin_: the canopy
over the high altar of St. Peter's at Rome is supported by magnificent
twisted brazen columns, from designs by Bernini. It is 95 feet in height,
and weighs about 93 tons. The high altar stands immediately over the tomb
of St. Peter. Sect. xiv., "_Göttingen, most likely_": a celebrated
university of Germany, which has produced many eminent Biblical critics.
Neander and Ewald were natives of Göttingen. Sect. xvi.,--

    "_When A got leave an Ox to be,
    No Camel (quoth the Jews) like G._"

The letter Aleph, in Hebrew, was suggested by an ox's head and horns.
Gimel, the Hebrew letter G, means camel. Sect. xviii., "_anapæsts in
comic-trimeter_": in prosody an _anapæst_ is a foot consisting of three
syllables; the first two short, and the third long. A _trimeter_ is a
division of verse consisting of three measures of two feet each. "_The
halt and maimed 'Iketides'_": _The Suppliants_, an incomplete play of
Æschylus, called "maimed" because we have only a portion of it extant.
Sect. xxii., _breccia_, a kind of marble.

=Christopher Smart.= (_Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in
their Day._ 1887.) [THE MAN.] (1722-1771.) It has only recently been
discovered that Smart was anything more than a writer of second-rate
eighteenth-century poetry. He was born at Shipbourne, in Kent, in 1722. He
was a clever youth, and the Duchess of Cleveland sent him to Cambridge,
and allowed him £40 a year till her death in 1742. He did well at college,
and became a fellow of Pembroke, gaining the Seaton prize five times. When
he came to London he mixed in the literary society adorned by Dr. Johnson,
Garrick, Dr. James, and Dr. Burney--all of whom helped him in his constant
difficulties. He married a daughter of Mr. Newbery, the publisher. He
became a Bohemian man of letters, but the only work by which he will be
remembered is the _Song to David_, the history of which is sufficiently
remarkable. It was written while he was in confinement as a person of
unsound mind, and was--it is said, though we know not if the fact be
precisely as usually stated--written with a nail on the wall of the cell
in which he was detained. The poem bears no evidence of the melancholy
circumstances under which it was composed: it is powerful and healthy in
every line, and is evidently the work of a sincerely religious mind. He
was unfortunately a man of dissipated habits, and his insanity was
probably largely due to intemperance. He died in 1771 from the effects of
poverty and disease. His _Song to David_ was published in 1763, and is
quite unlike any other production of the century. The poem in full
consists of eighty-six verses, of which Mr. Palgrave, in the _Golden
Treasury_, gives the following:--

    "He sang of God--the mighty Source
    Of all things, the stupendous force
      On which all strength depends;
    From Whose right arm, beneath Whose eyes,
    All period, power, and enterprise
      Commences, reigns, and ends.

    "The world,--the clustering spheres, He made,
    The glorious light, the soothing shade,
      Dale, champaign, grove, and hill:
    The multitudinous abyss.
    Where Secrecy remains in bliss,
      And Wisdom hides her skill.

    "Tell them, I AM, Jehovah said
    To Moses, while earth heard in dread,
      And, smitten to the heart,
    At once above, beneath, around,
    All Nature, without voice or sound,
      Replied, O LORD, THOU ART."

[THE POEM.] "How did this happen?" asks Mr. Browning. He imagined that he
was exploring a large house, had gone through the decently-furnished
rooms, which exhibited in their arrangement good taste without
extravagance, till, on pushing open a door, he found himself in a chapel
which was

    "From floor to roof one evidence
      Of how far earth may rival heaven."

Prisoned glory in every niche, it glowed with colour and gleamed with
carving: it was "Art's response to earth's despair." He leaves the chapel
big with expectation of what might be in store for him in other rooms in
the mansion, but there was nothing but the same dead level of indifferent
work everywhere, just as in the rooms which he had passed through on his
way to the exquisite chapel: nothing anywhere but calm Common-Place.
Browning says this is a diagnosis of Smart's case: he was sound and sure
at starting, then caught up in a fireball. Heaven let earth understand how
heaven at need can operate; then the flame fell, and the untransfigured
man resumed his wonted sobriety. But what Browning wants to know is, How
was it this happened but once? Here was a poet who always could but never
did but once! Once he saw Nature naked; once only Truth found vent in
words from him. Once the veil was pulled back, then the world darkened
into the repository of show and hide.

=Clara de Millefleurs.= (_Red Cotton Night-Cap Country._) The mistress of
Miranda, the jeweller of Paris.

=Claret.= See "Nationality in Drinks" (_Dramatic Lyrics_).

=Classification.= Mr. Nettleship's classification of Browning is the best
I know. It is no easy matter to table the poet's works: they do not
readily accommodate themselves to classification. Such poems as the great
Art and Music works, the Dramas, Love, and Religious poems are to be found
in this book under the respective subjects.

=Cleon.= (_Men and Women_, 1855.) The speculation of this poem may be
compared with a picture in a magic lantern slowly dissolving into another
view, and losing itself in that which is succeeding it. We have the latest
utterances of the beautiful Greek thought, saddened as they were by the
despairing note of the sense of hopelessness which marred the highest
effort of man, and which was never so acutely felt as at the period when
the Sun of Christianity was rising and about to fill the world with the
Spirit of Eternal Hope. The old heathenism is dissolving away, the first
faint outlines of the gospel glory are detected by the philosopher who has
heard of the fame of Paul, and is not sure he is not the same as the
Christ preached by some slaves whose doctrine "could be held by no sane
man." The quotation with which the poem is headed is from Acts of the
Apostles, chap. xvii. 28: "As certain also of your own poets have said,
'For we are also his offspring.'" The quotation is from the _Phænomena_ of
Aratus, a poet of _Tarsus_, in Cilicia, St. Paul's own city. There is also
a very similar passage in a hymn of the Stoic Cleanthes: "Zeus, thou crown
of creation, Hail!--We are thy offspring." The persons of the poem are not
historical, though the thought expressed is highly characteristic of that
of the Greek philosophers of the time. As the old national creeds
disappeared under the advancing tide of Roman conquest, and as
philosophers calmly discussed the truth or falsity of their dying
religions, an easy tolerance arose, all religions were permitted because
"indifference had eaten the heart out of them." Four hundred years before
our era Eastern philosophy, through the Greek conquests in Asia, had begun
to influence European thinkers by its strange and subtle attempts to solve
the mystery of existence. A spirit of inquiry, and a restless craving for
some undefined faith which should take the place of that which was
everywhere dying out, prepared the way for the progress of the simple,
love-compelling religion of Christ, and made every one's heart more or
less suitable soil for the good seed. Cleon is a poet from the isles of
Greece who has received a letter from his royal patron and many costly
gifts, which crowd his court and portico. He writes to thank his king for
his munificence, and in his reply says it is true that he has written that
epic on the hundred plates of gold; true that he composed the chant which
the mariners will learn to sing as they haul their nets; true that the
image of the sun-god on the lighthouse is his also; that the
Pœcile--the portico at Athens painted with battle pictures by
Polygnotus the Thasian, has been adorned, too, with his own works. He
knows the plastic anatomy of man and woman and their proportions, not
observed before; he has moreover

    "Written three books on the soul,
    Proving absurd all written hitherto,
    And putting us to ignorance again."

He has combined the moods for music, and invented one:--

    "In brief, all arts are mine."

All this is known; it is not so marvellous either, because men's minds in
these latter days are greater than those of olden time because more
composite. Life, he finds reason to believe, is intended to be viewed
eventually as a great whole, not analysed to parts, but each having
reference to all: the true judge of man's life must see the whole, not
merely one way of it at once; the artist who designed the chequered
pavement did not superimpose the figures, putting the last design over the
old and blotting it out,--he made a picture and used every stone, whatever
its figure, in the composition of his work. So he conceives that perfect,
separate forms which make the portions of mankind were created at first,
afterwards these were combined, and so came progress. Mankind is a
synthesis--a putting together of all the single men. Zeus had a plan in
all, and our souls know this, and cry to him--

    "To vindicate his purpose in our life."

As for himself he is not a poet like Homer, such a musician as Terpander,
nor a sculptor like Phidias; point by point he fails to reach their
height, but in sympathy he is the equal of them all. So much for the first
part of the king's letter: it is all true which has been reported of him.
Next he addresses himself to the questions asked by the king: "has he not
attained the very crown and proper end of life?" and having so abundantly
succeeded, does he fear death as do lower men? Cleon replies that if his
questioner could have been present on the earth before the advent of man,
and seen all its tenantry, from worm to bird, he would have seen them
perfect. Had Zeus asked him if he should do more for creatures than he had
done, he would have replied, "Yes, make each grow conscious in himself";
he chooses then for man, his last premeditated work, that a quality may
arise within his soul which may view itself and so be happy. "Let him
learn how he lives." Cleon would, however, tell the king it would have
been better had man made no step beyond the better beast. Man is the only
creature in whom there is failure; it is called advance that man should
climb to a height which overlooks lower forms of creation simply that he
may perish there. Our vast capabilities for joy, our craving souls, our
struggles, only serve to show us that man is inadequate to joy, as the
soul sees joy. "Man can use but a man's joy while he sees God's." He
agrees with the king in his profound discouragement: most progress is most
failure. As to the next question which the letter asks: "Does he, the
poet, artist, musician, fear death as common men? Will it not comfort him
to know that his works will live, though he may perish?" Not at all, he
protests--he, sleeping in his urn while men sing his songs and tell his
praise! "It is so horrible." And so he sometimes imagines Zeus may intend
for us some future state where the capability for joy is as unlimited as
is our present desire for joy. But no: "Zeus has not yet revealed it. He
would have done so were it possible!" Nothing can more faithfully portray
the desolation of the soul "without God," the sense of loss in man, whose
soul, emanating from the Divine, refuses to be satisfied with anything
short of God Himself. Art, wealth, learning, honours, serve not to
dissipate for a moment the infinite sadness of this soul "without God and
without hope in the world." And, as he wrote, Paul, the Apostle of the
Gentiles, had turned to the Pagan world with the Gospel which the Jews had
rejected. To the very island in the Grecian sea whence arose this sad wail
of despair the echo of the angel-song of Bethlehem had been borne, "Peace
on earth, good-will towards men." Round the coasts of the Ægean Sea,
through Philippi, Troas, Mitylene, Chios, and Miletus, "the mere barbarian
Jew Paulus" had sown the seeds of a faith which should grow up and shelter
under its branches the weary truth-seekers who knew too well what was the
utter hopelessness of "art for art's sake" for satisfying the infinite
yearning of the human heart. In the crypt of the church of San Marziano at
Syracuse is the primitive church of Sicily, constructed on the spot where
St. Paul is said to have preached during his three days' sojourn on the
island. Here is shown the rude stone altar where St. Paul broke the bread
of life; and as we stand on this sacred spot and recall the past in this
strange city of a hundred memorials of antiquity--the temples of the gods,
the amphitheatre, the vast altar, the Greek theatre, the walls of Epipolæ,
the aqueducts, the forts, the harbour, the quarries, the Ear of Dionysius,
the tombs, the streams and fountains famed in classic story and sung by
poets--all fade into insignificance before the hallowed spot whence issued
the fertilising influences of the Gospel preached by this same Paulus to a
few poor slaves. The time would come, and not so far distant either, when
the doctrines of Christ and Paul would be rejected "by no sane man."

=Clive.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, Series II., 1880.) The poem deals with a
well-known incident in the life of Lord Clive, who founded the empire of
British India and created for it a pure and strong administration. Robert
Clive was born in 1725 at Styche, near Market Drayton, Shropshire. The
Clives formed one of the oldest families in the county. Young Clive was
negligent of his books, and devoted to boyish adventures of the wildest
sort. However, he managed to acquire a good education, though probably by
means which schoolmasters considered irregular. He was a born leader, and
held death as nothing in comparison with loss of honour. He often
suffered, even in youth, from fits of depression, and twice attempted his
own life. He went out to Madras as a "writer" in the East India Company's
civil service. Always in some trouble or other with his companions, he one
day fought the duel which forms the subject of Mr. Browning's poem. In
1746 he became disgusted with a civilian's life, and obtained an ensign's
commission. At this time a crisis in Indian affairs opened up to a man of
high courage, daring and administrative ability, like Clive, a brilliant
path to fortune. Clive seized his opportunity, and won India for us. His
bold attack upon the city of Arcot terminated in a complete victory for
our arms; and in 1753, when he sailed to England for the recovery of his
health, his services were suitably rewarded by the East India Company. He
won the battle of Plassey in 1757. Notwithstanding his great services to
his country, his conduct in India was severely criticised, and he was
impeached in consequence, but was acquitted in 1773. He committed suicide
in 1774, his mind having been unhinged by the charges brought against him
after the great things he had done for an ungrateful country. He was
addicted to the use of opium; this is referred to in the poem in the line
"noticed how the furtive fingers went where a drug-box skulked behind the
honest liquor." Lord Macaulay in his Essay on Clive, says he had a
"restless and intrepid spirit. His personal courage, of which he had,
while still a writer, given signal proof by a desperate duel with a
military bully who was the terror of Fort St. David, speedily made him
conspicuous even among hundreds of brave men." The duel took place under
the following circumstances. He lost money at cards to an officer who was
proved to have cheated. Other losers were so in terror of this cheating
bully that they paid. Clive refused to pay, and was challenged. They went
out with pistols; no seconds were employed, and Clive missed his opponent,
who, coming close up to him, held his pistol to his head and told him he
would spare his life if he were asked to do so. Clive complied. He was
next required to retract his charge of cheating. This demand being
refused, his antagonist threatened to fire. "Fire, and be damned!" replied
Clive. "I said you cheated; I say so still, and will never pay you!" The
officer was so amazed at his bravery that he threw away his pistol.
Chatting, with a friend, a week before he committed suicide, he tells the
story of this duel as the one occasion when he felt fear, and that not of
death, but lest his adversary should contemptuously permit him to keep his
life. Under such circumstances he could have done nothing but use his
weapon on himself. This part of the story is, of course, imaginary.

=Colombe of Ravenstein.= (_Colombe's Birthday._) Duchess of Juliers and
Cleves. When in danger of losing her sovereignty by the operation of the
Salic Law, she has an offer of marriage from Prince Berthold, who could
have dispossessed her. Colombe loves Valence, an advocate, and he loves
her. The prince does not even pretend that love has prompted his offer,
and so Colombe sacrifices power at the shrine of love.

=Comparini, The.= (_The Ring and the Book._) Violatne and Pietro Comparini
were the foster-parents of Pompilia, who, with her, were murdered by Count
Guido Franceschini.

=Confessional, The.= (_Dramatic Romances_ in _Bells and Pomegranates_,
1845.) The scene is in Spain, in the time of the Inquisition. A girl has
confessed to an aged priest some sinful conduct with her lover Bertram; as
a penance, she has been desired to extract from him some secrets relating
to matters of which he has been suspected. As a proof of his love, he
tells the girl things which, if known, would imperil his life. The
confidant, as requested, carries the story to the priest. She sees her
lover no more till she beholds him under the executioner's hands on the
scaffold. Passionately denouncing Church and priests, she is herself at
the mercy of the Inquisition, and the poem opens with her exclamations
against the system which has killed her lover and ruined her life.

=Confessions.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) A man lies dying. A clergyman
asks him if he has not found the world "a vale of tears"?--a suggestion
which is indignantly repudiated. As the man looks at the row of medicine
bottles ranged before him, he sees in his fancy the lane where lived the
girl he loved, and where, in the June weather, she stood watching for him
at that farther bottle labelled "Ether"--

    "How sad and bad and mad it was!--
    But then, how it was sweet!"

=Constance= (_In a Balcony_), a relative of the Queen in this dramatic
fragment. She is loved by Norbert, and returns his love. The queen,
however, loves the handsome young courtier herself, and her jealousy is
the ruin of the young couple's happiness.

=Corregidor, The.= (_How it strikes a Contemporary._) In Spain the
corregidor is the chief magistrate of a town; the name is derived from
_corregir_, to correct--one who corrects. He is represented as going about
the city, observing everything that takes place, and is consequently
suspected as a spy in the employment of the Government. He is, in fact,
but a harmless poet of very observant habits, and is exceedingly poor.

=Count Gismond.= AIX IN PROVENCE. Published in _Dramatic Lyrics_ under the
title "_France_," in 1842. An orphan maiden is to be queen of the tourney
to-day. She lives at her uncle's home with her two girl cousins, each a
queen by her beauty, not needing to be crowned. The maiden thought they
loved her. They brought her to the canopy and complimented her as she took
her place. The time came when she was to present the victor's crown. All
eyes were bent upon her, when at that proud moment Count Gauthier
thundered "Stay! Bring no crown! bring torches and a penance sheet; let
her shun the chaste!" He accuses her of licentious behaviour with himself;
and as the girl hears the horrible lie, paralysed at the baseness of the
accusation, she never dreams that answer is possible to make. Then out
strode Count Gismond. Never had she met him before, but in his face she
saw God preparing to do battle with Satan. He strode to Gauthier, gave him
the lie, and struck his mouth with his mailed hand: the lie was damned,
truth upstanding in its place. They fought. Gismond flew at him, clove out
the truth from his breast with his sword, then dragging him dying to the
maiden's feet, said "Here die, but first say that thou hast lied." And the
liar said, "To God and her I have lied," and gave up the ghost. Gismond
knelt to the maiden and whispered in her ear; then rose, flung his arm
over her head, and led her from the crowd. Soon they were married, and the
happy bride cried:

    "Christ God who savest man, save most
    Of men Count Gismond who saved me!"

=Count Guido Franceschini.= (_The Ring and the Book._) The wicked nobleman
of Arezzo who marries Pompilia for her dowry, and treats her so cruelly
that she flies from his home to Rome, in company with Caponsacchi, who
chivalrously and innocently devotes himself to her assistance. While they
rest on the way they are overtaken by the Count, who eventually kills
Pompilia and her foster-parents.

=Courts Of Love= (_Sordello_) "were judicial courts for deciding affairs
of the heart, established in Provence during the palmy days of the
Troubadours. The following is a case submitted to their judgment: A lady
listened to one admirer, squeezed the hand of another, and touched with
her toe the foot of a third. Query, Which of these three was the favoured
suitor?" (_Dr. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable._) It was at a
Court of Love at which Palma presided, that Sordello outdid Eglamour in
song, and received the prize from the lady's hand. At these courts,
Sismondi tells us, _tensons_ or _jeux partis_ were sung, which were
dialogues between the speakers in which each interlocutor recited
successively a stanza with the same rhymes. Sismondi introduces a
translation of a _tenson_ between Sordello and Bertrand, adding that this
"may, perhaps, give an idea of those poetical contests which were the
great ornament of all festivals. When the haughty baron invited to his
court the neighbouring lords and the knights his vassals, three days were
devoted to jousts and tourneys, the mimicry of war. The youthful
gentlemen, who, under the name of pages, exercised themselves in the
profession of arms, combated the first day; the second was set apart for
the newly-dubbed knights; and the third, for the old warriors. The lady of
the castle, surrounded by youthful beauties, distributed crowns to those
who were declared by the judges of the combat to be the conquerors. She
then, in her turn, opened her court, constituted in imitation of the
seignorial tribunals, and as her baron collected his peers around him when
he dispensed justice, so did she form her Court of Love, consisting of
young, beautiful, and lively women. A new career was opened to those who
dared the combat--not of arms, but of verse; and the name of _tenson_,
which was given to these dramatic skirmishes, in fact signified a contest.
It frequently happened that the knights who had gained the prize of valour
became candidates for the poetical honours. One of the two, with his harp
upon his arm, after a prelude, proposed the subject of the dispute. The
other then advancing, and singing to the same air, answered him in a
stanza of the same measure, and very frequently having the same rhymes.
This extempore composition was usually comprised in five stanzas. The
Court of Love then entered upon a grave deliberation, and discussed not
only the claims of the two poets, but the merits of the question; and a
judgment or _arrêt d'amour_ was given, frequently in verse, by which the
dispute was supposed to be decided. At the present day we feel inclined to
believe that these dialogues, though little resembling those of Tityrus
and Melibæus, were yet, like those, the production of the poet sitting at
ease in his closet. But, besides the historical evidence which we possess
of the troubadours having been gifted with those improvisatorial talents
which the Italians have preserved to the present time, many of the
_tensons_ extant bear evident traces of the rivalry and animosity of the
two interlocutors. The mutual respect with which the refinements of
civilisation have taught us to regard one another, was at this time little
known. There existed not the same delicacy upon questions of honour, and
injury returned for injury was supposed to cancel all insults. We have a
_tenson_ extant between the Marquis Albert Malespina and Rambaud de
Vaqueiras, two of the most powerful lords and valiant captains at the
commencement of the thirteenth century, in which they mutually accuse one
another of having robbed on the highway and deceived their allies by false
oaths. We must charitably suppose that the perplexities of versification
and the heat of their poetical inspiration compelled them to overlook
sarcasms which they could never have suffered to pass in plain prose. Many
of the ladies who sat in the Courts of Love were able to reply to the
verses which they inspired. A few of their compositions only remain, but
they have always the advantage over those of the Troubadours. Poetry, at
that time, aspired neither to creative energy nor to sublimity of thought,
nor to variety. Those powerful conceptions of genius which, at a later
period, have given birth to the drama and the epic, were yet unknown; and,
in the expression of sentiment, a tenderer and more delicate inspiration
naturally endowed the productions of these poetesses with a more lyrical
character." (Sismondi, _Lit. Mod. Europe_, vol. i., pp. 106-7.)

=Cristina= (or =Christina=). _Dramatic Lyrics_ (_Bells and Pomegranates_
No. III.), 1842.--Maria Christina of Naples is the lady of the poem. She
was born in 1806, and in 1829 became the fourth wife of Ferdinand VII.,
King of Spain. She became Regent of Spain on the death of her husband, in
1833. Her daughter was Queen Isabella II. She was the dissolute mother of
a still more dissolute daughter. Lord Malmesbury's _Memoirs of an
Ex-Minister_, 1884, vol. i., p. 30, have the following reference to the
Christina of the poem: "Mr. Hill presented me at Court before I left
Naples [in 1829].... The Queen [Maria Isabella, second wife of Francis I.,
King of the Two Sicilies] and the young and handsome Princess Christina,
afterwards Queen of Spain, were present. The latter was said at the time
to be the cause of more than one inflammable victim languishing in prison
for having too openly admired this royal coquette, whose manners with men
foretold her future life after her marriage to old Ferdinand [VII., King
of Spain]. When she came up to me in the circle, walking behind her
mother, she stopped, and took hold of one of the buttons of my uniform--to
see, as she said, the inscription upon it, the Queen indignantly calling
to her to come on." The passion of love, throughout Mr. Browning's works,
is treated as the most sacred thing in the human soul. We are here for
the chance of loving and of being loved; nothing on earth is dearer than
this; to trifle with love is, in Browning's eyes, the sin against that
Divine Emanation which sanctifies the heart of man. The man or woman who
dissipates the capacity for love is the destroyer of his or her own soul;
the flirt and the coquette are the losers,--the forsaken one has saved his
own soul and gained the other's as well.

=Cristina and Monaldeschi.= (_Jocoseria_, 1883.)--I am indebted to the
valuable paper which Mrs. Alexander Ireland contributed to the Browning
Society on Feb. 27th, 1891, for the facts relating to the subject of this
poem. Queen Cristina of Sweden was the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus. She
was born in 1626, and came to the throne on the death of her father, in
1632. She was highly educated and brilliantly accomplished. She was
perfectly acquainted with Greek, Latin, French, German, English, Italian,
and Spanish. In due time she had batches of royal suitors, but she refused
to bind herself by the marriage tie; rather than marry, she decided to
abdicate, choosing as her successor her cousin Charles Gustavus. The
formal and unusual ceremony of abdication took place in the cathedral of
Upsala, in June 1654. Proceeding to Rome, she renounced the Protestant
religion, and publicly embraced that of the Catholic Church. The officers
of her household were exclusively Italian. Among these was the Marquis
Monaldeschi, nominated "Master of the Horse," described by Cristina in her
own memoirs as "a gentleman of most handsome person and fine manners, who
from the first moment reigned exclusively over my heart." Cristina
abandoned herself to this man, who proved a traitor and a scoundrel. He
took every advantage of his position as favourite, and having reaped
honour and riches, Monaldeschi wearied of his royal mistress and sought
new attractions. The closing scene of Queen Cristina's _liaison_ with the
Grand Equerry inspired Mr. Browning's poem. He has chosen the moment when
all the treachery of Monaldeschi has revealed itself to the Queen. The
scene is at Fontainebleau, whither Cristina has removed from Rome; here
the letters came into her hands which broke her life. A Cardinal Azzolino
had obtained possession of a wretched and dangerous correspondence. The
packet included the Queen's own letters to her lover--letters written in
the fulness of perfect trust, telling much that the unhappy lady could
have told to no other living being. Monaldeschi's letters to his young
Roman beauty made a jest, a mockery of the Queen's exceeding fondness for
him. They were letters of unsparing and wounding ridicule; and, while
acting thus, Monaldeschi had steadily adhered to the show of unaltered
attachment to the Queen and deep respect for his royal mistress.
Cristina's emotions on seeing the whole hateful, cowardly treachery laid
bare were doubtless maddening. She arranged an interview with the Marquis
in the picture gallery in the Palace of Fontainebleau. She was accompanied
by an official of her Court, and had at hand a priest from the
neighbouring convent of the Maturins, armed with copies of the letters
which were to serve as the death-warrant of the Marquis. They had been
placed by Cardinal Azzolino in Cristina's hands through the medium of her
"Major-Domo," with the knowledge that the Cardinal had already seen their
infamous contents. The _originals_ she had on her own person. Added to
this, she had in the background her Captain of the Guard, Sentinelli, with
two other officers. In the Galerie des Cerfs hung a picture of François I.
and Diane de Poictiers. To this picture the Queen now led the Marquis,
pointing out the motto on the frame--"Quis separabit?" The Queen reminds
her lover how they were vowed to each other. The Marquis had vowed, at a
tomb in the park of Fontainebleau, that, as the grave kept a silence over
the corpse beneath, so would his love and trust hold fast the secret of
Cristina's love to all eternity. Now the woman's spirit was wounded to
death. She was scorned, her pride outraged; but she was a queen, and the
man a subject, and she felt she must assert her dignity at least once
more. The Marquis doubtless tottered as he stood. "Kneel," she says. This
was the final scene of the tragedy. Cristina now calls forth the priest
and the assassins, having granted herself the bitter pleasure of such
personal revenge as was possible for her, poor woman!

    "Friends, my four! You, Priest, confess him!
            I have judged the culprit there:
            my sentence! Care
            For no mail such cowards wear!
    Done, Priest? Then, absolve and bless him!
            Now--you three, stab thick and fast,
            Deep and deeper! Dead at last?"

In October 1657 Cristina already felt suspicious of Monaldeschi. Keenly
watching his actions, she had found him guilty of a double perfidy, and
had led him on to a conversation touching a similar unfaithfulness.
"What," the Queen had said, "does the man deserve who should so have
betrayed a woman?" "Instant death," said Monaldeschi; "'twould be an act
of justice." "It is well," said she; "I will remember your words." As to
the right of the Queen to execute Monaldeschi, it must be remembered that,
by a special clause in the Act of Abdication, she retained absolute and
sovereign jurisdiction over her servants of all kinds. The only objection
made by the French Court was, that she ought not to have permitted the
murder to take place at Fontainebleau. After this crime Cristina was
compelled to leave France, and finally retired to Rome, giving herself up
to her artistic tastes, science, chemistry and idleness. She died on April
19th, 1689; her epitaph on her tomb in St. Peter's at Rome was chosen by
herself--"Cristina lived sixty-three years."

NOTES.--"_Quis separabit?_" who shall separate? _King Francis_--François
I. The gallery of this king is the most striking one in the palace.
_Diane_, the gallery of Diana, the goddess. _Primatice_ == Primaticcio,
who designed some of the decorations of the _Galerie de François I._
_Salamander sign_: the emblem of Francis I., often repeated in the
decorations. _Florentine Le Roux_ == Rossi, the Florentine artist.
_Fontainebleau_: its Château Royal is very famous. "_Juno strikes Ixion_,"
who attempted to seduce her. _Avon_, a village near Fontainebleau.

=Croisic.= The scene of the _Two Poets of Croisic_. Le Croisic is a
seaport on the southern coast of Brittany, with about 2500 inhabitants,
and is a fashionable watering-place. It has a considerable industry in
sardine fishing.

=Cunizza=, called Palma in _Sordello_, till, at the close of the poem the
heroine's historical name is given. She was the sister of Ezzelino III.
Dante places her in _Paradise_ (ix. 32). Longfellow, in his translation of
the _Divine Comedy_, has the following note concerning her: "Cunizza was
the sister of Azzolino di Romano. Her story is told by Rolandino, _Liber
Chronicorum_, in Muratori (_Rer. Ital. Script._, viii. 173). He says that
she was first married to Richard of St. Boniface; and soon after had an
intrigue with Sordello--as already mentioned (_Purg._ vi., Note 74).
Afterwards she wandered about the world with a soldier of Treviso, named
Bonius, 'taking much solace,' says the old chronicler, 'and spending much
money' (_multa habendo solatia, et maximas faciendo expensas_). After the
death of Bonius, she was married to a nobleman of Braganza; and finally,
and for a third time, to a gentleman of Verona. The _Ottimo_ alone among
the commentators takes up the defence of Cunizza, and says: 'This lady
lived lovingly in dress, song, and sport; but consented not to any
impropriety or unlawful act; and she passed her life in enjoyment, as
Solomon says in Ecclesiastes,' alluding probably to the first verse of the
second chapter--"I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with
mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure; and behold, this is also vanity."



="Dance, Yellows and Whites and Reds."= A beautiful lyric at the end of
"Gerard de Lairesse," in _Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in
their Day_, begins with this line. It originally appeared in a little book
published for the Edinburgh University Union Fancy Fair, in 1886.

=Daniel Bartoli.= _Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in their
Day_: 1887. [THE MAN.] "Born at Ferrara in 1608, died at Rome in 1685. He
was a learned Jesuit, and his great work was a history of his Order, in
six volumes, published at various times. It is enriched with facts drawn
from the Vatican records, from English colleges, and from memoirs sent him
by friends in England; and is crowded with stories of miracles which are
difficult of digestion by ordinary readers. His style is highly esteemed
by Italians for its purity and precision, and his life was perfectly
correct and virtuous" (_Pall Mall Gazette_, Jan. 18th, 1887). "His
eloquence was wonderful, and his renown as a sacred orator became
universal. He wrote many essays on scientific subjects; and although some
of his theories have been refuted by Galileo, they are still cited as
models of the didactic style, in which he excelled. His works on moral
science and philology are numerous. Died 1684." (_Imp. Dict. Biog._)

[THE POEM.] The poet tells the narrator of saintly legends that he has a
saint worth worshipping whose history is not legendary at all, but very
plain fact. It is her story which is told in the poem, and not that of
Bartoli. The minister of a certain king had managed to induce a certain
duke to yield two of his dukedoms to the king at his death. The promise
was a verbal one, but the duke was to sign the deed of gift which
deprived him of his rights when it was duly prepared by the lawyers. While
this was in progress the duke met at his sister's house a good and
beautiful girl, the daughter of an apothecary. He proposed to marry her,
and was accepted, notwithstanding the opposition of his family. The banns
were duly published, and the marriage ceremony was soon to follow.
Meanwhile this turn in the duke's affairs came to the ear of the crafty
minister of the king, who promptly informed his royal master that the
assignment of the dukedoms might not proceed so smoothly under the altered
circumstances. "I bar the abomination--nuptial me no such nuptials!"
exclaimed the king. The minister hinted that caution must be used, lest by
offending the duke the dukedoms might be lost. The next day the
preliminary banquet, at which all the lady's friends were present, took
place; when lo--a thunderclap!--the king's minister was announced, and the
lady was requested to meet him at a private interview. She was informed
that the duke must at once sign the paper which the minister held in his
hand, ceding to the king the promised estates, or the king would withhold
his consent to the marriage and the lady would be placed in strict
seclusion. Should he, however, sign the deed of gift without delay, the
king would give his consent to the marriage, and accord the bride a high
place at court; and the druggist's daughter would become not only the
duke's wife but the king's favourite. They returned to the dining-room,
and the lady, addressing the duke, who sat in mute bewilderment at the
head of the table, made known the king's commands. She told him that she
knew he loved her for herself alone, and was conscious that her own love
was equal to his. She bade him read the shameful document which the king
had sent, and begged him to bid her destroy it. She implored him not to
part with his dukedoms, which had been given him by God, though by doing
so he might make her his wife: if, however, he could so far forget his
duty as to yield to these demands, he would, in doing so, forfeit her
love. The duke was furious, but could not be brought to yield to the
lady's request, and she left the place never to meet again. Next day she
sent him back the jewellery he had given her. This story was told to a
fervid, noble-hearted lord, who forthwith in a boyish way loved the lady.
When he grew to be a man he married her, dropped from camp and court into
obscurity, but was happy, till ere long his lady died. He would gladly
have followed, but had to be content with turning saint, like those of
whom Bartoli wrote. The poet next philosophises on the life which the duke
might have led after this crisis in his history. He would sooner or later
reflect sadly on the beautiful luminary which had once illumined his path:
he could fancy her mocking him as false to Love; he would reflect how,
with all his lineage and his bravery, he had failed at the test, but would
recognise that it was not the true man who failed, not the ducal self
which quailed before the monarch's frown while the more royal Love stood
near him to inspire him;--some day that true self would, by the strength
of that good woman's love, be raised from the grave of shame which covered
it, and he would be hers once more.

NOTES.--vi., _Pari passu_: with equal pace, together. xv., "_Saint
Scholastica ... in Paynimrie_": she lived about the year 543. She was
sister to St. Benedict, and consecrated herself to God from her earliest
youth. The legend referred to is not given, either in Butler's _Lives of
the Saints_, or Mrs. Jameson's _Legends of the Monastic Orders_.
_Paynimrie_ means the land of the infidel. xvi., _Trogalia_: sweetmeats
and candies.

=Dante= is magnificently described in _Sordello_ (Book I., lines
374-80):--

    "Dante, pacer of the shore
    Where glutted hell disgorgeth filthiest gloom,
    Unbitten by its whirring sulphur-spume--
    Or whence the grieved and obscure waters slope
    Into a darkness quieted by hope;
    Plucker of amaranths grown beneath God's eye
    In gracious twilights where His chosen lie."

=Date et Dabitur.= "Give, and it shall be given unto you." (See _The
Twins_.)

=David.= (See _Saul_, and Epilogue to _Dramatis Personæ_: First Speaker).

=Deaf and Dumb.= A group by Woolner (1862). How a glory may arise from a
defect is the keynote of this poem. A prism interposed in the course of a
ray of sunlight breaks it into the glory of the seven colours of the
spectrum; the prism is an obstruction to the white light, but the rainbow
tints which are seen in consequence of the obstacle reveal to us the
secret of the sunbeam. So the obstruction of deafness or dumbness often
greatly enhances the beauty of the features, as in the group of statuary
which forms the subject of the poem, and which was exhibited at the
International Exhibition of 1862. The children were Constance and Arthur,
the son and daughter of Sir Thomas Fairbairn.

=Death in the Desert, A.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) John, the disciple
whom Jesus loved, who lay on His breast at the last sad paschal supper,
who stood by the cross, and received from the lips of his Lord His only
earthly possession--His mother; John, the writer of the Gospel which bears
his name, and of the letters which breathe the spirit of the incarnated
love which was to transform a world lying in wickedness; the seer of the
awful visions of Patmos--the tremendous Apocalypse which closes the
Christian revelation--lay dying in the desert; recalled from exile after
the death of Domitian from the isle of the Sporades, the volcanic
formation of which, with its daily scenes of smoke, brimstone, fire, and
streams of molten lava, had aided the apostle to imagine the day of doom,
when the angel should cry, "Time shall be no longer." The beloved
disciple, who had borne the message of Divine love through the cities of
Asia Minor, had founded churches, established bishoprics, and had laboured
by spoken and written word, and even more effectually by his beautiful and
gentle life, to extend the kingdom of God and of His Christ, now worn out
with incessant labours, and bent with the weight of well-nigh a hundred
years, the last of the men who had seen the Lord, the final link which
bound the youthful Church to its apostolic days, lies dying in a cave,
hiding from the bloody hands of those who breathed out threatenings and
slaughter against the followers of Christ. Companioned by five converts
who tenderly nursed the dying saint, he had been brought from the secret
recess in the rock where they had hidden him from the pursuers into the
midmost grotto, where the light of noon just reached a little, and enabled
them to watch

    "The last of what might happen on his face."

And at the entrance of the cave there kept faithful watch the Bactrian
convert, pretending to graze a goat, so that if thief or soldier passed
they might have booty without prying into the cave. The dying man lies
unconscious, but his attendants think it possible to rouse him that he may
speak to them before he departs: they wet his lips with wine, cool his
forehead with water, chafe his hands, diffuse the aromatic odour of the
spikenard through the cave, and pray; but still he sleeps. Then the boy,
inspired by a happy thought, brings the plate of graven lead on which are
the words of John's gospel, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," and
having found the place, he presses the aged man's finger on the line, and
repeats it in his ear. Then he opened his eyes, sat up, and looked at
them; and no one spoke, save the watcher without, signalling from time to
time that they were safe. And first, the beloved one said, "If one told me
there were James and Peter, I could believe! So is my soul withdrawn into
its depths."--"Let be awhile!"--And then--

                                "It is long
    Since James and Peter had release by death,
    And I am only he, your brother John,
    Who saw and heard, and could remember all."

He reminds them how in Patmos isle he had seen the Lord in His awful
splendour; how in his early life he saw and handled with his hands the
Word of Life. Soon it will be that none will say "I saw." And already--for
the years were long--men had disputed, murmured and misbelieved, or had
set up antichrists; and remembering what had happened to the faith in his
own days, he could well foresee that unborn people in strange lands would
one day ask--

    "Was John at all, and did he say he saw?"

"What can I say to assure them?" he asks; the story of Christ's life and
death was not mere history to him: "_It is_," he cries,--"_is, here and
now_." Not only are the events of the gospel history present before his
eyes, so that he apprehends nought else; but not less plainly, not less
firmly printed on his soul, are the more mysterious truths of God's
eternal presence in the world visibly contending with wrong and sin; and,
as the wrong and sin are manifest to his soul-sight, so equally does he
see the need, yet transiency of both. But matters, which to his
spiritualised vision were clear, must be placed before his followers
through some medium which shall, like an optic glass, segregate them,
diminish them into clearness; and so he bids them stand before that fact,
that Life and Death of Jesus Christ, till it spreads apart like a star,
growing and opening out on all sides till it becomes their only world, as
it is his. "For all of life," he says, "is summed up in the prize of
learning love, and having learnt it, to hold it and truth, despite the
world in arms against the holder. We can need no second proof of God's
love for man. Man having once learned the use of fire, would not part with
the gift for purple or for gold. Were the worth of Christ as plain, he
could not give up Christ. To test man, the proofs of Christianity shift;
he cannot grasp that fact as he grasps the fact of fire and its worth." He
asks his disciples why they say it was easier to believe in Christ once
than now--easier when He walked the earth with those He loved? "But," says
John, who had seen all,--the transfiguration, the walking on the sea, the
raising of the dead to life,--"could it be possible the man who had seen
these things should ever part from them?" Yes, it was! The torchlight, the
noise, the sudden inrush of the Roman soldiers, on the night of the
betrayal, caused even him, John, the beloved disciple, to forsake Him and
fly. Yet he had gained the truth, and the truth grew in his soul, so that
he was enabled to impress it so indelibly on others, that children and
women who had never seen the least of the sights he had seen would clasp
their cross with a light laugh, and wrap the burning robe of martyrdom
round them, giving thanks to God the while. But in the mind of man the
laws of development are ever at work, and questioners of the truth arose,
and it was necessary that he should re-state the Lord's life and work in
various ways, to rectify mistakes. God has operated in the way of Power,
later in the way of Love, and last of all in Influence on Soul: men do not
ask now, "Where is the promise of His coming?" but--

    "Was He revealed in any of His lives,
    As Power, as Love, as Influencing Soul?"

"Miracles, to prove doctrine," John says, "go for nought, but love
remains." Then men ask, "Did not we ourselves imagine and make this love?"
(That is to say, love having been discovered by mankind to be the noblest
thing on earth, have not men created a God of Infinite Love, out of their
own passionate imagining of what man's love would be if perfectly
developed?) "The mind of man can only receive what it holds--no more."
Man projects his own love heavenward, it falls back upon him in another
shape--with another name and story added; this, he straightway says, is a
gift from heaven. Man of old peopled heaven with gods, all of whom
possessed man's attributes; horses drew the sun from east to west. Now, we
say the sun rises and sets as if impelled by a hand and will, and it is
only thought of as so impelled because we ourselves have hands and wills.
But the sun must be driven by some force which we do not understand; will
and love we do understand. As man grows wiser the passions and faculties
with which he adorned his deities are taken away: Jove of old had a brow,
Juno had eyes; gradually there remained only Jove's wrath and Juno's
pride; in process of time these went also, till now we recognise will and
power and love alone. All these are at bottom the same--mere projections
from the mind of the man himself. Having then stated the objections
brought against the faith of Christ, St. John proceeds to meet them.
"Man," he says, "was made to grow, not stop; the help he needed in the
earlier stages, being no longer required, is withdrawn; his new needs
require new helps. When we plant seed in the ground we place twigs to show
the spots where the germs lie hidden, so that they may not be trodden upon
by careless steps. When the plants spring up we take the twigs away; they
no longer have any use. It was thus with the growth of the gospel seed:
miracles were required at first, but, when the plant had sprung up and
borne fruit, had produced martyrs and heroes of the faith, what was the
use of miracles any more? The fruit itself was surely sufficient testimony
to the vitality of the seed. Minds at first must be spoon-fed with truth,
as babes with milk; a boy we bid feed himself, or starve. So, at first, I
wrought miracles that men might believe in Christ, because no faith were
otherwise possible; miracles now would compel, not help. I say the way to
solve all questions is to accept by the reason the Christ of God; the sole
death is when a man's loss comes to him from his gain, when--from the
light given to him--he extracts darkness; from the knowledge poured upon
him he produces ignorance; and from the manifestation of love elaborates
the lack of love. Too much oil is the lamp's death; it chokes with what
would otherwise feed the flame. An overcharged stomach starves. The man
who rejects Christ because he thinks the love of Christ is only a
projection of his own is like a lamp that overswims with oil, a stomach
overloaded with nurture; that man's soul dies. "But," the objector may
say, "You told your Christ-story incorrectly: what is the good of giving
knowledge at all if you give it in a manner which will not stop the
after-doubt? Why breed in us perplexity? why not tell the whole truth in
proper words?" To this St. John replies, "Man of necessity must pass from
mistake to fact; he is not perfect as God is, nor as is the beast; lower
than God, he is higher than the beast, and higher because he
progresses,--he yearns to gain truth, catching at mistake. The statuary
has the idea in his mind, aspires to produce it, and so calls his shape
from out the clay:

    "Cries ever, 'Now I have the thing I see':
    Yet all the while goes changing what was wrought,
    From falsehood like the truth, to truth itself."

Suppose he had complained, 'I see no face, no breast, no feet'? It is only
God who makes the live shape at a jet. Striving to reach his ideals, man
grows; ceasing to strive, he forfeits his highest privileges, and entails
the certainty of destruction. Progress is the essential law of man's
being, and progress by mistake, by failure, by unceasing effort, will lead
him,

    "Where law, life, joy, impulse are one thing!"

Such is the difficulty of the latest time; so does the aged saint answer
it. He would remain on earth another hundred years, he says, to lend his
struggling brothers his help to save them from the abyss. But even as he
utters the loving desire, he is dead,

    "Breast to breast with God, as once he lay."

They buried him that night, and the teller of the story returned,
disguised, to Ephesus. St. John is said to have been banished into the
Isle of Patmos, A.D. 97, by the order of Domitian. After this emperor had
reigned fifteen years Nerva succeeded him (A.D. 99), and historians of the
period wrote that "the Roman senate decreed that the honours paid to
Domitian should cease, and such as were injuriously exiled should return
to their native land and receive their substance again. It is also among
the ancient traditions, that then John the Apostle returned from
banishment and dwelt again at Ephesus." Eusebius, quoting from Irenæus,
says that John after his return from Patmos governed the churches in Asia,
and remained with them in the time of Trajan. Irenæus also says that the
Apostle carried on at Ephesus the work begun by Paul; Clement of
Alexandria records the same thing. It is said that St. John died in peace
at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan--that is, the hundredth of the
Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from our Lord's crucifixion, the saint
being then about ninety-four years old; he was buried on a mountain
without the town. A stately church stood formerly over this tomb, which is
at present a Turkish mosque. The sojourn of the Apostle in Asia, a country
governed by Magi and imbued with Zoroastrian ideas, and in those days full
of Buddhist missionaries, may account for many things found in the Book of
Revelation. Mr. Browning refers to this in the bracketed portion of the
poem, commencing:--

    "This is the doctrine he was wont to teach,
    How divers persons witness in each man,
    Three souls which make up one soul."

They are described by Theosophists as "(1) The fluidic perisoul or astral
body; (2) The soul or individual; and (3) The spirit, or Divine Father and
life of his system." (See _The Perfect Way_, Lecture I., 9.) These three
souls make up, with the material body, the fourfold nature of man.

NOTES.--_Pamphylax the Antiochene_, an imaginary person. _Epsilon_, _Mu_,
_Xi_, letters of the Greek alphabet--e, m, and ch respectively. _Xanthus_
and _Valens_, disciples of St. John. _Bactrian_, of Bactria, a province in
Persia. "_A ball of nard_," an unguent of spikenard, odorous and highly
aromatic and restorative. _Glossa_, a commentary. _Theotypas_, a
fictitious character. _Prometheus_, son of the Titan Iapetus and the
Ocean-nymph Clymene, brother of Atlas, Menœtius, and Epimetheus, and
father of Deucalion. When Zeus refused to mortals the use of fire,
Prometheus stole it from Olympus, and brought it to men in a hollow reed.
Zeus bound him to a pillar, with an eagle to consume in the daytime his
liver, which grew again in the night. _Æschylus_, the earliest of the
three great tragic poets of Greece, born at Eleusis, near Athens, B.C.
525. He wrote the _Prometheus Bound_. _Ebion_, the founder of the early
sect of heretics called Ebionites. They held that the Mosaic law was
binding on Christians, and believed Jesus to have been a mere man, though
an ambassador from God and possessed of Divine power (_Encyc. Dict._).
_Cerinthus_ raised great disturbances in obstinately defending an
obligation of circumcision, and of abstaining from unclean meats in the
New Law, and in extolling the angels as the authors of nature: this was
before St. Paul wrote his Epistle to the Colossians, etc. He pretended
that the God of the Jews was only an angel; that Jesus was born of Joseph
and Mary, like other men. He taught that Christ flew away at the time of
the crucifixion, and that Jesus in the human part of His nature alone
suffered and rose again, Christ continuing always immortal and impassible.
St. Irenæus relates that on one occasion, when St. John went to the public
baths, he found that this heretic was within, and he refused to remain
lest the bath which contained Cerinthus should fall upon his head.

="De Gustibus----"= [_De Gustibus non disputandum_--"there is no
accounting for tastes."] (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) Every lover of Nature finds some particular kind of
scenery which most appeals to his heart, and to which his thoughts revert
in moments of reflection and meditation. The poet tells the lover of trees
that after death (if loves persist) his ghost will be found wandering in
an English lane by a hazel coppice in beanflower and blackbird time. For
his own part, he loves best in all the world the scenery of his beloved
Italy--a castle on a precipice in "the wind-grieved Apennine"; and if ever
he gets his head out of the grave and his spirit soars free, he will be
away to the sunny South, by the cypress guarding the seaside home, where
scorpions sprawl on frescoed walls; in "Italy, my Italy,"--which beloved
name he declares will be found graven on his heart.

=De Lorge.= (_The Glove._) Sir de Lorge was the knight who recovered his
lady's glove from the lions, amongst which she had cast it to test his
courage, and then threw it in her face.

=Development.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) Mr. Sharp, in his admirable _Life of
Browning_, says that the poet's father was a man of exceptional powers. He
was a poet both in sentiment and expression; and he understood, as well as
enjoyed, the excellent in art. He was a scholar, too, in a reputable
fashion; not indifferent to what he had learnt in his youth, nor heedless
of the high opinion generally entertained for the greatest writers of
antiquity, but with a particular care himself for Horace and Anacreon. As
his son once told a friend, "The old gentleman's brain was a storehouse of
literary and philosophical antiquities. He was completely versed in
mediæval legend, and seemed to have known Paracelsus, Faustus, and even
Talmudic personages, personally." Development, indeed! That the embryonic
mediæval lore of the banker's clerk should have potentially contained the
treasures of _Paracelsus_, _Sordello_, and _Rabbi Ben Hakkadosh_, is as
wonderful as that the primary cell should contain the force which gathers
to itself the man.

NOTES.--_Philip Karl Buttmann_ was a distinguished German philologist,
born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1764, and died at Berlin, 1829. He studied
at Göttingen, and in 1796 was appointed secretary of the Royal Library at
Berlin. His fame rests on his _Griechische Grammatik_, the _Ausführliche
Griechische Sprachlehre_, and the _Lexilogus oder Beiträge zur
Griechischen Worterklärung_. These works are ranked highly for their exact
criticism. He brought out valuable editions of Plato's _Dialogues_ and the
_Meidias_ of Demosthenes. _Friedrich August Wolf_, the great critic, was
born at Haynrode, near Nordhausen, in 1759; he died in 1824. He studied
philology at Göttingen, and published an edition of Shakespeare's
_Macbeth_, with notes, in 1778. He filled the chair of philology and
pedagogial science at Halle for twenty-three years. In 1806 he repaired to
Berlin. His fame chiefly rests on his _Prolegomena in Homerum_, which was
devoted to the argument that the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ are not the
work of one single and individual Homer, but a much later compilation of
_hymns_ sung and handed down by oral tradition. Its effect was
overwhelming. _Stagirite_ == Aristotle. "_The Ethics_" == the _Nicomachean
Ethics_, the great work of Aristotle. "_Battle of the Frogs and Mice_," a
mock epic attributed to Homer. "_The Margites_," a humorous poem, which
kept its ground down to the time of Aristotle as the work of Homer; it
began with the words, "There came to Colophon an old man, a divine singer,
servant of the Muses and Apollo."

=Dîs Aliter Visum=; or, =Le Byron de Nos Jours=. "Dîs aliter visum" is
from Virgil, Æn. ii. 428, and means "Heaven thought not so." (_Dramatis
Personæ_, 1864.) The poem describes a meeting of two friends after a
parting of ten years. They should have been more than friends: they were
made for each other's love; but love came in a guise which was not
acceptable, and the heart which the man might have won, and the love which
would have blessed him and ennobled his life, was for reasons of prudence
disregarded, and both lovers went their way, having missed their life's
chance. It is the woman who speaks--the "poor, pretty, thoughtful thing"
of other days; a woman who tried to love and understand art and
literature--to love all, at any rate, that was great and good and
beautiful. She wonders if he--the man who might have completed his partial
life with a great love--ever for a moment valued her rightly, and
determined that "love found, gained and kept," was for him beyond art and
sense and fame? She was young and inexperienced in the world's ways; he
was old and full of wisdom: too wise, perhaps, to see where his best
interests lay. It would never do, he thought--a match "'twixt one bent,
wigged and lamed----and this young beauty, round and sound as a mountain
apple." And so they parted. He chose a lower ideal, she married where she
could not love; so the devil laughed in his sleeve, for not two only, but
four souls were in jeopardy.

The poem is a good example of the poet's way of drawing from a
half-serious, half-bantering and indifferent confession of thoughts and
feelings one of his great moral lessons. It has been compared to what is
termed _vers de société_, and as such, up to stanza xxiii., it may be
fitly described; then comes Mr. Browning's sudden uprising to his highest
power. It is as though he had lightly touched on the ways of men, and
discussed them half-playfully with some light-hearted, not to say
frivolous, audience in a drawing-room. The listeners stand smiling, and
speculating as to his real meaning, when all at once he rises from his
chair and brings in a moment before the thoughtless group of listeners the
great and awful import of life, and the real meaning of the things which
men call trifles, but which in God's sight are big with the interests of
Eternity. So, in this poem he leads us from pretty talk of "Heine for
songs and kisses," "gout, glory, and love freaks, love's dues, and
consols," to one of his grandest life-lessons--the necessary
incompleteness of all human existence here, because heaven must finish
what earth can never complete,--the supreme evolution of the soul of man.
Earth completes her star-fishes; Heaven itself could make no more perfect
or more beautiful star-fish:

    "He, whole in body and soul, outstrips
    Man, found with either in default."

The star-fish is whole. What is whole can increase no more. It has nothing
to do but waste and die, and there is an end of it.

    "Leave Now for dogs and apes!
    Man has Forever."

On the side of the man in the poem it could be fairly argued that a more
unreasonable match could hardly be imagined than one between a "bent,
wigged and lame" old gentleman and a "poor, pretty, thoughtful" young
beauty, notwithstanding her offer of body and soul.

NOTES.--viii., _Robert Schumann_, musical critic and composer: was born
1810, died 1856. _Jean August Dominique Ingres_ (born 1780, died 1867).
"The modern man that paints," a celebrated historical painter, a pupil of
David. He was opposed to the Romantic School, and depended for success on
form and line. "His paintings, with all their cleverness, appear to
English eyes deficient in originality of conception, coarse, hard and
artificial in manner, and untrue in colour" (_Imp. Dict. Biog._), xii.,
"_The Fortieth spare Arm-chair_." This refers to the French Academy,
founded by Richelieu in 1635. When one of the forty members dies a new one
is elected to fill his place.

=Djabal.= (_Return of the Druses._) The son of the Emir, who seeks revenge
for the murder of his family, and declares himself to be the Hakim--who is
to set the Druse people free. He loves the maiden Anael, and when she dies
stabs himself on her dead body.

=Doctor ----.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, Second Series, 1880.) A Rabbinical
story. Satan, as in the opening scene of Job, stands with the angels
before God to make his complaints. Asked "What is the fault now?" he
declares that he has found something on earth which interferes with his
prerogatives:--

    "Death is the strongest-born of Hell, and yet
    Stronger than Death is a Bad Wife, we know."

Satan protests that this robs him of his rights, as he claims to be
Strongest. He is commanded to descend to earth in mortal shape and get
married, and so try for himself the bitter draught. It was Solomon who
said that "a woman whose heart is snares and nets is more bitter than
death" (Ecclesiastes vii. 27), and some commentators on the poem have
thought the Rabbinical legend was suggested by this verse. Satan, married,
in due time has a son who arrives at maturity, and then the question
arises of a profession for him: "I needs must teach my son a trade." Shall
he be a soldier? That is too cowardly. A lawyer would be better, but there
is too much hard work for the sluggard. There's divinity, but that is
Satan's own special line, and that be far from his poor offspring! At last
he thinks of the profession of medicine. Physic is the very thing! So
_Medicus_ he is appointed; and it is arranged that a special power shall
be given to the young doctor's eyes, so that when on his rounds he shall
behold the spirit-person of his father at his side. Doctor once dubbed,
ignorance shall be no barrier to his success; cash shall follow, whatever
the treatment, and fees shall pour in. Satan tells his son that the reason
he has endowed him with power to recognise his spirit-form is that he may
judge by Death's position in the sick room what are the prospects of the
patient's recovery. If he perceive his father lingering by the door,
whatever the nature of the illness recovery will be speedy; if higher up
the room, death will not be the sufferer's doom; but if he is discovered
standing by the head of the bed's the patient's doom is sealed. It
happened that of a sudden the emperor himself was smitten with sore
disease. Of course Dr. ---- was called in and promised large rewards if he
saved the imperial life. As he entered the room he saw at once that all
was lost: there stood his father Death as sentry at the bed's head. Gold
was offered in abundance; the doctor begged his father to go away and let
him win his fee. "No inch I budge!" is the response. Then honours are
offered him whom apparently wealth failed to tempt. The result is the
same. Then Love: "Take my daughter as thy bride--save me for this reward!"
The Doctor again implores a respite from his father, who is obdurate as
ever. A thought strikes the physician: "Reverse the bed, so that Death no
longer stands at the head;" but "the Antic passed from couch-foot back to
pillow," and is master of the situation again. The son now curses his
father, and declares that he will go over to the other side. He sends to
his home for the mystic Jacob's-staff--a knobstick of proved efficacy in
such cases. "Go, bid my mother (Satan's wife, be it remembered) bring the
stick herself." The servant rushes off to do his errand, and all the
anxious while the emperor sinks lower and lower, as the icy breath of
Death freezes him to the marrow. All at once the door of the sick room
opens, and there enters to Satan "Who but his Wife the Bad?" The devil
goes off through the ceiling, leaving a sulphury smell behind; and, "Hail
to the Doctor!" the imperial patient straightway recovers. In gratitude he
offers him the promised daughter and her dowry; but the Doctor refuses the
fee--"No dowry, no bad wife!" If this Talmudic legend has any relation to
Solomon, it is well to bear in mind that his bitter experience, as St.
Jerome says, was due to the fact that no one ever fell a victim to impurer
loves than he. He married strange women, was deluded by them, and erected
temples to their respective idols. His opinion, therefore, on marriage as
we understand it is of little importance to us.

=Dominus Hyacinthus De Archangelis.= (_The Ring and the Book._) The
procurator or counsel for the poor, who defends Count Guido in the eighth
book of the poem.

=Domizia= (_Luria_), a noble lady of Florence. She is loved by the Moorish
captain Luria, who commanded the army of the Florentines. Domizia was
greatly embittered against the republic for its ingratitude to her two
brothers--Porzio and Berto--and hoped to be revenged for their deaths.

=Don Juan.= (_Fifine at the Fair._) The husband of the poem is a
philosophical study of the Don Juan of Molière. He is full of sophistries,
and an adept in the art of making the worse appear the better reason. In
Molière's play Juan's valet thus describes his master: "You see in Don
Juan the greatest scoundrel the earth has ever borne--a madman, a dog, a
demon, a Turk, a heretic--who believes neither in heaven, hell, nor devil,
who passes his life simply as a brute beast, a pig of an epicure, a true
Sardanapalus; who closes his ear to every remonstrance which can be made
to him, and treats as idle talk all that we hold sacred."

=Donald.= (_Jocoseria_, 1883.) The story of the poem is a true one, and is
told by Sir Walter Scott, in _The Keepsake_ for 1832, pp. 283-6. The
following abridgement of the account is from the Browning Society's
_Notes and Queries_, No. 209, p. 328: "... The story is an old but not an
ancient one: the actor and sufferer was not a very aged man, when I heard
the anecdote in my early youth. Duncan (for so I shall call him) had been
engaged in the affair of 1746, with others of his clan; ... on the one
side of his body he retained the proportions and firmness of an active
mountaineer; on the other he was a disabled cripple, scarce able to limp
along the streets. The cause which reduced him to this state of infirmity
was singular. Twenty years or more before I knew Duncan he assisted his
brothers in farming a large grazing in the Highlands.... It chanced that a
sheep or goat was missed from the flock, and Duncan ... went himself in
quest of the fugitive. In the course of his researches he was induced to
ascend a small and narrow path, leading to the top of a high precipice....
It was not much more than two feet broad, so rugged and difficult, and at
the same time so terrible, that it would have been impracticable to any
but the light step and steady brain of the Highlander. The precipice on
the right rose like a wall, and on the left sank to a depth which it was
giddy to look down upon.... He had more than half ascended the precipice,
when in midway ... he encountered a buck of the red-deer species coming
down the cliff by the same path in an opposite direction.... Neither party
had the power of retreating, for the stag had not room to turn himself in
the narrow path, and if Duncan had turned his back to go down, he knew
enough of the creature's habits to be certain that he would rush upon him
while engaged in the difficulties of the retreat. They stood therefore
perfectly still, and looked at each other in mutual embarrassment for some
space. At length the deer, which was of the largest size, began to lower
his formidable antlers, as they do when they are brought to bay.... Duncan
saw the danger ... and, as a last resource, stretched himself on the
little ledge of rock ... not making the least motion, for fear of alarming
the animal. They remained in this posture for three or four hours.... At
length the buck ... approached towards Duncan very slowly ... he came
close to the Highlander ... when the devil, or the untameable love of
sport, ... began to overcome Duncan's fears. Seeing the animal proceed so
gently, he totally forgot not only the dangers of his position, but the
implicit compact which certainly might have been inferred from the
circumstances of the situation. With one hand Duncan seized the deer's
horn, whilst with the other he drew his dirk. But in the same instant the
buck bounded over the precipice, carrying the Highlander along with
him.... Fortune ... ordered that the deer should fall undermost, and be
killed on the spot, while Duncan escaped with life, but with the fracture
of a leg, an arm, and three ribs.... I never could approve of Duncan's
conduct towards the deer in a moral point of view, ... but the temptation
of a hart of grease offering, as it were, his throat to the knife, would
have subdued the virtue of almost any deer stalker.... I have given you
the story exactly as I recollect it." As the practice of medicine does not
necessarily make a man merciful, so neither does sport necessarily imply
manliness and nobility of soul. In both cases there is a strong tendency
for the professional to be considered the right view. In the story we have
the stag, after four hours' consideration, offering terms of agreement
which Donald accepted and then treacherously broke. The animal broke
Donald's fall, yet he has no gratitude for its having thus saved his life.
As one of the poems covered by the question in the prologue, "_Wanting
is----What?_" we should reply, Honour and humanity.

=D'Ormea.= (_King Victor and King Charles._) He was the unscrupulous
minister of King Victor. He became necessary to King Charles when he
received the crown on his father's abdication, and was active in defeating
the attempt of the latter to recover his crown.

=Dramas.= For the Stage: _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_, _Colombe's Birthday_,
_Strafford_, _Luria_, _In a Balcony_, _The Return of the Druses_. For the
Study: _Pippa Passes_, _King Victor and King Charles_, _A Soul's Tragedy_,
and _Paracelsus_. _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_, _Strafford_, _Colombe's
Birthday_, and _In a Balcony_, have all been recently performed in London,
under the direction of the Browning Society, greatly to the gratification
of the spectators who were privileged to attend these special
performances. Whether such dramas would be likely to attract audiences
from the general public for any length of time is, however, extremely
problematical. Mr. Browning's poetry is of too subjective and
psychological a character to be popular on the stage.

=Dramatic Idyls= (1879-80). _Series I._: Martin Relph, Pheidippides,
Halbert and Hob, Ivan Ivanovitch, Tray, Ned Bratts; _Series II._: Proem,
Echetlos, Clive, Muléykeh, Pietro of Abano, Doctor ----, Pan and Luna,
Epilogue.

=Dramatic Lyrics.= (_Bells and Pomegranates_, No. III., 1842.) Cavalier
Tunes: i., Marching Along; ii., Give a Rouse; iii., My Wife Gertrude.
Italy and France: i., Italy; ii., France. Camp and Cloister: i., Camp
(French); ii., Cloister (Spanish); In a Gondola, Artemis Prologizes,
Waring. Queen Worship: i., Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli; ii., Cristina.
Madhouse Cells: i., Johannes Agricola; ii., Porphyria. Through the
Metidja, The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

=Dramatic Monologue.= Mr. Browning has so excelled in this particular kind
of poetry that it may be fitly called a novelty of his invention. The
dramatic monologue is quite different from the soliloquy. In the latter
case the speaker delivers his own thoughts, uninterrupted by objections or
the propositions of other persons. "In the dramatic monologue the presence
of a silent second person is supposed, to whom the arguments of the
speaker are addressed. It is obvious that the dramatic monologue gains
over the soliloquy, in that it allows the artist greater room in which to
work out his conceptions of character. The thoughts of a man in
self-communion are apt to run in a certain circle, and to assume a
monotony" (Professor Johnson, M.A.). This supposed second person serves to
"draw out" the speaker and to stimulate the imagination of the reader.
_Bishop Blougram's Apology_ is an admirable example of this form of
literature, where Mr. Gigadibs, the critic of Bishop Blougram, is the
silent second person above referred to.

=Dramatic Romances and Lyrics.= (_Bells and Pomegranates_, No. VII.:
1845.) How they Brought the Good News, Pictor Ignotus, Italy in England,
England in Italy, The Lost Leader, The Lost Mistress, Home Thoughts from
Abroad, The Tomb at St. Praxed's; Garden Fancies: i. The Flower's Name;
ii. Sibrandus Schafnaburgensis. France and Spain: i. The Laboratory; ii.
The Confessional. The Flight of the Duchess, Earth's Immortalities, Song,
The Boy and the Angel, Night and Morning, Claret and Tokay, Saul, Time's
Revenges, The Glove.

=Dramatis Personæ= (1864). James Lee, Gold Hair, The Worst of it, Dîs
Aliter Visum, Too Late, Abt Vogler, Rabbi Ben Ezra, A Death in the Desert,
Caliban upon Setebos, Confessions, May and Death, Prospice, Youth and
Art, A Face, A Likeness, Mr. Sludge, Apparent Failure, Epilogue.

=Dubiety.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) Richardson said that "a state of dubiety
and suspense is ever accompanied with uneasiness." Sleep, if sound, is
restful; but the poet asks for comfort, and to be comfortable implies a
certain amount of consciousness--a dreamy, hazy sense of being in
"luxury's sofa-lap." An English lady once asked a British tar in the Bay
of Malaga, one lovely November day, if he were not happy to think he was
out of foggy England--at least in autumn? The sailor protested there was
nothing he disliked so much as "the everlasting blue sky" of the
Mediterranean, and there was nothing he longed for so much as "a good
Thames fog." So the poet here demands,

                  "Just a cloud,
    Suffusing day too clear and bright."

He does not wish to be shrouded, as the sailor did, but his idea of
comfort is that the world's busy thrust should be shaded by a "gauziness"
at least. Vivid impressions are always more or less painful: they strike
the senses too acutely, as "the eternal blue sky" of the south is too
trying for English eyes. As such a light is sometimes too stimulating, so
even too much intellectual light may be painful; a "gauziness," a
"dreaming's vapour wreath" is to the overwrought brain of the thinker
happiness "just for once." In the dim musings, neither dream nor vision,
but just a memory, comes the face of the woman he had loved and lost, the
memory of her kiss, the impress of the lips of Truth, "for love is Truth."



=Eagle, The.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_: I. "On Divine Providence.") The
story is taken from the fable of Pilpai (or Bidpai, as is the more correct
form), called _The Dervish, the Falcon and the Raven_. A father told a
young man that all effects have their causes, and he who relies upon
Providence without considering these had need to be instructed by the
following fable:--

"A certain dervish used to relate that, in his youth, once passing through
a wood and admiring the works of the great Author of Nature, he spied a
falcon that held a piece of flesh in his beak; and hovering about a tree,
tore the flesh into bits, and gave it to a young raven that lay bald and
featherless in its nest. The dervish, admiring the bounty of Providence,
in a rapture of admiration cried out, 'Behold, this poor bird, that is not
able to seek out sustenance for himself, is not, however, forsaken of its
Creator, who spreads the whole world like a table, where all creatures
have their food ready provided for them! He extends His liberality so far,
that the serpent finds wherewith to live upon the mountain of Gahen. Why,
then, am I so greedy? wherefore do I run to the ends of the earth, and
plough up the ocean for bread? Is it not better that I should henceforward
confine myself in repose to some little corner, and abandon myself to
fortune?' Upon this he retired to his cell, where, without putting himself
to any further trouble for anything in the world, he remained three days
and three nights without victuals. At last, 'Servant of mine,' said the
Creator to him in a dream, 'know thou that all things in this world have
their causes; and though my providence can never be limited, my wisdom
requires that men shall make use of the means that I have ordained them.
If thou wouldst imitate any one of the birds thou hast seen to my glory,
use the talents I have given thee, and imitate the falcon that feeds the
raven, and not the raven that lies a sluggard in his nest, and expects his
food from another.' This example shows us that we are not to lead idle and
lazy lives upon the pretence of depending upon Providence."--_Fables of
Pilpay_ (Chandos Classics), p. 53.

Ferishtah is in training for a dervish, and is anxious to feed hungry
souls. Mr. Browning makes his charitable bird an eagle, and the moral is
that man is not to play the helpless weakling, but to save the perishing
by his helpful strength. The dervish, duly admonished, asks which lacks in
him food the more--body or soul? He reflects that, as he starves in soul,
so may mankind, wherefore he will go forth to help them; and this Mr.
Browning proposes to do by the series of moral and philosophical lessons
to be drawn from _Ferishtah's Fancies_. The lyric teaches that, though a
life with nature is good for meditation and for lovers of solitude, we are
human souls and our proper place is "up and down amid men," for God is
soul, and it is the poet's business to speak to the divine principle
existing under every squalid exterior and harsh and hateful personality.

=Earth's Immortalities.= (First published in _Dramatic Romances and
Lyrics--Bells and Pomegranates_ No. VII.) The poet was famous, and not so
very long since; but the gravestones above him are sinking, and the
lichens are softening out his very name and date. So fades away his fame.
And the lover who could be satisfied with nothing less than "for ever" has
the fever of passion quenched in the snows that cover the tomb beside the
poet's. One demanded to be remembered, the other to be loved, for ever.
Thus do "Earth's immortalities" perish either under lichens or snows.

=Easter-Day.= (_Christmas Eve and Easter Day_: Florence, 1850.) The poem
is a dialogue. The first speaker exclaims, "How very hard it is to be a
Christian!" and says the difficulty does not so much consist in living up
to the Christ-ideal,--hard enough, by the very terms, but hard to realise
it with the moderate success with which we realise the ordinary aims of
life. Of course the aim is greater, consequently the required effort
harder: may it not be God's intention that the difficulty of being a
Christian should seem unduly great? "Of course the chief difficulty is
belief," says the second speaker: "once thoroughly believe, the rest is
simple. Prove to me that the least command of God is really and truly
God's command, and martyrdom itself is easy." Joint the finite into the
infinite life, and fix yourself safely inside, no doubt all external
things you would safely despise. The second speaker says, "But faith may
be God's touchstone: God does not reward us with heaven because we see the
sun shining, nor crown a man victor because he draws his breath duly. If
you would have faith exist at all, there must perforce be some uncertainty
with it. We love or hate people because either they do or do not believe
in us. But the Creator's reign, we are apt to think, should be based on
exacter laws: we desire God should geometrise." The first speaker says,
"You would grow as a tree, stand as a rock, soar up like fire, be above
faith. But creation groans, and out of its pains we have to make our
music." The second speaker replies, "I confess a scientific faith is
absurd; the end which it was meant to serve would be lost if faith were
certainty. We may grant that, but may we not require at least probability?
We do not hang a curtain flat along a wall; we prefer it to hang in folds
from point to point. We would not mind the gaps and intervals, if at point
and point we could pin our life upon God. It would be no hardship then to
renounce the world. There are men who live merely to collect beetles,
giving up all the pleasures of life to make a completer collection than
has been hitherto formed. Another set lives to collect snuff-boxes, or in
learning to play chess blindfold. It would not be hard to renounce the
world if we had as much _certainty_ as these hermits obtain in their
pleasures to inspire them in renouncing the vanities of life. Of course,
as some will say, there is evidence enough of a sort: as is your turn of
mind, so is your search--you will find just what you look for, and so you
get your Christian evidences in a sense; you may comfort yourself in
having found a scrap of papyrus in a mummy-case which declares there
really was a living Moses, and you may even get over the difficulty of
Jonah and the whale by turning the whale into an island or a rock and set
your faith to clap her wings and crow accordingly. You may do better: you
may make the human heart the minister of truth, and prove by its wants and
needs and hopes and fears how aptly the creeds meet these:

    "You wanted to believe; your pains
    Are crowned--you do!"

If once in the believing mood, the renunciation of pleasures adds a spice
to life. Do you say that the Eternal became incarnate--

    "Only to give our joys a zest,
    And prove our sorrows for the best?"

The believing man is convinced that to be a Christian the world's gain is
to be accounted loss, and he asks the sceptic what he counsels in that
case? The answer is, he would take the safe side--deny himself. The
believer does not relish the idea of renouncing life for the sake of
death. The collectors of curiosities at least had something for their
pains, and the believer gets--well, hope! The sceptic claims that he lives
in trusting ease. "Yes," says the believer, "blind hopes wherewith to
flavour life--that is all;" and he proceeds to relate an incident which
happened in his life one Easter night, three years ago. He was crossing
the common near the chapel (spoken of in _Christmas Eve_), when he fell to
musing on what was his personal relationship to Christianity, how it would
be with him were he to fall dead that moment--would he lie faithful or
faithless? It was always so with him from childhood; he always desired to
know the worst of everything. "Common-sense" told him he had nothing to
fear: if he were not a Christian, who was? All at once he had this
vision. "Burn it!" was written in lines of fire across the sky; the dome
of heaven was one vast rack of ripples, infinite and black; the whole
earth was lit with the flames of the Judgment Day. In a moment he realised
that he stood before the seat of Judgment, choosing the world--his naked
choice, with all the disguises of old and all his trifling with conscience
stripped away. A Voice beside him spoke:--

                    "Life is done,
    Time ends, Eternity's begun,
    And thou art judged for evermore."

The Christ stood before him, told him that, as he had deliberately chosen
the world, the finite life in opposition to God, it should be his:--

          "'Tis thine
    For ever--take it!"

For the world he had lived, for the things of time and sense he had fought
and sighed; the ideal life, the truth of God, the best and noblest things,
had interested him noway. His sentence, his awful doom--which at first he
was so far from realising that he was thrilled with pleasure at the
words--was that he should take and for ever keep the partial beauty for
which he had struggled. Wedded for ever to the gross material life, in
that he imagined he saw his highest happiness! "Mine--the World?" he
cried, in transport. "Yes," said the awful Judge: "if you are satisfied
with one rose, thrown to you over the Eden-barrier which excludes you from
its glory--take it!" Our greatest punishment would be the gratification of
our lowest aims. "All the world!" and the sense of infinite possession of
all the beauty of earth, from fern leaf to Alpine heights, brought the
warmth to the man's heart and extinguished the terror inspired by the
Judgment-seat of God. And the great Judge saw the thought, told him he was
welcome so to rate the mere hangings of the vestibule of the Palace of the
Supreme; and in the scorn of the awful gift the man read his error, and
asked for Art in place of Nature. And that, too, was conceded: he should
obtain the one form the sculptors laboured to abstract, the one face the
painters tried to draw, the perfection in their soul which these only
hinted at. But "very good" as God pronounced earth to be, earth can only
serve earth's ends; its completeness transferred to a future state would
be the dreariest deficiency. The good, tried once, were bad retried. Then
the judged man, seeing the World and the World of Art insufficient to
satisfy his new condition, cried in anguish, "Mind is best--I will seize
mind--forego the rest!" And again it was answered to him that all the best
of mind on earth--the intuition, the grasps of guess, the efforts of the
finite to comprehend the infinite, the gleams of heaven which come to
sting with hunger for the full light of God, the inspiration of poetry,
the truth hidden in fable,--all these were God's part, and in no wise to
be considered as inherent to the mind of man. Losing God, he loses His
inspirations; bereft of them in the world he had chosen, mind would not
avail to light the cloud he had entered. And the bleeding spirit of the
humbled man prays for love alone. And God said, "Is this thy final choice:
Love is best? 'Tis somewhat late! Love was all about thee, curled in its
mightiness around all thou hadst to do with. Take the show of love for the
name's sake; but remember Who created thee to love, died for love of thee,
and thou didst refuse to believe the story, on the ground that the love
was too much." Cowering deprecatingly, the man, who now saw the whole
truth of God, cried, "Thou Love of God! Let me not know that all is lost!
Let me go on hoping to reach one eve the Better Land!" And the man awoke,
and rejoiced that he was not left apart in God's contempt; thanking God
that it is hard to be a Christian, and that he is not condemned to earth
and ease for ever.

NOTES.--Stanza iv., "_In all Gods acts (as Plato cries He doth) He should
geometrise_": see Plutarch, _Symposiacs_, viii. 2. "Diogenianas began and
said, 'Let us admit Plato to the conference, and inquire upon what account
he says--supposing it to be his sentence--that _God always plays the
geometer_.' I said: 'This sentence was not plainly set down in any of his
books; yet there are good arguments that it is his, and it is very much
like his expression.' Tyndares presently subjoined: 'He praises geometry
as a science that takes off men from sensible objects, and makes them
apply themselves to the intelligible and Eternal Nature, the contemplation
of which is the end of philosophy, as a view of the mysteries of
initiation into holy rites.'" vi., "_My list of coleoptera_": in
entomology, an order of insects having four wings--the beetle tribe. "_A
Grignon with the Regent's crest_": Grignon was a famous snuff-box maker,
and his name was used for the fashionable boxes. vii., "_Jonah's whale_":
The latest theory is that the great deity of Nineveh was a "fish-god." Mr.
Tylor considers the story to be a solar myth. Madame Blavatsky says (_Isis
Unveiled_, vol. ii., p. 258), "'Big Fish' is Cetus, the latinised form of
Keto--κητω, and Keto is Dagon, Poseidon." She suggests that Jonah simply
went into the cell within the body of Dagon, the fish-god. _Orpheus_, the
mythical poet, whose mother was the Muse Calliope. His song could move the
rocks and tame wild beasts (see EURYDICE TO ORPHEUS). _Dionysius Zagrias._
Zagreus was a name given to Dionysus by the Orphic poets. The conception
of the Winter-Dionysus originated in Crete: sacrifice was offered to him
at Delphi on the shortest day. This is quite evidently one of the myths of
winter. xii., _Æschylus_: "_the giving men blind hopes_." In the
_Prometheus Chained_ of Æschylus the chorus of ocean nymphs ask
Prometheus--

    "_Chor._ But had th' offence no further aggravation?
    _Pro._ I hid from men the foresight of their fate.
    _Chor._ What couldst thou find to remedy that ill?
    _Pro._ I sent blind Hope t' inhabit in their hearts.
    _Chor._ A blessing hast thou given to mortal man."
                          Morley's _Plays of Æschylus_, p. 18.

xiv., "_The kingcraft of the Lucomons_": Heads of ancient Etruscan
families, and combining both priest and patriarch. The kings were drawn
from them. (Dr. Furnivall.) _Fourier's scheme_: Fourierism was the system
of Charles Fourier, a Frenchman, who recommended the reorganisation of
society into small communities living in common. xx., "_Flesh refine to
nerve_": this is a remarkable instance of the poet's scientific
apprehension of the process of nerve formation five years before Herbert
Spencer speculated on the evolution of the nervous system. (See my
_Browning's Message to his Time_: "Browning as a Scientific Poet.") xxvi.,
_Buonarrotti_ == Michael Angelo.

=Eccelino da Romano III.= (_Sordello._) Known as Eccelin the Monk, or
Ezzelin III. He was the Emperor Frederick's chief in North Italy, and was
a powerful noble. He was termed "the Monk" because of his religious
austerity. He is described by Mr. Browning in the poem as "the thin, grey,
wizened, dwarfish devil Ecelin." He was the most prominent of Ghibelline
leaders, was tyrant of Padua, and nicknamed "the Son of the Devil."
Ariosto, _Orlando Furioso_, iii. 33, describes him as

    "Fierce Ezelin, that most inhuman lord,
    Who shall be deemed by men a child of hell."

"His story," says Longfellow, in his notes to Dante's _Inferno_, may be
found in Sismondi's _Histoire des Républiques Italiennes_, chap. xix. He
so outraged the religious sense of the people by his cruelties that a
crusade was preached against him, and he died a prisoner in 1259, tearing
the bandages from his wounds, and fierce and defiant to the last.
'Ezzelino was small of stature,' says Sismondi, 'but the whole aspect of
his person, all his movements, indicated the soldier. His language was
bitter, his countenance proud, and by a single look he made the boldest
tremble. His soul, so greedy of all crimes, felt no attraction for sensual
pleasures. Never had Ezzelino loved women; and this, perhaps, is the
reason why in his punishments he was as pitiless against them as men. He
was in his sixty-sixth year when he died; and his reign of blood had
lasted thirty-four years.'"

=Eccelino IV.= was the elder of the two sons of Eccelino III., surnamed
the Monk, who divided his little principality between them in 1223, and
died in 1235. In 1226, at the head of the Ghibellines, he got possession
of Verona, and was appointed Podesta. He became one of the most faithful
servants of the Emperor Frederick II. In 1236 he invited Frederick to
enter Italy to his assistance, and in August met him at Trent. Eccelino
was soon after besieged in Verona by the Guelfs, and the siege was raised
by the Emperor. Vicenza was next stormed and the government given to
Eccelino. In 1237 he marched against Padua, which capitulated, when he
behaved towards the people with great cruelty. He then besieged Mantua,
and mastered the Trevisa. In 1239 he was excommunicated by the Pope and
deprived of his estates. He behaved with such terrible cruelty that the
Emperor would have gladly been rid of him. Dante, in the _Divina
Commedia_, Inferno xii., places Eccelino in the lake of blood in the
seventh circle of hell.

=Echetlos.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, Second Series: 1880.) A Greek legend (of
which there are many) about the battle of Marathon, in which the Athenians
and Platæans, under Miltiades, defeated the Persians, 490 B.C. Wherever
the Greeks were hardest pressed in the fight a figure driving a
ploughshare was seen mowing down the enemy's ranks. After the battle was
over the Greeks were anxious to learn who was the man in the clown's dress
who had done them this great service. They demanded of the oracles his
name. But the oracles declined to tell: "Call him Echetlos, the
Ploughshare-wielder," they said. "Let his deed be his name:

    "The great deed ne'er grows small."

NOTES.--"_Not so the great name--Woe for Miltiades, woe for
Themistokles!_" After the victory of Marathon, Miltiades sullied his
honour by employing the fleet in an attempt to wreak a private grudge on
the island of Paros. He was sentenced to a heavy fine, which he was unable
to pay, and died in debt and dishonour. Themistocles was accused of having
entered into a traitorous communication with the Persians in his own
interest. He was banished from Greece, and died at Magnesia.

=Elcorte= (_Sordello_, Book ii.) was a poor archer who perished in saving
a child of Eccelin's. He was supposed to be Sordello's father, but the
poet discovered that he was not.

=Eglamour.= (_Sordello._) The minstrel defeated by Sordello at the contest
of song in the Court of Love. He was the chief troubadour of Count Richard
of St. Bonifacio. He died of grief at his discomfiture in the art of song
by Sordello. "He was a typical troubadour, who loved art for its own sake;
thought more of his songs than of the things about which he sang, or of
the soul whose passion song should express" (Fotheringham, _Studies in
Browning_, p. 116). Mrs. James L. Bagg, in a comparative study of Eglamour
and Sordello, gives the following as the chief characteristics of this
poet:--"He was a poet not without effort and often faltering; he exhibits
the beautiful as the natural outburst of a heart full of a sense of beauty
that possesses it. He loses himself in his song,--it absorbs his life; his
art ends with his art, and is its own reward. He understands and loves
nature; they are bound up together. He loves all beauty for its own sake,
asking no reward. He craves nothing, takes no thought for the morrow. He
lacks character, and is dreamy, inactive; and attempting little, fails in
little. His life is barren of results as men reckon; he lives and loves,
and sings and dies. His life is almost one unbroken strain of harmony--he
is pleased to please and to serve. His nature is simple and easily
understood; Eglamour is born and dies a creature of perceptions, never
conscious that beyond these there lies a world of thought. His life goes
out in tragic giving up of love, hope and heart."

=Elvire.= (_Fifine at the Fair._) The wife of Don Juan, who discusses with
her husband the nature of conjugal love, after he has been fascinated by
the gipsy girl at Pornic fair. She is the Donna Elvira of Molière's _Don
Juan_, and the part she plays in this poem of _Fifine_ is suggested by her
speech in Act i., Scene 3:--

    "Why don't you arm your brow
      With noble impudence?
    Why don't you swear and vow
    No sort of change is come to any sentiment
      You ever had for me?"

=Englishman in Italy, The: Piano di Sorrento= (the Plain of Sorrento).
(_Dramatic Romances_, published in _Bells and Pomegranates_, VII.
1845.)--Sorrento, in the province of Naples, is situated on the north side
of the peninsula that separates the Bay of Naples from the Bay of Salerno.
In the time of Augustus it was a finer city than Naples itself. The
neighbourhood of this delightful summer resort is the realm of the olive
tree, and its plain is clothed with orange and lemon groves. A deep blue
sky above and a deep blue sea below, coast scenery unequalled for
loveliness even in Italy, and an atmosphere breathing perfume and
intoxicating the senses with the soft delights of a land of romance and
gaiety, combine to make a residence in this earthly paradise almost too
luxurious for a phlegmatic Englishman. It has a drawback in the form of
the Scirocco--a hot, oppressive and most relaxing wind, crossing from
North Africa over the Mediterranean, and the "long, hot, dry autumn"
referred to in the poem. The Englishman is seated by the side of a
dark-complexioned tarantella-dancing girl, whom he is sheltering from the
approaching storm, and who is timidly saying her rosary, and to whom he is
describing the incidents of Italian life which have most interested
him--the ripening grapes, the quails and the curious nets arranged to
catch them, the pomegranates splitting with ripeness on the trees, the
yellow rock-flower on the road side, all the landscape parched with the
fierce Southern heat, which the sudden rain-storm was about to cool and
moisten. The quail nets are rapidly taken down, for protection; on the
flat roofs, where the split figs lie in sieves drying in the sun, the
girls are busy putting them under cover; the blue sea has changed to black
with the coming storm; the fishing boat from Amalfi--loveliest spot in all
the lovely landscape--sends ashore its harvest of the sea, to the delight
of the naked brown children awaiting it. The grape harvest has begun, and
in the great vats they are treading the grapes, dancing madly to keep the
bunches under, while the rich juice runs from beneath; and still the laden
girls pour basket after basket of fresh vine plunder into the vat, and
still the red stream flows on. And under the hedges of aloe, where the
tomatoes lie, the children are picking up the snails tempted out by the
rain, which will be cooked and eaten for supper, when the grape gleaners
will feast on great ropes of macaroni and slices of purple gourds. And as
he dwells on all the Southern wealth of the land, he tempts the timid
little maid with grape bunches, whose heavy blue bloom entices the wasps,
which follow the spoil to the very lips of the eater; with cheese-balls,
white wine, and the red flesh of the prickly pear. Now the Scirocco is
loose--down come the olives like hail; fig trees snap under the power of
the storm; they must keep under shelter till the tempest is over: and now
he amuses the girl by telling her how in a few days they will have
stripped all the vines of their leaves to feed the cattle, and the
vineyards will look so bare. He rode over the mountains the previous night
with her brother the guide, who feasted on the fruit-balls of the myrtles
and sorbs, and while he ate the mule plodded on, now and then neighing as
he recognised his mates, laden with faggots and with barrels, on the paths
below. Higher they ascended till the woods ceased; as they mounted the
path grew wilder, the chasms and piles of loose stones showed but the
growth of grey fume reed, the ever-dying rosemary, and the lentisks, till
they reached the summit of Calvano; then he says--

                            "God's own profound
    Was above me, and round me the mountains, and under, the sea."

The crystal of heaven and its blue solitudes; the "infinite movement" of
the mountains, which seem, as they overlook the sensual landscape, to
enslave it--filled him with a grave and solemn fear. And now he turns to
the sea, wherein slumber the three isles of the siren, looking as they did
in the days of Ulysses; he will sail among them, and visit with his
companion their strangely coloured caves, and hear the secret sung to
Ulysses ages ago. The sun breaks out over Calvano, the storm has passed;
the gipsy tinker ventures out with his bellows and forge, and is hammering
away there under the wall; the children watch him mischievously. He rouses
his sleepy maiden, and bids her come with him to see the preparations at
the church for the Feast of the Rosary; for the morrow is Rosary Sunday,
and it was on that day the Catholic powers of Europe destroyed the Turkish
fleet at the battle of Lepanto, and in every Catholic church the victory
is annually commemorated by devotions to Our Lady of the Rosary, whose
prayers, they say, won the contest for the Christian arms. The Dominican
brother is to preach the sermon, and all the gay banners and decorations
are being put up in the church. The altar will be ablaze with lights, the
music is to be supplemented by a band, and the statue of the Virgin is to
be borne in solemn procession through the plain. Bonfires, fireworks, and
much trumpet-blowing will wind up the day; and the Englishman anticipates
as great pleasure from the festival as any child, and more--for, "Such
trifles!" says the girl. "Trifles!" he replies; "why, in England they are
gravely debating if it be righteous to abolish the Corn Laws!"

=Epilogue to "Asolando"= (1889). The words of this poem have a peculiar
significance: they are the last which the poet addressed to the world, and
the volume in which they appeared was published in London on the very day
on which he died in Venice. Had he known when he wrote them that these
were the last lines of his message to the world--that he who had for so
many years urged men to "strive and thrive--fight on!" would pass away as
they were given to the world, would he have wished to close his life's
work with braver, better, nobler words than these? All Browning is here.
From _Pauline_ to this epilogue the message was ever the same, and the
confidence in the ultimate and eternal triumph of right uniform
throughout. In the _Pall Mall Gazette_ of February 1st, 1890, there
appeared the following reference to this poem: "One evening, just before
his death illness, the poet was reading this (the third verse) from a
proof to his daughter-in-law and sister. He said, 'It almost looks like
bragging to say this, and as if I ought to cancel it; but it's the simple
truth; and as it's true, it shall stand.' His faith knew no doubting. In
all trouble, against all evil, he stood firm."

=Epilogue to "Dramatic Idyls"= (Second Series). This poem combats the
notion that a quick-receptive soil, on which no feather seed can fall
without awakening vitalising virtue, is the hot-bed for a poet; rather
must we hold that the real song-soil is the rock, hard and bare, exposed
to sun and wind-storm, there in the clefts where few flowers awaken grows
the pine tree--a nation's heritage. (Compare on this Emerson's _Woodnotes_
II.)

=Epilogue to "Dramatis Personæ."=--FIRST SPEAKER, as _David_. At the Feast
of the Dedication of Solomon's Temple, when Priests and Levites in
sacrificial robes attended with the multitude praising the Lord as a
single man; when singers and trumpets sound and say, "Rejoice in God,
whose mercy endureth for ever," then the presence of the Lord filled the
house with the glory of His cloud. This is the highest point reached by
the purest Theism of the Hebrew people.

SECOND SPEAKER, as _Renan_. A star had beamed from heaven's vault upon our
world, then sharpened to a point in the dark, and died. We had loved and
worshipped, and slowly we discovered it was vanishing from us. A face had
looked from out the centuries upon our souls, had seemed to look upon and
love us. We vainly searched the darkling sky for the dwindling star, faded
from us now and gone from keenest sight. And so the face--the
Christ-face--we had seen in the old records, the Gospels which had seemed
to dower us with the Divine-human Friend, and which warmed our souls with
love, has faded out, and we search the records and sadly fail to find the
face at all, and our hope is vanished and the Friend is gone. The record
searchers tell us we shall never more know ourselves are seen, never more
speak and know that we are heard, never more hear response to our
aspirations and our love. The searcher finds no god but himself, none
higher than his own nature, no love but the reflection of his own, and
realises that he is an orphan, and turning to his brethren cries, with
Jean Paul, "There is no God! We are all orphans!"

THIRD SPEAKER is Mr. Browning himself, who offers us consolation in our
bereavement; he asks us to see through his eyes. In head and heart every
man differs utterly from his fellows; he asks how and why this difference
arises; he bids us watch how even the heart of mankind may have some
mysterious power of attracting Nature's influences round himself as a
centre. In Arctic seas the water gathers round some rock-point as though
the waste of waves sought this centre alone; for a minute this rock-point
is king of this whirlpool current, then the waves oversweep and destroy
it, hastening off to choose another peak to find, and flatter, and finish
in the same way. Thus does Nature dance about each man of us, acting as if
she meant to enhance his worth; then, when her display of simulated homage
is done with, rolls elsewhere for the same performance. Nature leaves him
when she has gained from him his product, his contribution to the active
life of the time. The time forces have utilised the man as their pivot, he
has served for the axis round which have whirled the energies which Nature
employed at the moment. His quota has been contributed; he has not been a
force, but the central point of the forces' revolution; as the play of
waves demanded for their activity the rock-centre, so the mind forces
required for their gyrations the passive man-centre; the rock stood still
in the dance of the waves, but their dance could not have existed without
its mysterious influence on their motion. The man was necessary to the
mind-waves; the play of forces could not have been secured without just
that soul-point standing idly as the centre of the dance of influences.
The waves, having obtained the whirl they demanded, submerge the rock--the
mind forces having gained such direction, such quality of rotation,
dispense with the man; the force lives, however, and his contribution to
its direction is not lost, hot husbanded. Now, there is no longer any use
for the old Temple service of David, neither is the particular aspect of
the Christ-face required as at first beheld. The face itself does not
vanish, or but decomposes to recompose. The face grows; the Christ of
to-day is a greater conception than that which Renan thinks he has
decomposed. It is not the Christ of an idea that sufficed for old-world
conception, but one which expands with the age and grows with the sentient
universe.

=Epilogue to "Ferishtah's Fancies"= (VENICE, _December 1st, 1884_). This
poem brings into a focus the rays of the fancies which compose the volume:
the famous ones of old, the heroes whose deeds are celebrated in the
different poems, were not actors merely, but soldiers, and fought God's
battle; they were not cowards, because they had confidence in the
supremacy of good, and fighting for the right knew they could leave
results to the Leader. But a chill at the heart even in its supremest joy
induces the question: What if all be error?--if love itself were
responsible for a fallacy of vision?

=Epilogue to "Pacchiaratto and other Poems"= (1876). In this poem the
author deals with his critics. "The poets pour us wine," and as they pour
we demand the impracticable feat of producing for us wine that shall be
sweet, yet strong and pure. One poet gives the world his potent man's
draught; it is admitted to be strong and invigorating, yet is swallowed at
a gulp, as evidently unpleasant to the taste. Another dispenses luscious
sweetness, fragrant as a flower distillation; and men say contemptuously
it is only fit for boys--is useless for nerving men to work. Now, it is
easy to label a bottle as possessing body and bouquet both, but labels are
not always absolute guarantees of that which they cover. Still there is
wine to be had, by judicious blending, which combines these qualities of
body and bouquet. How do we value such vintage when we do possess it? Go
down to the vaults where stand the vats of Shakespeare and Milton wine:
there in the cellar are forty barrels with Shakespeare's brand--some five
or six of his works are duly appreciated, the rest neglected; there are
four big butts of Milton's brew, and out of them we take a few drops,
pretending that we highly esteem him the while! The fact is we hate our
bard, or we should not leave him in the cellar. The critics say Browning
brews stiff drink without any flavour of grape: would the public take more
kindly to his wine if he gave it all the cowslip fragrance and bouquet of
his meadow and hill side? The treatment received by Shakespeare and Milton
proves that the public taste is vitiated, notwithstanding all the pretence
of admiration of them. It is our furred tongue that is at fault; it is
nettle-broth the world requires. Browning has some Thirty-four Port for
those who can appreciate it; as for the multitude, let them stick to their
nettle-broth till their taste improves.

NOTES.--Verse i., "_The Poets pour in wine_": the quotation is from Mrs.
Browning's "Wine of Cyprus." V. 20, "_Let them 'lay, pray, bray'_": this
in ridicule of Byron's grammar in verse clxxx. of Canto IV. of _Childe
Harold's Pilgrimage_:--"And dashest him again to earth;--there let him
lay."

=Epilogue to the "Two Poets of Croisic"= (1878). (Published in the
_Selections_, vol. ii., as A TALE). A bard had to sing for a prize before
the judges, and to accompany his song on the lute. His listeners were so
pleased with his melody that it seemed as though they would hasten to
bestow the award even before the end of the song; when, just as the poet
was at the climax of his trial, a string broke, and all would have been
lost, had not a cricket "with its little heart on fire" alighted on the
instrument, and flung its heart forth, sounding the missing note; and
there the insect rested, ever at the right instant shrilling forth its
F-sharp even more perfectly than the string could have done. The judges
with one consent said, "Take the prize--we took your lyre for harp!" Did
the conqueror despise the little creature who had helped him with all he
had to offer? No: he had a statue of himself made in marble, life-size; on
the lyre was "perched his partner in the prize." The author of the volume
of poems of which this story forms the epilogue, says that he tells it to
acknowledge the love which played the cricket's part, and gave the missing
music; a girl's love coming aptly in when his singing became gruff. Love
is ever waiting to supply the missing notes in the arrested harmony of our
lives.

NOTES.--"_Music's Son_": Goethe. "_Lotte_," of the _Sorrows of Werther_,
was Charlotte Buff, who married Kestner, Goethe's friend, the Albert of
the novel. Goethe was in love with Charlotte Buff, and her marriage with
Kestner roused the temper of his over-sensitive mind. (See _Dr. Brewer's
Reader's Handbook_.)

=Epistle, An, Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the
Arab Physician.= (_Men and Women_, vol. i., 1855.) [The subject of the
poem is the raising of Lazarus from the dead.] Karshish, a wandering
scholar-physician, writing to the sage Abib, from whom he has learned his
art, gives him an account of certain matters of medical interest which he
has discovered in the course of his travels, and which, like a good
student, he communicates to his venerable teacher. After informing him
that he has sent him some samples of rare pharmaceutical substances, he
says that his journeyings brought him to Jericho, on the dangerous road
from which city to Jerusalem he had met with sundry misadventures, and
noted several cases of clinical interest, all of which he reports in the
matter-of-fact way which betokens the scientific practitioner of the
period. Amongst his plague, ague, epileptic, scalp-disease, and leprosy
cures, he particularly describes "a case of mania subinduced by epilepsy,"
which especially interested him. The disorder seemed to him of quite easy
diagnosis: "Tis but a case of mania," complicated by trance and epilepsy,
but well within his powers as a physician to account for, except in the
after circumstances and the means of cure. "Some spell, exorcisation or
trick of art" had evidently been employed by a Nazarene physician of his
tribe, who bade him, when he seemed dead, "Rise!" and he did rise. He was
"one Lazarus, a Jew"--of good habit of body, and indeed quite beyond
ordinary men in point of health; and his three days' sleep had so
brightened his body and soul that it would be a great thing if the medical
art could always ensure such a result from the use of any drug. He has
undergone such change of mental vision that he eyes the world now like a
child, and puts all his old joys in the dust. He has lost his sense of the
proportion of things: a great armament or a mule load of gourds are all
the same to him, while some trifle will appear of infinite import; yet he
is stupefied because his fellow-men do not view things with his opened
eyes. He is so perplexed with impulses that his heart and brain seem
occupied with another world while his feet stay here. He desires only
perfectly to please God; he is entirely apathetic when told that Rome is
on the march to destroy his town and tribe, yet he loves all things old
and young, strong and weak, the flowers and birds, and is harmless as a
lamb: only at ignorance and sin he is impatient, but promptly curbs
himself. The physician would have sought out the Nazarene who worked the
cure, and would have held a consultation with him on the case, but
discovered that he perished in a tumult many years ago, accused of
wizardry, rebellion, and of holding a prodigious creed. Lazarus--it is
well, says the physician, to keep nothing back in writing to a brother in
the craft--regards the curer as God the Creator and sustainer of the
world, that dwelt in flesh amongst us for a while; but why write of
trivial matters? He has more important things to tell.

    "I noticed on the margin of a pool,
    Blue-flowering borage, the Aleppo sort
    Aboundeth, very nitrous. It is strange!"

He begs the sage's pardon for troubling him with this man's tedious case,
but it has touched him with awe, it may be partly the effect of his
weariness. But he cannot close his letter without returning to the
tremendous suggestion once more. "Think, Abib! The very God!"--

    "So the All-Great, were the All-Loving too,--
                        It is strange."

Professor Corson says this poem "is one of Browning's most remarkable
psychological studies. It may be said to polarise the idea, so often
presented in his poetry, that doubt is a condition of the vitality of
faith. It is a subtle representation of a soul conceived with absolute
spiritual standards, while obliged to live in a world where all standards
are relative and determined by the circumstances and limitations of its
situation." Lazarus has seen things as they are. "This show of things," so
far as he is concerned, is done with. He now leads the _actual_ life; his
wonder and his sorrow are drawn from the reflection that his fellow-men
remain in the region of phantasm. He lives really in the world to come.
How infinitely little he found the things of time and sense in the
presence of the eternal verities is grandly shown in the poem. The
attitude of Lazarus under his altered conditions affords an answer to
those who demand that an All-Wise Being should not leave men to struggle
in a region of phenomena but exhibit the actual to us in the present life.
Under such conditions our probation would be impossible. As Browning shows
in _La Saisiaz_, a condition of certainty would destroy the school-time
value of life; the highest truths are insusceptible of scientific
demonstration. Lazarus is the hero of the poem, not Karshish. As the
Bishop of Durham says in his paper "On Browning's View of Life," Lazarus
"is not a man, but a sign: he stands among men as a patient witness of the
overwhelming reality of the divine--a witness whose authority is
confessed, even against his inclination, by the student of nature, who
turns again and again to the phenomena which he affects to disparage. In
this crucial example Browning shows how the exclusive dominance of the
spirit destroys the fulness of human life, its uses and powers, while it
leaves a passive life, crowned with an unearthly beauty." The professional
attitude of Karshish is drawn with marvellous fidelity. A paper in the
_Lancet_ on such a "case" would be precisely on the same lines to-day,
though the wandering off into side details would not be quite so obvious,
and there would be an entire absence of any trifling with the idea that
"the All-Great were the All-Loving too." This is "emotional," and modern
science has nothing but contempt for that.

NOTES.--_Snake-stone_, a name applied to any substance used as a remedy
for snake-bites. Professor Faraday once analysed several which had been
used for this purpose in Ceylon. One turned out to be a piece of animal
charcoal, another was chalk, and a third a vegetable substance like a
bezoar. The animal charcoal might possibly have been useful if applied
immediately. The others were valueless for the purpose. (Tennant,
_Ceylon_, third ed., i., 200.) "_A spider that weaves no web._" Dr. H.
McCook, a specialist in spider lore, has explained this passage in
_Poet-Lore_, vol. i., p. 518. He says the spider referred to belongs to
the Wandering group: they stalk their prey in the open field, or in divers
lurking places, and are quite different in their habits from the
web-spinners. The spider sprinkled with mottles he thinks is the Zebra
spider (_Epiblemum scenicum_). It belongs to the Saltigrade tribe. The use
of spiders in medicine is very ancient. Pliny describes many diseases for
which they were used. Spiders were boiled in water and distilled for
wounds by Sir Walter Raleigh. _Greek-fire_ was the precursor of gunpowder;
it was the _oleum incendiarum_ of the Romans. Probably petroleum, tar,
sulphur, and nitre were its chief ingredients. _Blue flowering borage_
(_Borago officinalis_). The ancients deemed this plant one of the four
"cordial flowers" for cheering the spirits, the others being the rose,
violet, and alkanet. Pliny says it produces very exhilarating effects. The
stem contains nitre, and the whole plant readily gives its flavour even to
cold water. (See Anne Pratt's _Flowering Plants_, vol. iv., p. 75.)

=Este.= (_Sordello._) A town of Lombardy, in the delegation of Padua,
situated at the southern extremity of the Euganean hills. The Rocca or
castle is a donjon tower occupying the site of the original fortress of
Este.

=Este, The House of.= (_Sordello._) One of the oldest princely houses of
Italy, called Este after the name of the town above mentioned. Albert Azzo
II. first bore the title of Marquis of Este; he married a sister of
Guelph III., who was duke of Carinthia. The Italian title and estates were
inherited by Fulco I. (1060-1135), son of Albert Azzo II. In the twelfth,
thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries the history of the house of Este is
mixed up with that of the other noble houses of Italy in the struggles of
the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The Estena were the head of the Guelph party,
and at different times were princes of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio. "Obizzo
I., son of Folco I., entered into a league against Frederick Barbarossa,
and was comprehended in the Venetian treaty of 1177, by which municipal
podestas (chief magistrates of great cities) were instituted" (_Encyc.
Brit._). Strife existed between this house and that of the Torelli, which
raged for two centuries, in consequence of Obizzo I. carrying off
Marchesella, heiress of the Adelardi family, of Ferrara, and marrying her
to his son Azzo V.

=Eulalia.= (_A Soul's Tragedy._) The shrewd woman who was betrothed to
Luitolfo.

=Euripides.= The Greek tragic poet, who was born of Athenian parents in
480 B.C. He brought out his first play--_The Peliades_--at the age of
twenty-five. At thirty-nine he gained the first prize, which honour he
received only five times in his long career of fifty years. He was the
mediator between the ancient and modern drama, and was regarded at Athens
as an innovator. Aristophanes was an exceedingly hostile and witty critic
of Euripides, and from his point of view his conduct was justified, taking
as he did the standard of Æschylus and Sophocles as the only right model
of tragedy. He is variously said to have written seventy-five,
seventy-eight and ninety-two tragedies. Eighteen only have come down to
us: _The Alcestis_, _Andromache_, _Bacchæ_, _Hecuba_, _Helena_, _Electra_,
_Heraclidæ_, _Heracles in Madness_, _The Suppliants_, _Hippolytus_,
_Iphigenia at Aulis_, _Iphigenia among the Tauri_, _Ion_, _Medea_,
_Orestes_, _Rhesus_, the _Troades_, the _Phœnissæ_, and a satiric play,
the _Cyclops_. "Aristophanes calls Euripides 'meteoric,' because he was
always rising into the air; he was famous for allusions to the stars, the
sea and the elements. Aristophanes uses the epithet sneeringly: Browning,
praisingly" (_Br. P._ iii. 43).

=Eurydice to Orpheus. A Picture by Leighton.= (Published for the first
time in the Royal Academy Catalogue, 1864. It was reprinted in the first
volume of the _Selections_ in 1865.) Orpheus was a famous mythical poet,
who was so powerful in song that he could move trees and rocks and tame
wild beasts by the charms of his voice. His wife (the nymph Eurydice) died
from the bite of a serpent, and Orpheus descended to the lower regions in
search of her. He so influenced Persephone by his music that she gave him
permission to take back his wife on the condition that he should not look
round during his passage from the nether world to the regions above. In
his impatience he disregarded the condition, and having turned his head to
gaze back, Eurydice had to return for ever to Hades (Vergil, _Geor._ iv.,
v. 457, etc.). The poet has represented Eurydice speaking to Orpheus the
passionate words of love which made him forget the commands of Pluto and
Persephone not to look back on pain of losing his wife again.

=Euthukles.= (_Balaustion's Adventure_; _Aristophanes' Apology._) He was
the man of Phokis who heard Balaustion recite _Alcestis_ at Syracuse, and
who followed her when she returned to Athens, and married her. On their
voyage to Rhodes, after the fall of Athens, Balaustion dictated to him the
_Apology_ of Aristophanes, which he wrote down on board the vessel. It was
Euthukles, according to Browning, who saved Athens from destruction by
reciting at a critical moment the lines from Euripides' _Electra_ and
_Agamemnon_.

=Evelyn Hope.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic Lyrics_,
1868.) The lament of a man who loved a young girl who died before she was
old enough to appreciate his love. The maiden was sixteen, the man "thrice
as old." He contemplates her as she lies in the beauty of death, and asks:
"Is it too late then? Because you were so young and I so old, were we
fellow-mortals and nought beside? Not so: God creates the love to reward
the love," and he will claim her not in the next life alone, but, if need
be, through lives and worlds many yet to come. His love will not be lost,
for his gains of the ages and the climes will not satisfy him without his
Evelyn Hope. He can wait. He will be more worthy of her in the worlds to
come. Modern science has taught us that no atom of matter can ever be lost
to the world, no infinitesimal measure of energy but is conserved, and the
poet holds that there shall never be one lost good. The eternal atoms, the
vibrations that cease not through the eternal years, shall not mock at
the evanescence of human love.



=Face, A.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) A portrait of a beautiful girl
painted in words by a poet who had all the sympathies of an artist.

=Family, The.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, 4: "On the Lawfulness of Prayer.")
Ferishtah has prayed for a dying man that he might recover. An objector
asks why he does this: if God is all-wise and good, what He does must be
right: "Two best wills cannot be." Man has only to acquiesce and be
thankful. The dervish tells a tale. A man had three sons, and a wife who
was bitten by a serpent. The husband called in a doctor, who said he must
amputate the injured part. The husband assented. The eldest son said,
"Pause, take a gentler way." The next in age said, "The doctor must and
should save the limb." The youngest said, "The doctor knows best: let him
operate!" He agreed with the doctor. Let God be the doctor; let us call
the husband's acquiescence wise understanding, call the first son's
opinion a wise humanity. In the second son we see rash but kind humanity;
in the youngest one who apes wisdom above his years. "Let us be man and
nothing more," says Ferishtah.--man hoping, fearing, loving and bidding
God help him till he dies. The lyric bids us while on earth be content to
be men. The wider sense of the angel cannot be expected while we remain
under human conditions.

=Fancy and Reason=, in _La Saisiaz_, discuss the _pros_ and _cons_ of the
probabilities of the existence of God, the soul, and future life, etc.

=Fears and Scruples.= (_Pacchiarotto and Other Poems_, 1876: "The
Spiritual Uses of Uncertainty.") "Why does God never speak?" asks the
doubter. The analogy of the poem compares this silence of the Divine Being
with that of a man's friend, who wrote him many valued letters, but
otherwise kept aloof from him. It is suggested by experts that the letters
are forgeries. The man loves on. It is then suggested that his friend is
acting as a spy upon him, sees him readily enough and knows all he does,
and some day will show himself to punish him. But this is to make the
friend a monster! Hush!--"What if this friend happen to be--God?" In
explanation of this poem, Mr. Kingsland received from the poet the
following letter:--"I think that the point I wanted to illustrate in the
poem you mention was this: Where there is a genuine love of the 'letters'
and 'actions' of the invisible 'friend,' however these may be
disadvantaged by an inability to meet the objections to their authenticity
or historical value urged by 'experts' who assume the privilege of
learning over ignorance, it would indeed be a wrong to the wisdom and
goodness of the 'friend' if he were supposed capable of overlooking the
actual 'love' and only considering the 'ignorance' which, failing to in
any degree affect 'love,' is really the highest evidence that 'love'
exists. So I _meant_, whether the result be clear or no."

=Ferishtah's Fancies.= A criticism of Life: Browning's mellow wisdom.
Published in 1884, with the following quotations as mottoes on the page
facing the title:--

    "His genius was jocular, but, when disposed, he could be very
    serious."--Article _Shakespeare_, Jeremy Collier's _Historical, etc.,
    Dictionary_, 2nd edition, 1701. "You, sir, I entertain you for one of
    my Hundred; only, I do not like the fashion of your garments: you will
    say, they are Persian; but let them be changed."--_King Lear_, Act
    III., sc. vi.

The work embraces the following collection of poems:--Prologue. 1. "The
Eagle." 2. "The Melon-seller." 3. "Shah Abbas." 4. "The Family." 5. "The
Sun." 6. "Mihrab Shah." 7. "A Camel-driver." 8. "Two Camels." 9.
"Cherries." 10. "Plot Culture." 11. "A Pillar at Sebzevah." 12. "A Bean
Stripe: also Apple Eating." Epilogue. There was a real personage named
Ferishtah, a celebrated Persian historian, born about 1570. He is one of
the most trustworthy of the Oriental historians. Several portions of his
work have been translated into English. He has, however, no connection
with the subject-matter of Mr. Browning's book, but it is probable that
his name suggested itself to the poet as a good one for his work. We have
here Mr. Browning in a dervish's robe, philosophising in a Persian
atmosphere, yet talking the most perfect Browningese, just as do the Pope
in the _Ring and the Book_ and the rabbis in the Jewish poems. Age,
experience, and the calm philosophy of a religious mind, are required for
the poet's highest teaching. It matters little, these being given,
whether the philosophers wear the tiara of the pope, the robe of the
dervish, or the gaberdine of the Jew: the philosophy is the same. The aim
is "to justify the ways of God to men," and to make reasonable an exalted
Christian Theism. Three great Eastern classics--_The Fables of Bidpai_,
Firdausi's _Sháh-Námeh_, and the Book of Job--are the sources of the
inspiration of the pages of _Ferishtah's Fancies_. Both the _Sháh-Náhmeh_
and the _Fables of Bidpai_, or _Pilpay_ as they are commonly termed, are
published in the _Chandos Classics_. Bidpai is supposed to be the author
of a famous collection of Hindū fables. The name Bidpai occurs in their
Arabic version. Their origin was doubtless the _Pantcha Tantra_, or "Five
Sections," a great collection of fables. The _Hitopadesa_ is another such
collection. The fables were translated into Pehlvi in the sixth century.
Then the Persian fables were translated into Arabic, and were transmitted
to Europe. They were translated into Greek in the eleventh century, then
into Hebrew and Latin, afterwards into nearly every European tongue. We
must go to Firdausi, the Persian author of that "standing wonder in poetic
literature," the _Sháh Námeh_, for an explanation of several allusions in
the poem. This great chronicle, the Persian Book of Kings, is a history of
Persia in sixty thousand verses. The poem is as familiar to every Persian
as our own great epics to us, and the use Mr. Browning makes of it in this
work is managed in the most natural manner. This we shall notice more
particularly in dealing with the separate poems which compose the volume.
In a letter to a friend, Browning wrote:--"I hope and believe that one or
two careful readings of the poem will make its sense clear enough. Above
all, pray allow for the poet's inventiveness in any case, and do not
suppose there is more than a thin disguise of a few Persian names and
allusions. There was no such poet as Ferishtah--the stories are all
inventions.... The Hebrew quotations are put in for a purpose, as a direct
acknowledgment that certain doctrines may be found in the Old Book, which
the concocters of novel schools of morality put forth as discoveries of
their own."

=Festus.= (_Paracelsus._) The old and faithful friend of Paracelsus, who
believes in him from the first. He is the husband of Michal, and both
influence the mind of the hero of medicine for good at various stages of
his career.

=Fifine at the Fair.= (1872.) The key-note of the work is given in the
quotation before the Prologue, which is the motto of the poem, from
Molière's _Don Juan_, Act I., Sc. 3. There is a certain historic basis for
the character of the Don Juan of European legend. In Seville, in the time
of Peter the Cruel, lived Don Juan Tenorio, the prince of libertines. He
attempted to abduct Giralda, daughter of the governor of Seville: the
consequence was a duel, in which the lady's father was killed. The sensual
excesses of Don Juan had destroyed his faith, and he defied the
spirit-world so far as to visit the tomb of the murdered man and challenge
his statue to follow him to supper. The statue accepted the invitation,
and appeared amongst the guests at the meal, and carried the blaspheming
sceptic to hell. "As a dramatic type," says the author of the article "Don
Juan," in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, "Don Juan is essentially the
impersonation of the scepticism that results from sensuality, and is thus
the complement of Faust, whose scepticism is the result of speculation."
The Prologue describes a swimmer far out at sea, disporting himself under
the noon-sun; as he floats, a beautiful butterfly hovers above him, a
creature of the sky, as he for the time a creature of the water; neither
can unite with the other, for neither can exchange elements; still, if we
cannot fly, the next best thing is to swim,--a half-way house, as it were,
between the world of spirit and that of grosser earth. Poetry is in this
sense, a substitute for heaven: whatever the heaven-dwellers are, the
poets seem; what deeds they do, the poets dream. Does the soul of his
departed wife hover over him in this way, and look with pity on the
mimicry of her airy flight? he wonders. (Mrs. Browning died eleven years
before _Fifine_ was published.)--The scenery of the poem is that of the
neighbourhood of Pornic, a seaside town in the department of the Loire, in
Brittany, the little town being twenty-seven miles distant from Nantes. It
is noted for its sea bathing and mineral waters, and, like many other
places in Brittany, possesses some curious Druidical and other
architectural remains. Mr. Browning, while staying at Pornic with his
family, saw the gipsy woman who suggested to him the idea of Fifine. He
selected her as a type of the sensual woman, in contrast to the spiritual
type of womanhood. The poem deals with incidents connected with Pornic
fair. Don Juan, addressing his wife Elvire, says: "Let us see the
strolling players and the fun of the fair! Who would have supposed that
the night could effect such a change? Yesterday all was rough and
raw--mere tubs, poles and hoarding; now this morning all is gay as a
butterfly, the scaffolding has burst out in colour like a flower-bed in
full bloom. Nobody saw them enter the village, but that is the way of
these tumblers, they like to steal a march and exhibit their spectacle
only when the show is ready. Had any one wandered about the place at night
he would have seen the sober caravan which was the bud that blossomed
to-day into all this gaiety. An airy structure pitched beneath the tower
appeared in the morning surmounted by a red pennon fluttering in the air,
and frantic to be free. To be free!--the fever of the flag finds a
response in my soul, my heart fires up for liberty from the restraints of
law, I would lead the bohemian life these players lead. Why is it that
disgraced people, those who have burst the bonds of conventional life,
always seem to enjoy their existence more than others? They seem conscious
of possessing a secret which sets them out of reach of our praise or
blame; now and again they return to us because they must have our money,
just as a bird must bear off a bit of rag filched from mankind to work up
into his nest. But why need they do that? We think much of our reputation
and family honour, but these people for a penny or two will display
themselves undraped to any visitor. You may tell the showman that his
six-legged sheep is an imposition,--he does not care, he values his good
name at nothing. But offer to make these mountebanks respectable, promise
them any reward you like to forsake their ways, to work and live as the
rest of the world, and your offer will not tempt them. What is the
compensatory unknown joy which turns dross to gold in their case? "You
sigh," says the speaker to his wife, "you shake your head: what have I
said to distress you? Fifine, the gipsy beauty of the show, will
illustrate my meaning: this woman is to me a queen, a sexless, bloodless
sprite; yet she has conquered me. I want to understand how. There is a
honeyed intoxication in the Eastern lily, which lures insects to their
death for its own nourishment: is that a flaw in the flower? Wiser are we
not to be tempted by such dangerous delights; we may admire and keep clear
of them: not poison lilies, but the rose, the daisy, or the violet, for
me,--it is Elvire, not Fifine, I love. You ask how does this woman
explain my thought? When Louis the Eleventh lay dying he had a procession
of the famous women of all time made to pass before him: Helen of Troy,
who magically brought men to acquiesce in their own destruction; next was
Cleopatra, all the wonder of her body dominated by her high and haughty
soul, and trampling on her lovers; then the saint of Pornic church who
saves the shipwrecked sailors, and who thinks in her innocence that
Cleopatra has given away her clothes to the poor; then comes my gipsy
beauty Fifine, with her tambourine. Suppose you, Elvire, in spirit join
this procession; then you confront yourself, and I will show you how you
beat each personage there--even this Fifine, whom I will reward with a
franc that you may study her. You draw back your skirts from such filth as
you consider her to be; though, born perhaps as pure and sensitive as any
other woman, she can afford to bear your scorn possibly,--we know such
people often thus minister to age and the wants of sick parents. Her ogre
husband, with his brute-beast face, takes the money she has earned by her
exhibiting herself to us as she passes into the tent. I want to make you
see the beauty of the mind underlying the form in all these women. No
creature is made so mean but boasts an inward worth: this Fifine, a mere
sand-grain on the shore, reflects some ray of sunshine. Say that there was
no worst of degradation spared this woman, yet she makes no pretence--she
is absolutely truthful, she assumes not to be Helen or the Pornic Saint,
she only offers to exhibit herself to you for money." The wife is not
deceived by all this sophistry; Fifine's attraction for the man lies in
the fact, not that she possesses some hidden beauty of soul, but some
unconcealed physical charms which awaken desire in him because they are
not his own. What is one's own is safe, and so despised; any waif which is
a neighbour's is for the time more desirable,--"Give you the sun to keep,
you would want to steal a boor's rushlight or a child's squib." He
explains that this is always women's way about such matters--they cannot
be made to comprehend mental analysis. He reminds her how at great cost
and a year's anxiety he had purchased a Rafael; he gloated over his prize
for a week, and then had more relish in turning over leaf by leaf Doré's
last picture-book. Suppose the picture reproached him with inconstancy, he
would reply that he knew the picture was his own; anxiety had given place
to confidence, and were the house on fire, he would risk his life to save
it, though he were knee deep in Doré's engravings. He tells his wife she
is to him as the Rafael, the Fifines are as Doré's wood engravings. Elvire
is the precious wife, her face fits into the cleft in the heart of him, to
him she is perfection; but is she perfect to her mirror? He thinks not.
Where, then, is her beauty? In his soul. He cannot explain the reason, any
more than naming the notes will explain a symphony or describing lines
will call up the idea of a picture. Still there is reason in our choice of
each other. It is principally the effort of one soul to seek its own
completion--that which shall aid its development--in another's. As the
artist's soul sees the form he is about to create in the marble block, so
does the lover see in his choice that which will draw out his soul-picture
into concrete perfection. The world of sense has no real value for any of
us, save in so far as our souls can detect and appropriate it. It is the
idea which gives worth to that on which it is exercised. The value of all
externals to the soul is just in proportion to its own power of
transmuting them into food for its own growth. The soul flame is
maintained not only by gums and spices, but straw and rottenness may feed
it; if the soul has power to extract from evil things that which supports
its life, what matters the straw so long as the ash is left behind? and so
of the conquests of the soul, its power to evoke the good from the
ungainly and the partial, gives us courage to ignore the failures and the
slips of our lives. The pupil does not all at once evoke the masterpiece
from the marble--he puts his idea in plaster by the side of the Master's
statue. If the scholar at last evoke Eidotheé, the Master is to thank. "To
love" in its intensest form means to yearn to invest another soul with the
accumulated treasures of our own. The chemic force exerted by one soul in
transmuting coarse things to beautiful is aided by another's flame. Each
may continue to supplement the other, till the red, green, blue and yellow
imperfections may be fused into achromatic white, the perfect light-ray.
Soul is discernible by soul, and soul is evoked by soul--Elvire by Don
Juan. The wife objects that he abdicates soul's empire and accepts the
rule of sense: man has left the monarch's throne, and lies in the kennel a
brute. Searching for soul through all womankind, you find no face so vile
but sense may extract from it some good for soul. This fine-spun theory,
this elaborate sophistry, she declares, is merely an ingenious excuse for
sensuality:--

    "Be frank--who is it you deceive--
    Yourself, or me, or God?"

Don Juan would reply by an illustration from music, which can penetrate
more subtly than words: he would show how we may rise out of the false
into the true, out of the dark into the brightness above the dense and dim
regions where doubt is bred. Bathing in the sea that morning, out in
mid-channel, he was standing in the water with head back, chin up, body
and limbs below--he kept himself alive by breath in the nostrils, high and
dry; ever and again a wavelet or a ripple would threaten life, then back
went the head, and all was safe. But did he try to ascend breast high,
wave arms free of tether, to be in the air and leave the water, under he
went again; before he had mastered his lesson he had plenty of water in
mouth and eyes. "I compare this," he says, "to the spirit's efforts to
rise out of the medium which sustains it." He was upborne by that which he
beat against, too gross an element to live in, were it not for the dose of
life-breath in the soul. Our business is with the sea, not with the air,
so we must endure the false below while we bathe in this life. It is by
practice with the false that we reach the true. We gain confidence, and
learn the trick of doing what we will--sink or rise. His senses do not
reel when a billow breaks over him; he grasps at a wave that will not be
grasped at all, but glides through the fingers--still the failure to grasp
the water sends the head above, far beyond the wave he tried to hold:--

    "So with this work o' the world,"

we try to grasp a soul, catch at it, think we have a prize; it eludes us,
yet the soul helped ours to mount. He seizes Elvire by grasping at Fifine.
Not even this specious reasoning deceives the wife. It is an ugly fact
that the wave grasped at is a woman. He replies that a woman can be
absorbed into the man: women _grow_ you, men at best _depend_ upon you. A
rill that empties itself into the sea can never be separated from it. That
is woman. Man takes all and gives nought. To raise men you must stoop to
teach them, learn their ignorance, stifle your soul in their mediocrities;
but to govern women you must abandon stratagem, cast away disguise, and
reveal your best self at your uttermost. When the music of Arion attracted
the dolphins to the doomed man, one of them bore him on its back to the
coast, and so saved his life; revealing his best to this "true
woman-creature," he was saved from the men who would have killed him for
gain. A man never puts out his whole self in love--this is reserved for
hate. You do not get the best out of a man by nourishing his root, but by
pruning his branch; as wine came through goats, which, browsing on the
tendrils of the grape, "stung the stock to fertility," and so gained "the
indignant wine--wrath of the red press." Mites of men are sore that God
made mites at all; love avails not from such men-animalculæ to coax a
virile thought, but touch the elf with hate, and the insect swells to
thrice its bulk "and cuckoo-spits some rose!" Nothing is to be gained from
ruling men; women take nothing, and give all. Elvire and Fifine, in their
degree, are alike in this respect. "To have secured a woman's faith in me
is to have centred my soul on a fact. Falseness and change I see all
around me; I expect truth because Fifine knows me much more than Elvire
does." To this his wife replies, "Why not only she? There can be for each
but one Best, which abolishes the simply Good and Better. Why not be
content with the Elvire, who substitutes belief in truth, in your own
soul, for the falseness which you fear? By toil and effort the boatman may
do with pole and oars what by waiting a few hours the rising water would
do for him without his labour; but men affect unusual ways,--Elvire could
do far better for you all that you expect from Fifine." To this he replies
that "a voyage may be too safe; there is no excitement, no experiment when
wind and tide do all the needful work. Then may not our hate of falsehood
be that which charms us in these actors who confess 'A lie is all we do or
say'? Everything has a false outside, stage-play is honest cheating. The
poet never dreams; prose-folk always do." Then he tells how his thought
had recently sought expression in music rather than in words--as he played
Schumann's _Carnival_, and reflected that in the masque of life and
banquet of the world we have ever the same things in a new guise, the
difficulty was ever to conquer commonplace and spice the same old viands
and games. His fancies bore him to a pinnacle above St. Mark's at Venice,
in Carnival time; he gazed down on a prodigious Fair, the men and women
were disguised as beasts, birds, and fishes. Descending into the crowd,
disgust gave way to pity; the people were not so beast-like, but much more
human, than when he viewed them from the height, and he began to
contemplate them with a delight akin to that which animates the chemist
when he untwines the composite substance, traces effect back to cause, and
then constructs from its elements the complex and complete. So did he get
to know the thing he was, while contemplating in that Carnival the thing
he was not. Thus Venice Square became the world, the masquerade was life,
the disgust at the pageant was due to the distance from which it was
contemplated, when he learned that the proper goal for wisdom is the
ground and not the sky, he discovered how _wisely balanced are our hates
and loves_, and how peace and good come from strife and evil. It is no
business of ours to fret about what should be, but we should accept and
welcome what is--_is_, that is to say, for the hour, for change is the law
even of the religions by which man approaches God. His temples fade to
recompose into other fanes. And not only temples, but the domes of
learning and the seats of science are subject to the same law. Yet
Religion has always her true temple-type; Truth, though founded in a rock,
builds on sands; churches and colleges that grow to nothing always
reappear as something; some building, round or square or polygonal, we
shall always have. But leave the buildings, and let us look at the booths
in the Fair. History keeps a stall, Morality and Art set up their shops.
They acquiesce in law, and adapt themselves to the times; and so, as from
a distance the scene is contemplated as a whole, the multiform subsides in
haze, the buildings, distinct in the broad light of day, merge and lose
their individuality in a common shape. See this Druid monument: how does
its construction strike you? How came this cross here? Learning cannot
enlighten us. It meant something when it was erected which is lost now,
yet the people of the place respect it and are persuaded that what a thing
meant once it must still mean. They thought it had some reference to the
Creator of the world, and was there to remind them that the world came not
of itself. And so, with all the change in religions, there is an imperial
chord which subsists and underlies the mists of music. In all the change
there is permanence as a substratum. Truth inside and truth outside, but
falsehood is between each; it is the falsehood which is change, the truth
is the permanence. There is an unchanging truth to which man in all his
waverings is constant. This Druid monument said what it had to say to its
own age; it never promised to help our dream. Don Juan and his wife having
now completed their walk, he proposes to return home to end where they
began; as we were nursed into life, death's bosom receives us at last, and
that is final, for death is defeat. Our limbs came with our need of them,
our souls grew by mastering the lessons of life; but when death comes, the
soul, which ruled by right while the bodily powers remained, loses its
right to rule. And so the soul has run its round. Love ends too where love
began, and goes back to permanence; each step aside (from Elvire to
Fifine, for example) proves divergency in vain:

    "Inconstancy means raw, 'tis faith alone means ripe."

And as they reach their villa, he resolves to live and die a quiet married
man, earning the approbation of the mayor, and unoccupied with soul
problems, especially those of women. At that moment a letter is put into
his hand: there has been some mistake, Fifine thinks--he has given her
gold instead of silver; he will go and see about it, and is off. Five
minutes was all the time he asked. He is absent much longer, and on his
return Elvire has vanished.

The Epilogue describes the householder sitting desolate in his melancholy
home, weary and stupid; he is suddenly surprised by the appearance of his
lost wife, whose spirit has returned to claim him; he tells her how the
time has dragged without her, "And was I so much better off up there?"
quoth she. For decency, arrangements are made that the reunion may be in
order; and so, the powers above and those below having been duly
conciliated, husband and wife are once more united: "Love is all, and
death is nought"--the final lesson of life.

The means whereby we may rise from the false to the true are never wanting
to the earnest and faithful striver, this is the esoteric truth of _Fifine
at the Fair_. The exoteric meaning may be "an apologia for the revolt of
passion against social rules and fetters." "Frenetic to be free," like the
pennon, is in this sense the concentration of its meaning. What was
Browning's object in this difficult and remarkable work? The question is
not so difficult to answer as it appears at first sight. The poet is a
soul analyst first, and a teacher next. He teaches admirably in scores of
passages in _Fifine_, but his main idea has been to interpret the mental
processes which he supposed might underlie the actions of such a selfish
and heartless voluptuary as Don Juan. Not, of course, was there any idea
of rehabilitating the character of the historic personage; but, as
Browning held that every soul has something to say for itself, every man
some ideal soul-advance at which he aims, however mistaken may be his
methods, so he imagined that even this selfish libertine had his golden
ideal, however deeply bedded in mire. He has not--like the great
dramatists--sunk himself in his character, and striven thus to present the
real man on his stage, but he has lent Don Juan his Browning soul for a
while, that he may make his Apologia to the wife, whom he finds it very
hard to deceive. Dr. Furnivall once asked the poet what his idea really
was in the poem. The poet replied that his "fancy was to show morally how
a Don Juan might justify himself partly by truth, somewhat by sophistry."
(_Browning Society Papers_, vol. ii., p. 242*.) See also vol. i., pp. 377,
379, pp. 18*, 61*, vol ii., p. 240*. Mr. Nettleship's exhaustive analysis
leaves nothing to be desired. (_Essays_, p. 221.)

NOTES.--Verse ii., "_bateleurs and baladines_," conjurors and mountebanks.
Verse iv., "_Gawain to gaze upon the Grail_": Gawain was the son of King
Lot and Margause, in the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail. Verse xv.,
_almandines_, a variety of garnet. Verse xix., _sick Louis_: King Louis
XI. of France. Verse xxv., _tricot_: a knitted vest. Verse xxvii.,
_Helen_: she was declared by some of the Greeks never to have been really
present at Troy, and that Paris only carried off a phantom created by
Hera: the real Helen, they said, was wafted by Hermes to Proteus in Egypt,
whence she was taken home by Menelaus. Verse xxxvi., _pochade_, a rough
sketch. Verse xlii., _Razzi_, a corruption of Bazzi, or properly Il
Sodona, the Italian painter (1479-1549). Verse xlvii., _Gerôme_, a French
painter (born 1824): he exhibited a great picture at the Exposition of
1859, called "The Gladiators." Verse lii., _Eidotheé_: a sea-goddess,
daughter of Proteus, the old man of the sea. Verse lix., _Glumdalclich_,
in _Gulliver's Travels_, was a girl nine years old, and "only forty feet
high." "_Theosutos e broteios eper kekramene_," Greek for "God, man, or
both together mixed," from the _Prometheus Bound of Æschylus_. Verse lx.,
_Chrysopras_: a precious stone, a variety of chalcedony, or perhaps
beryl. Verse lxvii. cannot be understood without reference to the fourth
canto of Byron's _Childe Harold_: the lines and words between inverted
commas are taken from verse clxxx., and the argument is directed against
Byron's teaching as therein expressed: this verse was particularly
obnoxious to Mr. Browning, both on account of its sentiments and grammar
(see under LA SAISIAZ, p. 247). Verse lxix., _Thalassia_: sea-nymph, from
the Greek word for the sea: _Triton_, a sea deity, a son of Neptune. Verse
lxxviii., _Arion_: a Greek poet and musician: he was rescued from drowning
on the back of a dolphin; his song to his lyre drew the creatures round
the vessel, and one of them bore him to the shore. _Periander_, the tyrant
of Corinth. "_Methymnæan hand_": Arion was born at Methymna, in Lesbos.
_Orthian_, of Orthia: this was a surname of Diana. _Tænarus_, the point of
land to which the dolphin carried Arion, whence he travelled to the court
of Periander. Verse lxxxii., "_See Horace to the boat_": the ode is the
third of the First Book of Horace's Odes. Verse lxxxiii., "_The long walls
of Athens_" (see under ARISTOPHANES' APOLOGY, p. 36). _Iostephanos_,
violet crowned--a name of Athens. Verse xcviii., _Simulacra_, images or
likenesses. Verse cxxiv., _protoplast_, the original, the thing first
formed. Verse cxxv., _Moirai Trimorphoi_, the Tri-form Fates.

=Filippo Baldinucci= on the Privilege of Burial: A Reminiscence of A.D.
1676. (_Pacchiarotto and other Poems_, 1876.) Filippo Baldinucci was a
distinguished Italian writer on the history of the arts. He was born at
Florence in 1624, and died in 1696. His chief work is entitled _Notizie de
Professori del Disegno da Cimabue in quà_ (_dal_ 1260 _sino al_ 1670), and
was first published, in six vols. 4to, 1681-1728. The _Encyclopædia
Britannica_ says: "The capital defect of this work is the attempt to
derive all Italian art from the schools of Florence." The incidents of the
poem are historical, and are related in the account which Baldinucci gives
of the painter Buti. Its subject is that of the persecution to which the
Jews were subjected in Italy, as in other countries of Europe, and
unhappily down to the present time in Russia. We have the story as told by
a frank persecutor, who regrets that the altered state of the law no
longer permits the actual pelting of the Jews. The good old times had
departed, but in his youth they could play some capital tricks with "the
crew," as he will narrate. There was a Jews' burying-place hard by San
Frediano, in Florence. Just below the Blessed Olivet, and adjoining this
cemetery, was "a good farmer's Christian field." The Jews hedged their
ground round with bushes, to conceal their rites from Christian gaze, for
the public road ran by one corner of it. The farmer, partly from devotion,
partly to annoy the Jews, built a shrine in his vineyard, and employed the
painter Buti to depict thereon the Virgin Mary, fixing the picture just
where it would be most annoying to the Jews. They tried to bribe the owner
of the shrine to turn the picture the other way, to remove its disturbing
presence from spectators to whom it could do no good, and let it face the
public road, frequented by a class of Christians evidently much in need of
religious supervision and restraint. The farmer agreed to remove the
offending fresco in consideration of the bag of golden ducats offered; and
he at once called the painter to cause Our Lady to face the other way.
Buti covers up the shrine with a hoarding, and sets to work. Meanwhile the
Chief Rabbi's wife died, and was taken for burial to the cemetery. In
passing the shrine in the farmer's field the mourners became aware of a
scurvy trick played upon them by the Christians; for the Virgin was
removed according to the bargain, but a Crucifixion had been substituted,
and now confronted them. The cheated Jews protested, but in vain: there
was nothing for them but to suffer. Next day, as the farmer and his artist
friend sat laughing over the trick, the athletic young son of the Rabbi
entered the studio, desiring to purchase the original oil painting of the
Madonna from which the fresco of the shrine was painted. The artist was so
frightened at his stalwart form, and so amazed at the request, that, taken
unaware, he asked no more than the proper price! and Mary was borne in
triumph to deck a Hebrew household. They thought a miracle had happened,
and that the Jew had been converted; but the Israelite explained that the
only miracle wrought was that which had restrained him from throttling the
painter. The truth was, he had changed his views about art, and had
reflected that, since cardinals hung up heathen gods and goddesses in
their palaces, there was no reason why his picture of Mary should not be
hung with Ledas and what not, and be judged on its merits, or, more
probably, on its flaws! And he walked off with his picture.

=Fire is in the Flint.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_--opening words of the fifth
lyric.)

=Flight of the Duchess, The.= (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_, 1845--in
_Bells and Pomegranates_, VII.). When Mr Browning was little more than a
child, he heard a woman one Guy Fawkes' Day sing in the street a strange
song, whose burden was, "Following the Queen of the Gipsies, O!" The
singular refrain haunted his memory for many years, and out of it was
ultimately born this poem. There is a strange fascination in the
mysterious story, which is told by an old huntsman, who has spent his life
in the service of a Duke and his mother at their castle in a land of the
North which is an appanage of the German Kaiser. The young Duke's father
died when he was a child, and his mother took him in early life to Paris,
where they remained till the youth grew to manhood. Returning to the old
castle with his head full of mediæval fancies, the Duke upset everybody by
his revivals of outlandish customs and feudal fashions, and this in a
manner which irritated every one concerned. In course of time the Duchess
found a wife for her son--a young, warm-hearted girl from a convent, who
won the affection of the servants of the castle, but was treated with
coldness and severity by its lord and his "hell-cat" of a mother. Chilled
by the want of affection, and neglected by those whose care it should have
been to make her happy, the girl sickened, and was visibly pining away. It
occurred to the Duke to revive, amongst other old customs, those connected
with the hunting of the stag, and a great hunting party on mediæval lines
was arranged. In the course of his researches into the customs of mediæval
hunting, he discovered that the lady of the castle had a special office to
perform when the stag was killed. The authorities said the dame must prick
forth on her jennet and preside at the disembowelling. But the poor,
mewed-up little duchess, secluded from all the pleasures of life, did not
care to be brought out just to play a part in a ceremony for which she had
no heart, and thanking the Duke for the intended honour, begged to be
excused on account of her ill-health; and so the Duke had to give way, but
he sent his mother to scold her. When the hunt began the Duke was sulky
and disheartened; as he rode down the valley he met a troop of gipsies on
their march, and from the company an old witch came forth to greet the
huntsmen. Sidling up to the Duke, she began to whine and make her appeal
for the usual gifts. She said she desired to pay her duty to the beautiful
new Duchess, at which the Duke was struck by the idea that he might use
the old crone as a means to frighten his wife and make her more
submissive, so he bade the huntsman who tells the story conduct the gipsy
to the young Duchess. The old hag promised to engage in the project with
hearty goodwill, and, quickened by the sight of a purse as the sign of a
forthcoming reward, she hobbled off to the castle, and the Duke rejoined
his party. The huntsman had a sweetheart at the castle named Jacynth, who
conducted the crone to the lady's chamber while he waited without. And now
began the mysteries of that eventful day. The maid protested she never
could tell what it was that made her fall asleep of a sudden as soon as
the gipsy was introduced to her mistress. The huntsman had waited on the
balcony for some considerable time, when his attention was arrested by a
low musical sound in the chamber of his lady; then he pushed aside the
lattice, pulled the curtain, and saw Jacynth asleep along the floor. In
the midst of the room, on a chair of state, was the gipsy, transformed to
a queen, with her face bent over the lady's head, who was seated at her
knees, her face intent on that of the crone. Wondering whether the old
woman was banning or blessing the Duchess, he was about to spring in to
the rescue, when he was stopped by the strange expression on her face. She
was drinking in "Life's pure fire" from the old woman, was becoming
transformed by some powerful influence that seemed to stream from the
elder to the younger woman; her very tresses shared in the pleasure, her
cheeks burned and her eyes glistened. The influence reached the soul of
the retainer, and he fell under the potent spell as he listened to the
gipsy's words as she told the Duchess she had discovered she was of their
race by infallible signs. At last he came to know that his mistress was
being bewitched, and he ran to the portal, where he met her, so altered
and so beautiful that he felt that whatever had happened was for the best
and he had nothing to do but take her commands. He was hers to live or to
die, and he preceded his mistress, followed by the gipsy, who had shrunk
again to her proper stature. They went to the courtyard, where, as he was
desired, he saddled the Duchess's palfrey, which his mistress mounted with
the crone behind her; then, putting a little plait of hair into the
servant's hand, the Duchess rode off, and they lost her. As the old
retainer tells the tale, thirty years have passed since the flight took
place. No search was made for the lady; the Duke's pride was wounded, and
he would not seek her, and made small inquiry about her. The man says he
must see his master through this life, and then he will scrape together
his earnings and travel to the land of the gipsies, to find his lady or
hear the last of her. Has all this an allegorical meaning? Many have tried
to find such in this remarkable poem. But Browning does not teach by
allegory: he rather prefers to let events as they actually happen tell
their own lessons to minds awakened to receive them. It is not at all
difficult, without resorting to allegorical interpretation, to discover
what the poem teaches. And in the first place we are taught that a human
soul cannot thrive without the living sympathy of its kind. The Duchess
was withering under the chill neglect of the hateful mother-in-law and her
contemptible son. The bewitchment of the gipsy was the charm of love--the
strong, passionate love of a great human heart, enshrined though it was in
a witch-like and decrepit frame. The outpouring of the old woman's
sympathy on this friendless girl sufficed to transfigure the crone till
she became to the huntsman a young and a beautiful queen herself. In the
supreme act of perfectly loving, the woman herself became lovely; for
there is no rejuvenescence like that which comes from loving others and
helping the weak. Then we learn that, as the Duchess seemed to be imbibing
new life from the gipsy queen, virtue goes forth from every true lover of
his kind, and degrees of rank, education, and station, are no barriers to
the magnetism which streams forth from a human heart, however humble,
towards another human heart, however highly placed. Life without love is a
living death, and the Duchess no more did wrong when she rode off with the
gipsy who saw the signs of her people in the marks on her forehead than
the flowers do wrong when they bloom at the invitation of the Spring. The
sign which the gipsy saw was that of a soul capable of responding to a
heart yearning to help it. The girl had a right to human love; she had a
right to seek it in a gipsy heart when she could find it nowhere else. In
the sermon by Canon Wilberforce preached before the British Medical
Association, at their meeting at Bournemouth in 1891, speaking of the
power of Jesus over human diseases, the preacher said, "The secret of this
power was His perfect sympathy. He violated or suspended no natural
laws.... His healings were an influential outpouring of that inherent
divine life which is latent and in some degree operative in every man, but
which existed in fulness and perfection of operation only in Him. Is not
this the force of the word "compassion" used of Him? The verb
σπλαγχνιζομαι is not found in any former Greek author. It indicates, so
far as language can express it, a forceful movement of the whole inward
nature towards its object, and personal identification with it. It
indicates that compassion and love are not superficial emotions, but
dynamic forces." Mrs. Owen, of Cheltenham, read a paper at the meeting of
the Browning Society, Nov. 24th, 1882, entitled "What is 'The Flight of
the Duchess?'" in which it was suggested that the Duke represents our
gross self; the huntsman represents the simple human nature that may
either rise with the Duchess or sink with the Duke,--the better man. The
Duchess represents the soul, the highest part of our complex nature. The
huntsman aids the Duchess (the soul) to free herself from the coarse, low,
earth-nature, the Duke. So that the 'Flight of the Duchess' is "the
supreme moment when the soul shakes off the bondage of self and finds its
true freedom in others." The paper is published in the _Browning Society's
Transactions_ (Part iv., p. 49*), and is well worthy of study by those who
seek a deeper spiritual meaning in "this mystic study of redeemed
womanhood" than its primary sense conveys.

NOTES.--Stanza iii., _merlin_, a species of hawk anciently much used in
falconry; _falcon-lanner_, a species of long-tailed hawk. vi., _urochs_,
wild bulls; _buffle_, buffalo. x., _St. Hubert_, before his conversion,
was passionately devoted to hunting: he is the patron saint of hunters;
_venerers, prickers, and verderers_, huntsmen, light horsemen, and
preservers of the venison. xi., _wind a mort_, to sound a horn at the
death of the stag; _a fifty-part canon_: Mr. Browning explained that "a
canon, in music, is a piece wherein the subject is repeated in various
keys, and, being strictly obeyed in the repetition, becomes the
"canon"--the imperative law to what follows. Fifty of such parts would be
indeed a notable peal; to manage three is enough of an achievement for a
good musician." xiii., _hernshaw_, a heron; _fernshaw_, a fern-thicket;
_helicat_, a hag; "_imps the wing of the hawk_": to "imp" means to insert
a feather in the broken wing of a bird. xiv., _tomans_, Persian gold
coins. xv., _gor-crow_, the carrion crow. xvii., _morion_, a kind of open
helmet. _Orson the wood-knight_: twin-brother of Valentine; born in a wood
near Orleans, and carried off by a bear, which suckled him with its cubs.
He became the terror of France, and was called "the wild man of the
forest."

=Flower's Name, The.= (_Garden Fancies_, I.--_Dramatic Lyrics_.)
[Published in _Hood's Magazine_, July 1844.] With very few exceptions,
Browning did not contribute to magazines. At the request of Mr. Monckton
Milnes (afterwards Lord Houghton), he sent _The Flower's Name_, _Tokay_
and _Sibrandus Schafnaburgensis_ to "help in making up some magazine
numbers for poor Hood, then at the point of death from hæmorrhage of the
lungs, occasioned by the enlargement of the heart, which had been brought
on by the wearing excitement of ceaseless and excessive literary toil." A
lover visits a garden, and recalls a previous walk therein with the woman
he loved; he remembers the flowers which she noticed, especially one whose
name--"a soft, meandering Spanish name"--she gave him; he must learn
Spanish "only for that slow, sweet name's sake." The very roses are only
beautiful so far as they tell her footsteps.

=Flower Songs, Italian.= (_Fra Lippo Lippi._) The flower songs in this
poem are of the description known as the _stornello_. This is not to be
confounded with the _rispetto_, which consists of a stanza of
inter-rhyming lines, ranging from six to ten in number. "The Luccan and
Umbrian _stornello_ is much shorter, consisting indeed of a hemistich
having some natural object which suggests the motive of the little poem.
The nearest approach to the Italian _stornello_ appears to be, not the
_rispetto_, but the Welsh _triban_" (_Encyc. Brit._, xix. 272). See also
notes to _Fra Lippo Lippi_.

=Flute-music with an Accompaniment.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) "Is not outside
seeming real as substance inside?" A man hears a bird-like fluting; he
wonders what sweet thoughts find expression in such sweet notes. Passion
must give birth to such expression. Love, no doubt! Assurance,
contentment, sorrow and hope--he detects all these moods in the music,
softened and mellowed by the interposing trees. His lady companion brushes
away all his fancy-spun notions by telling the prosy fact that the music
proceeds from a desk-drudge, who spends the hour of his luncheon with the
_Youth's Complete Instructor how to Play the Flute_, the plain truth
being that his hoarse and husky tootlings have not the remotest relation
to the romantic ideas with which her male companion has associated them.
Distance has altered the sharps to flats; the missing bar was not due to
"kissing interruption," but to a blunder in the playing. The man
philosophises on this to the effect that, if fancy does everything for us,
it matters little what may be the facts. If appearance produces the effect
of reality, seeming is as good as being.

=Forgiveness, A.= (_Pacchiarotto, and other Poems_, 1876.) A man kneels in
confession before a monk in a church. He tells the story of a life
destroyed by an insane jealousy of his wife, who was innocent of any fault
in the matter but some slight deception. The penitent was a statesman,
happy in the love of wife and home, but neglectful of his duties to both
in his absorption in the affairs of his sovereign. Returning home one
night, he enters by the private garden way, and sees the veiled figure of
a man flying from the house. Before him, as he turns to enter his door, he
sees his wife, "stone-still, stone-white." "Kill me!" she cried. "The man
is innocent; the fault is mine alone. I love him as I hate you. Strike!"
But he refrains from this speedy vengeance: henceforth they act a part
before strangers--all goes on as though nothing had happened; alone, they
never meet, never speak. Three years of this life pass, when one night the
wife demands that the acting shall end; she will explain. "Follow me to my
study," he replies. The wife begins, "Since I could die now...." and then
tells him she had loved him and had lost him through a lie. She had
thought he gave away his soul in statecraft; she strung herself therefore,
to teach him that the first fool she threw a fond look upon would prize
beyond life the treasure which he neglected. It was contempt for the woman
which filled his mind now. At this avowal his feeling rose to hate. He
made her write her confession in words which he dictated, and with her own
blood, drawn by the point of a poisoned poniard. The monk was the woman's
lover; the husband killed him also.

=Founder of the Feast, The.= This was the title of some inedited lines by
Browning, written in the album presented to Mr. Arthur Chappell (of the
St. James's Hall Saturday and Monday Popular Concerts), April 5th, 1884.
They are printed in the Browning Society's _Notes and Queries_, vol. ii.,
p. 18*.

=Fra Lippo Lippi.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; Rome, 1853-54.) [THE MAN.] Fra
Filippo Lippi (1412-69), the painter, was the son of a butcher in
Florence. His mother died while he was a baby, and his father two years
later than his mother. His aunt, Monna Lapaccia, took him to her home, but
in 1420, when the boy was but eight years old, placed him in the community
of the Carmelites of the Carmine in Florence. He stayed at the monastery
till 1432, and there became a painter. He seems to have ultimately
received a more or less complete dispensation from his religious vows. In
1452 he was appointed chaplain to the convent of S. Giovannino in
Florence, and in 1457 he was made rector of S. Quirico at Legnaia. At this
time he made a large income; but ever and again fell into poverty,
probably on account of the numerous love affairs in which he was
constantly indulging. Lippi died at Spoleto on or about Oct 8th, 1469.
Vasari, in his _Lives of the Painters_, tells the whole romantic story of
his life.

[THE POEM.] Brother Lippo the painter, working for the munificent House of
the Medici, has been mewed up in the Palace, painting saints for Cosimo
dei Medici. Unable longer to tolerate the restraint (for he was a
dissolute friar, with no vocation for the religious life), he has tied his
sheets and counterpane together and let himself out of the window for a
night's frolic with the girls whom he heard singing and skipping in the
street below. He has been arrested by the watchmen of the city, who
noticed his monastic garb, and did not consider it in accord with his
present occupation. He is making his defence and bribing them to let him
go. He tells them his history: how he was a baby when his mother and
father died, and he was left starving in the street, picking up fig skins
and melon parings, refuse and rubbish as his only food. One day he was
taken to the monastery, and while munching his first bread that month was
induced to "renounce the pomps and vanities of this wicked world," and so
became a monk at eight years old. They tried him with books, and taught
him some Latin; as his hard life had given him abundant opportunity for
reading peoples' faces, he found he could draw them in his copybooks, and
so began to make pictures everywhere. The Prior noticed this, and thought
he detected genius, and would not hear of turning the boy out: he might
become a great painter and "do our church up fine," he said. So the lad
prospered; he began to draw the monks--the fat, the lean, the black, the
white; then the folks at church. But he was too realistic in his work: his
faces, arms and legs were too true to nature, and the Prior shook his
head--

    "And stopped all that in no time."

He told him his business was to paint men's souls and forget there was
such a thing as flesh:

    "Paint the soul, never mind the legs and arms!"

And so they made him rub all out. The painter asks if this was sense:

    "A fine way to paint soul, by painting body
    So ill, the eye can't stop there, must go further
    And can't fare worse!"

He maintained that if we get beauty we get the best thing God invents. But
he rubs out his picture and paints what they like, clenching his teeth
with rage the while; but sometimes, when a warm evening finds him painting
saints, the revolt is complete, and he plays the fooleries they have
caught him at. He knows he is a beast, but he can appreciate the beauty,
the wonder and the power in the shapes of things which God has made to
make us thankful for them. They are not to be passed over and despised,
but dwelt upon and wondered at, and painted too, for we must count it
crime to let a truth slip. We are so made that we love things first when
we see them painted, though we have passed them over unnoticed a hundred
times before--

    "And so they are better, painted--better to us.
            Art was given for that."

"The world is no blot for us, nor blank; it means intensely, and means
good." "Ah, but," says the Prior, "your work does not make people pray!"
"But a skull and cross-bones are sufficient for that; you don't need art
at all."... And then the poor monk begs the guard not to report him: he
will make amends for the offence done to the Church; give him six months'
time, he will paint such a picture for a convent! It will please the nuns.
"So six months hence. Good-bye! No lights: I know my way back!"

NOTES.--"_The Carmine's my cloister_," the monastery of the friars Del
Carmine, where Fra Lippo was brought up. "_Cosimo of the Medici_"
(1389-1464), the great Florentine statesman, who was called the "Father of
his country." _Saint Laurence_ == San Lorenzo at Florence, the church
which contains the Medici tombs and several of Michael Angelo's pictures.
"_Droppings of the wax to sell again_": in Catholic countries, where many
wax torches are used, the wax drippings are carefully gathered by the poor
boys to sell; in Spain they pick up even the ends of the wax vestas used
by smokers at the bull fights for the same purpose. _The Eight_, the
magistrates who governed Florence. _Antiphonary_, the Roman Service-Book,
containing all that is sung in the choir--the antiphons, responses, etc.;
it was compiled by Gregory the Great. _Carmelites_, monks of the Order of
Mount Carmel in Syria; established in the twelfth century. _Camaldolese_,
an order of monks founded by St. Romualdo in 1027; the name is derived
from the family who owned the land on which the first monastery was
built--the _Campo Maldoli_. "_Preaching Friars_": the Dominicans,
established by St. Dominic; the name of the "Brothers Preachers" or
"Friars Preachers" was given them by Pope Innocent III. in 1215. _Giotto_,
a great architect and painter (1266-1337); he was a friend of Dante.
_Brother Angelico_ == Fra Angelico; his real name was Giovanni da Fiesole;
he was the famous religious painter, painting the soul and disregarding
the flesh; he was said to paint some of his devotional pictures on his
knees. _Brother Lorenzo_, Don Lorenzo. _Monaco_ == the monk; he was a
great painter, of the Order of the Camaldolese. _Guidi_ == Tommaso Guidi
or Masaccio, nicknamed _Hulking Tom_, was a painter, born 1401; he
"laboured," says the chronicler, in "nakeds." "_A St. Laurence at Prato_,"
near Florence, where are frescoes by Lippi: St. Laurence suffered
martyrdom by being burned upon a gridiron; he bore it with such fortitude,
says the legend, that he cried to his tormentors to turn him over, as he
"was done on one side." _Chianti wine_, a famous wine of Tuscany. _Sant'
Ambrogio's_ == Saint Ambrose's at Florence. "_I shall paint God in the
midst, Madonna and her babe_": the beautiful picture of the Coronation of
the Virgin in the Accademia delle Belle Arti at Florence is the one
referred to in these lines. The Browning Society in 1882 published a very
fine photograph of this great work, by Alinari Brothers of Florence. The
flower songs in the poem are of the variety known as the _stornelli_; the
peasants of Tuscany sing these songs at their work, "and as one ends a
song another caps it with a fresh one, and so they go on vying with each
other. These _stornelli_ consist of three lines. The first usually
contains the name of a flower, which sets the rhyme, and is five syllables
long. Then the love theme is told in two lines of eleven syllables each,
agreeing by rhyme, assonance, or repetition with the first." [See _Poet
Lore_, vol ii., p. 262. Miss R. H. Busk's "Folk Songs of Italy," and Miss
Strettel's "Spanish and Italian Folk Songs."]

=Francesco Romanelli= (_Beatrice Signorini_), the artist who paints
Artemisia's portrait, which his wife destroys in a fit of jealousy.

=Francis Furini, Parleyings with.= (_Parleyings with Certain People of
Importance in their Day_: 1887.) [THE MAN.] "Francis Furini was born in
1600 at Florence, and has been styled the 'Albani' and the 'Guido' of the
Florentine school. At the age of forty he took orders, and until his death
in 1649 remained an exemplary parish priest. In his earlier days he was
especially famous for his painting of the nude figure; his drawing is
remarkably graceful, but the colour is defective. One of his French
biographers complains that he paints the nude too well to be quite proper,
and points to the 'Adam and Eve,' in the Pitti Palace as a proof of this
statement. Perhaps the painter thought so too, for there is a tradition
that on his death-bed he desired all his undraped pictures to be collected
and destroyed. His wishes were not carried out, and few private galleries
at Florence are without pictures by him." (_Pall Mall Gazette_, January
18th, 1887.)

[THE POEM.] In the opening lines we are introduced to the good pastor, the
painter-priest who lived two hundred and fifty years ago at Florence, and
fed his flock with spiritual food while he helped their bodily
necessities. The picture is a pleasant one, but the poet deals not with
the pastor but the artist; and this painter of the nude has been selected
by Browning as a text on which to express the sentiments of artists on the
subject of,--

                          "The dear
    Fleshly perfection of the human shape,"

as a gospel for mankind. When Mr. Browning writes on art we have, as Mr.
Symons expresses it, "painting refined into song." The lines in the
seventh canto beginning--

                  "Bounteous God,
    Deviser and dispenser of all gifts
    To soul through sense,--in art the soul uplifts
    Man's best of thanks!"

aptly define the poet's position in the passionate defence of the nude as
his art-gospel. As we are intended to admire God's handiwork in the "naked
star," so is "the naked female form" declared to be--

    "God's best of bounteous and magnificent,
    Revealed to earth."

Should any object that "the naked female form," however beautiful, is not
perhaps the best thing to display in the shop windows of the Rue de Rivoli
or Regent Street, he is set down as "a grubber for pig-nuts," like Filippo
Baldinucci, who praises the painter-priest for ordering his pictures of
the nude to be destroyed. Mr. Browning deals very severely with those who
think that pictures of the nude have a deleterious influence on the public
character, and who endeavour to prevent their exhibition. It is
instructive, however, to notice the fact that the Paris police are
adopting even severer measures than our own against shopkeepers and others
who exhibit pictures of the nude. Where the governing bodies of the two
greatest cities of the world take the same view of this serious moral
question, we must take leave to hold that if "the gospel of art" has no
better means whereby to elevate the race than those of familiarising our
youth of both sexes with--

                            "The dear
    Fleshly perfection of the human shape,"

we can very well afford to dispense with it "Omnia non omnibus," concludes
the poet. What is perfectly innocent for the artist is not expedient for
the general public, just as the dissecting room, though an excellent
school for doctors, is not a suitable place for the people in the street
below.

NOTES.--_Baldinucci_, author of the Italian _History of Art_,--he was a
friend of Furini, and it is from his biography that Browning has derived
the facts recorded in his poem. _Quicherat, J._, edited the _Procès de
condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc_, in five vols.,
1841-9. _D'Alençon--Percival de Cagny_, a retainer of the Duke D'Alençon,
who wrote an account of Joan of Arc, which is to be found in the fourth
volume of Quicherat.

=Fuseli.= See MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT AND FUSELI.

=Fust and his Friends.= (The Epilogue _to Parleyings_.) The scene is laid
"_Inside the home of Fust, Mayence, 1457_." Johann Fust is often
considered the inventor, or at least one of the inventors of printing. He
was born at Mayence, in Germany, in the early part of the fifteenth
century (date uncertain). The name ultimately became Faust. It has been
said that Fust was a goldsmith, but there is no evidence of this. He was a
money-lender or speculator, and was connected with Gutenberg, who is now
considered to have been the real inventor of printing. Some however, say
that Fust invented typography, and was the partner of Gutenberg, to whom
he advanced the means to carry out his invention. On Fust first showing
his printed books he was suspected of magic, as he appears to have
concealed the method by which he turned them out. There is no proof that
the monks were hostile to printing, or that they resented the new process
of multiplying books on the ground of interference with their business as
copyists. Fust and Gutenberg were on good terms with several monasteries,
and the early printers often set up their presses in religious houses of
various orders. It is exceedingly probable that the whole magic story
arose from the similarity between the names Fust and Faust, the pupil of
the devil. Browning in this poem accepts the Fust story of the invention
of printing. Fust is visited by some monks, who, having heard confused
accounts of his work, have come to the conclusion that he has made a
compact with Satan, and is in danger of losing his soul; they prepare to
exorcise the demon, but cannot remember the proper formula, and make
amusing mistakes in their repeated attempts to capture the appropriate
Latin terms of the exorcism. They find the inventor melancholy and
depressed: he has not succeeded in perfecting his machinery; but while
they argue with him the right process suddenly dawns upon him, and
invoking the aid of Archimedes (thought by the monks to be a devil of some
sort), he runs to his printing room, and in five minutes returns with the
psalm which they could not remember accurately printed on slips of paper,
one of which he hands to each of the friars. Fust then shows them the
printing press, and explains the use of the types and blocks, bursting
out into a noble hymn of praise to God for having enabled him to bless
mankind with his invention. The monks find it exceedingly simple, and
perceive there is no miracle at all. They doubt whether the invention will
prove an unmixed blessing for the Church, and dread the trash which will
come flying from Jew, Moor and Turk. Huss declared in dying that a swan
would succeed the goose they were burning. Fust says he foresees such a
man. (_Huss_ means goose in the dialect he spoke. The swan of whom he
prophesied was Luther.)

NOTES.--_Faust_ and _Fust_: these names were often confounded, when people
thought printing a diabolical art. _Palinodes_, songs repeated a second
time. "_Barnabites and Dominican experts_": The Barnabites as a religious
order were inferior in learning and theological attainments to the
Dominicans, who were experts in matters of heresy. _Famulus_, a servant,
an attendant. "_Ne pulvis et ignis_": Latin words misquoted from some
monastic exorcism which the monks have half forgotten. "_Asmodeus inside
of a Hussite_," the devil animating the heretic Hussite or follower of
Huss. _"Pou sto," point d'appui_: Archimedes said, "Give me _pou sto_ ('a
place to stand on'), and I could move the world."

=Future State, A.= Mr. Browning's belief in the doctrine of a future state
of reward and punishment is expressed at great length and with much force
in _La Saisiaz_.



=Garden Fancies.= (Published in _Hoods Magazine_, July 1844.) I. _The
Flower's Name._ The poem describes a garden wherein to a lover's fancy
every shrub and flower is hallowed by the looks and touch of the woman he
loves. One flower in particular she named by its "soft meandering Spanish
name." He bids the buds she touched to stay as they are, never to open,
but to be loved for ever. Even the roses are not so fair after all,
compared with the "shut pink mouth" her fingers have touched. In II.,
_Sibrandus Schafnaburgensis_, we have a garden without romance. A student
takes amongst the flowers a pedantic old volume, a treatise as dry and
crabbed as its title. He read it; then, for his revenge, threw the book
into the crevice of a plum tree, amongst the fungi, the moss, and creeping
things. Solacing himself with bread and cheese and wine, he read the
jolly Rabelais to rid his brain of cobwebs. In process of time the student
came to think he had been too severe with the old author, so be fished him
up with a rake and put him in an appropriate place on the library shelves,
there to dry-rot at ease.

=Galuppi, Baldassarre.= A musical composer (1706-85). See TOCCATA OF
GALUPPI'S, A.

=George Bubb Dodington, Parleyings with.= (_Parleyings with Certain People
of Importance in their Day_, 1887.) [THE MAN.] "George Bubb Dodington
(born 1691, died 1726) was the son of a gentleman of good fortune named
Bubb. He was educated at Oxford, elected member of Parliament for
Winchelsea in 1715, and soon after sent as envoy to Madrid. In 1720 he
inherited the estate of Eastbury, in Dorsetshire, and took the name of
Dodington. On his entrance into public life he connected himself with Sir
Robert Walpole, to whom he addressed a poetic epistle, which later on he
made, by changing the name, to serve for Lord Bute. His career was full of
political vicissitudes of the most discreditable kind, by which he managed
to obtain a considerable share of the prizes of politics. He held various
offices, chiefly in connection with the navy, to which he was more than
once treasurer. It was from Lord Bute, with whom he was a great favourite,
that he received the title of Lord Melcombe. He loved to surround himself
with the distinguished men of the day, whom he entertained at his country
seat; and his interesting diary is a storehouse of information about the
political intrigues and cabals of the time. Pope and Churchill both wrote
in abuse of him, and Hogarth immortalised his wig in his _Orders of
Periwigs_." (_Pall Mall Gazette_, Jan. 18th, 1887.)

[THE POEM.] Mr. Symons describes this as "a piece of sardonic irony long
drawn out," and as a "Superior Rogues' Guide or Instructions for Knaves."
Browning satirically tells Dodington that he went the wrong way to work in
his attempts to impose upon the world. Admitting the right of the
statesman to "feather his own nest" while pretending to care only for the
public weal, because even the birds build the kind of nests that suit
their own convenience, without regard to other species, he yet declares
there is a right and a wrong way even in deceiving people. "You say, my
Lord, that the rabble will not believe and follow you unless you lie
boldly, and pretend to be animated only by the desire to serve them; but
the rabble tell lies for their own purposes daily, and understand the art
as well as you do, and as no man obeys his equal, you must produce
something which outdoes in this respect anything with which they are
familiar." Browning offers him a hint: wit has replaced force, now
intelligence in its turn must go. "You must have a touch of the
supernatural, you must awe men--not by miracles, they will not be
accepted--but still, you must pretend to some secret and mysterious power,
pretend that, though you know you have fools to deal with, there are some
wise men amongst them who are not to be deceived, and each man will
flatter himself that he is one of these.... Persuade the people that your
real character was merely an assumed one. Pretend to despise, not them,
but yourself. That will make men think you obey some law, 'quite above
man's--nay, God's!' Missing this secret, your name is greeted with scorn."

NOTE.--_The Bower-bird_: the name given to certain birds of the genera
Ptilorhynchus and Chlamydera, which are ranked under the starling family.
They are found in Australia. They are called bower-birds because they
build bowers as well as nests.

=Gerard.= (_A Blot in the 'Scutcheon._) Lord Tresham's faithful and
trusted man-servant.

=Gerard de Lairesse, Parleyings with.= (_Parleyings with Certain People of
Importance in their Day_: 1877, No. VI.) [THE MAN.] "Gerard de Lairesse, a
Flemish painter, was born at Liége in 1640. He early began his career, and
produced portraits and historical pictures at the age of fifteen. He was
of dissipated life, extravagant, and fond of dress, notwithstanding that
he was of deformed figure. The Dutch admired him very much, and modestly
called him their 'second Raphael,' Heemskirk being the first. He painted
for many years at Amsterdam, and towards the close of his life was much
troubled by his eyesight, which several times left him. He died in 1711.
Very fond of teaching, he was always ready to communicate his method to
students, and his name is associated with a _Treatise on the Art of
Painting_, which it is not, however, thought that he wrote. His execution
was very rapid, and there is a story told that he made a wager that he
would paint, in one day, a large picture of Apollo and the Muses, and
that he not only gained the wager, but painted into the picture a capital
portrait of a curious bystander. His method of work was eccentric: he
would prepare his canvas, and, sitting down before it, take up his violin
and play for some time; then, putting down the instrument, he would
rapidly sketch in the picture, and again resuming the fiddle, would derive
fresh inspiration from the music." (_Pall Mall Gazette_, Jan. 18th, 1887.)

[THE POEM.] Browning rejoices that, though Gerard had lost his sight, his
mouth was unsealed and "talked all brain's yearning into birth." He prizes
his saying that the artist should discern abundant worth in commonplace,
and not despise the vulgar things of town and country as unworthy of his
art. Beyond the actual, he taught there was ever "Imagination's limitless
domain": even dull Holland to him became Dreamland. And so in that great
"Walk" of his, written after his blindness, he could evolve greater things
than we with all our sight. Perhaps his sealed sight-sense left his mind
free from obstruction to indulge fancies "worth all facts denied by fate."
But though we cannot see what the poets of old saw in nature when they
invested trees with human attributes, and yet lost no gain of the tree,
"we see deeper." "You," says Browning, "saw the body,--'tis the soul we
see." We can fancy, too, though fact unseen has taken the place of fancy
somehow. Poets never go back at all: if the past become more precious than
the present, then blame the Creator! But it can never be so. He invites
Gerard to 'walk with him and see what a poet of the present time discerns
in the face of Nature, in her varying moods from daybreak till the shades
of night.' Then follows a series of magnificent descriptions of a
thunderstorm in the mountains, the defiant pine tree daring all the
outrage of the lightning. Then the laugh of morning, the baffled tempest,
the trees shaking off the night stupor from their strangled branches.
Diana, with her bow and unerring shaft; for gentle creatures, even on a
morn so blithe, must writhe in pain--so pitiless is Nature still! And then
the conquering noon: the mist ascends to heaven, and the filmy haze
soothes the sun's sharp glare till tyrannous noon reigns supreme. And when
at last the long day dies, clouds like hosts confronting each other for
battle come trooping silent. Two shapes from out the mass show prominent,
as if the Macedonian flung his purple mantle on the dead Darius. And now
the darkness gathers, the human heroes tread the world of cloud no longer.
'Tis a ghost appears on earth:

                            "There he stands,
    Voiceless, scarce strives with deprecating hands."

But, says Browning, though we to-day could paint Nature in this manner in
the colours of the Past, we rather prefer "the all-including, the
all-reconciling Future:

    'Let things be--not seem,
    Do, and nowise dream.'

Sad school was Hades! Let it be granted that death is the last and worst
of man's calamities: come what come will--what once lives never dies."

NOTES.--2. "_The Walk_": this was the title of a part of Gerard's work
entitled _The Art of Painting_, by Gerard de Lairesse, translated by J. S.
Fritsch, 1778. 5. _Dryope_: the fable of Dryope turned into a tree is told
in Ovid's _Metamorphoses_, book ix. 9. _Artemis_, Diana, the huntress
goddess. 10. _Lyda_, a nymph beloved by Pan, but who disdained his uncouth
pathos. 11. _Macedonian_: Alexander, king of Macedonia, invaded Persia,
and was met by Darius with an army of 600,000 men. Alexander defeated
them, and Darius was slain by the traitor Bessus. Alexander covered the
dead body with his own royal mantle, and honoured it with a magnificent
funeral.

=Gigadibs, Mr.= (_Bishop Blougram's Apology._) He is a young man of
thirty--immature, desultory, and impulsive--who criticises Bishop
Blougram's life, and serves to draw out his ideas on his religion and the
honesty of his religious conduct.

=Give a Rouse.= (_Cavalier Tunes_, No. II.)

="Give her but the least excuse to love me."= (_Pippa Passes_.) The song
which Pippa sings as she passes the house of Jules.

=Glove, The.= [PETER RONSARD _loquitur_.] (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_
in _Bells and Pomegranates_, VII., 1845.) This is an old French story of
the time of Francis I. It is familiar in various forms to students of
literature, and may be found in Schiller, Leigh Hunt, and St. Foix. Mr.
Browning, as is his wont, does not tell the story for the sake of telling
it, but that he may give a new turn to it and point out something which
has been overlooked, but which, on reflection, will always prove to be
the precise truth to be conveyed by the narration. The Peter Ronsard who
tells the tale was born in 1524, and was called the "prince of poets" by
his own generation. He was educated at the Collége de Navarre at Paris,
and was page to the Duke of Orleans. He was afterwards attached to the
suite of Cardinal du Bellay-Langey. He became deaf, and in consequence
gave up diplomacy for literature. He published his _Amours_ and some odes
in 1552. Charles IX. gave him rooms in his palace. He died in 1585. The
story of the poem is as follows. King Francis I. was one day amusing
himself by viewing the lions in his courtyard, in company with the lords
and ladies of the palace. The king bade his keeper make sport with an old
lion, which was let out of his den to fight in the pit, the spectators
being secured by a barrier. The king said, "Faith, gentlemen, we are
better here than there." De Lorge's lady-love overheard this, and she
thought it a good opportunity to test the courage of her lover, so she
dropped her glove over the barrier amongst the lions, at the same time
smiling to De Lorge the command to jump down and recover it. This was
speedily done, but the lover threw the glove in the lady's face. The king
approved this course, and said, "So should I: 'twas mere vanity, not love,
which set that task to humanity!" Mr. Browning brings his analysis to bear
on this exploit, and shows that the test was not the outcome of mere idle
trifling with a man's life to flatter a woman's vanity. She desired to try
as in a crucible the real meaning of the protestations made by De Lorge;
it was necessary for her to know if her lover was going to serve her alone
or many. He had offered to brave endless descriptions of death for her
sake. When she saw the lions, for whose capture many poor men had dared
death with no spectators to applaud, she felt justified in asking this of
her lover before she trusted herself in his hands for life. A youth led
her away from the scene. She carried her shame from the court, and married
the man who protected her from further mockery. Of course De Lorge was at
once the favourite both of women and men. He married a beauty. The Clement
Marot referred to in the poem was a famous poet of France (1496-1544), and
greatly distinguished in her literary history.

=God.= Browning's noblest utterances on God are to be found in _Christmas
Eve_, _Easter Day_, "The Pope" in _The Ring and the Book_, and
_Paracelsus_.

=Goito Castle= (_Sordello_), near Mantua, where Sordello was brought up by
Adelaide, wife of Ecelin, with Palma, daughter of Ecelin by a former wife.
Sordello lived at Goito in seclusion and boyish pleasures till he was
nearly twenty years old.

=Gold Hair: A Legend of Pornic.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) The poem is
said by Mr. Orr to be founded on facts well known at Pornic, a seaside
town in Brittany. A young girl well connected died with a great reputation
for holiness. She had beautiful golden hair, of which she was very proud.
She begged that it might not be disturbed after her death, and she was
buried with it intact near the high altar of the church of St. Gilles.
Some years after it became necessary to repair the floor of the church in
the proximity of the maiden's tomb. It was found that the coffin had
fallen to pieces, and a gold coin was noticed, which led to a more careful
examination of the spot. Thirty double louis-d'or were discovered, which
had been hidden by the girl in her hair, thus proving that the supposed
saint was at heart a miser. "Gold goes through all doors except heaven's
doors"; and for this the girl had lost her heaven. In Stanza xxviii. Mr.
Browning teaches a lesson of which he is never weary:--

    "Evil or good may be better or worse
    In the human heart, but the mixture of each
    Is a marvel and a curse."

Original sin, the innate corruption of man's heart, is illustrated says
the poet, by this girl's avarice. The priest built a new altar with the
discovered money.

=Goldoni.= (Published first in the _Pall Mall Gazette_, Dec. 8th, 1883;
then in the _Browning Society's Papers_.) Carlo Goldoni (1707-93) was the
most illustrious of the Italian comedy-writers, and the real founder of
modern Italian comedy. He had a pension from the French King Louis XVI.,
which he lost at the Revolution, and he was reduced to the extremest
misery. A monument was erected to him at Venice in 1883, and Browning
wrote for the album of the Goldoni monument the following lines:--

    "Goldoni,--good, gay, sunniest of souls,--
        Glassing half Venice in that verse of thine.--
        What though it just reflect the shade and shine
    Of common life, nor render, as it rolls,
    Grandeur and gloom? Sufficient for thy shoals
        Was Carnival: Parini's depths enshrine
        Secrets unsuited to that opaline
    Surface of things which laughs along thy scrolls.
        There throng the People: how they come and go,
    Lisp the soft language, flaunt the bright garb,--see,--
    On Piazza, Calle, under Portico
        And over Bridge! Dear king of Comedy,
    Be honoured! Thou that didst love Venice so--
        Venice, and we who love her, all love thee!
                          (VENICE, _Nov. 27th, 1883_.)

="Good to Forgive."= (_La Saisiaz._) The epilogue to _La Saisiaz_ begins
with these words. In Vol. II. of the _Selections_ the poem forms No. 3 of
_Pisgah Sights_.

=Gottingen.= The university town in Germany to a lecture hall in which
Christ went in the vision on _Christmas Eve_. Here a consumptive lecturer
was "demolishing the Christ-myth," but advising the audience to lose
nothing of the Christ idea.

=Grammarian's Funeral, A, shortly after the Revival of Learning in
Europe.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Romances_, 1863; _Dramatic Romances_,
1868.) Mr. Browning often describes a man as a typical product of his age
and environment, and invests him with its characteristics, making him
figure as an historical personage. He has done so in this case, and we
seem to know the grammarian in all his pedantry and exclusive devotion to
a minute branch of human knowledge. The revival of learning, after the
apparent death-blow which it received when the hordes of Northern
barbarism overran Southern Europe and destroyed the civilisation of the
Roman empire, began in the tenth century--that century which, as Hallam
says (_Lit. Europe_, i. 10), "used to be reckoned by mediæval historians
the darkest part of this intellectual night." In the twelfth century much
greater improvement was made. The attention of Europe was drawn to
literature in this century, says Hallam, by, "1st, the institution of
universities; 2nd, the cultivation of the modern languages, followed by
the multiplication of books and the extension of the art of writing; 3rd,
the investigation of the Roman law; and lastly, the return to the study of
the Latin language in its Ancient models of purity." All these factors
were at work and progressing gradually down to the fifteenth century. A
company of the grammarian's disciples are bearing his coffin for burial on
a tall mountain, the appropriate lofty place of sepulture for an elevated
man. As they carry the body, one of them tells his story, and dilates on
the praises of the departed scholar. They cannot fitly bury their master
in the plain with the common herd. Nor will a lower peak suffice: he shall
rest on a peak whose soaring excels the rest. This high-seeking man is for
the morning land, and as they bear him up the rocky heights they step
together to a tune with heads erect, proud of their noble burden. He was
endowed with graces of face and form; but youth had been given to learning
till he had become cramped and withered. This man would eat up the feast
of learning even to its crumbs. He would live a great life when he had
learned all that books had to teach; meanwhile he despised what other men
termed life. Before living he would learn how to live:--

    "Leave Now for dogs and apes!
    Man has Forever."

Deeper he bent over his books, racked by the stone (_calculus_):
bronchitis (_tussis_) attacked him; but still he refused to rest. He had a
sacred thirst. He magnified the mind, and let the body decay uncared for.
That he long lived nameless, that he even failed, was nothing to him. He
wanted no payment by instalment; he could afford to wait, and thus even in
the death-struggle he "ground at grammar." And so where the

    "Lightnings are loosened,
      Stars come and go!"

this lofty man was left "loftily lying."

NOTES.--_Hotis' business_, _Properly based Oun_, _Enclitic De_, these are
points in Greek grammar concerning which grammarians have written learned
treatises.

=Greek Poems.= Mr. Browning had a peculiar power in rendering the ideas of
the great Greek poets into strong resonant English verse. His lovely
_Balaustion's Adventure_, the fascinating and picturesque _Aristophanes'
Apology_, with the _Herakles_ of Euripides, and the rough, robust, and
perhaps over-literal _Agamemnon_ of Æschylus, at once proclaim the Greek
scholar and the English master-poet. Some extracts from Professor
Mahaffy's criticism of Mr. Browning's Greek translations are given below
from his _History of Classical Greek Literature_, vol. i. On the
transcription of the _Agamemnon_ (p. 258): "Mr. Robert Browning has given
us an over-faithful version from his matchless hand,--matchless, I
conceive, in conveying the deeper spirit of the Greek poets. But, in this
instance, he has outdone his original in ruggedness, owing to his excess
of conscience as a translator" (p. 277). Mr. Browning has turned his
genius for reproducing Greek plays upon this masterpiece, and has given a
version which will probably not permit the rest [Miss Anna Swanwick's, Mr.
Morshead's, etc.] to maintain their well-earned fame, though it is in
itself so difficult that the Greek original is often required for
translating his English. I confess that, even with this aid, which shows
the extraordinary faithfulness of the work, I had preferred a more
Anglicised version from his master-hand." On the transcription of
_Alcestis_ (p. 329): "By far the best translation is Mr. Browning's, in
his _Balaustion's Adventure_; but it is much to be regretted that he did
not render the choral odes into lyric verse. No one has more thoroughly
appreciated the mean features of _Admetus and Pheres_, and their dramatic
propriety" (note, p. 335). On the transcription of _The Raging Hercules_
(p. 348): "We can now recommend the admirable translation in Mr.
Browning's _Aristophanes' Apology_, as giving English readers a thoroughly
faithful idea of this splendid play. The choral odes are, moreover, done
justice to, and translated into adequate metre--in this, an improvement on
the _Alcestis_, to which I have already referred." Speaking afterwards, of
the _Helena_ of Euripides, Mr. Mahaffy remarks (p. 353): "The choral odes
are quite in the poet's later style, full of those repetitions of words
which Aristophanes derides,"--and he adds in a note: "Mr. Browning has not
failed to reproduce this Euripidean feature with great art and admirable
effect in his version of the _Herakles_."... p. 466: "Nothing is more
cleverly ridiculed [in _Aristophanes_] than those repetitions of the same
word which occur in the pathetic lyrical passages of Euripides. The modern
poet, who best understands Euripides, has followed his example in this
point:--

    'Dances, dances, and banqueting,
    To Thebes, the sacred city, through
    Are a care! for change and change
    Of tears and laughter, old to new,
    Our lays, glad birth, they bring, they bring.'
                          _Aristophanes' Apology_, p. 266.

There are many more instances in this version of the _Hercules Furens_.
This allusion to Mr. Browning suggests the remark that he has treated the
controversy between Euripides and Aristophanes with more learning and
ability than all other critics, in his '_Aristophanes' Apology_,' which
is, by the way, an '_Euripides Apology_' also, if such be required in the
present day."

=Guardian Angel, The: A Picture at Fano.= (_Men and Women_, 1855;
_Lyrics_, 1863.) Fano is a city of Italy in the province of
Urbino-e-Pasaro. It is situated on the shores of the Adriatic, in a
fertile plain at the mouth of the Metauro. Its population in 1871 was
6439. The splendid tombs of the Malatestas are contained in the church of
St. Francesco. The cathedral and other churches possess valuable pictures
by Domenichino, Guido, etc. The picture referred to in the poem is in the
church of St. Augustine. It was painted by Guercino (so called from his
squinting), properly called Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, who was born at
Cento, near Bologna, in 1590. His first style was formed after that of the
Carracci; he fell later under the influence of Caravaggio, whose strong
colouring and shadows greatly impressed his mind. The nobles and princes
of Italy, and his brother artists, very highly esteemed Guercino's work,
and they classed him in the first rank of painters. He worked very
rapidly, completing 106 large altar-pieces for churches, besides 144 other
pictures. His greatest work is said to be his Sta. Petronilla, which is
now in the Capitol at Rome. Guercino died in 1666, having amassed a large
fortune by his labours. There is a good photograph of L'Angelo Custode, in
the _Illustrations to Browning's Poems_, part i., published by the
Browning Society. An angel with wings outspread is standing in a
protecting attitude by a little child, and the angel's left arm embraces
the infant, while the right hand encloses the hands of the child clasped
in prayer. Cherubs look down from the clouds. In Guercino's first sketch
of his Angel and Child, the angel points to heaven with his left hand,
while he enfolds the child's hands with his right. Mr. Browning was
staying at Ancona. He was greatly impressed by the picture, and forgetting
that we all have a guardian angel, overlooked his own, and prayed, good
Protestant as he was, to Guercino's angel to protect and direct him when
he had done with the child. He, however, recognised Mrs. Browning as his
own guardian angel, and with her went three times to see the painting. The
Alfred referred to in Stanza vi. was Mr. Alfred Dommett, the Waring of the
poem of that name. Mr. Dommett was then in New Zealand, by the Wairoa
river of Stanza viii. Not only the consolatory doctrine of Holy Scripture
and the Church as to the ministry of angels, but the soothing and
elevating influence of religious art in conveying what words would fail to
teach half so impressively, are well emphasised by Mr. Browning's poem.
The beautiful figure "Bird of God" is from Dante (_Purgatorio_, Canto
iv.).

=Guelfs and Ghibellines.= (_Sordello._) The poem of _Sordello_ is so full
of references to the wars between the Guelfs and Ghibellines, that a
knowledge of the origin of this celebrated feud will help to throw light
on some paragraphs in the poem. Longfellow, in his notes to Dante's
_Inferno_, gives the story:--"The following account of the Guelfs and
Ghibellines is from the _Pecorone_ of Giovanni Fiorentino, a writer of the
fourteenth century. It forms the first Novella of the Eighth Day, and will
be found in Roscoe's _Italian Novelists_, i. 322. 'There formerly resided
in Germany two wealthy and well-born individuals, whose names were Guelfo
and Ghibellino, very near neighbours, and greatly attached to each other.
But returning together one day from the chase, there unfortunately arose
some difference of opinion as to the merits of one of their hounds, which
was maintained on both sides so very warmly that, from being almost
inseparable friends and companions, they became each other's deadliest
enemies. This unlucky division between them still increasing, they on
either side collected parties of their followers, in order more
effectually to annoy each other. Soon extending its malignant influence
among the neighbouring lords and barons of Germany, who divided, according
to their motives, either with the Guelf or the Ghibelline, it not only
produced many serious affrays, but several persons fell victims to its
rage. Ghibellino, finding himself hard pressed by his enemy, and unable
longer to keep the field against him, resolved to apply for assistance to
Frederick I., the reigning emperor. Upon this, Guelfo, perceiving that his
adversary sought the alliance of this monarch, applied on his side to
Pope Honorius II., who being at variance with the former, and hearing how
the affair stood, immediately joined the cause of the Guelfs, the emperor
having already embraced that of the Ghibellines. It is thus that the
apostolic see became connected with the former, and the empire with the
latter faction; and it was thus that a vile hound became the origin of a
deadly hatred between the two noble families. Now, it happened that in the
year of our dear Lord and Redeemer 1215, the same pestiferous spirit
spread itself into parts of Italy, in the following manner. Messer Guido
Orlando being at that time chief magistrate of Florence, there likewise
resided in that city a noble and valiant cavalier of the family of
Buondelmonti, one of the most distinguished houses in the state. Our young
Buondelmonte having already plighted his troth to a lady of the Amidei
family, the lovers were considered as betrothed, with all the solemnity
usually observed on such occasions. But this unfortunate young man,
chancing one day to pass by the house of the Donati, was stopped and
accosted by a lady of the name of Lapaccia, who moved to him from her door
as he went along, saying: "I am surprised that a gentleman of your
appearance, Signor, should think of taking for his wife a woman scarcely
worthy of handing him his boots. There is a child of my own, whom, to
speak sincerely, I have long intended for you, and whom I wish you would
just venture to see." And on this she called out for her daughter, whose
name was Ciulla, one of the prettiest and most enchanting girls in all
Florence. Introducing her to Messer Buondelmonte, she whispered, "This is
she whom I have reserved for you"; and the young Florentine, suddenly
becoming enamoured of her, thus replied to her mother, "I am quite ready,
Madonna, to meet your wishes"; and before stirring from the spot he placed
a ring upon her finger, and, wedding her, received her there as his wife.
The Amidei, hearing that young Buondelmonte had thus espoused another,
immediately met together, and took counsel with other friends and
relations, how they might best avenge themselves for such an insult
offered to their house. There were present among the rest Lambertuccio
Amidei, Schiatta Ruberti, and Mosca Lamberti, one of whom proposed to give
him a box on the ear, another to strike him in the face; yet they were
none of them able to agree about it among themselves. On observing this,
Mosca hastily arose, in a great passion, saying, "Cosa fatta capo ha,"
wishing it to be understood that a dead man will never strike again. It
was therefore decided that he should be put to death, a sentence which
they proceeded to execute in the following manner: M. Buondelmonte
returning one Easter morning from a visit to the Casa Bardi, beyond the
Arno, mounted upon a snow-white steed, and dressed in a mantle of the same
colour, had just reached the foot of the Ponte Vecchio, or old bridge,
where formerly stood a statue of Mars, whom the Florentines in their pagan
state were accustomed to worship, when the whole party issued out upon
him, and, dragging him in the scuffle from his horse, in spite of the
gallant resistance he made, despatched him with a thousand wounds. The
tidings of this affair seemed to throw all Florence into confusion; the
chief personages and noblest families in the place everywhere meeting, and
dividing themselves into parties in consequence; the one party embracing
the cause of the Buondelmonti, who placed themselves at the head of the
Guelfs; and the other taking part with the Amidei, who supported the
Ghibellines. In the same fatal manner, nearly all the seigniories and
cities of Italy were involved in the original quarrel between these two
German families: the Guelfs still supporting the interests of the Holy
Church, and the Ghibellines those of the Emperor. And thus I have made you
acquainted with the history of the Germanic faction, between two noble
houses, for the sake of a vile cur, and have shown how it afterwards
disturbed the peace of Italy for the sake of a beautiful woman.'"

=Gwendolen Tresham.= (_A Blot in the 'Scutcheon._) The cousin of Mildred
Tresham.

=Gypsy.= (_The Flight of the Duchess._) The old crone who is sent by the
Duke to frighten the Duchess, and who rescues her from her unhappy life.



=Hakeem= or =Hakem.= (_Return of the Druses._) He was the chief of the
Druses. The first hakeem was the Fatimite Caliph B'amr-ellah. He professed
to be the incarnate deity. He was slain near Cairo, in Egypt, on Mount
Makattam.

=Halbert and Hob.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, First Series, 1879.) Two men, father
and son, of brutal type, and the last of their line, are sitting
quarrelling one Christmas night in their homestead. High words, followed
by taunts and curses, led to an attack on the father by his furious son,
who flew at his throat with the intention of casting him out in the snow.
The father was strong and could have held his own in the scuffle, but
suddenly all power left him: he was struck mute. This still more enraged
the son, who pulled him from the room till they reached the
house-door-sill. Slowly the father found utterance and told his son that
on just such a Christmas night long ago he had attacked his father in a
similar manner and had dragged him to the same spot, when he was arrested
by a voice in his heart. "I stopped here; and, Hob, do you the same!" The
son relaxed his hold of his father's throat, and both returned upstairs,
where they remained in silence. At dawn the father was dead, the son
insane. "Is there a reason in nature for these hard hearts?" Certainly
there is, says the mental pathologist. Persons born with such and such
cranial and cerebral characteristics cannot help being brutal and
criminal. They are handicapped heavily by nature from the hour of their
birth, and they only follow out a law of their development, for which they
are not responsible when they become criminal. The mental pathologist
would have no difficulty in drawing the portraits of Halbert and Hob.
There is a monotony and family likeness in the criminal physiognomy which
does not require an expert to detect. When a specialist such as Dr. Down
goes over a great prison like Broadmoor, he has no difficulty in
indicating for us the precise aberrations from the normal type which
distinguish between the honest man and the criminal. This would be a
terrible reflection on the Divine providence, if we omitted to take into
account the pregnant last line of Mr. Browning's poem:

    "That a reason out of nature must turn them soft, seems clear."

As Nature is never without her compensations, so there is a reason above
all our materialism, our facial angles, our oxycephalic and our
microcephalic heads which justifies the ways of God to men. Doctors are
slow to recognise this, but judges always act upon the principle. Experts
in criminal pathology find responsibility with great difficulty in the men
they are endeavouring to save from the gallows. The judge, however, keeps
to the common-sense rule that if the criminal knew that he was doing what
he ought not to do, he is responsible before the law for his crime.
Halbert heard the voice in his heart--Hob relaxed his hold of the father's
throat. Conscience rules supreme even over heredity and cerebral
aberration. The basis of this story is found in Aristotle's _Ethics_, I.,
vii., c. 6.

="Heap Cassia, Sandal-buds, and Stripes."= The first line of the song in
_Paracelsus_ iv.

=Helen's Tower.= Lines written at the request of the Earl of Dufferin and
Clandeboye, on the tower which the Earl erected to the memory of his
mother, Helen, Countess of Giffard. (Printed in the _Pall Mall Gazette_,
Dec. 28th, 1883.)

=Henry, Earl Mertoun.= (_A Blot in the 'Scutcheon._) He was Mildred
Tresham's lover, and was killed by her brother, Earl Tresham.

=Herakles= == Hercules, who wrestles with death, conquers him, and
restores Alkestis to her husband, in _Balaustion's Adventure_. The _Raging
Hercules_ of Euripides, which Balaustion read to Aristophanes, is
translated by Mr. Browning in the volume _Aristophanes' Apology_.

=Heretic's Tragedy, The; A Middle-Age Interlude.= (_Men and Women_, 1855;
_Romances_, 1863; _Dramatic Romances_, 1868.) "It would seem to be a
glimpse from the burning of Jacques du Bourg Molay, at Paris, A.D. 1314;
as distorted by the refraction from Flemish brain to brain during the
course of a couple of centuries." [THE HISTORY.] Molay was Grand Master of
the order of the Knights Templars, suppressed by a decree of Pope Clement
V. and the general council of Vienne, in 1312. The Knights Templars were
instituted by seven gentlemen at Jerusalem, in 1118, to defend the holy
places and pilgrims from the insults of the Saracens, and to keep the
passes free for such as undertook the voyage to the Holy Land. They took
their name from the first house, which was given them by King Baldwin II.,
situated near the place where anciently the temple of Solomon stood. By
the liberality of princes, immense riches suddenly flowed to this Order,
by which the knights were puffed up to a degree of insolence which
rendered them insupportable even to the kings who had been their
protectors; and Philip the Fair, king of France, resolved to compass their
ruin. They were accused of treasons and conspiracies with the infidels,
and of other enormous crimes, which occasioned the suppression of the
Order. The year following, the Grand Master, who was a Frenchman, was
burnt at Paris, and several others suffered death, though they all with
their last breath protested their innocence as to the crimes that were
laid to their charge. These were certainly much exaggerated by their
enemies, and doubtless many innocent men were involved with the guilty. A
great part of their estates was given to the Knights of Rhodes or Malta.
(_Butler's Lives of the Saints--sub_ May 5.) For half a century before the
suppression of the Order, horrible stories about various unholy rites
practised at its midnight assemblies had been in circulation. It was said
that every member on his initiation was compelled to deny the Lord Jesus
Christ, to spit upon and trample under foot a crucifix, and submit to
certain indecent ceremonies. It was charged against them that hideous
four-footed idols were worshipped, and other things too terrible to
narrate were said to be done at these assemblies. Whether these things
were true or not, has been hotly disputed ever since the accusations were
made. The spitting on the cross seems, at any rate in France, to have been
admitted by the accused; many of the worst things confessed were admitted
under the most cruel tortures, and are consequently more likely to have
been false than true. In Carlyle's essay on the "Life and Writings of
Werner" (_Critical and Miscellaneous Essays_, vol. i., p. 66: 1888), the
whole story of these mysterious rites is discussed. After several pages of
quotations from Werner's drama _The Templars in Cyprus_, Carlyle says,
"One might take this trampling on the Cross, which is said to have been
actually enjoined on every Templar at his initiation, to be a type of his
secret behest to undermine that institution (the Catholic Church) and
redeem the spirit of religion from the state of thraldom and distortion
under which it was there held. It is known at least, and was well known to
Werner, that the heads of the Templars entertained views, both on religion
and politics, which they did not think meet for communicating to their
age, and only imparted by degrees, and under mysterious adumbrations, to
the wiser of their own order. They had even publicly resisted, and
succeeded in thwarting, some iniquitous measure of Philippe Auguste, the
French king, in regard to his coinage; and this, while it secured them the
love of the people, was one great cause, perhaps second only to their
wealth, of the hatred which that sovereign bore them, and of the savage
doom which he at last executed on the whole body."

[THE POEM.] The Abbot Deodaet and his monks are singing in the choir of
their church about the burning alive of the Master of the Temple two
hundred years before. He has sinned the unknown sin, and sold the
influence of the Order to the Mohammedan. In a graphic and lurid manner
they picture the details of the execution. They have no pity for the
victim, and seem to be gloating over his sufferings. They imagine that the
victim calls in his agony on the Saviour whom he forsook and traitorously
sold; he cries now "Saviour, save Thou me!" The Face upon which he had
spat, the Face on the crucifix which he trampled upon, is revealed to the
burning man feature by feature; he now sees his awful Judge, his voice
dies, and John's soul flares into the dark. Said the Abbot, "God help all
poor souls lost in the dark!"

NOTES.--i., _Organ: plagal cadence_. The cadence formed when a subdominant
chord immediately precedes the final tonic chord. ii., _Emperor Aldabrod_,
probably the family name of one of the Greek emperors, but I can find
nothing about him. _Sultan Saladin_, of Egypt and Syria, whose portrait is
so faithfully drawn by Sir Walter Scott, in _The Talisman_. _Pope Clement
V._ (1305-14). Platina, in his life of this Pope, says only a few words on
the Templars: "He took off the Templars, who were fallen into very great
errors (as denying Christ, etc.), and gave their goods to the Knights of
Jerusalem"; _clavicithern_: an upright musical instrument like a
harpsichord. iv., _Laudes_: a Catholic service associated with _Matins_.
It consists, amongst other devotions, of five Psalms. vi., _Salvâ
reverentiâ_: "saving reverence," like the "saving your presence" of the
Irishman. vii., _Sharon's Rose: Solomon's Song_, ii. 1. The rose was the
symbol of secrecy. viii., _leman_: a sweetheart of either sex.

=Hervé Riel.= (Published in the _Cornhill Magazine_, March 1871. Browning
received £100 for it, which sum he gave to the Paris Relief Fund, to
provide food for the starving people after the siege of Paris. Published
in the _Pacchiarotto_ volume in 1876.) The story told in the poem is
strictly historical. Hervé Riel was a Breton sailor of Le Croisic, who,
after the great naval battle of La Hogue in 1692, saved the remains of the
French fleet by skilfully piloting the ships through the shallows of the
Rance, and thereby preventing their capture by the English. For this
splendid service he was permitted to ask whatever reward he chose to name.
The brave Breton asked merely for a whole day's holiday, that he might
visit his wife, the Belle Aurore. Dr. Furnivall says: "The facts of the
story had been forgotten, and were denied at St. Malo, but the reports of
the French Admiralty were looked up, and the facts established. The war
between Louis XIV. and William III. was undertaken by the former with the
object of restoring James II. to the English throne. Admiral Turnville
engaged the English fleet off Cape La Hogue, and thereby wrecked the
French fleet and the cause of James. Apropos of Hervé Riel, Mr. Kenneth
Grahame says (_Browning Society's Papers_, March 30th, 1883, p. 68*): 'In
Rabelais' _Pantagruel_, lib. IV., cap. xxi., Panurge says, '... quelque
fille de roy ... me fera exiger quelque magnificque cenotaphe, comme feit
Dido à son mary Sychee; ... Germain de Brie à Hervé, le nauctrier Breton,'
etc. Then a note says, 'En 1515, dans un combat naval, le Breton Hervé
Primoguet, qui commandoit _la Cordelière_, attacha son navire en feu au
vaisseau amiral ennemi _la Regente d'Angleterre_, et se fit sauter avec
lui. Germain de Brie ou Brice (_Brixius_) qui celebra ce trait heroique
dans un poeme latin, etoit un des amis de Rabelais.' This was a forerunner
of Browning's hero. The coincidence of names, etc., is curious."

=Hippolytos.= (See ARTEMIS PROLOGIZES.) The _Hippolytus_ of Euripides is
the chaste worshipper of Diana (Artemis), who will give no heed to Venus.
His step-mother Phædra loves him, and kills herself when she discovers he
will not succumb to her attentions.

=Hohenstiel-Schwangau.= See PRINCE HOHENSTIEL-SCHWANGAU.

=Holy-Cross Day= [On which the Jews were forced to attend an annual
Christian Sermon in Rome]. (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Romances_, 1863;
_Dramatic Romances_, 1868.)--[THE HISTORY.] Holy Cross Day, or the
Festival of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, falls on September 14th
annually. It is kept in commemoration of the alleged miraculous appearance
of the Cross to Constantine in the sky at midday. The discovery of the
True Cross by St. Helen gave the first occasion of the festival, which was
celebrated under the title of the Exaltation of the Cross on September
14th, both by the Latins and Greeks, as early as in the fifth or sixth
centuries at Jerusalem, from the year 335. (See for the history of the
festival Butler's _Lives of the Saints_, under September 14th.) The
particular details of this poem are not historical, but it is quite true
that such a sermon was preached to Jews from time to time, and that they
were driven to church to listen to it. A papal bull, issued in 1584,
formerly compelled the Jews to hear sermons at the church of _St. Angelo
in Pescheria_, close to the Jewish quarter. The Pescheria or fish market
adjoins the Ghetto, the quarter allotted to the Jews by Paul IV. This pope
compelled the Jews to wear yellow head-gear; and, among other oppressive
exactions, they had to provide the prizes for the horse-races at the
Carnival. In a note at the end of the poem Mr. Browning says, "The late
Pope abolished this bad business of the Sermon." The conduct of the popes
towards the Jews varied according to the policy or humanity in the
character of the pontiff. "In 1442 Eugenius IV. deprived them of one of
their most valuable privileges, and endeavoured to interrupt their
amicable relations with the Christians: they were prohibited from eating
and drinking together. Jews were excluded from almost every profession,
were forced to wear a badge, to pay tithes; and Christians were forbidden
to bequeath legacies to Jews. The succeeding popes were more wise or more
humane. In Naples the celebrated Abarbanel became the confidential adviser
of Ferdinand the Bastard and Alphonso II.; they experienced a reverse, and
were expelled from that city by Charles V. The stern and haughty Pope Paul
IV. renewed the hostile edicts; he endeavoured to embarrass their traffic
by regulations which prohibited them from disposing of their pledges under
eighteen months; deprived them of the trade in corn and in every other
necessary of life, but left them the privilege of dealing in old clothes.
Paul first shut them up in their Ghetto, a confined quarter of the city,
out of which they were prohibited from appearing after sunset. Pius IV.
relaxed the severity of his predecessor. He enlarged the Ghetto, and
removed the restriction on their commerce. Pius V. expelled them from
every city in the papal territory except Rome and Ancona; he endured them
in those cities with the avowed design of preserving their commerce with
the East. Gregory XIII. pursued the same course: a bull was published, and
suspended at the gate of the Jews' quarter, prohibiting the reading of
the Talmud, blasphemies against Christ, or ridicule against the ceremonies
of the Church. All Jews above twelve years old were bound to appear at the
regular sermons delivered for their conversion; where it does not seem,
notwithstanding the authority of the pope and the eloquence of the
cardinals, that their behaviour was very edifying. At length the bold and
statesmanlike Sextus V. annulled at once all the persecuting or vexatious
regulations of his predecessors, opened the gates of every city in the
ecclesiastical dominions to these enterprising traders, secured and
enlarged their privileges, proclaimed toleration of their religion,
subjected them to the ordinary tribunals, and enforced a general and equal
taxation." (Milman's _History of the Jews_, book xxvii.)

[THE POEM.] Part of the satire of the poem is in the fictitious extract
from the _Diary by the Bishop's Secretary_, 1600, prefixed to it. The
Bishop looks upon the matter as though he were compelling the Jews to come
in and partake of the gospel feast; he flatters himself that many
conversions have taken place in consequence of the enforcement of this
law, and that the Church was conferring a great blessing on the Jews by
permitting them to partake of the heavenly grace. What the Jews themselves
thought of the business is told in the poem. The speaker describes the
crowding of the church by the Israelites, packed like rats in a hamper or
pigs in a stye; to the life the poet hits off the behaviour of the
wretched audience, compelled to listen to that which they abhorred, and to
pretend to be converted, and to affect compunction and interest in
doctrines which they detested. Then the most serious part of the poem
begins: the speaker complains that the hand which gutted his purse would
throttle his creed, and for reward the men whom he has helped to their
sins would help him to their God; then the pathos deepens, and while the
pretended converts are going through the farce of acknowledging their
conversion in the sacristy, the speaker meditates on Rabbi Ben Ezra's
_Song of Death_. The night the Jewish saint died he called his family
round him and said their nation in one point only had sinned, and he
invokes Christ if indeed He really were the Messiah, and they had given
Him the cross when they should have bestowed the crown, to have pity on
them and protect them from the followers of His teaching, whose life
laughs through and spits at their creed. Perhaps, indeed, they withstood
Christ then: it is at least Barabbas they withstand now! Let Rome make
amends for Calvary. Let Him remember their age-long torture, the infamy,
the Ghetto, the garb, the badge, the branding tool and scourge, and this
summons to conversion; by withstanding this they are but trying to wrest
Christ's name from the devil's crew.

=Home, D. D.=: the Spiritualist medium. See MR. SLUDGE THE MEDIUM.

=Home Thoughts from Abroad.= (Published in _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_,
in _Bells and Pomegranates_, VII., 1845.) In praise of all the mighty
ravishment of our English spring, and the lovely sister months April and
May,--

    "May flowers bloom before May comes,
    To cheer, a little, April's sadness."

And nowhere, surely, are these months so delightful as in England!
Melon-flowers do not make up "for the buttercups, the little children's
dower." In many parts of Southern Europe the trees have all been
ruthlessly cut down, lest they should harbour birds. The absence of our
hedgerows does much to mar the beauty of a Continental landscape in
spring.

=Home Thoughts from the Sea.= (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_, in _Bells
and Pomegranates_, VII., 1845.) Patriotic reflections on passing the Bay
of Trafalgar by one who, remembering how here England helped the
Englishmen, asks himself "How can I help England?"

=House.= (_Pacchiarotto, with other Poems_: 1876.) If we accept
Shakespeare's Sonnets in their natural sense, as the best authorities say
we must, they open up to the public gaze passages in the life of the great
poet which those who love an ideal Shakespeare would rather have not
known. If, says Mr. Browning in the poem, Shakespeare unlocked his heart
with a sonnet-key, the less Shakespeare he! For his own part, he will do
nothing of the sort; and, though probably few men led purer and holier
lives from youth to manhood than Mr. Browning, he declines to admit the
vulgar gaze of the public into the secret chambers of his soul. In
earthquakes, indeed, the fronts of houses often fall, and expose the
private arrangements of the home to the impertinent observation of the
passer-by. In earthquakes this cannot be helped; but a writer may keep
his secrets to himself till an imprudent biographer gets hold of them to
make "copy" of. As a fact, all that the world is really concerned with in
Mr. Browning's life and opinions can be gathered "by the spirit-sense"
from his works. The main idea of the poem is very similar to that of _At
the Mermaid_.

=Householder, The.= (_Fifine at the Fair._) The Epilogue to the poem,
telling how Don Juan is at last united to his wife Elvire by death.

=How it strikes a Contemporary.= (_Men and Women_: 1855.) The faculty of
observation is essential both to the poet and the spy. Lavater said that
"he alone is an acute observer who can observe minutely without being
observed." The poet of Valladolid was mistaken by the vulgar mob for an
agent of the Government, because they were always catching him taking
"such cognisance of men and things." His picture is sketched in a very few
lines; but these are sufficient to show us the very man, in his
scrutinising hat, crossing the Plaza Mayor of the dull and deserted city,
in which there was--one would think--as little life to interest a poet as
to employ a spy. We soon get to feel that the poet-evidences in the man's
behaviour should have been sufficiently strong to save him from the
reproaches of his neighbours. The dog at his heels, the note he took of
any cruelty towards animals or cursing of a woman, the interest in men's
simple trades, the poring over bookstalls, reveal to us the image of his
soul. However, his fellow-citizens in all these things thought they had
evidence of a chief inquisitor; and in the land of Spain, which for many
centuries cowered under the shadow of the most terrible weapon ever forged
against the liberties of man, inquisition and espionage were in the air.
Men were better judges of spies than of poets; they were more familiar
with them. So it was set down in their minds that all their doings were
sent by this recording prowler to the king. All the mysteries of the town
were traced to his influence: A's surprising fate, B's disappearing, C's
mistress, all were traced to this "man about the streets." But it was not
true, says the contemporary, that if you tracked the inquisitor home you
would find him revelling in luxury. On the contrary, his habits were
simple and abstemious; at ten he went to bed, after a modest repast and a
quiet game of cribbage with his maid. And when the poor, mysterious man
came to die in the clean garret, whose sides were lined by an invisible
guard who came to relieve him, there was no more need for that old coat
which had seen so much service. How suddenly the angels change the fashion
of our dress--and how much better they understand us than do our
neighbours!

=How they brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.= (_Dramatic Romances
and Lyrics_, in _Bells and Pomegranates_, 1845.) There is no actual basis
in history for the incidents of this poem, though there is no doubt that
in the war in the Netherlands such an adventure was likely enough. Three
men go off on horseback at their hardest, at moonset, from the city of
Ghent, to save their town--through Boom, and Düffeld, Mecheln, Aerschot,
Hasselt, Looz, Tongres, and Dalhem, to the ancient city of Aix. The hero
of the work was the good horse Roland, who was voted the last measure of
wine the city had left. Two of the horses dropped dead on the road, and
the noble Roland, bearing "the whole weight of the news," with blind,
distended eyes and nostrils, fell just as he reached the market-place of
Aix, resting his head between the knees of his master.

=Humility.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) A flower-laden girl drops a careless bud
without troubling to pick it up. She has "enough for home." "So give your
lover," says the poet, "heaps of love," he thinking himself happy in
picking up a stray bud, "and not the worst," which she has gladdened him
by letting fall.



="I am a Painter who cannot Paint."= (_Pippa Passes._) Lutwyche's speech
begins with these words.

="I go to prove my Soul."= (_Paracelsus._) The words of the hero of the
poem when he starts on his career.

=Ibn-Ezra= == the historical person who forms the subject of the poem
RABBI BEN EZRA (_q.v._)

=Imperante Augusto Natus Est.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) In the reign of
Augustus Octavianus Cæsar, second emperor of Rome, two Romans are entering
the public bath together, and while the bath is being heated they converse
in the vestibule about the great services which Octavianus has rendered to
the city and the empire, and one of them refers to the panegyric on the
Emperor read out in public on the previous day by Lucius Varius Rufus. He
had praised the Emperor as a god, and the speaker goes on to say how he
once met Octavianus as he was going about the city disguised as a beggar.
At the end of the poem is the story told by Suidas, the author of a Greek
lexicon, who lived before the twelfth century, and who was probably a
Christian, as his work deals with Scriptural as well as pagan subjects.
This myth narrates the visit of Augustus Cæsar to the oracle at Delphos.
"When Augustus had sacrificed," said Suidas, "he demanded of the Pythia
who should succeed him, and the oracle replied:--

    "'A Hebrew slave, holding control over the blessed gods,
    Orders me to leave this home and return to the underworld.
    Depart in silence, therefore, from our altars.'"

Nicephorus relates that when Augustus returned to Rome after receiving
this reply, he erected an altar in the Capitol with the inscription "Ara
Primogeniti Dei." On this spot now stands the Church of S. Maria in
Aracœli, a very ancient building, mentioned in the ninth century as S.
Maria de Capitolio. The present altar also incloses an ancient altar
bearing the inscription _Ara Primogeniti Dei_, which is said to have been
the one erected here by Augustus. According to the legend of the twelfth
century, this was the spot where the Sibyl of Tibur appeared to the
Emperor, whom the Senate proposed to elevate to the rank of a god, and
revealed to him a vision of the Virgin and her Son. This was the origin of
the name "Church of the Altar of Heaven." It is historical that Augustus
used to go about Rome disguised as a beggar. Jeremy Taylor's account of
events in the Roman world, as recorded in his _Life of Christ_, sec. iv.,
will serve as a good introduction to the historical matters referred to in
the poem:--"For when all the world did expect that in Judæa should be born
their prince, and that the incredulous world had in their observation
slipped by their true prince, because He came not in pompous and secular
illustrations; upon that very stock Vespasian (Sueton. _In Vitâ Vesp._ 4;
Vide etiam Cic., _De Divin._) was nursed up in hope of the Roman empire,
and that hope made him great in designs; and they being prosperous, made
his fortunes correspond to his hopes, and he was endeared and engaged upon
that future by the prophecy which was never intended him by the prophet.
But the future of the Roman monarchy was not great enough for this prince
designed by the old prophets. And therefore it was not without the
influence of a Divinity that his predecessor Augustus, about the time of
Christ's nativity, refused to be called "lord" (_Oros._ vi. 22). Possibly
it was to entertain the people with some hopes of restitution of their
liberties, till he had griped the monarchy with a stricter and faster
hold; but the Christians were apt to believe that it was upon the prophecy
of a sibyl foretelling the birth of a greater prince, to whom all the
world should pay adoration; and that prince was about that time born in
Judæa. (Suidas _In histor. verb. "Augustus."_) The oracle, which was dumb
to Augustus' question, told him unasked, the devil having no tongue
permitted him but one to proclaim that 'an Hebrew child was his lord and
enemy.'" Octavianus chose the title of Augustus on religious grounds,
having assumed the exalted position of Chief Pontiff. The epithet Augustus
was one which no man had borne before--a name only applied to sacred
things. The rites of the gods were termed august, their temples were
august, and the word itself was derived from the auguries. The cult of the
Cæsar began to assume a ritual and a priesthood at the very time when the
approaching birth of Christ was to destroy the empire and its religious
belief. Mrs. Jameson, in her _Legends of the Madonna_, p. 197, says:
"According to an ancient legend, the Emperor Augustus Cæsar repaired to
the sibyl Tiburtina, to inquire whether he should consent to allow himself
to be worshipped with divine honours, which the Senate had decreed to him.
The Sibyl, after some days of meditation, took the Emperor apart and
showed him an altar; and above the altar, in the opening heavens, and in a
glory of light, he beheld a beautiful Virgin holding an infant in her
arms, and at the same time a voice was heard saying, 'This is the altar of
the Son of the living God!' whereupon Augustus caused an altar to be
erected on the Capitoline Hill with this inscription, _Ara Primogeniti
Dei_; and on the same spot, in later times, was built the church called
the _Ara Cœli_--well known, with its flight of one hundred and
twenty-four marble steps, to all who have visited Rome. This particular
prophecy of the Tiburtine sybil to Augustus rests on some very antique
traditions, pagan as well as Christian. It is supposed to have suggested
the 'Pollio' of Virgil, which suggested the 'Messiah' of Pope. It is
mentioned by writers of the third and fourth centuries. A very rude but
curious bas-relief, preserved in the Church of the Ara Cœli, is perhaps
the oldest representation extant. The Church legend assigns to it a
fabulous antiquity; and it must be older than the twelfth century, as it
is alluded to by writers of that period. Here the Emperor Augustus kneels
before the Madonna and Child, and at his side is the sibyl Tiburtina
pointing upwards." Of course, such a subject became a favourite one with
artists. There is a famous fresco on the subject by Baldassare Peruzzi at
Siena, Fonte Giusta. There is also a picture dealing with it at Hampton
Court, by Pietro da Cortona. St. Augustine (_De Civitate Dei_, lib.
xviii., cap. 23) describes the prophecy of Sibylla Erythrea concerning
Christ:--"Flaccianus, a learned and eloquent man (one that had been
Consul's deputy), being in a conference with us concerning Christ, showed
us a Greek book, saying they were this sibyl's verses; wherein, in one
place, he showed us a sort of verses so composed that, the first letter of
every verse being taken, they all made these words: Ιησους Χριστος, Θεου
υιος σωτηρ (Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Saviour)." Some think this was
the Cumean Sibyl. Lactantius also has prophecies of Christ out of some
sybilline books, but he does not give the reference. The Latin hymn sung
in the Masses for the Dead, and well known as the _Dies Iræ_, has this
verse:

    "Dies iræ, dies illa,
    Solvet sæclum in favilla,
    Teste David cum Sibylla."

NOTES.--_Publius_: not historical. _Lucius Varius Rufus_ was a tragic
poet, the friend of Virgil and Horace. He wrote a panegyric on the Emperor
Augustus, to which Mr. Browning refers in the opening lines of the poem.
_Little Flaccus_ was Horace, who declared that Varius was the only poet
capable of singing the praises of M. Agrippa. His tragedy _Thyestes_ is
warmly praised by Quintillian. _Epos_: heroic poem. _Etruscan kings._ The
Rasena or Etrusci inhabited Etruria, in that part of Italy north of Rome.
The kings were elected for life. Roman families were proud to trace back
their ancestry to the Etruscan kings. _Mæcenas_: patron of letters and
learned men, the adviser of Augustus. He was descended from the ancient
kings of Etruria. _Quadrans_: a Roman coin, worth about half a farthing of
our money. The price of a bath, paid to the keeper of the public bagnio.
_Thermæ_, the baths. _Suburra_: a street in Rome, where the dissolute
Romans resorted. _Quæstor_, the office of Quæstor, under the empire, was
the first step to higher positions. _Ædiles_, magistrates. The baths were
under their superintendence. _Censores_, officials whose duty it was to
take the place of the consuls in superintending the five-yearly census.
_Pol!_ an oath. By Pollux! _Quarter-as_: in Cicero's time, the as was
equal to rather less than a halfpenny. _Strigil_, a flesh brush.
_Oil-drippers_, used after bathing.

=In a Balcony.= (Published in _Men and Women_: 1855.) A drama which is
incomplete. Concentrated into an hour, we have the crises of three lives,
which, passing through the fire, reveal a tragedy which has for its scene
the balcony of a palace. A Queen has arrived at the age of fifty with her
strong craving for love still unsatisfied. Constance, a cousin of the
Queen and a lady of her court, is loved by Norbert, who is in the Queen's
service. He has served the State well and successfully, and the Queen has
set her heart upon him. Norbert is advised by Constance to act
diplomatically, and pretend that he has served the Queen only for her
sake. He must not permit her to see the love which he has for the woman to
whom he has pledged himself. The Queen, who is already married in form,
though not in heart, offers to dissolve the union, in an interview which
she has with Constance, and shows how eagerly she grasps at the prospect
of a new life which opens up before her. Constance is prepared to
sacrifice herself for Norbert and the Queen. She seeks Norbert, and
reveals to him the real state of affairs. The Queen discovers the lovers,
and hears Norbert declare his love for Constance, which she tries to
divert to the Queen. At once the Queen sees all her hopes dashed to the
ground. She says nothing; but having left the balcony, the music of the
ball, which is proceeding within, suddenly ceases, the footsteps of the
guard approach, the lovers feel their impending doom; but one passionate
moment unites them in heart for ever, and they are led away to death.

=In a Gondola.= (_Dramatic Lyrics_, in _Bells and Pomegranates_, No. III.:
1842.) In the fourth book of Forster's _Life of Dickens_ is a letter which
Dickens wrote to Maclise, from which we learn that Browning wrote the
first verse of this poem, beginning, "I send my heart up to thee," to
express Maclise's subject in the Academy catalogue. Dickens says, in a
letter to the artist: "In a certain picture called the 'Serenade,' for
which Browning wrote that verse in Lincoln's Inn Fields, you, O Mac,
painted a sky. If you ever have occasion to paint the Mediterranean, let
it be exactly of that colour." In the poem a lover and his mistress are
singing in a gondola--conscious of their danger, for the interview is a
stolen one, and the three who are referred to are perhaps husband, father,
and brother, or assassins hired by one of them. The chills of approaching
death avail not to cool the ardour of their passion in this precious hour
in the gondola. They feel they have lived, let death come when it will;
and as they glide past church and palace, reality is concentrated in their
boat, the shams and illusions of life are on the banks. The lover is
stabbed as he hands the lady ashore. He craves one more kiss, and dies. He
scorns not his murderers, for they have never lived:

                          "But I
    Have lived indeed, and so--can die!"

NOTES.--_Castelfranco_ (born 1478) is Giorgione, one of the greatest
Italian painters. His father belonged to the family of the Barbarella, of
Castelfranco in the Trevisan. For his Life see VASARI. _Schidone_ was an
Italian painter of the sixteenth century. _Haste-thee-Luke_ is the English
of _Luca-fà-presto_ ("Luke work-fast"), nickname of _Luca Giordano_
(1632--1705), a Neapolitan painter. His nickname was given to him, not on
account of his rapid method of working, but in consequence of his poor and
greedy father urging him to increased exertions by constantly exclaiming
"Luca, fà presto." The youth obeyed his father, and would actually not
leave off work for his meals, but was fed by his father's hand while he
laboured on with the brush. _Giudecca_: a great canal of Venice. "_Lido's
wet, accursed graves_." Byron desired to be buried at Lido. Ancient Jewish
tombs are there, moss-grown and half covered with sand. The place is
desolate and very gloomy. _Lory_: a species of parrot.

=Inapprehensiveness.= (_Asolando._) The ruin referred to in the fourth
line is that of the old palace of Queen Cornaro, who, having been driven
out of her kingdom of Cyprus, kept up a shadow of royalty here, with
Cardinal Bembo as her secretary. It was he who told the story, in his
_Asolani_. Mr. Browning thought that there was no view in all Italy to
compare with that from the tower of the old palace. Two friends stand side
by side contemplating the scene. The lady's attention is attracted to a
chance-rooted wind-sown tree on a turret, and to certain weed-growths on a
wall. She is inapprehensive that by her side stands an incarnation of
dormant passion, needing nothing but a look from her to burst into immense
life. So little does one soul know of another. The Vernon Lee in the last
line is a well-known authoress, Violet Paget, best known perhaps by her
work entitled Euphorion.

=In a Year.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) Finely
contrasts the constancy of a woman's love with the inconstancy of man's.
Love is not love unless it be "an ever fixed mark." In exchange for the
man's love, the woman gave health, ease, beauty, and youth, and was
content to give "more life and more" till all were gone, and think the
sacrifice too little. That was the woman's "ever fixed mark." The man asks
calmly: "Can't we touch these bubbles, then, but they break?"

=Incident of the French Camp.= (_Dramatic Lyrics_, in _Bells and
Pomegranates_, III.: 1842.) Ratisbon (German Regensburg) is an ancient and
famous city of Bavaria, on the right bank of the Danube. It has endured no
less than seventeen sieges since the tenth century, accompanied by
bombardments, the last of which took place in 1809, when Napoleon stormed
the town, which was obstinately defended by the Austrians. Some two
hundred houses and much of the suburbs were destroyed. As the Emperor was
watching the storming, a rider flew from the city full gallop, saluting
the Emperor. He told him they had taken the city. The chief's eye flashed,
but presently saddened as he looked on the brave youth who had brought the
news. "You are wounded!" "Nay, I'm killed, sire!" and the lad fell dead.

=Inn Album, The.= (1875.) The chief features of this tragedy, "where every
character is either mean, or weak, or vile," are taken from real life. It
is "the story of the wrecked life of a girl who loved her base seducer as
a god." This curious study in mental pathology opens with a description of
the visitors' book of a country inn, filled with the usual idiotic entries
which are found in such books. The shabby-genteel parlour of the inn is
occupied by two men playing at cards--a young and a middle-aged man. The
elder, a cultivated and accomplished _roué_, has just lost to the younger
man ten thousand pounds at play. The loser has hitherto been pretty
uniformly the winner; but his companion, who has succeeded in plucking
the pigeon, has not deceived him. He has seen through his pretences, and
is fully aware that he is accompanied on this trip to the village where
the inn in which they are staying is situated, purely for the chance it
offered of winning money from him for the last time before his approaching
marriage. The polished snob who has won is inclined to be satirical at his
companion's expense, and loftily desires him to consider the debt as
cancelled: he is a millionaire, and can afford to do without it. This the
elder man, with perfect politeness, declines, and assures him that it
shall be paid. They leave the inn. The young man is to visit his intended
bride; but he dare not introduce his companion, as his reputation has made
it impossible to do so. As they walk towards the station the young man
inquires how it is that his friend, with all his advantages in life, is in
every way a failure. He then learns that his chances were missed four
years ago, when he should have married a woman with whom he had certain
relations, and who could have saved him from his aimless and wayward life.
He had won the heart of a lofty-minded girl, had seduced her, and, though
he had not intended marriage at first, had offered it. When she discovered
that he had betrayed her without thinking of marrying her, she rejected
his proposal, which had come too late to appease her wounded pride, and
had settled down as the wife of an obscure country parson, old and poor.
Weakly, she had neglected to secure her safety by telling her husband the
story of her past, and in consequence was liable at any moment to be the
victim of her seducer for the second time. The scoundrel had led the life
of a woman-wrecker, and his love for his victim had turned to hate, as he
told his companion, because she had disdained to save him from himself.
When the elder man has unburdened himself, then the younger tells his
story too. He has loved a peerless woman, who refused him, as she was
vowed to another. There are points in his story which suggest to him that
they have both loved the same woman, though he says that could not be, as
he has heard that she married the man of whom she spoke. The young man now
parts from his companion, and bids him return to the inn, there to await
him for an hour, while he tries to induce his aunt to receive him as her
guest. In the third part of the poem we are introduced to two women--an
elder and a younger--who are talking in the parlour of the inn, just left
vacant by the departure of the two card-players. The younger is the girl
whom the young man of the story is to marry; and she has begged her old
friend, the elder woman, to meet her, that she may see the man whom she is
to marry. She has come by the train, has been met at the station by her
young friend, and they adjourn to the little inn to talk matters over
quietly. While the younger woman is absent from the parlour, and the elder
is engaged in turning over the leaves of the visitors' book, she is
terror-stricken at seeing her old lover enter the room. The lady is the
clergyman's wife, and the man is the old _roué_ who is waiting for his
friend who has won his ten thousand pounds. She believes the whole affair
is a scheme to entrap her, and bitterly reproaches the man who has ruined
her life, and even now must drag her from her retirement for further
persecution. He indulges in recriminations, pretending that it is his life
which she has wrecked, and that she is inspired with hatred for him though
he has not ceased to love her. She thanks God that she had grace to hurl
contempt at the contemptible:

                 "Rent away
    By treason from my rightful pride of place,
    I was not destined to the shame below.
    A cleft had caught me."

Revealing to him the bitterness of her position, hanging, as it were, over
the brink of a yawning precipice, his old love for her is reawakened, and
he kneels to the injured woman. He entreats her to fly with him to

    "A certain refuge, solitary home
    To hide in.

        *       *       *       *       *

    Come with me, love, loved once, loved only, come,
    Blend loves there!"

But the woman sees through him, and says:

    "Your smiles, your tears, prayers, curses move alike
    My crowned contempt."

And while he is kneeling there, in bursts the young man, who has returned
to say that his aunt declines to meet him. He is startled to see the lady
to whom he had vainly offered his heart four years ago, and rushes to the
conclusion that he too has been entrapped for some purpose. The fifth
section of the poem opens with a scornful denunciation of the trick which
he considers stands confessed in the scene which he beholds. "O you two
base ones, male and female! Sir!" he exclaims; "half an hour ago I held
your master for my best of friends, and four years since you seemed my
heart's one love!" The woman explains to him that she has been sent for
simply to counsel his cousin on the question of her proposed marriage. She
finds him innocent save in folly, and will so report. The elder man she
bids to leave the youth, and leave unsullied the heart she rescues and
would lay beside another's. While she speaks the devil is tempting him to
one more crime. He will turn affairs to his own advantage. He writes some
lines in the album before him, closes the book, hands it to the indignant
woman, and begs her to leave him alone with his friend while he discusses
the situation. In the book which she receives he has written a note to her
telling her that her young lover is still faithful to her, and threatening
her that if she does not receive him on familiar terms the story of her
past shame shall be exposed to her husband. Left alone with the young man,
he opens out a scheme of infernal ingenuity, whereby at once he will pay
his gambling debt and avenge himself for the contempt and scorn with which
his unhappy victim has once more received the offer of his affection. He
proposes to barter the woman who has unwittingly put herself into his
power--to compel her to yield herself up to the man in exchange for the
ten thousand pounds he cannot otherwise pay. He explains to him that she
has deluded her parson husband--would have yielded to himself had he not
determined to substitute his friend. "Make love to her; pick no phrase;
prevent all misconception: there's the fruit to pluck or let alone at
pleasure!" He leaves the room, and in superb composure the intended victim
enters. Captive of wickedness, she warns him: "Back, in God's name!" "Sin
no more!" she cries: "I am past sin now." She implores him to break the
fetters which have bound him to the evil influence which has destroyed her
life. Her noble bearing under the terrible circumstances assures him of
her innocence of any complicity in a trick. He tells her the man has told
heaps of lies about her, which he had not believed. Blushing and
stumbling in his speech, he contrives to let her know the use that was to
be made of her. Not knowing if there were truth in what was told him of
her marriage, he offers her his hand if she is free to accept it,--any
way, to take him as her friend. She gives him her hand. At that moment the
adversary returns. "You accept him?" he asks. "Till death us do part!" she
answers. "But before death parts, read here the marriage licence which
makes us one." He then displays the awful words addressed to her in the
fatal page she holds in her hand. She reads, and when she comes to the
last line--

    "Consent--you stop my mouth, the only way"--

turning to the young man, she pitifully asks, "How could mortal 'stop
it'?" "So!" he cries. "A tiger-flash, and death's out and on him!" In the
closing scene the wretched, hunted woman dies. She has secured her
vindicator's acquittal on the charge of murder by writing in the album
that he has saved her from the villain, righteously slain, who would have
outraged her. As she dies the young girl who was to have married the
defender of the dead woman appears on the scene, and the tragedy closes.
In _Notes and Queries_ for March 25th, 1876, Dr. F. J. Furnivall thus
mentions the incidents on which the poem is based: "The story told by Mr.
Browning in this poem is, in its main outlines, a real one--that of Lord
De Ros, once a friend of the great Duke of Wellington, and about whom
there is much in the _Greville Memoirs_. The original story was, of
course, too repulsive to be adhered to in all its details--of, first, the
gambling lord producing the portrait of the lady he had seduced and
abandoned, and offering his expected dupe, but real beater, an
introduction to the lady as a bribe to induce him to wait for payment of
the money he had won; secondly, the eager acceptance of the bribe by the
younger gambler, and the suicide of the lady from horror at the base
proposal of her old seducer. The story made a great sensation in London
over thirty years ago. Readers of _The Inn Album_ know how grandly Mr.
Browning has lifted the base young gambler, through the renewal of that
old love, which the poet has invented, into one of the most pathetic
creations of modern time, and has spared the base old _roué_ the
degradation of the attempt to sell the love which was once his delight,
and which, in the poem, he seeks to regain, with feelings one must hope
are real, as the most prized possession of his life. As to the lady, the
poet has covered her with no false glory or claim on our sympathy. From
the first she was a law unto herself; she gratified her own impulses, and
she reaped the fruit of this. Her seducer has made his confession of his
punishment, and has attributed, instead of misery, comfort and ease to
her. She has to tell him, and the young man who has given her his whole
heart, that the supposed comfort and ease have been to her simply hell;
and tell, too, why she cannot accept the true love that, under other
conditions, would have been her way back to heaven and life. What, then,
can be her end? No higher power has she ever sought. Self-contained, she
has sinned and suffered. She can do no more. By her own hand she ends her
life; and the curtain falls on the most profoundly touching and most
powerful poem of modern times." The young girl of the poem is the
invention of the poet; the other characters took part in the actual
tragedy. In his _Memoirs_, first series, Greville mentions Lord De Ros
from time to time, and they travelled together in Italy. Under date of
"Newmarket, March 29th, 1839," Greville makes the following entry in the
first volume of the second series of his _Memoirs_, concerning the death
of his friend: "Poor De Ros expired last night soon after twelve, after a
confinement of two or three months from the time he returned to England.
His end was enviably tranquil, and he bore his protracted sufferings with
astonishing fortitude and composure. Nothing ruffled his temper or
disturbed his serenity. His faculties were unclouded, his memory
retentive, his perceptions clear to the last; no murmur of impatience ever
escaped him, no querulous word, no ebullition of anger or peevishness; he
was uniformly patient, mild, indulgent, deeply sensible of kindness and
attention, exacting nothing, considerate of others and apparently
regardless of self, overflowing with affection and kindness of manner and
language to all around him, and exerting all his moral and intellectual
energies with a spirit and resolution that never flagged till within a few
hours of his dissolution, when nature gave way, and he sank into a
tranquil unconsciousness, in which life gently ebbed away. Whatever may
have been the error of his life, he closed the scene with a philosophical
dignity not unworthy of a sage, and with a serenity and sweetness of
disposition of which Christianity itself could afford no more shining or
delightful example. In him I have lost, 'half lost before,' the last and
greatest of the friends of my youth; and I am left a more solitary and a
sadder man."

=Instans Tyrannus= == The Threatening Tyrant. (_Men and Women_, 1855;
_Dramatic Romances_, 1868.) The title of this poem was suggested by
Horace's Ode on the Just Man (_Od._ iii. 3. 1):--

    "Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
    Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
        Non vultus instantis tyranni," etc.

('The just man, firm to his purpose, is not to be shaken from his fixed
resolve by the fury of a mob laying upon him their impious behests, nor by
the frown of a threatening tyrant, etc.') These lines are said to have
been repeated by the celebrated De Witte while he was subject to torture.
When men or causes are suppressed by tyranny, the tyrant knows well in his
heart that force alone, and not justice, enables him to crush opposition
to his will; and he is the first to see, even if he do not acknowledge,
the Divine Arm thrust forth from the heavens to protect his victims and
avenge their wrongs. From some undefined cause a poor, contemptible man
was the object of a tyrant's hate: he struck him, tried to bribe him,
tempted his blood and his flesh. Having tried every way to extinguish the
man, he contrived thunder above and mine below him to destroy, as a rat in
a hole, this friendless wretch, when suddenly the man saw God's arm across
the sky. The man

        --"caught at God's skirts, and prayed!
    So, _I_ was afraid!"

[Archdeacon Farrar refers the incidents of this poem to the persecution of
the early Christians.--_Browning Society Papers_, Pt VII., p. 22*.]

=In Three Days.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) A lover
anticipates that in three days he shall see his lady. He is aware that
three days may change his future, as has often been changed the history of
the world in the time. He knows, too, that though three days may cast no
shadow in his way, still the years to follow may bring changes and chances
of unimagined end. He reiterates that in three days he shall see her, and
fear of all that the future may have in store is absorbed in the blissful
anticipation.

=Italian in England, The.= (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_, in _Bells and
Pomegranates_, No. VII., 1845.) The incident is not historical, though
something of the kind might well have happened to any of the Italian
patriots in their revolt against the Austrian domination. A prominent
Italian patriot is hiding from the Austrian oppressors of his country
after an unsuccessful rising. He has taken refuge in England, and the poem
tells how the Austrians pursued him everywhere, and how he would have been
taken if a peasant girl, to whom he confessed his identity, had not
preferred humanity and the love of her country to the gold she might have
earned by delivering him to his pursuers. [Mazzini must have gone through
many such experiences, and the poem was one which he very highly
appreciated.] Hunted by the Austrian bloodhounds, hiding in an old
aqueduct, up to the neck in ferns for three days, the pangs of hunger
induced him to attract the attention of a peasant girl going to her work
with her companions: he threw his glove, to strike her as she passed.
Without giving any sign that could acquaint her friends with her object,
she glanced round and saw him beckon; breaking a branch from a tree, so as
to recognise the spot, she picked up the glove and rejoined her party. In
an hour she returned alone. He had not intended to confide in the woman,
but her noble face led him to confess he was the man on whose head a great
price was set. He felt sure he would not be betrayed. He bade her bring
paper, pen and ink, and carry his letter to Padua, to the cathedral; then
proceed to a certain confessional which he mentions, and whisper his
password. If it was answered in the terms he named, then she was to give
the letter to the priest. She promised to do as he desired. In three days
more she appeared again at his hiding-place. She told him she had a lover
who could do much to aid him. She brought him drink and food. In four days
the scouts gave up the search, and went in another direction. At last help
arrived from his friends at Padua. He kissed the maiden's hand, and laid
his own in blessing on her head. When he took the boat from the seashore,
on the night of his escape, she followed him to the vessel. He left, and
never saw her more. And now that he is safe in England, he reflects that
it is long since he had a thought for aught but Italy. Those whom he had
trusted, those to whom he had looked for help, had made terms with the
oppressors of his country; his presence in his own land would be awkward
for his brethren. But there is one "in that dear, lost land" whose calm
smile he would like to see; he would like to know of her future, her
children's ages and their names, to kiss once more the hand that saved
him, and once again to lay his own in blessing on her head, and go his
way. "But to business!"

NOTES.--_Metternich_: the great Austrian diplomatist, and enemy of Italian
independence. _Charles_: Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia. He resorted to
severe measures against the party known as "Young Italy," founded by
Mazzini. He died in 1849. _Duomo_, the cathedral. _Tenebræ_ == darkness:
the office of matins and lauds, for the three last days in Holy Week.
Fifteen lighted candles are placed on a triangular stand, and at the
conclusion of each psalm one is put out, till a single candle is left at
the top of the triangle. The extinction of the other candles is said to
figure the growing darkness of the world at the time of the Crucifixion.
The last candle (which is not extinguished, but hidden behind the altar
for a few moments) represents Christ over whom Death could not prevail.

=Ivàn Ivànovitch.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, First Series, 1879.) Ivàn
Ivànovitch, or John Jackson, as his name would be in English, was skilled
in the use of the axe, as the Russian workman is. Employed one day in his
yard, in the village where he lived, suddenly over the snow-covered
landscape came a burst of sledge bells, the sound of horse's hoofs
galloping; then a sledge appeared drawn by a horse, which fell down as it
reached the place. What seemed a frozen corpse lay in the vehicle: it was
Dmitri's wife, without Dmitri and the children, who left the village a
month ago. They restore the woman, who utters a loud and long scream,
followed by sobs and gasps, as, with returning life, she takes in the fact
that she is safe. "But yesterday!" she cries. "Oh, God the Father, Son and
Holy Ghost, cannot You bring again my blessed yesterday? I had a child on
either knee, and, dearer than the two, a babe close to my heart.
Intercede, sweet Mother, with thy Son Almighty--undo all done last night!"
Then she reminds them how, a month ago, she and her children had
accompanied her husband, who had gone to work at a church many a league
away: five of them in that sledge--Ivàn, herself, and three children. The
work finished, they were about to return, when the village caught fire.
Then Ivàn hurried his family into the sledge, and bade them hasten home
while he remained to combat the flames. He bade them wrap round them every
rug, and leave Droug, the old horse, to find his way home. They start;
soon the night comes on; the moon rises. They pass a pine forest: a noise
startles the horse--his ears go back, he snuffs, snorts, then plunges
madly. Pad, pad, behind them are the wolves in pursuit--an army of them;
every pine tree they pass adds a fiend to the pack; the eldest lead the
way, their eyes green-glowing brass. The horse does his best; but the
first of the band--that Satan-face--draws so near, his white teeth gleam,
he is on the sledge--"perhaps her hands relaxed her grasp of her boy," she
says; "for he was gone." The cursed crew fight for their share; they are
too busy to pursue. She urges the horse to increased exertion. Alas! the
pack is after them again; "Satan-face" is first, as before, and ravening
for more. The mother fights with the monster, but the next boy is
gone--plucked from the arms she clasped round him for protection. Another
respite, while the fiends dispute for their share; but, as they fly over
the snow, the leader of the pack tells his companions that their food is
escaping; he leaves them to pick the bones, and--pad, pad!--is after the
sledge again. All fight's in vain: the green brass points, the dread
fiend's eyes, pierce to the woman's brain--she falls on her back in the
sledge; but, wedging in and in, past her neck, her breasts, her heart,
Satan-face is away with her last, her baby boy. She remembered no more.
And now she is at home--childless, but with her life. And Ivàn the
woodsman sternly looks; the woman kneels. Solemnly he raises his axe, and
one blow falls--headless she kneels on still--

                              "It had to be.
    I could no other: God it was bade 'Act for Me!'"

He wipes his axe on a strip of bark, and returns silently to his work. The
Jews, the gipsies, the whole crew, seethe and simmer, but say no word.
Then comes the village priest, and with him the commune's head, Stàrosta,
wielder of life and death; they survey the corpse, they hear the story.
The priest proclaimed

    "Ivàn Ivànovitch God's servant!"

"Amen!" murmured the crowd, and "left acquittal plain adjudged." They told
Ivàn he was free. "How otherwise?" he asked.

NOTES.--_Ivàn Ivànovitch_ is "an imaginary personage, who is the
embodiment of the peculiarities of the Russian people, in the same way as
_John Bull_ represents the English and _Johnny Crapaud_ the French
character. He is described as a lazy, good-natured person." (_Webster's
Dict._) _A verst_ is equal to about two-thirds of an English mile.
_Droug_: the horse's name means friend, and is pronounced "drook." _Pope_
should not be spelled with a capital; it is merely the Russian term for
priest--_papa_, father. _Pomeschìk_ means a landed proprietor. _Stàrosta_,
the old man of the village, the overseer.

This is a variant of a Russian wolf-story which, in one form or another,
we all heard in our childhood. The poet visited Russia in the course of
his great tour in Europe in 1833, and he has told the familiar tale of the
unhappy mother who saved her own life by throwing one after another of her
children to the pursuing wolves, with all the local colouring and fidelity
to the facts to which we are accustomed in the poet's work. Not merely as
a tale dramatically told are we to consider the poem; but--as might be
expected--we must look upon it as a problem in mental pathology. The
superficial observer, looking upon the mere facts, and not troubling very
much about the psychology of the case, will at once condemn the unhappy
mother, and execute her as promptly in his own mind as did Ivàn Ivànovitch
with his axe. But rough and ready judgments, however necessary in the
conduct of our daily life, are frequently unsound; and the voice of the
people is about the last voice that should be listened to in such a case
as this. If a man who is usually considered a sane and decent member of
society suddenly does some abnormal and outrageous thing, we at once ask
ourselves, "Is he mad?" If a mother, any mother, suddenly violates the
maternal instinct in a flagrant manner, we immediately suspect her of
mental derangement. The maternal instinct is the strongest thing in
nature; the ties which bind a woman to her offspring are stronger, in the
ordinary healthy mother, than the ties which bind a man to decent and
ordinary observance of the laws of society. Old Bailey judgments are not
to be employed in such a case as this; it is one for a specialist. And we
apprehend there is not a competent authority in brain troubles living who
would not acquit Louscha on the ground of insanity.

=Ixion.= (_Jocoseria_, 1883.) Ixion, in Greek mythology, was the son of
Phlegyas and king of the Lapithæ. He married Dia, daughter of Deioneus,
and promised to make his father-in-law certain bridal presents. To avoid
the fulfilment of his promise, he invited him to a banquet, and when
Deioneus came to the feast he cruelly murdered him. No one would purify
him for the murder, and he was consequently shunned by all mankind. Zeus,
however, took pity on him, and took him up to heaven and there purified
him. At the table of the gods he fell in love with Hera (Juno), and
afterwards attempted to seduce her. Ixion was banished from heaven, and by
the command of Zeus was tied by Mercury to a wheel which perpetually
revolved in the air. Ixion, condemned to eternal punishment, is in the
poem described as defying Zeus after the manner of Prometheus. It is
impossible to doubt that Mr. Browning intends to represent the popular
idea of God and his own attitude towards the doctrine of eternal
punishment. It is, however, only the caricature of God created by popular
misconception at which the poet aims, whatever may have to be said of his
opinions concerning eschatology. As Caliban thought there was a _Quiet_
above Setebos, so Ixion appeals to the Potency over Zeus. The truth is
intended that both unsophisticated man in the savage state and the highest
type of cultured man agree in their theological beliefs so far as to
acknowledge a Supreme Being of a higher character than the anthropomorphic
God of popular worship. Of course both Caliban and Ixion talk Browningese.
Ixion is represented as comparing himself with his torturer:--

                        "Behold us!
    Here the revenge of a God, there the amends of a Man"--

a man with bodily powers constantly renewed, to enable him to suffer.
Above the torment is a rainbow of hope, built of the vapour, pain-wrung,
which the light of heaven, in passing tinges with the colour of hope.
Endowed with bodily powers intended to be God's ministers, Ixion has been
betrayed by them. But he was but man foiled by sense; he has endured
enough suffering to teach him his error and his folly. "Why make the agony
perpetual?" "To punish thee," Zeus may reply. Ixion says he once was king
of Thessaly: he had to punish crime. Had he been able to read the hearts
of the criminals whom he sent to their doom, and had plainly seen
repentance there, would he not have given them

    "Life to retraverse the past, light to retrieve the misdeed?"

Zeus made man, with flaw or faultless: it was his work. Ixion had been
admitted, all human as he was, to the company of the gods as their equal.
He had faith in the good faith and the love of Zeus, and for acting upon
it was cast from Olympus to Erebus. Man conceived Zeus as possessing his
own virtues: he trusted, loved him because Zeus aspired to be equal in
goodness to man. Ixion defies him, tells him he apes the man who made him;
it is Zeus who is hollowness. The iris, born of Ixion's tears, sweat and
blood, bursting to vapour above, arching his torment, glorifies his pain;
and man, even from hell's triumph, may look up and rejoice. He rises from
the wreck, past Zeus to the Potency above him--

    "Thither I rise, whilst thou--Zeus, keep the godship and sink!"

The Zeus of the poem bears no relation whatever to the Christian's God.
The Potency over all is the All-Father, the God of Love, who yet, in
Infinite Love, may punish rebellious man, who conceivably may reject His
love, may never feel a touch of the repentance which Ixion declared he
felt, who suffering and still sinning, hating and still rebelling, may
conceivably be left to the consequences of the rebellion which knows no
cessation, as the suffering no respite.

NOTES.--_Sisuphos_, "the crafty": son of Æolus, punished in the other
world by being forced for ever to keep on rolling a block of stone to the
top of a steep hill, only to see it roll again to the valley, and to start
the toilsome task again. _Tantalos_, a wealthy king of Sipylus in Phrygia.
He was a favourite of the gods, and allowed to share their meals; but he
insulted them, and was thrown into Tartarus. He suffered from hunger and
thirst, immersed in water up to the chin; when he opened his mouth the
water dried up and the fruits suspended before him vanished into the air.
_Heré_, in Greek mythology the same as Juno, queen of heaven and wife of
Zeus or Jupiter. _Thessaly_, a country of Greece, bounded on the south by
the southern parts of Greece, on the east by the Ægean, on the north by
Macedonia and Mygdonia, and on the west by Illyricum and Epirus.
_Olumpos_, a mountain in Thessaly. On the highest peak is the throne of
Zeus, and it is there that he summons the assemblies of the gods.
_Erebos_, in Greek mythology "the primeval darkness." The word is usually
applied to the lower regions, filled with impenetrable darkness.
_Tartaros-doomed_ == hell-doomed.



=Jacopo= (_Luria_) was the faithful secretary of the Moorish mercenary who
led the army of Florence.

=Jacynth.= (_Flight of the Duchess._) The maid of the Duchess, who went to
sleep while the gipsy woman held the interview with her mistress, and
induced her to leave her husband's home.

=James Lee's Wife.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864; originally entitled _James
Lee_.) This is a story of an unfortunate marriage, told in a series of
meditations by the wife. Mr. Symons describes the psychological processes
detailed in the poem as "the development of disillusion, change,
alienation, severance and parting." The key-notes of the nine divisions of
the work are: I. Anxiety; II. Apprehension; III. Expostulation; IV.
Despair; V. Reflection; VI. Change; VII. Self-denial; VIII. Resignation;
IX. Self-Sacrifice.

I. AT THE WINDOW.--The wife reflects that summer has departed. The chill,
which settles upon the earth as the sun's warm rays are withheld, falls
heavily on her heart. Her husband has been absent but a day, and as she
thinks of the changing year, she asks, with apprehension, "Will he change
too?"

II. BY THE FIRESIDE.--He has returned, but not the sun to her heart. As
they sit by the fire in their seaside home, she reflects that the fire is
built of "shipwreck wood." Are her hopes to be shipwrecked too? Sailors on
the stormy waters may envy their security as they behold the ruddy light
from their fire over the sea, and "gnash their teeth for hate" as they
reflect on their warm safe home; but ships rot and rust and get worm-eaten
in port, as well as break up on rocks. She wonders who lived in that home
before them. Did a woman watch the man with whom she began a happy
voyage--see the planks start, and hell yawn beneath her?

III. IN THE DOORWAY.--The steps of coming winter hasten; the trees are
bare; soon the swallows will forsake them. The wind, with its infinite
wail, sings the dirge of the departed summer. Her heart shrivels, her
spirit shrinks; yet, as she stands in the doorway, she reflects that they
have every material comfort. They have neither cold nor want to fear in
any shape, only the heart-chill, only the soul-hunger for the love that is
gone. God meant that love should warm the human heart when material things
without were cold and drear. She will

    "live and love worthily, bear and be bold."

IV. ALONG THE BEACH.--The storm has burst; it is no longer misgiving,
fear, apprehension: it is certainty. She meditates, as she watches him,
that he wanted her love; she gave him all her heart He has it still: she
had taken him "for a world and more." For love turns dull earth to the
glow of God. She had taken the weak earth with many weeds, but with "a
little good grain too." She had watched for flowers and longed for
harvest, but all was dead earth still, and the glow of God had never
transfigured his soul to her. But she did love, did watch, did wait and
weary and wear, was fault in his eyes. Her love had become irksome to him.

V. ON THE CLIFF.--It is summer, and she is leaning on the dead burnt turf,
looking at a rock left dry by the retiring waters. The deadness of the one
and the barrenness of the other suit her melancholy; they are symbols of
her position, and as she muses, a gay, blithe grasshopper springs on the
turf, and a wonderful blue-and-red butterfly settles on the rock. So love
settles on minds dead and bare; so love brightens all! So could her love
brighten even his dead soul.

VI. READING A BOOK, UNDER THE CLIFF.--She is reading the poetry of "some
young man" (Mr. Browning himself, who published these "Lines to the Wind"
when twenty-six years old). The poet asks if the ailing wind is a dumb
winged thing, entrusting its cause to him; and as she reads on she grows
angry at the young man's inexperience of the mystery of life. He knows
nothing of the meaning of the moaning wind: it is not suffering, not
distress; it is change. That is what the wind is trying to say, and trying
above all to teach: we are to

    "Rejoice that man is hurled
    From change to change unceasingly,
    His soul's wings never furled!"

"Nothing endures," says the wind. "There's life's pact--perhaps, too, its
probation; but man might at least, as he grasps 'one fair, good, wise
thing,'--the love of a loving woman--grave it on his soul's hands' palms
to be his for ever."

VII. AMONG THE ROCKS.--Earth sets his bones to bask in the sun, and smiles
in the beauty with which the rippling water adorns him; and so she
comforts herself by reflecting that we may make the low earth-nature
better by suffusing it with our love-tides. Love is gain if we love only
what is worth our love. How much more to make the low nature better by our
throes!

VIII. BESIDE THE DRAWING-BOARD.--She has been drawing a hand. A clay cast
of a perfect thing is before her. She has learned something of the
infinite beauty of the human hand--has studied it, has praised God, its
Maker, for it; and as she contemplates the world of wonders to be
discovered therein, she is fain to efface her work and begin anew, for
somehow grace slips from soulless finger-tips. The cast is that of a hand
by Leonardo da Vinci. She has passionately longed to copy its perfection,
but as the great master could not copy the perfection of the dead hand, so
she has failed to draw the cast. And so she turns to the peasant girl
model who is by her side that day, "a little girl with the poor coarse
hand," and as she contemplates it she begins to understand the worth of
flesh and blood, and that there is a great deal more than beauty in a
hand. She has read Bell on the human hand, and she knows something of the
infinite uses of the mechanism which is hidden beneath the flesh. She
knows what use survives the beauty in the peasant hand that spins and
bakes. The living woman is better than the dead cast. She has learned the
lesson that all this craving for what can never be hers--for the love she
cannot gain, any more than the perfection she cannot draw--is wasting her
life. She will be up and doing, no longer dreaming and sighing.

IX. ON DECK.--It was better to leave him! She will set him free. She had
no beauty, no grace; nothing in her deserved any place in his mind. She
was harsh and ill-favoured (and perhaps this was the secret of the
trouble). Still, had he loved her, love could and would have made her
beautiful. Some day it may be even so; and in the years to come a face, a
form--her own--may rise before his mental vision, his eyes be opened, his
liberated soul leap forth in a passionate "'Tis she!"

=Jesus Christ.= That Mr. Browning was something more than a Theist, a
Unitarian, or a Broad Churchman, may be gathered from several passages in
his works, as well as from direct statements to individuals. Three lines
in the _Death in the Desert_ (though often said to be used only
dramatically), when taken in connection with the whole drift and purpose
of the poem, seem to indicate a faith which is more than mere Theism:

    "The acknowledgment of God in Christ, accepted by thy reason,
    Solves for thee all questions in the earth and out of it,
    And has so far advanced thee to be wise."

In the _Epistle of Karshish_, the Arab physician says concerning Jesus,
who had raised Lazarus from the dead:--

    "The very God! think, Abib, dost thou think?
    So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving too--
    So, through the thunder comes a loving voice
    Saying, 'O heart I made, a heart beats here!
    Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!
    Thou hast no power nor may'st conceive of mine.
    But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
    And thou must love me who have died for thee!'
    The madman saith He said so: it is strange."

_Christmas Eve_ and _Easter Day_ seem to be meaningless if they do not
express the author's faith in the divinity of our Lord. Just as every
believer in Him can detect the true ring of the Christian believer and
lover of his Lord in the lines quoted from the _Epistle of Karshish_, so
will his touchstone detect the Christian in many other passages of the
poet's work.

In _Saul_, canto xviii., David says:--

                              "My flesh, that I seek
    In the Godhead! I seek and I find it. O Saul, it shall be
    A Face like my face that receives thee; a Man like to me,
    Thou shalt love and be loved by, for ever: a Hand like this hand
    Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee! See the Christ stand!"

David--to whom Christendom attributes the Psalms, even were he only the
editor of that wonderful body of prayer and praise--as the utterer of
sentiments like these, is permitted to express the orthodox opinion that
he prophesied of the Christ who was to come. Mr. Browning would have
hardly done this "dramatically." (What are termed "the Messianic Psalms"
are ii., xxi., xxii., xlv., lxxii., cx.) Pompilia, in _The Ring and the
Book_, a character which is built up of the purest and warmest faith of
the poet's heart, says:--

    "I never realised God's truth before--
    How He grew likest God in being born."

The poem entitled "The Sun," in _Ferishtah's Fancies_, No. 5, may be
studied in this connection.

=Jews.= Browning had great sympathy with the Jewish spirit. See RABBI BEN
EZRA, JOCHANAN HAKKADOSH, BEN KARSHOOK, HOLY CROSS DAY, and FILIPPO
BALDINUCCI.

=Jochanan Hakkadosh.= (_Jocoseria_: 1883.) The Hebrew which Mr. Browning
quotes in the tale as the title of the work from which his incidents are
derived, may be translated as "Collection of many Fables"; and the second
Hebrew phrase means "from Moses to Moses [Moses Maimonides] there was
never one like Moses." Although the story of this poem is not historical,
it is founded on characters and events which are familiar to students of
Jewish literature and history. Hakkadosh means "The Holy." Rabbi Yehudah
Hannasi (the Prince) was the reputed author of the _Mishnah_, and was born
before the year 140 of the Christian era. On account of his holy living he
was surnamed Rabbenu Haḳkadosh. Jochanan means John. In the _Jewish
Messenger_ for March 4th, 1887, the poem is reviewed from a Jewish point
of view by "Mary M. Cohen," from which interesting study we extract the
following particulars:--The scene of the poem is laid at Schiphaz, which
is probably intended for Sheeraz, in Persia. "I think," says the
authoress, "that, with artistic licence, Mr. Browning does not here
portray any individual man, but takes the names and characteristics of
several rabbis, fusing all into a whole. Jochanan finds old age a
continued disappointment. He is represented as almost overtaken by death;
his loving scholars, as was usual in the days of rabbinism, cluster about
him for some worthy word of parting advice. One of the pupils asks: 'Say,
does age acquiesce in vanished youth?' The rabbi, groaning, answers
grimly:

                            "Last as first
    The truth speak I--in boyhood who began
    Striving to live an angel, and, amerced
    For such presumption, die now hardly, man.
    What have I proved of life? To live, indeed,
    That much I learned."

It was suggested to the dying rabbi that if compassionating folk would
render him up a portion of their lives, Hakkadosh might attain his
fourscore years. Tsaddik, the scholar, well versed in the Targums, was
foremost in urging the adoption of this expedient. By yielding up part of
their lives, the pupils of Jochanan hope to combine the lessons of perfect
wisdom and varied experience of life. But experience proves fatal to all
the hopes, the aspirations, the high ideals of youth. Experience paralyses
action. Experience chills the aspirations which animate the generous mind
of the lover, the soldier, the poet, the statesman. When the men of
experience contributed their quota, 'certain gamesome boys' must needs
throw some of theirs also. This accounts for the rabbi being found alive
unexpectedly after a long interval:

    "Trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home."

The rabbi utters heaven-sent intuitions, the gift of these lads. Under the
influence of the _Ruach_, or spirit, Jochanan declares that happiness,
here and hereafter, is found in acting on the generous impulses, the noble
ideals which are sent into the mind, in spite of the testimony of
experience that we shall fail to realise our aspirations. 'There is no
sin,' says the rabbi, 'except in doubting that the light which lured the
unwary into darkness did no wrong, had I but marched on boldly.' What we
see here as antitheses, or as complementary truths, are reconciled
hereafter. This reconciliation cannot be grasped by our present faculties.
The rabbi seems to 'babble' when he tries to express in words the truth he
sees. The pure white light of truth, seen through the medium of the flesh,
is composed of many coloured rays. Evil is like the dark lines in the
spectrum. The whole duty of man is to learn to love. If he fails, it
matters not; he has learned the art: 'so much for the attempt--anon
performance.' Love is the sum of our spiritual intuitions, the law of our
practical conduct.'

NOTES.--_Mishna_, the second or oral Jewish law; the great collection of
legal decisions by the ancient rabbis; and so the fundamental document of
Jewish oral law. _Schiphaz_, an imaginary place; or perhaps _Sheeraz_, on
the Bundemeer, referred to at end of poem. _Jochanan Ben Sabbathai_, not
historical. _Khubbezleh_, a fanciful name of the poet's invention.
_Targum_, a Chaldee version or paraphrase of the Old Testament. _Nine
Points of Perfection_: Nine is a trinity of trinities, and is a mystical
number of perfection; the slang expression "dressed to the nines" means
dressed to perfection. _Tsaddik_ == just, not historical. _Dob_ == Bear
(the constellation). _The Bear_, the constellation. _Aish_, the Great
Bear. _The Bier_: the Jews called the constellation of the Great Bear "The
Bier." _Three Daughters_, the tail stars of the Bear. _Banoth_ ==
daughters. _The Ten_: Jewish martyrs under the Roman empire. _Akiba_,
_Rabbi_, lived A.C. 117, and laid the groundwork of the Mishna. He was one
of the greatest Jewish teachers, and was at the height of his popularity
when the revolt of the Jews under Barcochab took place. (See for a history
of the revolt, and of Akiba's influence, _Milman's History of the Jews_,
Book xviii.) He was scraped to death with an iron comb. _Perida_: a Jewish
teacher of such infinite patience that the Talmud records that he repeated
his lesson to a dull pupil four hundred times, and as even then he could
not understand, four hundred times more, on which the spirit declared that
four hundred years should be added to his life. _Uzzean_: Job, the most
patient man, was of the land of Uz. _Djinn_, a supernatural being. _Edom_:
Rome and Christianity went by this name in the Talmud. "_Sic Jesus vult_,"
so Jesus wills. _The Statist_ == the statesman. _Mizraim_ == Egypt.
_Shushan_ == lily. _Tohu-bohu_, void and waste. _Halaphta_, Talmudic
teachers. _Ruach_, spirit. _Bendimir_: no doubt the Bundemeer, one of the
chief rivers of _Farzistan_, a province in Persia. _Og's thigh bone_: "Og
was king of Bashan. The rabbis say that the height of his stature was
23,033 cubits (nearly six miles). He used to drink water from the clouds,
and toast fish by holding them before the orb of the sun. He asked Noah to
take him into the ark, but Noah would not. When the flood was at its
deepest, it did not reach to the knees of this giant. Og lived 3000 years,
and then he was slain by the hand of Moses. Moses was himself ten cubits
in stature (15 feet), and he took a spear ten cubits long, and threw it
ten cubits high, and yet it only reached the heel of Og.... When dead, his
body reached as far as the river Nile. Og's mother was Enach, a daughter
of Adam. Her fingers were two cubits long (one yard), and on each finger
she had two sharp nails. She was devoured by wild beasts.--_Maracci._"

=Jocoseria.= The volume of poems under this title was published in 1883.
It contains the following works: "Wanting is--What?" "Donald," "Solomon
and Balkis," "Cristina and Monaldeschi," "Mary Wollstonecraft and Fuseli,"
"Adam, Lilith and Eve," "Ixion," "Jochanan Hakkadosh," "Never the Time and
the Place," "Pambo." In a letter to a friend, along with an early copy of
this work, the poet stated that "the title is taken from the work of
Melander (Schwartzmann)--reviewed, by a curious coincidence, in the
_Blackwood_ of this month. I referred to it in a note to 'Paracelsus.' The
two Hebrew quotations (put in to give a grave look to what is mere fun and
invention), being translated, amount to: (1) "A Collection of Many Lies";
and (2) an old saying, 'From Moses to Moses arose none like to Moses'
(_i.e._ Moses Maimonides)...." One of the notes to _Paracelsus_ refers to
Melander's "Jocoseria" as "rubbish." Melander, whose proper name was Otho
Schwartzmann, was born in 1571. He published a work called "Joco-Seria,"
because it was a collection of stories both grave and gay.

=Johannes Agricola in Meditation.= (First published in _The Monthly
Repository_, and signed "_Z._," in 1836. Reprinted in _Dramatic Lyrics_,
in _Bells and Pomegranates_, 1842.) Johannes Agricola meditates on the
thought of his election or choice by the Supreme Being, who in His eternal
counsels has before all worlds predestined him as an object of mercy and
salvation. God thought of him before He thought of suns or moons, ordained
every incident of his life for him, and mapped out its every circumstance.
Totally irrespective of his conduct, God having chosen of His own
sovereign grace, uninfluenced in the slightest degree by anything which
Johannes has done or left undone, to consider him as a guiltless being, is
pledged to save him of free mercy. It would make no difference to his
ultimate salvation were he to mix all hideous sins in one draught, and
drink it to the dregs. Predestined to be saved, nothing that he can do can
unsave him; foreordained to heaven, nothing he could do could lead him
hell-wards. As a corollary, those souls who are not so predestined in the
counsels of God to eternal salvation may be as holy, as perfect, in the
sight of men as he (Agricola) might be vile in their sight; yet they shall
be tormented for ever in hell, simply because God has mysteriously left
them out of His choice. They are reprobate, non-elect, and nothing that
they could possibly do could avail to save them. When Adam sinned, he
sinned not only for himself, but for the whole human race, and the whole
species was forthwith condemned in him, excepting only those whom God in
His Sovereign mercy had from all eternity elected to save, and that
without regard to their merit or demerit. These reprobate persons might
try to win God's favour, might labour with all their might to please Him,
and would only thereby add to their sin. Priest, doctor, hermit, monk,
martyr, nun, or chorister,--all these, leading holy and before men
beautiful lives, were eternally foreordained to be lost before God
fashioned star or sun. For all this Johannes Agricola praises God, praises
Him all the more that he cannot understand Him or His ways, praises Him
especially that he has not to bargain for His love or pay a price for his
salvation. Such is the terrible portrait which Mr. Browning has drawn of
the teaching of a man who, as one of the Reformers, and as a friend of
Luther, was the founder of what is known in religious history as
Antinomianism. Hideous as is the perversion of gospel teaching which
Agricola set forth, the doctrines of Antinomianism still linger on amongst
certain sects of Calvinists in England and Scotland. The doctrine of
reprobation is thus stated in the _Westminster Confession of Faith_, iii.
7: "The rest of mankind (_i.e._ all but the elect), God was pleased ... to
pass by, and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath, etc." Mosheim, in his
_Ecclesiastical History_ (century xvii., Sect. II., Part II., chap, ii.,
23), thus describes the Presbyterian Antinomians: "The Antinomians are
over-rigid Calvinists, who are thought by the other Presbyterians to abuse
Calvin's doctrine of the absolute decrees of God, to the injury of the
cause of piety. Some of them ... deny that it is necessary for ministers
to exhort Christians to holiness and obedience of the law, because those
whom God from all eternity elected to salvation will themselves, and
without being admonished and exhorted by any one, by a Divine influence,
or the impulse of Almighty grace, perform holy and good deeds; while those
who are destined by the Divine decrees to eternal punishment, though
admonished and entreated ever so much, will not obey the Divine law, since
Divine grace is denied them; and it is therefore sufficient, in preaching
to the people, to hold up only the gospel and faith in Jesus Christ. But
others merely hold that the elect, because they cannot lose the Divine
favour, do not truly commit sin and break the Divine law, although they
should go contrary to its precepts and do wicked actions, and therefore it
is not necessary that they should confess their sins or grieve for them:
that adultery for instance, in one of the elect appears to us indeed to be
a sin or a violation of the law, yet it is no sin in the sight of God,
because one who is elected to salvation can do nothing displeasing to God
and forbidden by the law." Very similar teaching may be discovered at the
present day in the body of religionists known as Hyper-Calvinists or
Strict Baptists. The professors are for the most part much better than
their creed, and they are exceedingly reticent concerning their doctrines
so far as they are represented by the term Antinomian; but the organs of
their phase of religious belief, _The Gospel Standard_ and _The Earthen
Vessel_, frequently contain proofs of the vitality of Agricola's doctrines
in their pages. For example, in the _Gospel Standard_ for July 1891, p.
288, we find the following: "No hope, nor salvation, can possibly arise
out of the law or covenant of works. Every man's works are sin,--his best
works are polluted. Every page of the law unfolds his defects and
shortcomings, nor will allow of a few shillings to the pound,--Pay the
whole or die the death." The tendency of Antinomianism is to become an
esoteric doctrine, and it is seldom preached in any grosser form than
this, however sweet it may be to the hearts of the initiated.

=John of Halberstadt.= The ecclesiastic in _Transcendentalism_ who was
also a magician and performed the "prestigious feat" of conjuring roses up
in winter.

=Joris.= One of the riders in the poem "How they brought the Good News
from Ghent to Aix."

=Jules.= (_Pippa Passes_). The young French artist who married Phene under
a misunderstanding, the result of a practical joke played upon him by his
companions.



=Karshish.= (_An Epistle._) The Arab physician who wrote of the
interesting cases which he had seen in his travels to his brother leech,
and who described Lazarus, who was raised from the dead, as having been in
a trance.

=King, A.= The song in _Pippa Passes_, beginning "A king lived long ago,"
was originally published in _The Monthly Repository_ (edited by W. J. Fox)
in 1835.

=King Charles I.= of England. See STRAFFORD.

=King Charles Emanuel=, of Savoy (_King Victor and King Charles_), was the
son of Victor Amadeus II., Duke of Savoy. He became king when his father
suddenly abdicated, in 1730.

=King Victor and King Charles: A Tragedy.= (_Bells and Pomegranates_, II.,
1842.) Victor Amadeus II., born in 1666, was Duke of Savoy. He obtained
the kingdom of Sicily by treaty from Spain, which he afterwards exchanged
with the Emperor for the island of Sardinia, with the title of King
(1720). He was fierce, audacious, unscrupulous, and selfish, profound in
dissimulation, prolific in resources, and a "breaker of vows both to God
and man." He was, however, an able and warlike monarch, and had the
interests of his kingdom at heart. He was, moreover, beloved by the people
over whom he ruled, and under his reign the country made great progress in
finances, education, and the development of its natural resources. His
whole reign was one of unexampled prosperity, and his life was a continued
career of happiness until, in 1715, his beloved son Victor died. His
daughter, the Queen of Spain, died shortly after. Charles Emanuel, his
second son, had never been a favourite with the King. He was ill-favoured
in appearance, and weak and vacillating in his conduct. When the Queen
died, in 1728, Victor married Anna Teresa Canali, a widowed countess, whom
he created Marchioness of Spigno. For some reasons or other which have
never been satisfactorily explained, the King now decided to abdicate in
favour of his son Charles Emanuel. He gave out that he was weary of the
world and disgusted with affairs of State, and desired to live in
retirement for the remainder of his days. It is more probable that his
fiery and audacious temper, and his deceitfulness, dissimulation, and
persistent endeavours to overreach the other powers with which he had
intercourse, had involved him in difficulties of State policy from which
he could only extricate himself by this grave step. Mr. Browning implies,
in the preface to his tragedy, that his investigations of the memoirs and
correspondence of the period had enabled him to offer a more reasonable
solution of the difficulties connected with this strange episode in
Italian history than any previous account has offered. When the King
announced his intention to resign his crown, he was entreated by his
people, his ministers and his son, to forego a project which every one
thought would be prejudicial to the interests of the kingdom; but nothing
would induce him to reconsider his decision, which he carried out with the
completest ceremonial. After taking this step he retired with his wife to
his castle at Chambéry; and, as might have been expected, he speedily grew
weary of his seclusion. He had an attack of apoplexy, and when he
recovered it was with faculties impaired and a temper readily irritated to
outbursts of violent behaviour. The marchioness now began to suggest to
him that he had done unwisely by resigning his crown; and, day by day,
urged him to recover it. This was probably due to the desire she felt of
being queen. He still remained on good terms with his son, who visited him
at Chambéry; but he gave him to understand that he was not satisfied with
his management of affairs, and constantly intervened in their direction.
In the summer of 1731 Charles, accompanied by his queen (Polyxena) visited
his father at the baths of Eviano, and before his return home he received
private intimation that his father was about to proceed to Turin to resume
the crown he had resigned. He lost no time in returning home, which he
reached just before his father and the marchioness. He visited the ex-king
on the following day, when he was informed that his reason for returning
to Turin was the necessity for seeking a climate more suitable to his
present state of health. Charles was satisfied with the explanation, and
placed the castle of Moncalieri at his father's service: here the ex-king
received his son's ministers, and hints were dropped and threatening
expressions used by Victor, which left little doubt as to his intentions
on the minds of his audience. It now became necessary for King Charles to
seriously consider the best means to secure himself and his queen from the
effects of his father's change of mind. Victor lost little time in
declaring himself: on September 25th, 1731, he sent for the Marquis del
Borgo, and ordered him to deliver up the deed by which he had resigned his
crown. The minister evaded in his reply, and of course informed the King
of the demand. Now it was that Charles was inclined to waver between his
duty to his realm and his duty to his father. He was a good, obedient son,
and of upright and generous disposition, and was inclined to yield to his
father's wishes. He called the chief officers of state around him, and
laid the matter before them. They were not forgetful of the threats which
the old king had recently used towards them, and the Archbishop of Turin
had little difficulty in convincing them and the king that it was
impossible to comply with his father's demands. If anything were wanting
to confirm them in their decision, it was forthcoming in the shape of news
that the old king had demanded at midnight admittance into the fortress of
Turin, but had been refused by the commander. The council of Charles
Emanuel readily concurred in the opinion that Victor should be arrested.
The Marquis d'Ormea, who had been the old king's prime minister, was
charged with the execution of the warrant of arrest. He proceeded, with
assistance and appropriate military precautions, to carry out the order,
entering the king's apartments at Moncalieri. They captured the
marchioness, who was hurried away screaming to a state prison at Ceva,
with many of her relatives and supporters; and then secured the person of
the old king. He was asleep, and when aroused and made acquainted with the
mission of the intruders, he became violently excited, and had to be
wrapped in the bedclothes and forced into one of the court carriages,
which conveyed him to the castle of Rivoli, situated in a small town of
five thousand inhabitants, near Turin. His attendants and guards were
strictly ordered to say nothing to him: if he addressed them, they
maintained an inflexible silence, merely by way of reply making a very low
and submissive bow. He was afterwards permitted to have the company of his
wife and to remove to another prison, but on October 31st, 1732, he died.



=Laboratory, The=: ANCIEN REGIME. First appeared in _Hood's Magazine_,
June 1844, to which it was contributed to help Hood in his illness;
afterwards published in _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_ (_Bells and
Pomegranates_, VII.) This poem and _The Confessional_ were printed
together, and entitled _France and Spain_. Mr. Arthur Symons reminds us
that Rossetti's first water-colour was an illustration of this poem, and
has for subject and title the line "Which is the poison to poison her,
prithee?" The keynote of the poem is jealousy, a distorted love-frenzy
that impels to the rival's extinction. The story is told in the most
powerful and concentrated manner. The jealous woman's whole soul is
compressed into her words and actions; her emotion is visible; her voice,
subdued yet full of energy, is audible in every line. The woman is a
Brinvilliers, who has secured an interview with an alchemist in his
laboratory, that she may purchase a deadly poison for her rival. We gather
from the first verse that the poison consisted principally of arsenic. The
"faint smokes curling whitely," to protect the chemist from which it was
necessary to wear a glass mask, sufficiently supplement our knowledge of
the old poisoner's art to enable us to indicate its nature. The patience
of the woman, who in her eagerness for her rival's death has no desire to
hurry the manufacture of the means of it, is powerfully described. She is
content to watch the chemist at his deadly work, asking questions in a
dainty manner about the secrets of his art. She has all the ideas of "a
big dose" which the uninitiated think requisite for big patients. "She's
not little--no minion like me!" "What, only a drop?" she asks. She is
anxious to know if it hurts the victim. Is it likely to injure herself
too? Reassured on that point, the glass mask is removed, and for reward
the old man has all her jewels and gold to his fill. He may kiss her
besides, and on the mouth if he will. There is a very remarkable instance
in the second verse of the use made of antithesis by the poet. The proper
emphasis can only be given when we rightly apprehend the ideas which
oppose each other in the lines--

    "_He_ is with _her_, and _they_ know that _I_ know
    Where they are, what they do: they believe _my tears_ flow
    While _they laugh_, laugh at _me_, at me fled to the _drear
    Empty church_, to pray God in, for _them_!--I am _here_."

The antithesis of the several sets of ideas is the only safe guide to the
emphasis--_he_ as opposed to _her_, _tears_ to _laughter_, _me_ to _them_,
the _church_ to the _laboratory_.[1] Although the effects of some of the
deadliest poisons were well known to the ancients, their detection and
recovery from the body by chemical means is a branch of science of only
modern discovery. The Greeks and Romans were well acquainted with mercury,
arsenic, henbane, aconite and hemlock. The art of poisoning was brought to
great perfection in India; but, though dissection of the living and the
dead was practised by the Alexandrian School in the third century B.C.,
the Greek and Roman physicians were quite incapable of such a knowledge of
pathology as would enable them to detect any but the coarsest signs of
poisoning in a dead body. Much less were they able to detect or recover by
analysis the particular poison used by the criminal. It is not surprising
that, under such circumstances, professional poisoners usually escaped
punishment. In the fourteenth century arsenic was generally employed. Of
the great schools of poisoners which flourished in Italy in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, Venice was the earliest. Troublesome people
were removed by the Council of Ten by means of convenient poisons. Toffana
and others combined poisoning with the art of cookery; and T. Baptist
Porta, in his book on "Natural Magic," under the section of cooking, shows
that the trades of poisoner and cook were often combined. Toffana was the
greatest of all the seventeenth-century poisoners. She made solutions of
arsenic of various strengths, and sold them in phials under the name of
"Naples Water" or "Acquetta di Napol." It is said that she poisoned six
hundred persons, including Popes Pius III. and Clement XIV. There was
practically no fear of detection, and the liquid was sold openly to any
one willing to pay the price for a deadly compound; the purpose for which
it could alone be employed being perfectly well understood. Mr. Browning's
poem introduces us to a laboratory, where an arsenical preparation is
being prepared. The glass mask refered to in the first line was used to
protect the purchaser from the white, deadly smoke which the mineral gave
off. The poison for which the lady paid so lavishly could be prepared
nowadays by any chemist's apprentice for a few pence; but, plentiful as it
is, it is comparatively rarely used by criminals, as the same apprentice
could infallibly detect it in the body after death, and reproduce in a
test tube the very same poison used by the criminal.

=Lady and the Painter, The.= (_Asolando_: 1889.) A lady visiting an artist
who has a picture on his easel of a nude female figure, protests against
the irreverence to womanhood involved in his inducing a young woman to
strip and stand stark-naked as his model. Before replying, he asks the
lady what it is that clings half-savage-like around her hat. She, thinking
he is admiring her headgear, tells him they are "wild-bird wings, and that
the Paris fashion-books say that next year the skirts of women's dresses
are to be feathered too. Owls, hawks, jays and swallows are most in
vogue." Asking if he may speak plainly, and having been answered that he
may, he tells Lady Blanche that it would be more to her credit to strip
off all her bird-spoils and stand naked to help art, like his poor model,
as a type of purest womanhood. "_You_, clothed with murder of His best of
harmless beings, what have you to teach?" The poem is directed against the
savage and wicked custom of wearing the plumage of birds, by which
millions of God's beautiful creatures are doomed annually to slaughter; by
wearing gloves made of skins stripped from the living bodies of animals
(if report be true); and by the use of sealskin and other animal
coverings, which necessitates the wholesale slaughter of countless
thousands of happy creatures in Arctic seas. I recently asked Miss Frances
Power Cobbe--the noble lady who was a friend of Mr. Browning, and who has
devoted her life and splendid literary talents to befriending dumb animals
and protesting against cruelty in high places--to furnish me with some
account of the agitation against the foolish habit of wearing bird-plumage
in women's bonnets. I have received from Miss Cobbe the following
particulars: "The Plumage League began December 1885. It started with a
letter in the _Times_, December 18th, 1885 (quoted _in extenso_ in the
_Zoophilist_, January 1886, p. 164), by the Rev. F. O. Morris, embodying
one from Lady Mount Temple. Before May 1886 a long list of names (given
in the _Zoophilist_) were given as patrons of the League, including Lady
Mount Temple, Duchess of Sutherland, Lady Londesborough, Lady Sudeley,
Hon. Mrs. R. C. Boyle, Louisa Marchioness of Waterford, Princess
Christian, Lady Burdett Coutts, Lady Eastlake, Lady John Manners, Lady
Tennyson, Lady Herbert of Lea, and about forty other ladies of rank. I
should say that the League was originated by Lady Mount Temple and the
Rev. F. O. Morris. There is another society in existence for the same
purpose, working in London--the Birds' Protection Society--one of whose
local secretaries lately applied to me for a subscription."

=Lady Carlisle, Lucy Percy.= (_Strafford._) She was the daughter of the
ninth Earl of Northumberland, and did her utmost to save Strafford's life.

=Lapaccia.= Mona Lapaccia was Fra Lippo Lippi's aunt, the sister of his
father, who brought him up till he was eight years old, when, being no
longer able to maintain him, she took him to the Carmelite Convent.

=La Saisiaz= (A. E. S., Sept. 14th, 1877).--Mr. Browning was staying
during the autumn of 1877, with his sister, amongst the mountains near
Geneva, at a villa called "La Saisiaz," which in the Savoyard dialect
means "The Sun." They were accompanied on this occasion by Miss Ann
Egerton Smith. The happiness of the visit to this beautiful spot was
marred by the sudden death of Miss Smith, from heart disease, on the night
of September 14th. The poem is the result of the poet's musings on death,
God, the soul, and the future state. It is one of Mr. Browning's noblest
and most beautiful utterances on the great questions of the Supreme Being
and the ultimate destiny of the soul of man. It is Theism of the loftiest
kind, and the grounds on which it is based are as philosophical as they
are poetically expressed. The work has often been compared with the _In
Memoriam_ of Tennyson. The powerful optimism, the robust confidence and
devout faith in the infinite love and wisdom of the Supreme Being, are in
each poem emphasized again and again. After several pages of description
of the scenery of the locality, Mr. Browning imagines that a spirit of the
place bade him question, and promised answer, of the problems of
existence--

    "Does the soul survive the body? Is there God's self--no or yes?"

He is weak, but "weakness never needs be falseness." He will go to the
foundations of his faith; he will take stock--see how he stands in the
matter of belief and doubt; will fight the question out without fence or
self-deception. It shall not satisfy him to say that a second life is
necessary to give value to the present, or that pleasure, if not
permanent, turns to pain; in the presence of that recent death there must
be rigid honesty, and it does not satisfy him to know there's ever some
one lives though we be dead. Such a thought is repugnant to him,--not that
repugnance matters if it be all the truth. He must, however, ask if there
be any prospect of supplemental happiness? In the face of the strong
bodies yoked to stunted souls, and the spirits that would soar were they
not tethered by a fleshly chain; of the hindering helps, and the
hindrances which are really helps in disguise,--the fact remains that
hindered we are. However the fact be explained, life is a burthen; at
best, more or less, in its whole amount is it curse or blessing? He thinks
he has courage enough to fairly ask this question, and accept the answer
of reason. He has questioned, and has been answered. Now, a question
presupposes two things: that which questions and answers must exist. "I
think, therefore I am" (_Cogito, ergo sum_), said Descartes. (And this is
about the only thing in life of which we can be certain. Matter may be all
illusion; as Bishop Berkeley said, we may be living in one long dream. But
at least it takes a mind to do that. We therefore are; soul _is_, whatever
else is not.) The second thing presupposed is, that the fact of being
answered is proof that there must be a force outside itself:

    "Actual ere its own beginning, operative through its course,
    Unaffected by its end,--that this thing likewise needs must be."

Here, then, are two facts: the last we may call God; the first, Soul. If
an objector demands that he shall _prove_ these facts his answer is that,
recognising they surpass his power of proving these facts, proves them
such to him:

                "Ask the rush if it suspects
    Whence and how the stream which floats it had a rise, and where and how
    Falls or flows on still!"

If the rush could think and speak, it would say it only knows that it
floats and is, and that an external stream bears it onward. What may
happen to it the rush knows not: it may be wrecked, or it may land on
shore and take root again; but this is mere surmise, not knowledge. Can we
have better foundation for believing that, because we doubtless are, we
shall as doubtless be? Men say we have, "because God seems good and wise."
But there reigns wrong in life. "God seems powerful," they say; "why,
then, are right and wrong at strife?" "Anyhow, we want a future life," say
men; "without it life would be brutish." But wanting a thing, and hoping
for it, are not proofs that our aspirations will be gratified; out of all
our hopes, how many have had complete fulfilment? None. But "we believe,"
men sigh. So far as others are concerned the poet will not speak--he knows
not. But he knows not what he is himself, which nevertheless is an
ignorance which is no barrier to his knowing that he exists and can
recognise what gives him pain or pleasure. What others are or are not is
surmise; his own experience is knowledge. To his own experience, then, he
appeals. He has lived, done, suffered, loved, hated, learned and taught
this: there is no reconciling wisdom with a distracted world, no
reconciling goodness with evil if it is to finally triumph, no reconciling
power if the aim is to fail; if--and he only speaks for himself, his own
convictions, and not for any other man's--if you hinder him from assuming
that earth is a school-time and life a place of probation, all is chaos to
him; he cannot say how these arguments and reasons may affect other men;
he reiterates that he speaks for himself alone, because to colour-blind
men the grass which is green to him may be red,--who is to decide which
uses the proper term, supposing only two men existed, and one called grass
green, the other red? So God must be the referee in His own case. The
earth, as a school, is perhaps different for each individual; our pains
and pleasures no more tally than our colour-sense. The poet, therefore,
recognises that for him the world is his world, and no other man's; he is
to judge what it means for himself. He will therefore proceed to estimate
the world as it seems to him, exactly as he would judge of an artisan's
work,--is it a success or a failure? Was God's will or His power in fault
when the vapours shrouded the blue heaven, and the flowers fell at the
breath of the dragon? Death waits on every rose-bloom, pain upon every
pleasure, shadow on every brightness. We cannot love, but death lurks
hard by; cannot learn sympathy unless men suffer pain. If he is told that
all this is necessity, he will bear it as best he can; if, on the other
hand, you say it has been ordained by a Cause all-good, all-wise,
all-potent, he protests as a man he will not acquiesce if, at the same
time, you tell him that this life is all:

    "No, as I am man, I mourn the poverty I must impute:
    Goodness, wisdom, power, all bounded, each a human attribute!"

Speaking for himself he counts this show of things a failure if after this
life there be no other; if the school is not to educate for another
sphere, all its lessons are fruitless pain and toil. But, grant a second
life, he heartily acquiesces; he sees triumph in misfortune's worst
assaults, and gain in all the loss. When was he so near to knowledge as
when hampered by his recognised ignorance? Was not beauty made more
precious by the deformities surrounding him? Did he not learn to love
truth better when he contemplated the reign of falsehood? And for love,
who knows what its value is till he has suffered by the death-pang? The
poet here breaks off the argument to address the spirit of the lost
friend, and express his hope that one day they may meet again:--

    "Can it be, and must, and will it?"

Then he recalls his thoughts from the region of surmise, to which they
have wandered, home to stern and sober fact. He needs not the old
plausibilities of the "misery done to man" and the "injustice of God," if
another life compensate not for the ills of the present; he is prepared to
take his stand as umpire to the champions Fancy and Reason, as they
dispute the case between them. FANCY begins the amicable war by conceding
that the surmise of life after death is as plain as a certainty, and
acknowledges that there are now three facts--God, the soul, and the future
life. REASON assents, sees there is definite advantage in the
acknowledgment, admits the good of evil in the present life, detects the
progress of everything towards good, and, as the next life must be an
advance upon this one, suggests that, at the first cloud athwart man's
sky, he should not hesitate, but die. FANCY then increases its concession,
and sees the necessity of a hell for the punishment of those who would act
the butterfly before they have played out the worm. Thus we have five
facts now--God, soul, earth, heaven and hell. REASON declares that more
is required: are we to shut our eyes, stop our ears, and live here in a
state of nescience, simply waiting for the life to come, which is to do
everything for the soul? FANCY protests that this present stage of our
existence has worth incalculable--that every moment spent here means so
much loss or gain for that next life which on this life depends. We have
now six plain facts established. REASON points out that FANCY has proved
too much by appending a definite reward to every good action and a fixed
punishment to every bad one. We lay down laws as stringent in the moral as
the material world. If we say, "Would you live again, be just," it is to
put a necessity upon man as determined as the law of respiration--"Would
you live now, regularly draw your breath." If immortality were anything
more than surmise, if heaven and hell were as plainly the consequences of
our course of life here as a fall of a breach of the laws of gravity, then
men would be compelled to do right and avoid evil. Probation would be
gone, our freedom would be destroyed, neither merit nor discipline would
remain--

    "Thus have we come back full circle."

The poet says he hopes,--he has no more than hope, but hope--no less than
hope. Standing on the mountain, looking down upon the Lake of Geneva, his
eye falls on the places where dwelt four great men: _Rousseau_, who lived
at Geneva; _Byron_, lived at the villa called "Diodati," at Geneva; and
wrote the _Prisoner of Chillon_ at Ouchy, on the Lake; _Voltaire_, who
built himself a château at Fernex; _Gibbon_, who wrote the concluding
portion of his great work at Lausanne. The somewhat obscure reference to
the "pine tree of Makistos," near the close of the poem, has caused
considerable puzzling of brains amongst Browning students, none of whom
have been able to assist me in solving the problem. So far as I am able to
understand it, the solution seems to be this: The reference to Makistos is
from the _Agamemnon_ of Æschylus. The town of Makistos had a watch-tower
on a neighbouring eminence, from which the beacon lights flashed the news
of the fall of Troy to Greece. Clytemnestra says:

                "sending a bright blaze from Ide,
    _Beacon did beacon send_,
      Pass on--the pine-tree--to Makistos' watch-place."

So the famous writers named as connected with that part of the Lake of
Geneva contemplated by Mr. Browning, who were all Theists, passed on the
pine-tree torch of Theism from age to age--Diodati, Rousseau, Gibbon,
Byron, Voltaire, who--

    "at least believed in Soul, was very sure of God."

(Voltaire built a church at Ferney, over the portal of which he affixed
the ostentatious inscription, "_Deo erexit Voltaire_.") Many writers
(Canon Cheyne for one, in the _Origin of the Psalter_, p. 410) have
thought that by the lines beginning, "He there with the brand flamboyant,"
etc., the poet referred to himself. Of course, any such idea is
preposterous; the reference was to Voltaire. Mr. Browning, apart from the
question of the egotism involved, could not say of himself, "he at least
believed in soul." There was no minimising of religious faith in the poet
Still less could he speak of himself as "crowned by prose and verse."

NOTES.--_Python_, the Rock-snake, the typical genus of Pythonidæ;
"_Athanasius contra mundum_" == Athanasius against the world. St.
Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, and one of the most illustrious
defenders of the Christian faith, was born about the year 297. In
defending the Nicene Creed he had so much opposition to contend with from
the Arian heretics that, in the words of Hooker, it was "the whole world
against Athanasius, and Athanasius against it."

=Last Ride Together, The.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Romances_, 1863;
_Dramatic Romances_, 1868.) This poem is considered by many critics to be
the noblest of all Browning's love poems; for dramatic intensity, for
power, for its exhibition of what Mr. Raleigh has aptly termed Browning's
"tremendous concentration of his power in excluding the object world and
its relations," the poem is certainly unequalled. It is a poem of
unrequited love, in which there is nothing but the noblest resignation; a
compliance with the decrees of fate, but with neither a shadow of
disloyalty to the ideal, nor despair of the result of the dismissal to the
lover's own soul development. The woman may reject him,--there is no
wounded pride; she does not love him,--he is not angry with her, nor
annoyed that she fails to estimate him as highly as he estimates himself.
He has the ideal in his heart; it shall be cherished as the occupant of
his heart's throne for ever--of the ideal he, at least, can never be
deprived. This ideal shall be used to elevate and sublimate his desires,
to expand his soul to the fruition of his boundless aspiration for human
love, used till it transfigures the human in the man till it almost
becomes Divine. And so--as he knows his fate--since all his life seemed
meant for, fails--his whole heart rises up to bless the woman, to whom he
gives back the hope she gave; he asks only its memory and her leave for
one more last ride with him. It is granted:

    "Who knows but the world may end to-night?"

(a line which no poet but Browning ever could have written. The force of
the hour, the value of the quintessential moment as factors in the
development of the soul, have never been set forth, even by Browning, with
such startling power.) She lay for a moment on his breast, and then the
ride began. He will not question how he might have succeeded better had he
said this or that, done this or the other. She might not only not have
loved him, she might have hated. He reflects that all men strive, but few
succeed. He contrasts the petty done with the vast undone,

    "What hand and brain went ever paired?
    What heart alike conceived and dared?
    What act proved all its thought had been?
    What will but felt the fleshly screen?"

And the meaning of it all, the reason of the struggle, the outcome of the
effort? The poet alone can tell: he _says_ what we _feel_. "But, poet," he
asks, "are you nearer your own sublime than we rhymeless ones? You
sculptor, you man of music, have you attained your aims?" Then he consoles
himself that if here we had perfect bliss, still there is the life beyond,
and it is better to have a bliss to die with dim-descried--

    "Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?"

What if for ever he rode on with her as now, "The instant made eternity"?

=Lazarus=, who was raised from the dead, is the real hero of the poem _An
Epistle_.

=Léonce Miranda.= (_Red Cotton Night-Cap Country._) The principal actor in
the drama was the son and heir of a wealthy Paris jeweller. He formed an
illicit connection with Clara de Millefleurs, and lived with her at St.
Rambert, finally committing suicide from the tower on his estate. It is
said that the real name of the firm of jewellers was "Meller Brothers,"
and that Clara de Millefleurs was Anna de Beaupré.

=Levi Lincoln Thaxter.= _Poet Lore_, vol. i., p. 598 (1889), states that
Mr. Browning wrote an inscription for the grave of Levi Lincoln Thaxter, a
well known American Browning reader, on the Maine sea-coast. The
inscription runs thus:--"Levi Lincoln Thaxter. Born in Watertown,
Massachusetts, Feb. 1st, 1824. Died May 31st, 1884.

    "Thou, whom these eyes saw never! Say friends true
    Who say my soul, helped onward by my song,
    Though all unwittingly, has helped thee too?
    I gave of but the little that I knew;
    How were the gift requited, while along
    Life's path I pace, couldst thou make weakness strong!
    Help me with knowledge--for Life's Old----Death's New!"
                          R. B. to L. L. T., _April 1885_.

=Life in a Love.= (_Men and Women_, 1855, _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) A man is content to spend his whole life on the chance
that the woman whose heart he pursues will one day cease to elude him.
When the old hope is dashed to the ground, a new one springs up and flies
straight to the same mark. And what if he fail of his purpose here? How
can life be better expended than in devotion to one worthy ideal?

=Light Woman, A.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Romances_, 1863; _Dramatic
Romances_, 1868.) A wanton-eyed woman ensnares a man in her toils just to
add him to the hundred others she has captured. The victim has a friend
who feels equal to conquering the victor. It is a question which is the
stronger soul; the woman of a hundred conquests lies in the strong man's
hand as tame as a pear from the wall. But the game turns out to be a
serious one: the light woman recognises her conqueror as the higher soul,
and loves him accordingly. What is he to do? He does not wish to eat the
pear; is he to cast it away? It is an awkward thing to play with souls.
Light as she was, she had a heart, though the hundred others could not
discover a way to it; this man did, and broke it. The question for the
breaker is What does he seem to himself? The last lines of the poem are
interesting. The author says of himself:--

    "And Robert Browning, you writer of plays,
    Here's a subject made to your hand."

=Likeness, A.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) As no two faces are exactly
alike in every particular, so no two souls are ever cast in one mould. The
very markings of our finger tips differ in every hand, and so each soul
has its own language, which must be learned by whomsoever would discover
its secret. And here science avails not; soul grammars and lexicons are
not written for its tongue. A face, a glance, a word will do; but it must
be the right glance, and the true open-sesame. The face which has spoken
to us, the soul visitant who has penetrated to our solitude, the book, the
deed which has formed the bond between us, speaks not to others as it
spoke to us; and the face which is enshrined in our heart of hearts, to
them is "the daub John bought at a sale." "Is not she Jane? Then who is
she?" asks the stranger who intermeddleth not with our joys. But when that
face is confessed to be one to lose youth for, to occupy age with the
dream of, to meet death with; then, half in rapture, half in rage, we say,
"Take it, I pray; it is only a duplicate!"

=Lilith.= (_Adam, Lilith, and Eve._) "According to the Gnostic and
Rosicrucian mediæval doctrine, the creation of woman was not originally
intended. She is the offspring of man's own impure fancy, and, as the
Hermetists say, 'an obtrusion.'... First 'Virgo,' the celestial virgin of
the Zodiac, she became 'Virgo-Scorpio.' But in evolving his second
companion, man had unwittingly endowed her with his own share of
spirituality; and the new being whom his 'imagination' had called into
life became his 'saviour' from the snares of Eve-Lilith, the first Eve,
who had a greater share of matter in her composition than the primitive
'spiritual man.'"--Madame Blavatsky's _Isis Unveiled_, vol. ii., p. 445.

=Lost Leader, The.= (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, in Bells and
Pomegranates_, No. VII., 1845; _Poems_, 1849; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) A
great leader of a party has deserted the cause, fallen away from his early
ideals and forsaken the teaching which has inspired disciples who loved
and honoured him. They are sorrowful not so much for their own loss as for
the moral deterioration he has himself suffered. The poem is a very
popular one, and is generally considered to refer to Wordsworth, who in
his youth had strong Liberal sympathies, but lost them, as Mr. John Morley
says in his introduction to Wordsworth's poems:--"As years began to dull
the old penetration of a mind which had once approached, like other
youths, the shield of human nature from the golden side, and had been
eager to 'clear a passage for just government,' Wordsworth lost his
interest in progress. Waterloo may be taken for the date at which his
social grasp began to fail, and with it his poetic glow. He opposed
Catholic emancipation as stubbornly as Eldon, and the Reform Bill as
bitterly as Croker. For the practical reform of his day, even in
education, for which he had always spoken up, Wordsworth was not a force."
Browning used to see a good deal of Wordsworth when he was a young man,
but there was no friendship between them. Wordsworth treated with contempt
Browning's republican sympathies--a contempt heightened, as is usually the
case with those who have lapsed from their former ideals, by the
remembrance that he had once professed to follow them. But, though the
poem has undoubted reference to Wordsworth, it has a certain application
also to Southey, Charles Kingsley, and others, who in youth were Radicals
and in old age became rigidly Conservative. Browning told Walter Thornbury
that Wordsworth was "the lost leader," though he said "the portrait was
purposely disguised a little; used, in short, as an artist uses a model,
retaining certain characteristic traits and discarding the rest" (_Notes
and Queries_, 5th series, vol. i., p. 213.) There is a letter published in
Mr. Grosart's edition of Wordsworth's _Prose Works_, which is conclusive
on this point:--

    "19, WARWICK CRESCENT, W., _February 24th, 1875_.

    "DEAR MR. GROSART,--I have been asked the question you now address me
    with, and as duly answered, I can't remember how many times. There is
    no sort of objection to one more assurance, or rather confession, on
    my part, that I _did_ in my hasty youth presume to use the great and
    venerable personality of Wordsworth as a sort of painter's model; one
    from which this or the other particular feature may be selected and
    turned to account. Had I intended more--above all, such a boldness as
    portraying the entire man--I should not have talked about 'handfuls
    of silver and bits of ribbon,' These never influenced the change of
    politics in the great poet--whose defection, nevertheless, accompanied
    as it was by a regular face-about of his special party, was, to my
    private apprehension, and even mature consideration, an event to
    deplore. But, just as in the tapestry on my wall I can recognise
    figures which have _struck out_ a fancy, on occasion, that though
    truly enough thus derived, yet would be preposterous as a copy; so,
    though I dare not deny the original of my little poem, I altogether
    refuse to have it considered as the 'very effigies' of such a moral
    and intellectual superiority.

    "Faithfully yours,
    "ROBERT BROWNING."

="Lost, lost! yet come."= The first line of the "Song of April" in
_Paracelsus_, Part II.

=Lost Mistress, The.= (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_, in _Bells and
Pomegranates_, VII., 1845; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) A
calm suppression of intensest feeling, the quiet resignation of a great
love in a spirit of humility and sacrifice, by a man who has complete
control over himself. The pretence of not feeling the blow is exquisitely
represented, and the spirit which underlies it is that of the
strong-souled contender with the trials of life who wrote the poem. The
life's current frozen, the sun sunk in the heart to rise no more, the joy
gone out of life, are summed up in "All's over, then!" He remarks the
sparrow's twitter and the leaf buds on the vine; the snowdrops appear, but
there is no spring in his heart; her voice will stay in his soul for ever,
yet he may hold her hand "so very little longer" than may a mere friend.

=Love among the Ruins.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) While Mrs. Browning was staying with Mr. Browning in Rome,
in the winter of 1853-54, she was writing _Aurora Leigh_, and he was busy
with _Men and Women_, including this exquisite poem. It is a landscape by
Poussin in words, and is melodious and soothing, as befits the subject. It
is evening in the Roman Campagna, amid the ruins of cities once great and
famous. The landscape cannot fail to touch the soul with deepest
melancholy, as we reflect on the evanescence of all human things. A vast
city, whose memorials have dwindled to a "so they say"; "the domed and
daring palaces "represented by a few blocks of half-buried marble and the
shaft of a column, overrun by a vegetation which is the symbol of eternal
beauty, lovingly covering the decaying handiwork of a long vanished
people. And amid the colonnades and temples, the turrets and the bridges,
the spirit of the observer dwells with the mournful reflection that the
hand of death and the devouring tooth of time reduce all earthly things to
ruin, and the shadows of oblivion fall on the world of spirit and cover
the deeds alike of glory and of shame. But from the wreck of the ages, and
the scattered memorials of a forgotten metropolis, there came a
golden-haired girl with eager eyes of love, and the sad-reflecting
contemplator of the past learns, by the glance of her eye and the embrace
which extinguishes sight and speech, that whole centuries of folly, noise,
and sin, are not to be weighed against that moment when we recognise that
Love is best.

=Love in a Life.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) A lover inhabiting the same house as his love, is
constantly eluded by the charmed object of his pursuit. The perfume of her
presence is in every room, and he is always promising his heart that she
shall soon be found, yet the day wanes with the fruitless quest, for as he
enters she goes out, and twilight comes with--

    "Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!"

Thus do our ideals ever evade us.

=Love Poems.=--"One Word More," "Evelyn Hope," "A Serenade at the Villa,"
"In Three Days," "The Last Ride Together," "Numpholeptos," "Cristina,"
"Love among the Ruins," "By the Fire Side," "Any Wife to any Husband," "A
Lovers' Quarrel," "Two in the Campagna," "Love in a Life," "Life in a
Love," "The Lost Mistress," "A Woman's Last Word," "In a Gondola," "James
Lee's Wife," "Rudel to the Lady of Tripoli," "O Lyric Love!" (in the first
volume of the _Ring and the Book_), "Count Gismond," "Confessions," "The
Flower's Name," "Women and Roses," "My Star," "Mesmerism." (These are by
no means all, but are, perhaps, some of the best.)

=Lover's Quarrel, A.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) "A shaft from the devil's bow," in the shape of a bitter
word, has divided two lovers who before were all the world to each other.
It seems to him so amazing that the tongue can have power to sever such
fond hearts as theirs. He comforts himself with the assurance that though
in summertide's warmth heart can dispense with heart, the first chills of
winter and the first approach of the storms of life will drive the loved
one to his arms.

=Lucrezia.= (_Andrea del Sarto._) She was the wife of the artist--cold,
unsympathetic, but beautiful--and was the model for much of his work. In
the poem Andrea is conversing with her, and indicating the causes which
have arrested his power as an artist.

=Luigi.= (_Pippa Passes._) The conspiring young patriot who meets his
mother at evening in the turret on the hillside near Asolo. He believes he
has a mission to kill the Emperor of Austria. His mother is trying to
dissuade him, and he is about to yield, when Pippa's song as she passes
re-inspires him, and he leaves the tower, and so escapes from the police
who are on his track.

=Luitolfo.= (_A Soul's Tragedy._) Chiappino's false friend, and Eulalia's
lover.

=Luria, A Tragedy.= (_Bells and Pomegranates_, VIII., 1846.) Time 14--.
The historical incidents which are to some extent the basis of this play
had their rise in the constant struggles between the Guelf and Ghibelline
factions in Italy, which involved the various republics which arose in
consequence of those wars in the most bitter internecine struggles for
supremacy. One of the most important of these was the war between the
Florentine and the Pisan republics. Wars between different Italian cities
were frequent in the middle ages; according to Muratori, the first
conflict was waged in 1003, when Pisa and Lucca contended for the mastery.
In the eleventh century the military and real importance of Pisa was
greatly developed, and was doubtless due to the necessity of constantly
contending against Saracenic invasions. The chroniclers assert that the
first war with Florence, which broke out in 1222, arose from a quarrel
between the ambassadors of the rival states at Rome over a lapdog. When so
trifling an occasion led to such a result, it is evident there were deeper
grounds for hatred and mistrust at work. It is not within the scope of
this work to trace the causes which led to the war between the two great
Italian republics in the beginning of the fifteenth century. In the early
part of the fourteenth century Castruccio became lord of Lucca and Pisa,
and was victorious over the Florentines. In 1341 the Pisans besieged
Lucca, in order to prevent the entry of the Florentines, to whom the city
had been sold by Martino della Scala. The Florentines obtained Porto
Talamone from Siena, and established a navy of their own. They attacked
the harbour of Pisa, and carried away its chains, which they triumphantly
bore to Florence, and suspended in front of the Baptistery, where they
remained till 1848. As the war continued the Pisans suffered more and
more. In 1369 they lost Lucca; in 1399 Visconti captured Pisa, and in 1406
the Florentines made another attack upon the city, besieging it both by
sea and land. As the defenders were starving, they succeeded in entering
the city on October 9th. The orders of the Ten of War at Florence were to
crush every germ of rebellion and drive out its citizens by measures of
the utmost harshness and cruelty. Mr. Browning's play has for its object
to show how Pisa fell under the dominion of its powerful rival. The
characters are Luria, a Moorish commander of the Florentine forces;
Husain, a Moor, his friend; Puccio, the old Florentine commander, now
Luria's chief officer; Braccio, commissary of the republic of Florence;
Jacopo, his secretary; Tiburzio, commander of the Pisans; and Domizia, a
noble Florentine lady. The scene is Luria's camp, between Florence and
Pisa. The time extends only over one day, and the five Acts are named
"Morning," "Noon," "Afternoon," "Evening," and "Night." A battle is about
to take place which will decide the issue of the war. Luria is Browning's
Othello, and one of the noblest of his characters. He is a simple, honest,
whole-souled creature, incapable of guile, and devoted to the welfare of
Florence. Puccio was formerly at the head of the Florentine army; he has
been deposed for some state reason, and the Moorish mercenary substituted,
he remaining as the subordinate of that general. The reasons which have
induced the Seigniory to abstain from entrusting the command of its army
to a Florentine are the most despicable that could influence any public
body. They were understood to be afraid that they would have to reward the
victorious general, or that he might use his power and influence with the
people to make himself master of their city. So they choose a man whom
they merely pay to fight for them--a Moor, who can have no friends amongst
the citizens, and a stranger who can have no other claim upon them than
his wages. They go further: they proceed to try him secretly for treason
before he has committed it; they set spies to watch his every movement and
to record his every word; they employ for this purpose unscrupulous men,
well versed in the art of manufacturing evidence; they weave their toils
so skilfully that by the time Luria has won their battle for them, they
will have accumulated all the evidence which is required, and the death
sentence will be pronounced as the victory is won. The appointment of the
displaced Puccio to a secondary position in command was one of the steps
taken for this end: he would naturally be discontented, and become a ready
tool in the hands of the cold, skilful Braccio, all intellect, and
practised in the most devious ways of statecraft. Professor Pancoast, in
his valuable papers on _Luria_ in _Poet Lore_, vol. i, p. 555, and vol.
ii., p. 19, says: "It is possible that Mr. Browning may have found the
suggestion for this situation in a passage in Sapio Amminato's _Istoria
Fiorentine_, relating to this expedition against Pisa. "And when all was
ready, the expedition marched to the gates of Pisa, under the command of
Conte Bartoldo Orsini, a Ventusian captain in the Florentine service,
accompanied by Filippo di Megalotti, Rinaldo di Gian Figliazzi, and Maso
degli Albizzi, in the character of commissaries of the commonwealth. For,
although we have every confidence in the honour and fidelity of our
general, you see it is always well to be on the safe side. And in the
matter of receiving possession of a city, ... these nobles with the old
feudal names! We know the ways of them! An Orsini might be as bad in Pisa
as a Visconti, so we might as well send some of our own people to be on
the spot. The three commissaries therefore accompanied the Florentine
general to Pisa." (Am. xvii., Lib. Goup. 675.) These words throw an
instructive light on Mr. Browning's drama, and seem to justify its motive.
From this background of treachery and deceit the grand figure of Luria,
honest, transparently ingenuous, generous, and true to the core, boldly
stands forth to claim our admiration and our esteem. He knows nothing of
their devious ways, can only go straightforward to his aim, and on this
eve of the great battle he receives from Tiburzio, the commander of the
Pisan forces, a letter which has been intercepted from Braccio to the
Florentine Seigniory; he is desired to read it, as it exposes the plots
which the Florentines are hatching against him. Luria declines to read
the letter, tears it to pieces, and gives battle to the enemy. The victory
is a great one: Pisa is in his hands; then he sends for Braccio, charges
him with the treachery, and learns what the letter would have told him if
he had read it. Braccio does not deny what Luria divines; charges have
been prepared against him,--he will be tried that night. He maintains the
absolute right of Florence to do as she has done. Domizia, whose brothers
suffered shame and death in such manner at the hands of Florence, protests
that Florence needs must mistrust a stranger's faith. At this moment
Tiburzio, the Pisan general, enters, testifies to the faith of the man who
has defeated him, and offers to resign to him his charge, the highest
office, sword and shield, with the help which has just arrived from Lucca.
He begs him to adopt their cause, and let Florence perish in her perfidy.
Here was temptation indeed to Luria: his own victorious troops would not
have turned their arms against him, and Pisa would have eagerly accepted
him. But Luria dismisses Tiburzio, thanks him, bids him go: he is
free,--"join Lucca!" And then, he reflects, he has still time before his
sentence comes; he has it in his power to ruin Florence. Would it console
him that his Florentines walked with a sadder step? He has one way of
escape left him: he has brought poison from his own land for use in an
emergency such as this; he drinks,--

    "Florence is saved: I drink this, and ere night,--die!"



=Madhouse Cells.= The two poems _Johannes Agricola in Meditation_ and
_Porphyria's Lover_ were published in _Dramatic Lyrics, Bells and
Pomegranates_, No. III., under the general title MADHOUSE CELLS. In the
_Poetical Works_ of 1863 the general title was given up.

=Magical Nature.= (_Pacchiarotto, with other Poems_: 1876.) The beauty of
a flower is at the mercy of the destroying hand of time; the beauty of a
jewel is independent of it. The petals drop off one by one, the flower
perishes; every facet of the jewel may laugh at time. Mere fleshly graces
are those of the flower; the soul's beauty is best symbolised by the gem.

=Malcrais.= (_Two Poets of Croisic._) Paul Desforges Maillard assumed the
name of Malcrais when he sent his poems to the Paris _Mercure_, pretending
they were the work of a lady.

="Man I am and man would be, Love."= The fourth lyric in _Ferishtah's
Fancies_ begins with this line.

=Marching Along.= (No. I. of _Cavalier Tunes_.) Originally appeared in
_Bells and Pomegranates_, 1842.

=Martin Relph.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, First Series: 1879.) This poem deals
with a profound psychological problem. How far do we understand the
mystery of our own heart? How far can we analyse our own motives? Out of
two powerful motives, either of which may equally move us to do or leave
undone a certain thing, can we infallibly tell which one has ultimately
prompted our action? Are we less an enigma to ourselves than to others?
The Scripture warns us that we may not trust our imaginations, by reason
of the deceit which is within our breast. All his life the old man Martin
Relph had been trying to solve a mystery of this kind. He wants to know
whether he is a murderer or only a coward; and every year, till his beard
is as white as snow, has he gone to a hill outside the town where he lived
to ask this question, and to protest with all his power of speech--despite
the misgiving at his heart--that he was a coward. And this was his story.
When a youth he, with the rest of the villagers, had been crowded up in
this spot by the soldiers who held the place, that they might see, for a
terrible warning, the execution of a young woman for playing the spy, and
so interfering in the King's military concerns. It was in the reign of
King George, and there had been a rebellion, and the rebels had learned
the strength of the troops sent against them by means of some spy. A
letter had been intercepted written by a girl to her lover, and the poor
creature had told him such news of the movements of the troops as she
thought would interest him, not knowing she was doing any harm. In all
this the authorities smelt treason. Her lover was Vincent Parkes, one of
the clerks of the King, "a sort of lawyer," and therefore dangerous. To
give the girl a chance of clearing herself from suspicion, the commander
of the troops sent for this Parkes, who was in a distant part of the
country, bidding him come and dispel the cloud hanging over the girl if he
could, and giving him a week for the journey. The week is up. Parkes has
taken no notice of the letter; and the girl, tried by court-martial, is to
be shot that day. And now poor Rosamund Page, with pinioned arms and
bandaged face, is left to die. Her faithless lover, who could have saved
her, has not appeared, and there is no help for her but in God. The
villagers are assembled to see the sight; and Martin Relph, who also loved
the girl, is there also. The word is given: up go the guns in a line, and
the paralysed spectators close their eyes and kneel in prayer,--all except
Martin, who stands in the highest part of the hill and sees a man running
madly, falling, rising, struggling on, waving something white above his
head; and no one in all the crowd sees the messenger but Martin Relph. And
he is speechless, makes no sign, for hell-fire boils in his brain; and the
volley is fired and the woman dead, while stretched on the field, half a
mile off, is Vincent Parkes, dead also, with the King's letter in his hand
that proclaims his sweetheart's innocence. He had been hampered and
hindered at every turn by formalities and frivolous delays on the part of
the authorities, and so was too late. Martin Relph, had he called out,
could have stayed the execution. Why did he remain silent? The thought had
flashed through his mind, as he recognised the position, "She were better
dead than his!" and so he had not spoken; but he has told his heart a
thousand times that fear kept him silent, and he has passed his life in
trying to convince himself it was so indeed. But, deceitful as the human
heart may be, deep down in its recesses he knew he was a murderer.

=Mary Wollstonecraft and Fuseli.= (_Jocoseria_, 1883.) Mary Wollstonecraft
was the foundress of the Women's Rights movement. She was born in 1759,
and early gave evidence of the possession of superior mental powers and of
bold ideas of her own. Her first attempt in literature was a pamphlet
entitled _Thoughts on the Education of Daughters_. She was of a very
energetic spirit, with considerable confidence in her own powers. "I am
going to be the first of a new genus," she wrote to her sister Everina in
1788. "I tremble at the attempt; yet if I fail, I only suffer. Freedom,
even uncertain freedom, is dear. This project has long floated in my mind.
You know I am not born to tread in the beaten track; the peculiar bent of
my nature pushes me on." At this time she had secured employment as
literary adviser to Mr. Johnson, the publisher of her pamphlet. At this
gentleman's house she met many interesting people; amongst others the
author, William Godwin, and the artist, Henry Fuseli. She now began to
attack the established order of society in the most violent manner. She
heartily sympathised with the French Revolution, and denounced Lords and
Commons, the clergy and the game laws, with great violence. She will be
best remembered by her book _A Vindication of the Rights of Woman_. Her
idea was that the women of her time were fools, and that men kept women in
ignorance that they might retain their authority over them. "Strengthen
the female mind by enlarging it," she pleads: her idea being that men kept
women either as slaves or playthings. She now became greatly interested in
Fuseli, who did not in the least reciprocate her affection, but was
annoyed by it. He was a married man, and though, no doubt, he could see
that at first her love for him was platonic, it was rapidly assuming a
more ardent character. She wrote him many letters full of affection, and
actually ventured to ask Mrs. Fuseli to accept her as an inmate in her
family. Finding that Fuseli remained impervious to her attacks upon his
heart, she went to Paris, sending him a letter asking his pardon "for
having disturbed the quiet tenor of his life." In Paris she soon consoled
herself with a gentleman named Gilbert Imlay, with whom she lived without
taking what she termed the "vulgar precaution" of marriage. Shortly after
forming this connection Imlay cruelly deserted her. She left Paris,
hurried to London, found her worst fears confirmed, and attempted to
commit suicide by throwing herself from Putney Bridge. She was picked up,
living to regret the "inhumanity" which had rescued her from death. She
heard no more of Imlay; but five years after meeting William Godwin for
the first time at Mr. Johnson's she met him again by chance at the house
of a mutual friend. As Mary's opinion about the "vulgar formality" of
marriage remained unchanged, and as Godwin held with her on the subject,
the formality was once more dispensed with; but ultimately it was
considered advisable so far to conciliate the prejudices of society as to
go through the ceremony, which was performed at Old St. Pancras Church,
and Mary Wollstonecraft became Mrs. Godwin in due form. In September 1797
her troubled life came to a premature close. She died before completing
her thirty-ninth year. Mary left two children; the younger of these, her
daughter by Godwin, became the wife of the poet Shelley. The elder,
Imlay's daughter, poisoned herself, leaving a slip of paper stating that
she had done so "to put an end to the existence of a being whose birth was
unfortunate." The authoress of the _Rights of Woman_ had neglected to
consider the rights of Mrs. Fuseli and of the fruit of her illicit
connection with Imlay when she devoted herself to the emancipation of her
sex. In the poem Mary prates vainly of what she would do if only she were
loved; and as the Rev. John Sharpe, M.A., says in his paper on _Jocoseria_
with reference to the question, "Wanting is----what?" (a question which
seems to preside over all the poems in the volume to which it is a
prologue): "Deeds, not words, are wanted. Perfect love awakens love in the
indifferent by perfect deeds of loving self-sacrifice."

=Master Hugues Of Saxe-Gotha.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863;
_Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) An organist in a church where they have just
concluded the evening service determines to have a colloquy with the old
dead composer Master Hugues as to the meaning of the compositions known as
fugues for which he was celebrated. They were mountainous in their
structure--the ideas were piled one upon another till their meaning was
lost in cloudland. So, while the church is emptying and the altar
ministrants are putting things to rights, he will look into the matter of
the old quaint arithmetical music in fashion before Palestrina brought
back music to the service of melody. There is but one inch of candle left
in the socket, so the composer must tell him what he has to say quickly.
First he delivers his phrase; he gives but a clause. He asserts nothing,
puts forward no proposition; nevertheless there is an answer, though a
needless one, and the two start off together. (It will be seen that the
poet suggests five impersonations of characters taking part in the
discussion or mangle of the composition.) A third interposes, and
volunteers his help; a fourth must have his say, and a fifth must needs
interfere. So the disputation is like that of a knot of angry politicians,
who all want to speak at once, and will scarcely allow each other to utter
a complete sentence. This is a perfect description of a fugue, which even
to the uninstructed listener is a musical wrangle plainly enough. In the
fugue the organist sees a moral of life, with its zigzags, dodges, and ins
and outs. Truth and Nature are over our heads. God's gold here and there
shines out in our soul-manifestations, if we would but let truth and
Nature have their way with us, the gold would be all the plainer to see;
but with our evasions, our pretences, shams and subterfuges we have all
but obliterated it, just as the inventor of the fugue has buried his
melody under a mountain of musical tricks and pedantic finger puzzles.
The organist pauses; he will have no more of it as a moral of life. The
Jesuit's casuistry, which went to prove that all sorts of evil things
might under certain circumstances and under such and such restrictions
become actual virtues, was swept away by Pascal's clear-sighted common
sense. So Master Hugues and his fugues shall vanish before the full organ
blaring out the _mode Palestrina_--the grave, pure, truthful music of the
Church. As Pascal to Escobar, so is Palestrina to Master Hugues; quibbles,
shams, fencings with truth, overlay God's gold with the cobwebs of
tradition, and must be brushed away. "Rochell has quite correctly
perceived that the approximate best symbol of the uncreated heaven is
music. In the evolution of harmonies in the upper and lower notes, and
their mutual conflict; in the solution of strife and tension into blessed
calm; in the transmutation of the ever-recurring theme into new phrases;
in the constant reappearance of the _motif_, of the question which seeks a
reply through every evolution of the notes, and which leads the reply into
a new process--in this we see the temporal symbol of the eternal rhythm,
the eternal circular movement in God's heaven, where melodious colours and
radiant notes are interwoven with each other; where nothing lies in
stagnant repose, but all is in motion; where unity and harmony are
eternally effected by means of the contrasted, movements and action."
(Martensen's _Jacob Boehme_, page 167.)

NOTES.--_Hugues_ is a purely imaginary composer. Verse i. "_mountainous
fugues_": "A fugue is a short, complete melody, which _flies_ (hence the
name) from one part to another, while the original part is continued in
counterpoint against it. The beginning of this art-form dates from very
primitive times" (Sir G. Macfarren). Probably Bach's fugues are meant in
the poem, vi., _Aloys and Jurien and Just_, sacristan's assistants; "_darn
the sacrament lace_": the lace on the altar linen. The actual sacrament
linen is washed by the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church. The church
plate (_i.e._, chalice, paten, etc.) is cleaned by the clergy also, viii.,
_claviers_, the keyboard of the organ ix., "_great breves as they wrote
them of yore_": a breve is the longest note in music, and was formerly
square in shape. In the old Spanish cathedrals I have seen the music-books
used in the services of such a size that it required two men to carry
them. The notes in such books are very large, xvi., "_O Danaides, O
Sieve!_" the Danaides were the daughters of Danaus, who were condemned for
their crimes to pour water for ever in the regions below into a vessel
with holes in the bottom. xvii., _Escobar_, y Mendoza, was a Spanish
casuist, the general tendency of whose writings was to find excuses for
human frailties. Pascal severely criticised him in his _Provincial
Letters_. His doctrines were disapproved at Rome. Escobar himself was a
most excellent man. He died in 1669. xviii., "_Est fuga, volvitur rota_"
== it is a flight, the wheel rolls itself round. xix., _risposting_ ==
riposting, a term in fencing; in this case equal to making a repartee.
xx., _ticken_ == ticking, a twill fabric very closely woven. xxviii., _meâ
pœnâ_ == at my risk of punishment; _Gorgon_, a monster with a terrible
head, with hair and girdle of snakes; "_mode Palestrina_": Giovanni P. da
Palestrina (1524-1594), now universally distinguished as the Prince of
Music, emancipated his art from the trammels of pedantry, which, ignoring
beauty as the most necessary element of music, was tending to reduce it to
mere arithmetical problems.

=May and Death.= (Published first in _The Keepsake_, 1857; in 1864
published in _Dramatis Personæ_.) Mrs. Orr, in her _Life and Letters of
Robert Browning_, says that the poet wrote this poem in remembrance of one
of his boy companions, the eldest of "the three Silverthornes, his
neighbours at Camberwell, and cousins on the maternal side." The name of
Charles in the poem stands for the old familiar Jim. Mrs. Silverthorne was
the aunt who paid for the printing of _Pauline_. The verses express the
wish that all the delights of spring had died with his friend; yet he
would have spared one plant of the woods in May which has in its leaves a
streak of spring's blood. Where'er the leaf grows in a wood they know the
red drop comes from the poet's heart. The question has often been asked
"What is the plant referred to in the fourth stanza?" The following reply
was given in the _Browning Society's Papers_:--"Surely the _Polygonum
Persicaria_ or Spotted Persicaria is the plant referred to. It is a common
weed, with purple stains upon its rather large leaves; these spots varying
in size and vividness of colour according to the nature of the soil where
it grows." The Rev. H. Friend, in _Flowers and Flower Lore_ (p. 5),
says:--"Respecting the Virgin, I have recently found the country folk in
one part of Oxfordshire retaining an interesting legend which connects
the name of her ladyship with the _Spotted Persicaria_. It will be
remembered that, in consequence of the dark spot which marks the centre of
every leaf belonging to this plant, popular tradition asserts that it grew
beneath the Cross, and received this distinction through the drops of
blood which fell from the Saviour's wounds touching its leaves. The
_Oxonian_ however, says that the Virgin was wont of old to use its leaves
for the manufacture of a valuable ointment, but that on one occasion she
sought it in vain. Finding it afterwards, when the need had passed away,
she condemned it, and gave it the rank of an ordinary weed. This is
expressed in the local rhyme:--

    'She could not find in time of need,
    And so she pinched it for a weed.'

The mark on the leaf is the impression of the Virgin's finger, and the
persicaria is now the _only_ weed that is not useful for something." Again
(p. 191) he says, "We are told that in some parts of England the arum,
commonly called lords and ladies, cows and calves, parson in the pulpit,
or parson and clerk, is known as Gethsemane, because it is said to have
been growing at the foot of the cross, and to have received on its leaves
some of the blood:--

    'Those deep unwrought marks,
      The villager will tell you,
    Are the flower's portion from the atoning blood
      On Calvary shed. Beneath the Cross it grew.'

The same tradition clings to the purple orchis and the spotted persicaria.
We have already seen how many plants are supposed to have gained their
purple hue or ruddy colour from blood of hero, god, or martyr. A similar
legend seems to have been at one time attached to the purple-stained
flowers of the wood-sorrel, which is by Italian painters, including Fra
Angelico, occasionally placed in the foreground of their pictures
representing the Crucifixion. This plant is called Alleluia in Italian,
which may have had something to do, however, with its association with the
Cross of Christ, 'as if the very flowers round the Cross were giving glory
to God.' The wallflower, that 'scents the dewy air,' is in Palestine
called 'the blood-drops of Christ'; and its deep hue has led to its being
called by a similar name in the West of England. The rose-coloured lotus,
or melilot, was said to have sprung in like manner from the blood of the
lion slain by the Emperor Adrian. It is probable that the story was the
modification of some earlier myth. Mr. Conway tells us he has somewhere
met with a legend telling that the thorn-crown of Christ was made from
rose-briar, and that the drops of blood that started under it and fell to
the ground blossomed to roses. Mrs. Howe, the American poetess,
beautifully alludes to this in the lines--

    'Men saw the thorns on Jesus' brow,
      But angels saw the Roses.'"

=Meeting at Night and Parting at Morning.= (Originally published as NIGHT
AND MORNING in _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_, _Bells and Pomegranates_,
VII.: 1845.) The speaker is a man who joyfully seeks his happy seaside
home at night, where he rejoins the wife from whom the demands of his
daily work have separated him. In the sequel (_Parting at Morning_) the
rising sun calls men to work: the man of the poem to work of a lucrative
character; and excites in the woman (if we interpret the slightly obscure
line correctly) a desire for more society than the seaside home affords.
Commentators on these poems have evidently "jumped the difficulty."

=Melander.= The author whose work "Joco-Seria" suggested the title of Mr.
Browning's volume of poems _Jocoseria_ (_q.v._).

=Melon-Seller, The.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, II.) The second of the
lessons learned by Ferishtah on his way to dervishhood. He sees a
well-remembered face in a melon-seller near a bridge. He was once the
Shah's Prime Minister: he peculated, and was disgraced. Shocked at the
contrast between what the man was and has now become, Ferishtah asks him
if he did not curse God for the twelve years' bliss he enjoyed only to end
in misery like that? The beggar contemptuously asked his questioner if he
were unwise enough to think him such a fool as to repine at God's just
punishment on sin, and to reproach Him with the happiness he had tasted in
the past? Job said: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and evil
not receive?" This was just what the melon-seller said. "But great wits
jump"; and Ferishtah, having learned the great lesson, went his way to
dervishhood. The Lyric asks for a little severity from Love: so much
undeserved bliss has been imparted, that a little injustice seems
requisite to balance things.

=Memorabilia.= (_Men and Women_, 1855--when the title was _Memorabilia (on
Seeing Shelley)_; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) A man with a
soul crosses a vast moor, a blankness of miles, but on one hand-breadth
spot he spies an eagle's feather, which he cherishes. An eagle's feather
meant something to the man with the soul, the miles of blank moor had
nothing to say to him; and so once he saw Shelley plain, and even spoke to
him. The man had lived long before and had lived long after, but the sight
of Shelley and the words he spoke made just that hand-breadth of his life
something different from all the colourless remainder. [Some there are who
love to say the same of Robert Browning!] Mr. Browning early in his youth
(1825) fell under the influence of Shelley. Mr. Sharp, in his _Life of
Browning_, says that, as he was one day passing a bookstall, "he saw, in a
box of second-hand volumes, a little book advertised as 'Mr. Shelley's
Atheistical Poem,--very scarce.' He had never heard of Shelley, nor did he
learn for a long time that the _Dæmon of the World_ and the miscellaneous
poems appended thereto constituted a literary piracy." He discovered that
there was such a poet as Shelley; that he had written several volumes, and
was dead. He begged his mother to procure him Shelley's works, which she
had some difficulty in doing, as several booksellers to whom she applied
knew nothing of them. The books were ultimately purchased at Ollier's
shop, in Vere Street. Shelley, as Mr. Sharp says, "enthralled" Browning.
His first work, _Pauline_, was written under the dominance of the Shelley
passion. He refers to Shelley in _Sordello_. _Memorabilia_ was composed in
the Roman Campagna in the winter of 1853-54.

=Men and Women.= (Published in 1855, in two vols.; now dispersed in vols.
iii., iv. and v. of _Poetical Works_, 1868.) The poems included under this
general title were fifty-one in number.

Vol. 1. contained the following:--"Love among the Ruins," "A Lovers'
Quarrel," "Evelyn Hope," "Up at a Villa--Down in the City," "A Woman's
Last Word," "Fra Lippo Lippi," "A Toccata of Galuppi's," "By the
Fireside," "Any Wife to any Husband," "An Epistle of Karshish,"
"Mesmerism," "A Serenade at the Villa," "My Star," "Instans Tyrannus," "A
Pretty Woman," "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," "Respectability,"
"A Light Woman," "The Statue and the Bust," "Love in a Life," "Life in a
Love," "How it Strikes a Contemporary," "The Last Ride Together," "The
Patriot," "Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha," "Bishop Blougram's Apology,"
"Memorabilia."

Vol. II.: "Andrea del Sarto," "Before," "After," "In Three Days," "In a
Year," "Old Pictures in Florence," "In a Balcony," "Saul," "De
Gustibus----," "Women and Roses," "Protus," "Holy-Cross Day," "The
Guardian Angel," "Cleon," "The Twins," "Popularity," "The Heretic's
Tragedy," "Two in the Campagna," "A Grammarian's Funeral," "One Way of
Love," "Another Way of Love," "Transcendentalism," "Misconceptions," "One
Word More."

In the six-volume edition of _Poetical Works_ the poems comprised under
the title of _Men and Women_ are the following, and it is these which are
generally understood now by the _Men and Women_
poems:--"Transcendentalism," "How it Strikes a Contemporary," "Artemis
Prologuises," "An Epistle containing the Strange Medical Experience of
Karshish the Arab Physician," "Pictor Ignotus," "Fra Lippo Lippi," "Andrea
del Sarto," "The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church," "Bishop
Blougram's Apology," "Cleon," "Rudel to the Lady of Tripoli," "One Word
More."

Unquestionably in these works we have the very flower of Mr. Browning's
genius. There is not one of them which the world will willingly let die.
As Mr. Symons says, their distinguishing feature is "the monologue brought
to perfection. Such monologues as _Andrea del Sarto_, or _The Epistle of
Karshish_, never have been, and probably never will be, surpassed, on
their own ground, after their own order."

=Mesmerism.= (_Dramatic Romances_: 1855.) A description of an influence of
one mind upon another, which would in modern medical parlance be termed
hypnotism. When an operator has this power, and has frequently exercised
it upon his subject, it is undoubtedly true that what is here described in
so lifelike a manner may actually take place. The subject may have been
led to expect that she would be required to undertake the journey in
question, and the mind in that case would contribute to the success of the
operation. Hypnosis and somnambulism are not produced by any fluid which
escapes from the mesmeriser's body, but by the fact that the subject has
been induced to form a fixed idea that he is being hypnotised. Braid
asserts that the imagination of the subject is an indispensable element
in the success of the experiment; he declares that the most expert
hypnotiser will exert himself in vain unless the subject is aware of what
is passing and surrenders himself body and soul. Binet and Frere, in their
valuable work on _Animal Magnetism_, p. 96, say that "a whole series of
purely physical agents exist, which prove that sleep can be induced
without the aid of the subject's imagination, against his will, and
without his knowledge." The incidents of the poem may all be accounted for
by the doctrine of expectant attention. The use of hypnotic suggestion for
criminal purposes is referred to in stanzas xxvi. and xxvii.--a very real
danger from a medico-legal point of view, as some think. At night, when
all is quiet but the noises peculiar to the hours of darkness, the
mesmeriser of the poem desires that the woman under the influence of his
will-power shall forthwith make her way to him through the rain and mud
straight to his house. In due time she enters without a word. Recognising
the wonderful influence which one mind may exercise upon another, the
operator prays that he may never abuse it, and he reflects that one day
God will call him to account for its exercise.

=Mihrab Shah.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, 6.) THE MYSTERY OF EVIL AND PAIN.
An inquirer, while culling herbs, has had his thumb nipped by a scorpion.
He wishes to know "Why needs a scorpion be? Why, in fact, needs any evil
or pain happen to man if God be wholly good and omnipotent?" Ferishtah
replies that when he awoke in the morning he was thankful that his head
did not tumble off his neck. "But," says the inquirer, "heads do not fall
unchopped." Says the dervish, "They might do so by natural law; why might
not a staff loosed from the hand spring skyward as naturally as it falls
to the ground?" What would be the bond 'twixt man and man if pain were
abolished? Take away from man thanks to God and love to man, what is he
worth? The lyric explains the compensations of existence. The ardent soul
is enshrined in feeble flesh, the sluggish soul in a robust frame. What
one person lacks is found in another, and this creates a bond of sympathy
between our spirits. No one has everything. What we lack we admire when
present in another, and so our own defects are pardoned for what in us is
excellent.

=Mildred Tresham.= (_A Blot in the 'Scutcheon._) The lady who is loved by
Lord Henry Mertoun, and visited by him in secret at night. She dies when
she learns that her brother has killed her lover.

=Misconceptions.= (_Men and Women_, 1855.) A beautiful fancy of a branch
on which a bird has rested a moment bursting into bloom for pride and joy
that it has been so honoured. The poet treats it as symbolical of a heart
which has thrilled for a moment under the smiles of a queen ere she went
on to her true-love throne.

=Mr. Sludge, "The Medium."= (_Dramatis Personæ_: 1864.) Mr. Sludge is a
"medium" who has been detected by his dupe in the act of cheating. He has
worked upon his patron's love for his dead mother, has pretended that he
has had communications with the spirit world, and has found it a
profitable business. However, he is found out, the game is up, he is half
throttled by the man whom he has swindled, and is about to be kicked out
of his house. He admits the cheating, but tries to make out that it was
prompted by a low species of spirit (_elementals_ as they are called). He
offers, if liberally paid, to explain how the fraud has been carried out.
He pretends one moment that he is repentant, the next he proposes to
increase his guilt by falsely accusing his too confiding benefactor. He is
prepared to swear that he picked a quarrel with him to get back the
presents he had given. The bargain is made; and the medium, seated again
at the "dear old table" which has so often been the partner of his
performances, proceeds to explain that it is much more the fault of the
public that they are cheated, than that of the artful folk who are always
ready to meet demand by supply. In many things, but especially in affairs
relating to the unseen world, people are willing to be deceived; and, as
Demosthenes said, "Nothing is more easy than to deceive ourselves, as our
affections are subtle persuaders."

    "It's all your fault, you curious gentlefolk!"

said Sludge. "Everybody is interested in ghosts, and everybody will listen
to the ghost-seer. A poor lad, the son of a servant in your house, talks
to you about money, and you immediately suspect him of having stolen some;
if he talk to you about seeing spirits, you encourage him to tell his
story, and you listen with open ears. You make allowances for the
unexplained '_phenomena_,' and you are not disconcerted by his blunders.
So the boy is encouraged to try again, to see more, hear more and stranger
things. You have patience with the primary manifestations,' always weak
at first; you discourage doubts as always fatal to them, and thus educate
the boy in his cheating. He is compelled to invent; you prompt him, your
readiness to be deceived confirms him in his readiness to deceive. It is
not that the boy starts as a liar; he will soon enough develop into that;
at first however,

    "'It's fancying, fable-making, nonsense-work--
    What never meant to be so very bad.'

He brightens up his dull facts till they shine, and you no longer
recognise them as dull, but brilliant. He hears what other mediums have
done, he estimates your demands of him; you push him to the brink, he is
compelled to dive. Let him confess his deception, and he has to go back to
the gutter from which you have taken him. Let him keep on, and he lives in
clover. And so he manufactures for you all you demand. He has heard raps
and seen a light. 'Shaped somewhat like a star?' you eagerly inquire.
'Well, like some sort of stars, ma'am.' 'So we thought!' you say. 'And any
voice?' 'Not yet.' 'Try hard next time!' Next time you have the voice. The
medium is launched in the rapids. The falls are hard by: nothing can
hinder but he must go over. He becomes the medium which has been required
of him. The spirits forthwith speak up and become familiar and
confidential. If any complain that the spirits do not fulfil our
expectation of what the ghosts of Bacon, Cromwell, or Beethoven should be
and do, the answer is ready and assumes two forms. If Bacon is deficient
in spelling, does not know where he was born or in what year he died, this
is no argument against spiritualism. The spirits are of all orders; and
many, perhaps most, are tricksy, undeveloped, and delight to deceive. Or,
again, the explanation is put in this way:--What is a medium? He is the
means, and the only means, by which the spirits can hold converse with
mortals. They have no organs; they must use ours. The medium holding
converse with the spirit of Beethoven, not being much of a musician, is,
of course, only able very imperfectly to express the composer's musical
soul. He pours in--to Sludge's soul--a sonata. If it comes out the
Shakers' Hymn in G, that is the defect of the means or medium by which the
master has been driven to express himself." Sludge tells his dupe that it
was thus he helped him out of every scrape; and the fools who attended
every seance did not criticise. Why should they? They did not criticise
his wine or his furniture--why should they criticise his medium? Of course
they sometimes doubted. "Ah!" says the host, "it was just this spirit of
doubt pervading the circle which confused the medium and accounted for his
errors!" Sludge often got out of his difficulties that way. Sometimes,
however the awful aspect of truth would present itself so sternly before
him as to spoil all the cockering and cosseting he received, and he would
gnash his teeth at the thought of the ruin of his soul by the humbug
forced upon him. The cheating was nursed out of the lying. He would have
stopped, but his dupes were for progress; they always demanded fresh and
more striking "phenomena"--from talking to writing, from writing to
flowers from the spirit world. If he actually were detected in jogging the
table, or making squeaks with his toes, he would be accused of joking; if
he pretended he was not, then he was at once in the dupe's power. Then the
cheating is so easy! A master of an ordinary trade can perform miracles to
the untaught. The glass-blower, pipe maker, even the baker, by long
practice, can puzzle the uninitiated; practise table-tilting,
joint-cracking, playing tricks in the dark, and the phenomena of the
medium's business become easy as an old shoe. But, apart from this actual
trickery, can the hardest head detect where the cheating begins, even if
he is on his guard? There is a real love of a lie, and liars have no
difficulty in attracting those who are only waiting to be deceived, and
the most sceptical are just the most likely to be caught. Then the Solomon
of saloons, the philosophic diner-out,--these were his patrons. They
"wanted a doctrine for a chopping-block." They had to be singular, and
hack and hew common sense to show their skill in dialectics. These had
Sludge injured. Then he reminds his patrons that the Bible teaches
spiritualism. We all start with a stock of it; and stars even, we are
taught, are not only worlds and suns, but stand for signs when we should
set about our proper business. Sludge declares he has taught himself to
live by signs: he is broken to the way of nods and winks. He has not
waited for the tingle of the bell, but has obeyed the tap of knuckles on
the wall. Suppose he blunders nine times out of ten as to the meaning of
the knuckle summons, is he not a gainer if the tenth time he guesses
right? Everybody blunders even as he. The thing is to imitate the
ant-eater, and keep his tongue out to catch all nature's motes for food.
It is wisdom to respect the infinitely little, for God comes close behind
the animalcule, life simplified to a mere cell. All was not cheating
either: he has told his lie and seen truth follow. He knows not why he did
what he never tried to do, described what he never saw, spoke more than he
ever intended; and though he believes everybody can and does cheat, he is
not less sure that every cheat's every inspired lie contains a germ of
truth. Pervade this world by an influx from the next, and all the dead,
dry, dull facts of existence spring into life and freshness, as at the
touch of harlequin's wand; and harlequin's wand is Sludge's lie, for which
the inanimate world was waiting. You see the real world through the false,
and so you have the golden age all by the help of a little lying. At most,
Sludge is only a poet who acts the books which poets write. The more to
his honour! But all his specious reasoning fails to reassure his awakened
dupe, who gives him the notes he promised and dismisses him. No sooner is
the medium out of the presence of the man whom he has deceived than he
pours out a volley of abuse, and wishes he dare burn down the house; he
will declare that he throttled his "sainted mother"--the old hag--in such
a fit of passion as his throat had just felt the effects of; he reproaches
himself for not having prophesied he would die within a year; but he
consoles himself with counting his money, and reflecting that his awakened
dupe is not the only fool in the world. "Sludge" is D. D. Home, the
American medium. Mrs. Browning was an ardent spiritualist, and Mr.
Browning, in consequence, had considerable experience of the ways of
mediums and the talk and arguments of their followers. Although no medium
ever reasoned with such skill and subtlety as Sludge, the main arguments
used by this impostor are precisely those put forward by spiritualists.
The mediums are a wretchedly weak, invertebrate order of beings, quite
incapable of any such virile processes of thought as those expressed in
the poem. There could be no greater mistake than to suppose that Mr.
Browning intended to make any defence for any phase of spiritualism
whatever: he has simply gathered into a poem the best which could be put
forward for spiritualism, and directed it upon the personality of Sludge.
Intimate friends of the Brownings assure me that Mr. Browning with great
difficulty restrained his disgust at the practices of spiritualists, and
his annoyance at the fact that his wife devoted so much time and attention
to this aspect of human folly. Perhaps the feature which angered him most
was the habit of trading upon and outraging the most sacred feelings of
the human heart, in the endeavour to gain clients for a money-making
occupation.

NOTES.--_Catawba wine_: a white wine of American make, from grapes first
discovered about 1801 near the banks of the Catawba river. Its praises
have been sung by Longfellow. _Greeley_: Horace Greeley, the eminent
American editor. His history was identified with the fortunes of his paper
the _Tribune_. "_Nothing lasts, as Bacon came and said_": Bacon's Essay
LVIII. is _Of the Vicissitude of Things_. _Phenomena_: the spiritualists'
term for the antics of tables, pats, twitchings, ghostly lights, tinkling
of bells, etc., at their _séances_. _The Horseshoe_: the great waterfall
of that name at Niagara. _Pasiphae_: the daughter of the Sun and of
Perseis, who married Minos, King of Crete. She was enamoured of a bull, or
more probably of an officer named Taurus (a bull). _Odic Lights_: Od, the
name given by Reichenbach to an _influence_ he believed he had discovered;
it was held to explain the phenomena of mesmerism, and to account for the
luminous appearances at spirit-rapping circles. "_Canthus of my eye_" ==
the corner of the eye. _Stomach cyst_, an animalcule which is nothing more
than a bag, without limbs or organs; one of the infusoria, the simplest of
creatures endowed with animal life. "_The Bridgewater book_": The Earl of
Bridgewater (1758-1829) devised by his will £8,000 at the disposal of the
President of the Royal Society, to be paid to the authors of treatises "On
the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God as manifested in the Creation."
Several of the treatises are now famous books, as Bell on _The Hand_,
Kirby on _Habits and Instincts of Animals_, and Whewell's _Astronomy_.
_Eutopia_ == Utopia.

=Molinos.= _See_ MOLINISTS.

=Molinists, The= (_Ring and the Book_), were followers of Michael Molinos,
a Spanish priest and spiritual director of great repute in Rome, who was a
cadet of a noble Spanish family of Sarragossa. He was born on December
21st, 1627. In 1675 he published, during his residence in Rome, his famous
work entitled _The Spiritual Guide_, a book which taught the doctrine
known as that of Quietism. This species of mysticism had previously been
taught by John Tauler and Henry Suso, as also by St. Theresa and St.
Catherine of Siena, but in a different and more orthodox form than that in
which it was presented by Molinos. Butler, in his _Life of St. John of the
Cross_, says that the system of perfect contemplation called Quietism
chiefly turned upon the following general principles:--1. In perfect
contemplation the man does not reason, but passively receives heavenly
light, the mind being in a state of perfect inattention and inaction. 2. A
soul in that state desires nothing, not even its own salvation; and fears
nothing, not even hell itself. 3. That when the soul has arrived at this
state, the use of the sacraments and of good works becomes indifferent.
Pope Innocent XI., in 1687, condemned sixty-eight propositions extracted
from this author as heretical, scandalous and blasphemous. Molinos was
condemned by the Inquisition at Rome, recanted his errors, and ended his
life in imprisonment in 1696.

=Monaldeschi.= (_Cristina and Monaldeschi._) The Marquis Monaldeschi, the
grand equerry of Queen Cristina of Sweden. He was put to death at
Fontainebleau by order of Cristina, because he had betrayed her.

=Monsignore the Bishop.= (_Pippa Passes._) He comes to Asolo to confer
with his "Intendant" in the palace by the Duomo; he is contriving how to
remove Pippa from his path, when her song as she passes stings his
conscience, and he punishes his evil counsellor who suggested mischief
concerning her.

=Morgue, The=, at Paris. (_Apparent Failure._) The place by the Seine
where the dead are exposed for identification.

=Muckle-Mouth Meg= ("Big-Mouth Meg"). (_Asolando_, 1889.) Sir Walter Scott
was a descendant of the house of Harden, and of the famous chieftain _Auld
Watt_ of that line. Auld Watt was once reduced in the matter of live stock
to a single cow, and recovered his dignity by stealing the cows of his
English neighbours. Professor Veitch says "the Scots' Border ancestry were
sheep farmers, who varied their occupation by 'lifting' sheep and cattle,
and whatever else was 'neither too heavy nor too hot.'" The lairds of the
Border were, in fact, a race of robbers. Sir Walter Scott was proud of
this descent, and his fame as a writer was due to his Border history and
poetry. The poem describes the capture red-handed of the handsome young
William Scott, Lord of Harden, who was defeated in one of these forays,
and taken prisoner by Sir Gideon Murray of Elibank, who ordered him to the
gallows. But the Laird's dame interposed, asking grace for the callant if
he married "our Muckle-mouth Meg." The young fellow said he preferred the
gallows to the wide-mouthed monster. He was sent to the dungeon for a
week; after seven days of cold and darkness he was asked to reconsider his
decision. He found life sweet, and embraced the ill-favoured maiden.

=Muléykeh=, (_Dramatic Idyls_, Second Series, 1880.) A tale of an Arab's
love for his horse. The story is a common one, and seems adapted from a
Bedouin's anecdote told in Rollo Springfield's _The Horse and his Rider_.
Hóseyn was despised by strangers for his apparent poverty. He had neither
flocks nor herds, but he possessed Muléykeh, his peerless mare, his Pearl:
he could afford to laugh at men's land and gold. In the race Muléykeh was
always first, and Hóseyn was a proud man. Now, Duhl, the son of Sheybán,
withered for envy of Hóseyn's luck, and nothing but the possession of the
Pearl would satisfy him: so he rode to Hóseyn's tent, told him he knew
that he was poor, and offered him a thousand camels for the mare. Hóseyn
would not consider the proposal for a moment. "_I love Muléykeh's face_,"
he said, and dismissed her would-be purchaser. In a year's time Duhl is
back again at Hóseyn's tent. This time he would not offer to buy the
Pearl. He tells him his soul pines to death for her beauty, and his wife
has urged him to go and beg for the mare. Hóseyn said, "It is life against
life. What good avails to the life bereft?" Another year passes, and the
crafty Duhl is back again--this time to steal what he can neither buy nor
beg. It is night. Hóseyn lies asleep beside the Pearl, with her headstall
thrice wound about his wrist By Muléykeh's side stands her sister
Buhéyseh, a famous mare for fleetness too: she stands ready saddled and
bridled, in case some thief should enter and fly with the Pearl. Now Duhl
enters as stealthily as a serpent, cuts the headstall, mounts her, and is
"launched on the desert like bolt from bow." Hóseyn starts up, and in a
minute more is in pursuit on Buhéyseh. They gain on the fugitive, for
Muléykeh misses the tap of the heel, the touch of the bit--the secret
signs by which her master was wont to urge her to her utmost speed. Now
they are neck by croup, what does Hóseyn but shout--

    "Dog Duhl. Damned son of the Dust,
    Touch the right ear, and press with your foot my Pearl's left flank!"

Duhl did so: Muléykeh redoubled her pace and vanished for ever. When the
neighbours saw Hóseyn at sunrise weeping upon the ground, he told them the
whole story, and when they laughed at him for a fool, and told him if he
had held his tongue, as a boy or a girl could have done, Muléykeh would be
with him then:--

    "'And the beaten in speed!' wept Hóseyn: 'You never have loved my
          Pearl.'"

=Music Poems.= The great poems dealing with music are "Abt Vogler,"
"Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha," "A Toccata of Galuppi's," and "Charles
Avison." Other poems which are musical in a lesser degree are "Saul," "A
Grammarian's Funeral," "The Serenade," "Up at a Villa," "The Heretic's
Tragedy." "Balaustion's Adventure" and "Fifine" also have incidental music
references.

=My Last Duchess--Ferrara.= (Published first in _Bells and Pomegranates_,
III., under _Dramatic Lyrics_, with the title "Italy," in 1842; _Dramatic
Romances_, 1868.) A stern, severe, Italian nobleman, with a
nine-hundred-years' name, is showing his picture gallery, to the envy of a
Count whose daughter he is about to marry. He is standing before the
portrait of his last duchess, for he is a widower, and is telling his
companion that "the depth and passion of her earnest glance" was not
reserved for her husband alone, but the slightest courtesy or attention
was sufficient to call up "that spot of joy" into her face. "Her heart,"
said the duke, "was too soon made glad, too easily impressed." She smiled
on her husband (she was his property, and that was right); she smiled on
others (on every one, in fact), and that was an infringement of the rights
of property which this dealer in human souls could not brook, so he "gave
commands,"--"then all smiles stopped together." The concentrated tragedy
of this line is a good example of the poet's power of compressing a whole
life story in two or three words. The heartless duke instantly dismisses
the memory of his duchess and her fount of human love sealed up "by
command." "We'll go together down, sir,"--and as they descend he draws
his guest's attention to a fine bronze group, and discusses the question
of the dowry he is to receive with the woman who is _to succeed_ his last
duchess.

NOTE.--_Fra Pandolf_ and _Claus of Innsbruck_ are imaginary artists.
Without very careful attention several delicate points in this poem will
be lost. When the duke said "Fra Pandolf" by design, he desired to impress
on the envoy, and his master the Count, the sort of behaviour he expected
from the woman he was about to marry. He intimated that he would tolerate
no rivals for his next wife's smiles. When he begs his guest to "Notice
Neptune----taming a sea horse," he further intimated how he had tamed and
killed his last duchess. All this was to convey to the envoy, and through
him to the lady, that he demanded in his new wife the concentration of her
whole being on himself, and the utmost devotion to his will.

=My Star.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic Lyrics_,
1868.) To one observer a beautiful star may appear in iridiscent colours
unobserved by others; just as, by looking at a prism from a certain angle,
we catch a play of rainbow tints which they might miss by adopting a
different point of view. Where strangers see a world, the singer obtains
access to a soul which opens to him all its glory, as the prism reveals
the constituent colours which combine to make the cold white ray of light.
The poem has been considered to be a tribute to Mrs. Browning.

=My Wife Gertrude.= See BOOT AND SADDLE.



=Naddo= (_Sordello_) was a troubadour, and the Philistine friend and
counsellor of Sordello. He told Sordello not to try to introduce his own
ideas to the world: poetry should be founded in common-sense and deal with
the common ideas of mankind. The poet should, above all things, try to
please his audience. People like calm and repose. He must not attempt to
rise to an intellectual level his readers have not reached. Sordello, he
said, should be satisfied with being a poet, and not aim at being a leader
of men as well. Mr. Browning is in all this defending himself and
satirising the popular view of the poet's province.

=Names, The.= A poem written for the "Show-Book" of the Shakespearean Show
at the Albert Hall, May 1884, held on behalf of the Hospital for Women in
the Fulham Road, London:--

    "Shakespeare!--to such name's sounding, what succeeds
      Fitly as silence? Falter forth the spell,--
      Act follows word, the speaker knows full well,
    Nor tampers with its magic more than needs.
    Two names there are: That which the Hebrew reads
      With his soul only: if from lips it fell,
      Echo, back thundered by earth, heaven, and hell,
    Would own, 'Thou didst create us!' Nought impedes
    We voice the other name, man's most of might,
      Awesomely, lovingly: let awe and love
    Mutely await their working, leave to sight
      All of the issue as--below--above--
      Shakespeare's creation rises: one remove,
    Though dread--this finite from that infinite."
                          ROBERT BROWNING, _March 12th, 1884_.

Reprinted in the _Pall Mall Gazette_ of May 29th.

    The Hebrews will not pronounce the sacred tetragrammaton
    [Hebrew: YHWH]. They substitute Adonai in reading the ineffable name.
    Jahwé (with the J pronounced as Y) is the correct pronunciation of the
    unspeakable name. Yet the learned hold that the true mirific name is
    lost, the word "Jehovah" dating only from the Masoretic innovation.
    See a discussion of the whole matter in _Isis Unveiled_ (Blavatsky),
    vol. ii. p. 398,--a work which contains a good deal of real learning
    mixed with infinite rubbish.

=Napoleon III.= See PRINCE HOHENSTIEL-SCHWANGAU.

=Nationality in Drinks.= Under this title we have three poems, originally
published separately--namely, _Claret_, _Tokay_, and _Beer_. The first and
second were published in _Hood's Magazine_, in June 1844. In 1863 the
poems were brought under their present title in the _Poetical Works_. In
_Claret_ the fancy of the poet sees in his claret-flask, as it drops into
a black-faced pond, a resemblance to a gay French lady, with her arms held
beside her and her feet stretched out, dropping from life into death's
silent ocean. In _Tokay_ the bottle suggests a pygmy castle-warder,
dwarfish, but able and determined, strutting about with his huge brass
spurs and daring anybody to interfere with him. _Beer_ is in memory of the
beverage drunk to Nelson's memory off Cape Trafalgar: it includes an
authentic anecdote given to the poet by the captain of the vessel. He said
they show a coat of Nelson's at Greenwich with tar still on the shoulder,
due to the habit he had of leaning one shoulder up against the
mizzen-rigging.

=Natural Magic.= (_Pacchiarotto and other Poems_, 1876.) Hindū conjurors
are exceedingly clever, and will produce a tree from apparently nothing at
all, in all stages of growth. In the case described the narrator locks a
nautch girl in an empty room and takes his stand at the door; in a short
time the conjuror is embowered in a mass of verdure, fruit and flowers. In
the same way, by the magic of a charming personality, the singer's life
has been transformed from coldness and gloom to warmth and beauty. The
poem illustrates the supreme power which spirit exerts over matter. The
power of the ideal world, the all-absorbing influence of faith in the
unseen to the Christian, is always being exerted to produce such effects
in the souls of men and women whose lives are spent in the most squalid
and unlovely surroundings.

="Nay, but you who do not love her."= (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_, in
_Bells and Pomegranates_, 1845; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.)
The first line of a song in praise of some tresses of a lady's hair. Even
those who do not love her must admit she is pure gold. As for him, he
cannot praise her, he loves her so much: he will leave the praise for
those who do not.

=Ned Bratts.= (Published in _Dramatic Idyls_, first series, 1879; written
at Splügen.) The story is taken from _The Life and Death of Mr. Badman_,
by John Bunyan, the author of the _Pilgrim's Progress_, and published in
London 1680. "At a Summer Assizes holden at Hartfort, while the Judge was
sitting upon the Bench, comes this old Tod into the Court, cloathed in a
green suit, with a Leathern Girdle in his hand, his bosom open and all in
a dung sweat, as if he had run for his Life; and being come in, he spake
aloud as follows: 'My Lord,' said he, 'Here is the veriest rogue that
breathes upon the face of the earth. I have been a thief from a child;
when I was but a little one I gave myself to rob orchards, and to do other
such-like wicked things, and I have continued a thief ever since. My Lord,
there has not been a robbery committed these many years, so many miles of
this place, but I have either been at it, or privy to it." The Judge
thought the fellow was mad, but after some conference with some of the
Justices, they agreed to indict him; and so they did, of several
felonious actions, to all which he heartily confessed Guilty, and so was
hanged with his wife at the same time." In the poem, _Ned Bratts_, the
scene is laid at Bedford. The assizes are held on a broiling day in June;
the court-house is crammed; horse stealers, rogues, puritans and preachers
are being tried and sentenced, when through the barriers there burst
Publican Ned Bratts and Tabitha his wife, loudly confessing they were the
"worst couple, rogue and quean, unhanged," and detailing the various high
crimes and misdemeanours of which they had long been guilty. He tells of
the laces they had bought of the Tinker in the Bedford cage, and of

    "His girl,--the blind young chit who hawks about his wares";

tells of the Book which the girl gave him, the Book her father wrote in
prison, which told of "Christmas" [he meant "Christian"]. "Christmas was
meant for me," he says,--he must get rid of his burden and hurry from
"Destruction," which to him is Bedford town. So fearful are the converted
couple that they will fall again into their old sins, and so miss Heaven's
gate, they beg the judges to

    "Sentence our guilty selves; so, hang us out of hand!"

Ned sank upon his knees in the old court-house, while his wife Tab wheezed
a hoarse "Do hang us, please!" The Lord Chief Justice wondered what judge
ever had such a case before him since the world began, and having thought
the matter over, said--

    "Hanging you both deserve, hanged both shall be this day!"

And so they were.

=Never the Time and the Place.= (_Jocoseria_, 1883.) It is impossible to
doubt that in this exquisite poem is enshrined the memory of Mrs.
Browning. Joy and beauty are all around, time and place are all that heart
could wish, but the loved one is absent, and nothing can fill her place.
Yet beyond the reach of storms and stranger they will meet! The eternal
value of human love is again asserted in this poem.

=Norbert.= (_In a Balcony._) The young man with whom the Queen has fallen
in love, but whose heart is given to Constance.

="Not with my Soul Love."= The tenth lyric in _Ferishtah's Fancies_ begins
with these words.

=Now.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) The value of "the quintessential moment," a
theme on which Mr. Browning frequently dilates, is emphasized in this
poem--

    "The moment eternal--just that and nothing more,"

when the assurance comes that love has been definitely won despite of time
future and time past.

=Nude in Art, The=, is defended by the poet in _Francis Furini_ and _The
Lady and the Painter_.

=Numpholeptos.= (_Pacchiarotto, with other Poems_, 1876.) The word means
"caught or entranced by a nymph." Primitive man always has invested
natural objects with some form of life more or less resembling our own.
The Greeks and Romans believed the hills, the woods and the streams to be
the peculiar dwelling-places of nymphs, the spirits of external Nature.
They were the maidens of heaven, daughters of Zeus. The nymphs of the
rivers and fountains were called Naiads; those of the forests and
mountains were Dryads, Hamadryads, and Oreades. Plutarch, in his _Life of
Aristides_, says that "when the hero sent to Delphi to inquire of the
oracle, he was told that the Athenians would be victorious if they
addressed prayers to Jupiter, Juno, Pan, and the nymphs Sphragitides." The
cave of these nymphs was "in one of the summits of Mount Cithæron,
opposite the quarter where the sun sets in the summer; and it is said in
that cave there was formerly an oracle, by which many who dwelt in those
parts were inspired, and therefore called Nympholepti." There was an
unnatural idea about a human being enchained by a nymph, just as in the
Rhine legends the connection of sailors with the water maidens always
brought mischief to the human being so fascinated. It was thought by the
Greeks that the Nympholepti lost their reason, though they gained superior
wisdom of the inferior gods. See De Quincey on the Nympholeptoi. (Works,
Masson's Ed., vol. viii., pp. 438, 442.) In Mr. Browning's poem the nymph
is a pure, superhuman woman creature, who has entranced a young man
enamoured of her heavenly perfections. She has set him an impossible task;
from the centre of pure white light she bids him trace ray after ray of
light, which is broken into rainbow tints; and she bids him return to her
untinctured by the coloured beams he has been compelled to traverse. The
poem is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, of Mr.
Browning's works. It is his largest use of his favourite light
metaphor--the breaking up of pure white light into the coloured rays of
the solar spectrum. A ray of white light (it is unnecessary, perhaps, to
explain) is composed of the seven primary colours--violet, indigo, blue,
green, yellow, orange and red. A solar ray of light can be separated by a
prism into these seven colours. These again, when painted side by side
upon a disc which is rapidly revolved, are, as the poet says, "whirled
into a white." The nymph dwells in a realm of this white light. Before the
light reaches the young man the imperfection of the medium which conveys
it, or of his soul which receives it, breaks up the white light into its
constituent coloured rays. He is bidden by her to travel down each red and
yellow ray line, and work in its tint, but return to her without a stain,
as pure as the original beams which rayed forth from her dwelling-place.
This he is unable to do. He returns again and again, exciting her disgust
at his appearance; and he starts off on another path, only to return
coloured by the medium in which he has lived, as before. I have discussed
this poem at length in my chapter on "Browning's Science, as shown in
_Numpholeptos_," in my _Browning's Message to his Time_, second edition,
1891. The poem was debated at the Browning Society on May 31st, 1891; and
so many different explanations were suggested, none of them in the least
satisfactory, that the meeting requested Dr. Furnivall to ask Mr.
Browning's assistance in the matter. He did so, and received the following
reply:--"Is not the key to the meaning of the poem in its title,
νυμφοληπτος [caught or entranst by a nymph], not γυναικεραστἡς [a woman
lover]? An allegory, that is, of an impossible ideal object of love,
accepted conventionally as such by a man who, all the while, cannot quite
blind himself to the demonstrable fact that the possessor of knowledge and
purity obtained without the natural consequences of obtaining them by
achievement--not inheritance,--such a being is imaginary, not real, a
nymph and no woman; and only such an one would be ignorant of and
surprised at the results of a lover's endeavour to emulate the qualities
which the beloved is entitled to consider as pre-existent to earthly
experience, and independent of its inevitable results. I had no particular
woman in my mind; certainly never intended to personify wisdom,
philosophy, or any other abstraction; and the orb, raying colour out of
whiteness, was altogether a fancy of my own. The 'seven spirits' are in
the Apocalypse, also in Coleridge and Byron,--a common image."



="Oh Love! Love!"= The lyric of Euripides in his _Hippolytus_ (B.C. 428).
Translated in J. P. Mahaffy's "Euripides," in Macmillan's _Classical
Writers_. After quoting Euripides' two stanzas, Mr. Mahaffy says (p.
115):--"Mr. Browning has honoured me (Dec. 18th, 1878), with the following
translation of these stanzas, so that the general reader may not miss the
meaning or the spirit of the ode. The English metre, though not a strict
reproduction, gives an excellent idea of the original one":--

    I.

    "Oh Love! Love, thou that from the eyes diffusest
    Yearning, and on the soul sweet grace inducest--
    Souls against whom thy hostile march is made--
    Never to me be manifest in ire,
    Nor, out of time and tune, my peace invade!
    Since neither from the fire--
        No, nor the stars--is launched a bolt more mighty
        Than that of Aphrodité
    Hurled from the hands of Love, the boy with Zeus for sire.

    II.

    "Idly, how idly, by the Alpherian river,
    And in the Pythian shrines of Phœbus, quiver
    Blood-offering from the bull, which Hellas heaps:
    While Love we worship not--the Lord of men!
    Worship not him, the very key who keeps
    Of Aphrodité when
        She closes up her dearest chamber-portals:
        Love, when he comes to mortals,
    Wide-wasting, through those deeps of woes beyond the deep!"

=Og.= See note to _Jochanan Hakkadosh_ in the Sonnets on the Talmudic
legend of the giant Og's bones and bedstead. Jewish scholars say the
Hebrew work quoted has no existence, and that Mr. Browning's stock of
Hebrew was very small.[2]

=Ogniben.= (_A Soul's Tragedy._) He was the astute Pope's legate who went
to Faenza to suppress the insurrection. He smoothed matters by getting
Chiappino to leave the city, and he then complacently went away, saying he
had known "_four_-and-twenty leaders of revolt."

=Old Gandolf.= (_The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church._) The
Bishop's predecessor in his see, and the man whose tomb he desires to
outdo.

=Old Pictures in Florence.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863;
_Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) On a warm March morning the poet from a height
looks down upon Florence, gleaming in the translucent air, with all the
glory of the beautiful city lying on the mountain side; and of all he saw
the startling bell-tower of Giotto was the best to see. But he reproaches
Giotto because he has played him false. This was unkind, as he loved him
so. And this reflection, in its turn, leads him to think upon Giotto's
brother artists. He recalls the ancient masters, and sees them haunting
the churches and cloisters where their work was done, and lamenting the
decay and neglect of their frescoes. In particular, he reflects on the
wronged great soul of a painter whose work is peeling from the walls,--"a
lion who dies of an ass's kick." The world wrongs its forgotten great
souls, and hums round its famous Michael Angelos and its Raphaels; but
perhaps they do not regard it, safe in heaven seeing God face to face, and
all, as Browning hopes, attained to be poets. He thinks they can hardly be
"quit of a world where their work is all to do," where the little wits
have no ability to understand the relationship of artist to artist, and
how one whom the world is pleased to honour derives in direct line from
another who is forgotten. Not a word is heard now of men who in their day
were as famous as the rest--Stefano, for example,--

    "Called Nature's Ape and the world's despair
    For his peerless painting."

He then reflects on the development of the artist Greek art reuttered the
truth of man, and Soul and Limbs, each betokened by the other, were made
new in marble. Our weakness is tested by the strength, our meagre charms
by the beauty of the matchless forms of Greek sculpture. This taught us
the perfection of the body, but the artists one day awoke to the beauty
and perfection of Soul, and then they worked for eternity, as the Greeks
for time. This Greek art was perfect; these bodies could be no more
beautiful. Consequently, so far there was arrest of development; they
could never change, being whole and complete. Having learned all they have
to teach, we shall see their work abolished. But in painting Souls, the
artificer's hand can never be arrested, for soul develops eternally, and
things learned on earth are practised in heaven. This is illustrated by
the case of Giotto. At a stroke he drew a perfect ○. This could be
done no better: it was perfect, complete, not to be surpassed. But Giotto
planned a bell-tower, wonderful for beauty, but not even yet completed.
The conception outran the power to bring to perfection. Round O's can be
completed; campaniles are still to finish. And so the Greeks finished
their bodies. The early masters who began by depicting souls have their
work still to finish. Their work is not completed--can, in fact, never be
finished--because the soul is infinite. No doubt, he says, the early
painters had to meet the objection, "What more can you want than Greek
art?" They answered, "To paint man--to make his new hopes shine through
his flesh." New fears glorify his rags. To bring the invisible full into
daylight, what matters if the visible go to the dogs? How much they dared,
these early masters! The first of this new development, however imperfect,
beats the best of the old. Then he reflects that there is a fancy which
some lean to (it is an Eastern fancy, now popularised by the
Theosophists), that when this life is over we shall begin a fresh
succession of lives--lives wherein we shall repeat in large what here we
practise in little; and so through an infinite series of lives on a scale
that is to be changed. But this is not at all to the poet's mind. He
thinks he has learned his lesson here. He has seen

    "By the means of evil that good is best,"

and considers that the uses of labour may consequently be garnered. He
hopes there is rest; he has had troubles enough. And now he turns away
from abstract conceptions on this deep problem to concrete matters--to the
actual men who have carved and painted the forms he loves; and he brings
up the memories of Nicolo the Pisan sculptor, and of the painter Cimabue,
and goes on to speak of Ghiberti and Ghirlandajo. Alas! their ghosts are
watching their peeling frescoes, their blistered or whitewashed works. He
recalls the names of many a draughtsman and craftsman whose works are left
to stealers and dealers. Suddenly the poet remembers the grudge he has
against Giotto. There was a precious little picture, which Michael Angelo
eyed like a lover, which was lost, but which has just turned up; and
Browning wanted it, he thinks that he ought to have been prompted by the
spirit of Giotto to go to the right quarter for it, and now it is sold--to
whom?--he cannot discover. But he shall have it yet, his jewel! Then he
expresses his hope that Italy may soon see the last of the hated Austrian;
and then what will not the new Italian republic accomplish for man and
art. The Bell-tower of Giotto shall soar up to its proper stature,

    "Completing Florence, as Florence Italy."

He wonders if he will be alive the morning the scaffold is taken down, and
the golden hope of the world springs from its sleep.

NOTES.--Verse 8, _Da Vinci_: Leonardo Da Vinci, born 1452, died 1519,
artist, sculptor, architect, musician, and man of letters; in addition to
these he was a scientist and explorer. 9, _Dello_, the Florentine painter,
born towards the end of the fourteenth century, registered under the name
of Dello di Niccolo Delli. He was a sculptor as well as a painter, and was
employed by the king of Spain: _Stefano_: a celebrated Italian painter of
Florence (1301?-1350?); his naturalism earned him the title of "Scimia
della Natura" (Ape of Nature). Vasari says, "He not only surpassed all
those who preceded him in the art, but left even his master, Giotto
himself, far behind. Thus he was considered, and with justice, to be the
best of all the painters who had appeared down to that time." He excelled
in perspective and foreshortening; _Nature's Ape_: Christofano Landino, in
the Apology preceding his commentary on Dante, says, "Stefano is called
'The Ape of Nature' by every one, so accurately does he express whatever
he designs to represent"; _Vasari, Georgio_, the author of the _Lives of
the Painters_; _Theseus_, one of the statues of the Parthenon of Athens,
now in the British Museum. 13, _Son of Priam_ == Paris; _Apollo_, the
snake-slayer, the Belvedere as described in the _Iliad_; _Niobe_, chief
figure of the celebrated group of statues "Niobe all tears for her
children," in the Uffizi gallery at Florence; _the Racer's frieze_ of the
Parthenon; _dying Alexander_, a fine piece of ancient Greek sculpture at
Florence. 17, _Giotto and the "○"_: Pope Benedict XI. sent a messenger to
Giotto to bring him a proof of the painter's power. Giotto refused to give
him any further example of his talents than a ○, drawn with a free sweep
of the brush from the elbow. The Pope was satisfied, and engaged Giotto
at a great salary to adorn the palace at Avignon (Professor Colvin);
_Campanile_, the bell-tower by the side of the Duomo at Florence. This is
greatly praised by Ruskin, who says: "The characteristics of power and
beauty occur more or less in different buildings, some in one and some in
another. But altogether, and all in their highest possible relative
degrees, they exist, as far as I know, only in one building of the
world--the Campanile of Giotto." 23, _Nicolo the Pisan_: born between 1205
and 1207, died 1278; a sculptor and architect; _Cimabue_, Giotto's teacher
(1240-1302), the great art reformer; _Ghiberti, Lorenzo_ (1381-1455): he
executed the wonderful bronze gates of the Baptistery at Florence, which
were said by Michael Angelo to be worthy to have been the gates of
Paradise; _Ghirlandajo, Domenico_, Florentine painter (1449-98), was the
son of Tommaso del Ghirlandajo. 26, _Bigordi_: this is stated by some to
have been the family name of Ghirlandajo, but it is disputed; _Sandro
Botticelli_, born at Florence in 1457, died 1515; a celebrated Florentine
painter; "_the wronged Lippino_," or Filippo Lippi, known as Filippino or
Lippino (1460-1505), a Florentine painter, son of Fra Lippo Lippi. Some of
his pictures were attributed to other artists, hence the expression
"wronged"; _Frà Angelico_ (1387-1455)--Il Beato Fra Giovanni Angelico da
Fiesole--was the great Dominican Friar-Painter of Florence, the greatest
of all painters of sacred subjects. He was a most holy man, shunning all
advancement, and devoted to the poor. He never painted without fervent
prayer; _Taddeo Gaddi_: an Italian painter and architect of the Florentine
school (1300-1366), son of Gaddo Gaddi; he was one of Giotto's assistants
for twenty-four years; when Giotto died he carried on the work of the
Campanile; _intonaco_, rough cast, plaster, paint; _Jerome_, St. Jerome,
the translator of the Scriptures into Latin; _Lorenzo Monaco_, Don
Lorenzo, painter and monk, of the Angeli of Florence. First noticed as a
painter, 1410. He executed many works in the Camaldoline monastery of his
order. He was highly esteemed for his goodness. Verse 27, _Pollajolo,
Antonio_ (1433-98), a great painter and sculptor of Florence. He began
life, as many of the great Italian artists did, as a goldsmith; _tempera_,
a mixture of water and the yoke of eggs--used to give body to colours: the
same as _distemper_; _Alesso Baldovinetti_, a Florentine painter
(1422-99): he worked in fresco and mosaic. 28, _Margheritone of Arezzo_,
painter, sculptor, and architect (1236-1313); held in high estimation by
painters who worked in the Greek manner. He was the first in painting on
wood to cover the surface with canvas; _barret_, a cloak. 29, _Zeno_, the
founder of the sect of the Stoics; _Carlino_, a painter. 30, "_a certain
precious little tablet_," a lost picture which turned up while Mr.
Browning was in Florence; _Buonarroti_ == Michael Angelo. 31, _San
Spirito_ == "Holy Spirit," a church in Florence, so named; _Ognissanti_ ==
"All Saints'," name of a church of Florence; "_Detur amanti_," let it be
given to the lover; "_Jewel of Giamschid_": Byron calls it "the jewel of
Giamschid," Beckford "the carbuncle of Giamschid" (see Brewer's _Reader's
Handbook_); _Persian Sofi_, the name of a dynasty (1499-1736). 32, "_worst
side of Mont St. Gothard_," the Swiss side; _Radetzky_, Count,
field-marshal Austria (1766-1858), and famous in the wars against the
insurrections against Austria by the Lombardians; _Morello_, a mountain
near Florence; 33, _Witanagemot_, the great national council, the assent
of which was necessary for all the laws of the Anglo-Saxon kings; so in
Mrs. Browning's poem she refers to "a parliament of lovers of Italy";
_Ex_: "_Casa Guidi_": Mrs. Browning's noble poem on Italian liberty;
"_quod videas ante_," the which see above; _Loraine's_, _i.e._, the Guises
of unrivalled eminence in the sixteenth century; _Orgagna_ (1315-76), a
painter of Florence. 34, _prologuize_, to introduce with a formal preface;
_Chimæra_, a fabulous animal. 35, "_curt Tuscan_": Tuscan is the literary
language of Italy, therefore more dignified and freer from colloquialisms
and vulgarisms than more modern forms; _-issimo_, termination of the
superlative degree; _Cambuscan_, king of Sarra, in Tartary, the model of
all royal virtues (see Brewer's _Handbook_); "_alt to altissimo_," high to
the highest; _beccaccia_, a woodcock; "_Duomo's fit ally_": Giotto's
lovely Bell-tower is a fit companion to the cathedral; _braccia_, a cubit.

="O Lyric Love, half-angel and half-bird."= The first line of the
invocation to the spirit of Mrs. Browning in Book I. of _The Ring and the
Book_. Some stupid readers have thought this poem an invocation to our
Lord, catching at the words "to drop down, to toil for man, to suffer, or
to die." They thought they detected some familiar words heard in church;
and one incompetent critic went so far as to write, "Though Lyric Love is
here a quality personified, it seems to be so interchangeably with
Christ.... This is the interpretation we attach to the lines, though we
have heard that some interpreters have actually considered them to be
addressed to his wife!" (_The Religion of our Literature_, by George
McCrie, p. 87.) There is really no difficulty about the lines until we
come to parse them. Dr. Furnivall has done this in his grammatical
analysis of the poem (_Browning Society's Papers_, No. IX., p. 165). An
old lady who had read and profited by Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_ was
advised to read Dr. Cheever's _Lectures_ in explanation of the allegory;
asked how she liked the latter work, she said she understood the
_Pilgrim's Progress_, and hoped, before she died, to understand Dr.
Cheever's interpretation. I think I understand 'O Lyric Love': I can never
hope to understand Dr. Furnivall's analysis. It was called, at the time he
wrote it, "Furnivall's Jubilee Puzzle."

="Once I saw a Chemist take a Pinch of Powder"= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_).
The first line of the eighth lyric.

=One Way Of Love.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) A song of unrequited love. The lover has strewn the
month's wealth of June roses on his lady's path: she passes them without
notice. For months he has striven to learn the lute: she will not listen
to his music. His whole life long he has learned to love, and he has lost.
Let roses lie, let music's wing be folded: he will but say how blest are
they who win her. A noble, dignified way of accepting defeat in love!
_Another Way of Love_ is a sequel to this poem. In this case the roses of
June are actually tiresome to the man to whom they are offered. The woman
in the first poem did not notice her roses, the man in the sequel
confesses himself weary of their charms. His lady is satirical at his
expense, and severely says he may go, and she will be recompensed if June
mend the bower which his hand has rifled. June may also bestow her favours
on a more appreciative recipient. She may also revenge herself by the
lightning she uses to clear away insects and other rose-bower spoilers.

NOTE.--Verse 2, _Eadem semper_, always the same.

=One Word More.= (To E. B. B. [Elizabeth Barrett Browning], 1855.) This
poem was originally appended to the collection of poems called _Men and
Women_ (_q.v._) Browning's _Men and Women_, containing amongst other
noble poems his _Epistle to Karshish_, _Cleon_, _Fra Lippo Lippi_, and
_Andrea del Sarto_, were fifty in number, and the concluding poem, _One
Word More_, formed the dedication to his wife. The volume was in one sense
a return for her _Sonnets from the Portuguese_, in which she poured out
her love to Mr. Browning. In this poem he not less warmly declares his
love for his wife, his "moon of poets." The dedication is happy, because
his interest in men and women had been quickened and deepened by his
marriage. They had studied human nature together, and each poetic soul had
reacted upon the other. He explains why he has desired to give something
of his best, some gift which is not a gift to the world but to the woman
he loves; and as the meanest of God's creatures--

    "Boasts two soul-sides: one to face the world with
    One to show a woman when he loves her!"

The poor workman, the most unskilful artisan, will strive to do something
which shall express his utmost effort, to present to his love, and the
greatest geniuses of the world have been actuated by a similar motive.
Raphael, not content with painting, must pour out his soul in poetry for
the woman of his heart (did she love the volume of a hundred sonnets all
her life?), and Mr. Browning says he and his poet-wife would rather read
that volume than wonder at the Madonnas by which his name will be ever
known. But that volume will never be read. Guido Reni treasured it, but,
as treasures do disappear, it vanished. Dante once proposed to paint for
Beatrice an angel--traced it perchance with the corroded pen with which he
pricked the stigma in the brow of the wicked--"Dante, who loved well
because he hated": hating only wickedness, and that because it hinders
loving. Mr. Browning would rather study that angel than read a fresh
_Inferno_, but that picture we shall never see. No artist lives and loves
who desires not for once and for one to express himself in a language
natural to him and the occasion, but which to others is but an art; and so
the painter will forgo his painting and write a poem, the writer will try
to paint a picture "once and for one only"--

    "So to be the man and leave the artist."

Why is this? When a man comes before the world as leader, teacher,
prophet, artist or poet, in any capacity which is his proper business, he
is open to the unsympathetic criticism of a world which is ever exacting
and always ungrateful in exact proportion to the magnitude of the work
done for it. Under these circumstances the real self in the man seldom
appears; when, however, he presents himself before the sympathetic soul of
the woman who loves him, he no longer works for the critic, no longer acts
a part, no longer appears in a character distasteful to himself. When
Moses smote the rock and saved the Israelites, he had mocking and sneering
for his reward: the ungrateful and unbelieving multitude behaved after
their manner. Could Moses forget the ancient wrong he bore about him? Dare
the man ever put off the prophet? But were there in all that crowd a
woman's face--a woman he could love--he would for her sake lay down the
wonder-working rod, for he would be as the camel giving up its store of
water with its life. But the poet says he shall never paint pictures,
carve statues, nor express himself in music: for his wife he stands on his
power of verse alone, and so he bids her take the lines of this love poem,
which he has written for her, as the artist in fresco will steal a
hair-pencil and cramp his spirit into missal painting for his lady, and
the musician who sounds the martial strain will breathe his love through
silver to serenade his princess; so he--the Browning men knew for other
work--may this once whisper a love song to the ear of his wife. He will
speak to her not dramatically, as he spoke in the poems in his book, but
in his own true person. She knows him under both aspects, as the moon of
Florence is the same which shines in London, though she has put off her
Italian glory, and hurries dispiritedly through the gloomy skies of
England. Could the moon really love a mortal, she has a side she could
turn towards him, unseen as yet by herdsman or astronomer on his turret.
Dumb to Homer, to Keats even, she would speak to _him_. And so the poet
has for his love

    "A side the world has never seen,"

the novel

    "Silent silver lights and darks undreamed of."

NOTES.--Verse 2, _Century of Sonnets_. I can find no evidence that Raphael
wrote a hundred sonnets. Some three, or at most four, are all about which
I can find anything. Michael Angelo wrote many impassioned sonnets, and
was undoubtedly a fine poet; but if Raphael wrote many sonnets, they are,
as Mr. Browning says, lost. Probably the whole story is an example of
poetical licence. There is a very mediocre sonnet (as Mr. Samuel
Waddington describes it in the notes to his _Sonnets of Europe_) by
Raphael, which he has inscribed on one of his drawings now exhibited at
the British Museum:--

    SONNET.

    BY RAPHAEL.

    "Un pensier dolce erimembrare e godo
        Di quello assalto, ma più gravo el danno
        Del partir, ch'io restai como quei c'anno
        In mar perso la stella, s'el ver odo.
    Or lingua di parlar disogli el nodo
        A dir di questo inusitato inganno
        Ch' amor mi fece per mio grave afanno,
        Ma lui più ne ringratio, e lei ne lodo.
    L'ora sesta era, che l'ocaso un sole
        Aveva fatto, e l'altro sur se in locho
        Ati più da far fati, che parole.
    Ma io restai pur vinto al mio gran focho
        Che mi tormenta, che dove lon sole
        Desiar di parlar, più riman fiocho."

"There are also two other sonnets," says Mr. Waddington, "attributed to
Raphael, but they can hardly be considered worthy of his illustrious
name." Raphael's "_lady of the sonnets_" was Margherita (La Fornarina),
the baker's daughter, of whom Raphael was devotedly fond, and whose
likeness appears in several of his most celebrated pictures. "_Else he
only used to draw Madonnas_:" Mrs. Jameson, in her _Legends of the
Madonna_, gives the following list of Raphael's famous Madonnas: del
Baldacchino, delle Candelabre, del Cardellino, della Famiglia Alva, di
Foligno, de Giglio, del Passeggio, dell' Pesce, della Seggiola, di San
Sisto. Verse 3, "_Her San Sisto names_": the Madonna di S. Sisto is the
glory of the Dresden gallery. Little is known of its history; no studies
or sketches of it exist. It much resembles the Madonna di Foligno, but is
less injured by restoration. "_Her, Foligno_": the Madonna di Foligno was
dedicated by Sigismund Corti, of Foligno, private secretary to Pope Julius
II., and a distinguished patron of learning. Sigismund, having been in
danger, vowed an offering to Our Lady, to whom he attributed his escape.
The picture is in the Vatican. It was painted in 1511. "_Her that visits
Florence in a Vision_": Mr. Browning, in a letter to Mr. W. J. Rolfe,
said: "The Madonna at Florence is that called _del Granduca_, which
represents her 'as appearing to a votary in a vision'--so say the
describers; it is in the earlier manner, and very beautiful." It is in the
Pitti Palace, Florence. Painted about 1506. "_Her that's left with lilies
in the Louvre_" (Paris): on this Mr. Browning explained that, "I think I
meant _La Belle Jardinière_--but am not sure--from the picture in the
Louvre." This is a group of three figures: the Mother and Child and St.
John. Painted in 1508. Verse 4, "_That volume Guido Reni ... guarded_":
this does not appear to have been a book of Sonnets, as Browning says, but
a volume with a hundred designs drawn by Raphael. Reni left this book to
his heir Signorini. Verse 5, "_Dante once prepared to paint an angel_":
Dante was master of all the science of his time. He was a skilful
draughtsman, and tells us that on the anniversary of the death of Beatrice
he drew an angel on a tablet. He was an intimate friend of Giotto, who has
recorded that it was from him he drew the inspiration of the allegories of
Virtue and Vice for the frescoes of the Scrovegni Palace at Padua. He was
also a musician. Verse 7, _Bice_ is Beatrice, Dante's "gentle love." Verse
9, "_Egypt's flesh-pots_" (Exod. xvi. 3). Verse 10, "_Sinai-forehead's
cloven brilliance_" (Exod. xxxiv. 29, 30). Verse 11, _Jethro_, the
father-in-law of Moses (Exod. iii. 1); "_Æthiopian bond-slave_" (Numb.
xii. 1). Verse 14, "_Karshish, Cleon, Norbert, and the Fifty_": there is a
distinct caution here to those who seek for Browning's real opinions on
religion and the various subjects with which he deals, that he is speaking
dramatically in these poems, and not "in his true person." Verse 15,
_Samminiato_ == San Miniato, a well-known church in Florence. Verse 16,
"_Zoroaster on his terrace_": the celebrated founder of the doctrine of
the Persian Magi. Very little is known about him personally, but his
religion is well understood. Ancient historians say he lived five thousand
years before the Trojan War. His scriptures are the _Zend Avesta_. He
studied at night the aspect of the heavens. "_Galileo on his turret_":
Galileo, as an astronomer, required an observatory. _Keats_: Browning was
much influenced by "the human rhythm" of Keats. There is abundant trace
of this in _Pauline_, and in the second of the _Paracelsus_ songs, "Heap
cassia, sandal-buds, etc." "_Moonstruck mortal_": see Keats' poem
_Endymion_, the fable of Endymion's amours with Diana, or the Moon. The
fable probably originated from Endymion's study of astronomy requiring him
to pass the night on a high mountain, to observe the heavenly bodies.
"_Paved work of a sapphire_" (Exod. xxiv. 10). Mr. W. M. Rossetti explains
some of the allusions in this poem in the _Academy_ for January 10th,
1891:--"I understand the allusions, but Browning is far from accurate in
them. 1. Towards the end of the _Vita Nuova_, Dante says that, on the
first anniversary of the death of Beatrice, he began drawing an angel, but
was interrupted by certain people of distinction, who entered on a visit.
Browning is therefore wrong in intimating that the angel was painted 'to
please Beatrice.' 2. Then Browning says that the pen with which Dante drew
the angel was perhaps corroded by the hot ink in which it had previously
been dipped for the purpose of denouncing a certain wretch--_i.e._, one of
the persons named in his _Inferno_. This about the ink, as such, is
Browning's own figure of speech not got out of Dante. 3. Then Browning
speaks of Dante's having 'his left hand i' the hair o' the wicked,' etc.
This refers to _Inferno_, Canto 32, where Dante meets (among the traitors
to their country) a certain Bocca degli Abati, a notorious Florentine
traitor, dead some years back, and Dante clutches and tears at Bocca's
hair to compel him to name himself, which Bocca would much rather not do.
4. Next Browning speaks of this Bocca as being a 'live man.' Here Browning
confounds two separate incidents. Bocca is not only damned, but also dead;
but further on (Canto 33) Dante meets another man, a traitor against his
familiar friend. This traitor is Frate Alberigo, one of the Manfredi
family of Faenza. This Frate Alberigo was, though damned, not, in fact,
dead; he was still alive, and Dante makes it out that traitors of this
sort are liable to have their souls sent to hell before the death of their
bodies. A certain Bianca d'Oria, Genoese, is in like case--damned but not
dead. 5. Browning proceeds to speak of 'the wretch going festering through
Florence.' This is a relapse into his mistake--the confounding of the dead
Florentine Bocca degli Abati with the living (though damned) Faentine and
Genoese traitors, Frate Alberigo and Bianca d'Oria, who had nothing to do
with Florence."

=On the Poet, Objective and Subjective; on the latter's Aim; on Shelley as
Man and Poet.= By Robert Browning. (The introductory essay to _Letters of
Percy Bysshe Shelley_. Moxon: 1852.) Dr. Furnivall says: "The cause of
Browning's writing this essay was (I believe) as follows:--In or before
1851, a forger clever enough to take in the publishers wrote some 'letters
of Shelley and Byron.' Moxon bought the forged Shelley letters, and John
Murray the Byron ones. Before they were proved spurious, Moxon printed the
Shelley letters, and got Browning to write an introductory essay to them.
Murray was slower, and, by the discovery of the forgery, was saved the
exposure and annoyance that Moxon incurred in publishing, and then having
to suppress, his book. The spurious Shelley letters were, as might have
been expected, nugatory, barren of any new revelations of Shelley's
character. Browning could actually make nothing of them, and therefore
wrote his Essay, not on the Letters, but on the two classes of poets,
objective and subjective, and on Shelley. He wanted a chance of writing on
the poet he admired; the Letters gave him the chance; and, being told that
they were genuine, he accepted them as such without inquiry. Moreover,
being in Paris at the time, he had no opportunity of consulting English
experts, had even any suspicion of forgery crossed his mind. The worth of
his Essay is no way weakened by its having been set before spurious
letters." A brief extract from Mr. Browning's Essay will indicate his
estimate of the poetic method which he selected as his own. Speaking of
the subjective poet, he says: "He, gifted like the objective poet with the
fuller perception of nature and man, is impelled to embody the thing he
perceives, not so much with reference to the many below, as to the One
above him, the supreme Intelligence which apprehends all things in their
absolute truth--an ultimate view ever aspired to, if but partially
attained by the poet's own soul. Not what man sees, but what God sees--the
_Ideas_ of Plato, seeds of creation lying burningly in the Divine Hand--it
is toward these that he struggles. Not with the combination of humanity in
action, but with the primal elements of humanity he has to do; and he digs
where he stands--preferring to seek them in his own soul as the nearest
reflex of that absolute Mind, according to the intuitions of which he
desires to perceive and speak. Such a poet does not deal habitually with
the picturesque groupings and tempestuous tossings of the forest-trees,
but with their roots and fibres naked to the chalk and stone. He does not
paint pictures and hang them on the walls, but rather carries them on the
retina of his own eyes: we must look deep into his human eyes to see those
pictures on them. He is rather a seer, accordingly, than a fashioner; and
what he produces will be less a work than an effluence. That effluence
cannot be easily considered in abstraction from his personality,--being
indeed the very radiance and aroma of his personality, projected from it
but not separated." In these words we have not only Mr. Browning's defence
of his work (if any could be needed), but an explanation of the reason why
he seems as much interested in dissecting the soul of a villain or a scamp
as of a saint and hero. Count Guido in his complex wickedness, brooding in
his prison cell, is more interesting to such an analyst than Pompilia
fluttering her wings on the borders of heaven. The old _roué_ in the Inn
Album, has root fibres worth tracing till they grip the stones. Simple old
Rabbi Ben Ezra has nothing to dissect; his innocent soul lies basking in
the smile of God. He has nothing to do with him but sit at his feet and
listen. This "Essay on Shelley" has been reprinted and published in Part
I. of the _Browning Society's Papers_.

=Optimism.= Browning's optimism is that which perhaps more than anything
else distinguishes his whole work from first to last. Most eloquently has
this been acknowledged by James Thomson, a pessimist of the pessimists.
Unhappily he could not himself feel this confidence in "everything being
for the best in the best of all possible worlds," but he could admire it
in another. "Browning," he said, "has conquered life, instead of being
conquered by it: a victory so rare as to be almost unique, especially
among poets in these latter days." It would be easy to give examples of
Browning's optimism, which would fill many pages of this work. The
following will suffice:--

    "God's in His heaven--all's right with the world!"
                          _Song in "Pippa Passes."_

    "There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before;
    The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound;
    What was good, shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
    On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round."
                          _Abt Vogler._

    "Let us cry 'All good things
    Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than flesh helps soul!'"
                          _Rabbi Ben Ezra._

    "My own hope is, a sun will pierce
      The thickest cloud earth ever stretched;
    That, after Last, returns the First,
      Though a wide compass round be fetched
    That what began best, can't end worst,
      Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst."
                          _Apparent Failure._

=Orchestrion.= The musical instrument invented by Abt Vogler (_q.v._).

=Ottima.= (_Pippa Passes._) The woman who, with her paramour Sebald,
murdered her husband Luca.

="Overhead the Tree-Tops meet."= (_Pippa Passes._) Pippa sings these words
as she passes the Bishop's house.

="Over the Sea our Galleys went."= (_Paracelsus._) The hero sings the song
of which these are the opening words in Part IV., _Paracelsus Aspires_.



=Pacchiarotto, and how he worked in Distemper.= (Published July 1876, in a
volume with _Other Poems_.) They were: "At the Mermaid," "Home," "Ship,"
"Pisgah-Sights," "Fears and Scruples," "Natural Magic," "Magical Nature,"
"Bifurcation," "Numpholeptos," "Appearances," "St. Martin's Summer,"
"Hervé Riel," "A Forgiveness," "Cenciaja," "Filippo Baldinucci on the
Privilege of Burial," "Epilogue."

=Pacchiarotto= (or =Pacchiarotti=) =Jacopo=, has been confused in history
with =Girolamo del Pacchia=, and this fact is referred to in the beginning
of the poem. The following account of these painters, who lived about the
same time, from the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, will help to clear the way
for the comprehension of this rather difficult poem,--difficult not on
account of the story, which is told clearly enough, but for the extraneous
matter with which it is intermingled.

[THE MAN.] "Pacchia, Girolamo Del, and Pacchiarotto (or Pacchiarotti)
Jacopo. These are two painters of the Sienese school, whose career and
art-work have been much mis-stated till late years. One or other of them
produced some good pictures, which used to pass as the performance of
Perugino; reclaimed from Perugino, they were assigned to Pacchiarotto; now
it is sufficiently settled that the good works are by G. del Pacchia,
while nothing of Pacchiarotto's own doing transcends mediocrity. The
mythical Pacchiarotto, who worked actively at Fontainebleau, has no
authenticity. Girolamo del Pacchia, son of a Hungarian cannon-founder, was
born probably in Siena, in 1477. Having joined a turbulent club named the
Bardotti, he disappeared from Siena in 1535, when the club was dispersed,
and nothing of a later date is known of him. His most celebrated work is a
fresco of the Nativity of the Virgin, in the chapel of St. Bernardino,
Siena: graceful and tender, with a certain artificiality. Another renowned
fresco, in the church of St. Catherine, represents that saint on her visit
to St. Agnes of Montepulciano, who, having just expired, raises her foot
by miracle. In the National Gallery of London there is a Virgin and Child.
The forms of G. del Pacchia are fuller than those of Perugino (his
principal model of style appears to have been in reality Francialigio);
the drawing is not always unexceptionable. The female heads have sweetness
and beauty of feature, and some of the colouring has noticeable force.
Pacchiarotto was born in Siena in 1474. In 1530 he took part in the
conspiracy of the Libertini and Popolani, and in 1533 he joined the
Bardotti. He had to hide for his life in 1535, and was concealed by the
Observantine fathers in a tomb in the church of St. John. He was stuffed
in close to a new-buried corpse, and got covered with vermin and
dreadfully exhausted by the close of the second day. After a while he
resumed work. He was exiled in 1539, but recalled in the following year;
and in that year, or soon afterwards, he died. Among the few extant works
with which he is still credited is an Assumption of the Virgin, in the
Carmine of Siena."

[THE POEM.] Pacchiarotto must needs take up "Reform." He thought it was
his vocation to set things in general to rights. The world he considered
needed reforming, and he was quite ready to undertake the task. He found
mankind stubborn, however, and not much inclined to listen to him. So he
constructed himself a workshop, and painted its walls in fresco with all
sorts and conditions of men, from beggar to noble. He drew kings, clowns,
popes, emperors, priests, and ladies; then washed his brushes, cleaned his
pallet, took off his working dress, and began to lecture his figures which
he had painted. He put arguments into their mouths, and of course readily
refuted them. He found his figures very meek and complaisant, and he had
no trouble at all in disposing of their replies to his own satisfaction.
He stripped them one by one of their "cant-clothed abuses," exposed the
sophistry of their excuses, and left their vices without a leg to stand
upon. Paint-bred men being so easily upset, he was now prepared to deal
with those of flesh and blood, so he wished mortar and paint good-bye and
descended to the streets. It happened just at this time that there fell
upon Siena a famine. This public distress afforded our artist his
opportunity: he blamed the authorities for the famine, and set himself to
the task of teaching them to manage things better. Now, there was at that
time a club of disaffected citizens, who called themselves _Bardotti_, or
"spare-horses"--those which walk by the side of the waggon drawn by the
working team--horses doing nothing to draw the load, but ready in case of
emergency. Such were these gentry; they did not work, but they were ready
for such an emergency as the present. And their advice to the authorities
was simply to turn things upside down, make servant master, poverty
wealth, and wealth poverty; then things would be righted. Pacchiarotto
placed himself in the midst of these folk, and suggested that what they
wanted was the right man in the right place, and he was the right man. The
words were not out of his mouth ere the Spare-Horses flew at him, and he
had to run for his life. Looking everywhere for some place of shelter, he
found himself at the cemetery of a Franciscan monastery; and the only
place where he could hide himself with safety from the pursuers was in a
vault with a recently-buried corpse, so he was obliged to creep through a
hole in the brickwork and habituate himself to the strange bedfellow. In
this stinking atmosphere, and covered with vermin from the corpse, he lay
in misery for two days, praying the saints to set him free, and promising
for ever to abandon the attempt to preach change to his fellow-citizens.
When he was starved into sanity, he scrambled out of this loathsome
hiding-place, looking like a spectre, only much more "alive." He then
found his way to the superior of the brotherhood, who had him well
cleansed and rubbed with odoriferous unguents. They fed him, clothed him,
and then he told his story all unvarnished. Be sure the good monk gave him
sound advice. He told him how he had had hopes of converting men by his
own preaching, and how hard he had found the task. He had come to the
conclusion that work for work's sake was the real need of men: let men
work, but not dream, and they would succeed; if present success merely
were intended, heaven would begin too soon. He advised him not to be a
spare-horse, but a working-horse--to stick to his paint brush and work for
his living. Pacchiarotto was mute; he had no need of conversion. He was
reformed already, not by a live man's arguments, but by the dead
thing--the clay-cold grinning corpse, that had asked him why he was in
such a hurry to leave the warm light and join him in the grave. The corpse
had told him how earth was a place of rehearsal, at which things seldom go
smoothly. The Author, no doubt, had His reasons, which would come out when
the play was produced. Meanwhile he advised him not to interfere with its
production; he was suffering from a swelling called Vanity, which he would
prick and relieve him of. And so Pacchiarotto, having partaken of the
monks' good cheer, was restored to sanity and said good-bye. Mr. Browning
now addresses his critics. He has told them a plain story, and tried
therewith to content them. He considers them as an assembly of May-day
sweeps, with tongs and bellows, calling at his house and announcing
themselves as

    "We critics as sweeps out your chimbly!"

They relieve his flue of the soot, suggest that he burns a deal of coal in
his kitchen, and the neighbours do say he ought to consume his own smoke!
Browning tells them that his housemaid says they bring more dirt into the
house than they remove. But he will not be hard upon them: "'twas God made
you dingy," he says. He will give them soap, however, and let them dance
away and make a rattle with their brushes, which is a large share of their
whole business, he thinks. He bids them not trample his grass, and flings
out a liberal largess and bids them be off, or his housemaid will serve
them as Xantippe served Socrates once; she will take the first thing that
comes to her hand.

NOTES.--Verse 2, "_my Kirkup_": this was Baron Kirkup, an admirer of art
and letters, who was on friendly terms with Browning at Florence. He
received a title of nobility from the King of Italy for his services to
literature. It was he who discovered Dante's portrait in the Bargello at
Florence. _San Bernardino_: St. Bernardino of Siena became, at the age of
twenty-three, one of the most celebrated and eloquent preachers among the
Franciscans, but he refused all ecclesiastical honours. He founded the
Order of the "_Observants_" (see note to v. 17). He was born 1380.
_Bazzi_: the Italian painter Giannantonio Bazzi (who, until recent years,
was erroneously named _Razzi_) bore the name "_Sodona_" or "_Il Sodoma_,"
as a family name, and signed it upon some of his pictures. Bazzi was
corrupted into Razzi, and "Sodona" into "Sodoma." He lived _c._ 1479-1549.
_Beccafumi_: a distinguished painter of the Siena school, who lived at the
beginning of the sixteenth century. v. 3, _Sopra sotto_, topsy-turvy. v.
5, _Quiesco_, I rest; "_priest armed with bell, book, and candle_": in the
major excommunication the bell is rung, the sentence read from the book,
and the lighted candle extinguished. v. 6, _frescanti_, painters in
fresco. v. 8, _Boanerges_: sons of Thunder--an appellation given by Jesus
Christ to His disciples James and John. v. 9, _Juvenal_: the celebrated
Roman satirist; flourished at Rome in the latter half of the first
century. He severely chastised the follies and vices of his times. He was
particularly outspoken concerning the licentiousness of the Roman ladies.
"_Quæ nemo dixisset in toto, nisi (ædepol) ore illoto_": which things no
one would have spoken about fully, unless (by Gad) he had a dirty mouth.
(Juvenal's satires about the Roman ladies are inconceivably filthy, and if
the things were true it was ill to speak of them in this manner. St. Paul
was equally severe, but adopted another method.) _Apage_: away! begone! v.
11, "_non verbis sed factis_": not by words but by deeds. v. 12, "_fetch
grain out of Sicily_": Sicily has always been famous for its wheat. Even
at the present day the best wheat for making Naples macaroni comes from
this beautiful island, and the people take in return the inferior wheat of
Italy. Sicily was in ancient times sacred to Ceres, the goddess of the
corn-lands. v. 13, "_Freed Ones_," "_Bardotti_": a revolutionary club so
called, which was broken up by the authorities in 1535. Pacchia and
Pacchiarotto both seem to have had some connection with it; _bailiwick_:
the precincts in which a bailiff has jurisdiction. v. 15, "_kai tà
loipa_," Και τα λειπομενα == and so forth; _kappas, taus, lambdas_
(κ.τ.λ.): the initial letters of the above Greek words, commonly used in
learned books. v. 16, "_per ignes incedis_": thou art treading upon fires.
Not quite correctly quoted, as to the order of the words, from Horace
(_Od._ II. i. 6), "Et incedis per ignes, suppositos cineri doloso." v. 17,
_St. John's Observance_: "The Italians call the Franciscans _Osservanti_,
in France _Pères ou Frères de l'Observance_, because they observed the
original rule as laid down by St. Francis, went barefoot, and professed
absolute poverty. This order became very popular" (Mrs. Jameson's
_Monastic Orders_). v. 18, "_haud in posse sed esse mens_": mind as it is,
not as it might be. v. 21, _thill-horse_, a thiller horse, a horse which
goes between the shafts, or thills. v. 22, _imposthume_, an abscess or
boil. v. 23, "_sæculorum in sæcula!_" for ever and ever; _Benedicite_:
Bless ye! May you be blessed. v. 27, _aubade_ [Fr.], open-air music
performed at daybreak before the window of the person whom it is intended
to honour. v. 27, _skoramis_, a vessel of dishonour. v. 28, _karterotaton
belos_, the strongest dart (see Pindar's 1st Olympic Ode). "_which Pindar
declares the true melos_" == mode. _ad hoc_, hitherto. _os frontis_, the
forehead. "_hebdome, hieron emar_," the seventh, the holy day. "_tei gar
Apollona chrusaora, egeinato Leto_": on which the golden-sworded Apollo
was born of Latona.

=Painting Poems.= The _great poems_ of this class are _Andrea del Sarto_,
_Pictor Ignotus_, and _Fra Lippo Lippi_. (Vasari's _Lives of the Painters_
should be read in connection with the poems which deal with the Italian
artists.)

=Palma.= The heroine of _Sordello_. She was the daughter of Eccelino, the
Ghibelline, by Agnes Este. The historical personage represented by
Browning's Palma was Cunizza.

=Pambo.= (_Jocoseria_, 1883.) The poem is based upon a passage in the
_Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus_, Lib. iv., cap. xviii.,
"concerning Ammon the Monk, and divers religious men inhabiting the
Desert." In the time of St. Antony, in the Nitrian desert, A.D. 373, there
was a monk named "Pambo, a simple and an unlearned man, who came unto his
friend to learn a Psalm; and hearing the first verse of the thirty-ninth
Psalm, which is there read: 'I said, I will take heed unto my ways, that I
offend not with my tongue'--would not hear the second, but went away
saying, 'This one verse is enough for me, if I learn it as I ought to do.'
And when his teacher blamed him for absenting himself a whole six months,
he answered for himself that he had not well learned the first verse. Many
years after that, when one of his acquaintances demanded of him whether he
had learned the verse, he said again, that in nineteen years he had scarce
learned in life to fulfil that one line." His life is taken from
Palladius, in Lausiac and Rufin. _Hist. Patr. Sozomen._ Alban Butler, in
his _Lives of the Saints_, under the date September 6th, gives the
following interesting account of the character, whose history was
apparently only partially known by Mr. Browning, as in the second verse of
the poem he says he does not know who he was:--"St. Pambo betook himself
in his youth to the great St. Antony in the desert, and, desiring to be
admitted among his disciples, begged he would give him some lessons for
his conduct. The great patriarch of the ancient monks told him he must
take care always to live in a state of penance and compunction for his
sins, must perfectly divest himself of all self-conceit, and never place
the least confidence in himself or in his own righteousness; must watch
continually over himself, and study to act in everything in such a manner
as to have no occasion afterward to repent of what he had done; and that
he must labour to put a restraint upon his tongue and his appetite. The
disciple set himself earnestly to learn the practice of all these lessons.
The mortification of gluttony was usually laid down by the fathers as one
of the first steps towards bringing the senses and the passions into
subjection: this, consisting in something exterior and sensible, its
practice is more obvious, yet of great importance towards the reduction of
all the sensual appetites of the mind, whose revolt was begun by the
intemperance and disobedience of our first parents. Fasting is also, by
the Divine appointment, a duty of the exterior part of our penance. What a
reproach are the austere lives which so many saints have led to those
slothful and sensual Christians whose god is the belly, and who walk
enemies to the Cross of Christ, or who have not courage, at least by
frequent self-denials, to curb this appetite! No man can govern himself
who is a slave to this base gratification of sense. St. Pambo excelled
most other ancient monks in the austerity of his continual fasts. The
government of his tongue was no less an object of his watchfulness than
that of his appetite. A certain religious brother to whom he had applied
for advice began to recite to him the thirty-ninth psalm: 'I said, I will
take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue.' Which words Pambo
had no sooner heard, but, without waiting for the second verse, he
returned to his cell, saying that was enough for one lesson, and that he
would go and study to put it in practice. This he did by keeping almost
perpetual silence, and by weighing well, when it was necessary to speak,
every word before he gave any answer. He often took several days to
recommend consultations to God, and to consider what answer he should give
to those who addressed themselves to him. By his perpetual attention not
to offend in his words, he arrived at so great a perfection in this
particular that he was thought to have equalled, if not to have excelled,
St. Antony himself; and his answers were seasoned with so much wisdom and
spiritual prudence that they were received by all as if they had been
oracles dictated by heaven. Abbot Poemen said of our saint: 'Three
exterior practices are remarkable in Abbot Pambo: his fasting every day
till evening, his silence, and his great diligence in manual labour.' St.
Antony inculcated to all his disciples the obligation of assiduity in
constant manual labour in a solitary life, both as a part of penance and a
necessary means to expel sloth and entertain the vigour of the mind in
spiritual exercises. This lesson was confirmed to him by his own
experience, and by a heavenly vision related in the Lives of the Fathers
as follows: 'Abbot Antony, as he was sitting in the wilderness, fell into
a grievous temptation of spiritual darkness; and he said to God: "Lord, I
desire to be saved; but my thoughts are a hindrance to me. What shall I do
in my present affliction? How shall I be saved?" Soon after he rose up,
and, going out of his cell, saw a man sitting and working, then rising
from his work to pray; afterward sitting down again and twisting his cord,
after this rising to pray. He understood this to be an angel sent by God
to teach him what he was to do, and he heard the angel say to him: "Do so,
and thou shalt be saved." Hereat the Abbot was filled with joy and
confidence, and by this means he cheerfully persevered to the end.' St.
Pambo most rigorously observed this rule, and feared to lose one moment of
his precious time. Out of love of humiliations, and a fear of the danger
of vain-glory and pride, he made it his earnest prayer for three years
that God would not give him glory before men, but rather contempt.
Nevertheless God glorified him in this life, but made him by His grace to
learn more perfectly to humble himself amidst applause. The eminent grace
which replenished his soul showed itself in his exterior by a certain air
of majesty, and a kind of light which shone on his countenance, like what
we read of Moses, so that a person could not look steadfastly on his face.
St. Antony, who admired the purity of his soul and his mastery over his
passions, used to say that his fear of God had moved the Divine Spirit to
take up His resting-place in him. St. Pambo, after he left St. Antony,
settled in the desert of Nitria, on a mountain, where he had a monastery.
But he lived some time in the wilderness of the Cells, where Rufinus says
he went to receive his blessing in the year 374. St. Melania the Elder, in
the visit she made to the holy solitaries who inhabited the deserts of
Egypt, coming to St. Pambo's monastery on Mount Nitria, found the holy
abbot sitting at his work, making mats. She gave him three hundred pounds
weight of silver, desiring him to accept that part of her store for the
necessities of the poor among the brethren. St. Pambo, without
interrupting his work, or looking at her or her present, said to her that
God would reward her charity. Then, turning to his disciple, he bade him
take the silver and distribute it among all the brethren in Lybia and the
isles who were most needy, but charged him to give nothing to those of
Egypt, that country being rich and plentiful. Melania continued some time
standing, and at length said: 'Father, do you know that here is three
hundred pounds weight of silver?' The Abbot, without casting his eye upon
the chest of silver, replied: 'Daughter, He to whom you made this offering
very well knows how much it weighs without being told. If you give it to
God, who did not despise the widow's two mites, and even preferred them to
the great presents of the rich, say no more about it.' This Melania
herself related to Palladius. St. Athanasius once desired St. Pambo to
come out of the desert to Alexandria, to confound the Arians by giving
testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ. Our saint, seeing in that city
an actress dressed up for the stage, wept bitterly; and being asked the
reason of his tears, said he wept for the sinful condition of that unhappy
woman, also for his own sloth in the Divine service, because he did not
take so much pains to please God as she did to ensnare men. When Abbot
Theodore begged of St. Pambo some words of instruction: 'Go,' said he,
'and exercise mercy and charity toward all men. Mercy finds confidence
before God.' To the priest of Nitria who asked him how the brethren ought
to live, he said: 'They must live in constant labour and the exercise of
all virtues, watching to preserve their conscience free from stain,
especially from giving scandal or offence to any neighbour.' St. Pambo
said, a little before his death: 'From the time that I came into this
desert, and built myself a cell in it, I do not remember that I have ever
ate any bread but what I had earned by my own labour, nor that I ever
spoke any word of which I afterward repented. Nevertheless, I go to God as
one who has not yet begun to serve Him.' He died seventy years old,
without any sickness, pain, or agony, as he was making a basket, which he
bequeathed to Palladius, who was at that time his disciple, the holy man
having nothing else to give him. Melania took care of his burial, and
having obtained this basket, kept it to her dying day. St. Pambo is
commemorated by the Greeks on several days. It was a usual saying of this
great director of souls in the rules of Christian perfection, 'If you have
a heart, you may be saved.' The extraordinary austerities and solitude of
a St. Antony or a St. Pambo are not suitable to persons engaged in the
world,--they are even inconsistent with their obligations; but all are
capable of disengaging their affections from inordinate passions and
attachment to creatures, and of attaining to a pure and holy love of God,
which may be made the principle of their thoughts and ordinary actions,
and sanctify the whole circle of their lives. Of this all who have a heart
are, through the Divine grace, capable. In whatever circumstances we are
placed, we have opportunities of subduing our passions and subjecting our
senses by frequent denials, of watching over our hearts by
self-examination, of purifying our affections by assiduous recollection
and prayer, and of uniting our souls to God by continual exterior and
interior acts of holy love. Thus may the gentleman, the husbandman, or the
shopkeeper, become an eminent saint, and make the employments of his state
an exercise of all heroic virtues, and so many steps to perfection and to
eternal glory."--Mr. Browning, in the last verse, addresses his critics in
a jocular manner. He owns he is very much like Pambo,--he has spent much
time in _looking to his ways_; yet, as he is so often reminded by his
reviewers and critics, he still feels, he says, that he _offends with his
tongue_!

NOTE.--"_Arcades sumus ambo_": "we are both alike eccentric." From
Vergil's _Eclogues_ (vii.), where Corydon and Thyrsis are described as
_both Arcadians_.

=Pan and Luna.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, Second Series, 1880.) Pan was the god
of shepherds, of huntsmen, and of all the inhabitants of the country. He
was a monster in appearance, had two small horns on his head, his
complexion was ruddy, his nose flat, and his legs, thighs, and feet and
tail, were those of a goat. The god of shepherds lived chiefly in Arcadia,
and he is described by the poets as frequently occupied in deceiving and
entrapping the nymphs of the neighbourhood. Luna was the same as Diana or
Cynthia--names given to the moon. Mr. Browning quotes from Vergil,
_Georgics_, iii., 390, at the head of the poem the words, "Si credere
dignum est" (if we may trust report), the context giving the account
according to Vergil--

    "'Twas thou, with fleeces milky-white, (if we
    May trust report) Pan, god of Arcady,
    Did bribe thee, Cynthia; nor didst thou disdain,
    When called in woody shades, to cure a lover's pain."

The legend was the poetical way of accounting for an eclipse of the moon.
The naked maid-moon flying through the night sought shelter in a fleecy
cloud mass caught on some pine-tree top. "Shamed she plunged into its
shroud," when she was grasped by rough red Pan, the god of all that tract,
who had made a billowy wrappage of wool tufts to simulate a cloud. Vergil
says that Luna was a not unwilling conquest; Mr. Browning does more
justice to the supposed austerity of the goddess of night. It is evident,
however, that the moral of the poem is that she yielded herself to the
love of Pan out of compassion. Pan exalted himself in aspiring to her
austere purity; Luna voluntarily subjected herself to the lower nature out
of sympathy, thus preserving her modesty by sanctifying it with sacrifice.

=Paracelsus.= [THE MAN.] Paracelsus was the son of a physician, William
Bombast von Hohenheim, who taught him the rudiments of alchemy, surgery,
and medicine; he studied philosophy under several learned masters, chief
of whom was Trithemius, of Spanheim, Abbot of Wurzburg, a great adept in
magic, alchemy, and astrology. Under this teacher he acquired a taste for
occult studies, and formed a determination to use them for the welfare of
mankind. He could hardly have studied under a better man in those dark
days. Tritheim himself was well in advance of most of the teachers of his
time; he was of the Theosophists or Mystics, for they are of the same
class, and probably, in their German form, derived their origin from the
labours of Tauler of Strasburg, who afterwards, with "the Friends of God,"
made their headquarters at Basle. The mysticism which is so dear to Mr.
Browning, and which perhaps finds its highest expression in the poem which
we are considering, is not therefore out of place. When he left his home
he went to study in the mines of the Tyrol. There, we are told, he learned
mining and geology, and the use of metals in the practice of medicine. "I
see," he says, "the true use of chemistry is not to make gold, but to
prepare medicines." Paracelsus is rightly termed "the father of modern
chemistry." He discovered the metals zinc and bismuth, hydrogen gas, and
the medical uses of many minerals, the most important of which were
mercury and antimony. He gave to medicine the greatest weapon in her
armoury--the tincture of opium. His celebrated _azoth_ some say was
magnetised electricity, and others that his _magnum opus_ was the science
of fire. He acted as army surgeon to several princes in Italy, Belgium,
and Denmark. He travelled in Portugal and Sweden, and came to England;
going thence to Transylvania, he was carried prisoner to Tartary, visiting
the famous colleges of Samarcand, and went thence with the son of the Khan
on an embassy to Constantinople. All this time he had no books. His only
book was Nature; he interrogated her at first-hand. He mixed with the
common people, and drank with boors, shepherds, Jews, gipsies, and tramps,
so gaining scraps of knowledge wherever he could, and giving colourable
cause to his enemies to say he was nothing but a drunken vagabond fond of
low company. He would rather learn medicine and surgery from an old
country nurse than from a university lecturer, and was denounced
accordingly and--naturally. If there was one thing he detested more than
another, it was the principle of authority. He bent his head to no man.
Paracelsus, as we find him in his works, was full of love for humanity,
and it is much more probable that he learned his lessons while travelling,
and mixing amongst the poor and wretched, and while a prisoner in
Tartary, where he doubtless imbibed much Buddhist and occult lore from the
philosophers of Samarcand, than that anything like the Constantinople
drama was enacted. Be this as it may, we have abundant evidence in the
many extant works of Paracelsus that he was thoroughly imbued with the
spirit and doctrines of the Eastern occultism, and was full of love for
humanity. A quotation from his _De Fundamento Sapientiæ_ must suffice: "He
who foolishly believes is foolish; without knowledge there can be no
faith. God does not desire that we should remain in darkness and
ignorance. We should be all recipients of the Divine wisdom. We can learn
to know God only by becoming wise. To become like God we must become
attracted to God, and the power that attracts us is love. Love to God will
be kindled in our hearts by an ardent love for humanity, and a love for
humanity will be caused by a love to God." In the year 1525 Paracelsus
went to Basle, where he was fortunate in curing Froben, the great printer,
by his laudanum, when he had the gout. Froben was the friend of Erasmus,
who was associated with Œcolampadius; and soon after, upon the
recommendation of Œcolampadius, he was appointed by the city magnates a
professor of physics, medicine and surgery, with a considerable salary; at
the same time they made him city physician, to the duties of which office
he requested might be added inspector of drug shops. This examination made
the druggists his bitterest enemies, as he detected their fraudulent
practices: they combined to set the other doctors of the city against him,
and as these were exceedingly jealous of his skill and success, poor
Paracelsus found himself in a hornet's nest. We find him then at Basle
University in 1526, the earliest teacher of science on record. He has
become famous as a physician, the medicines which he has discovered he has
successfully used in his practice; he was now in the eyes of his patients
at least,

    "The wondrous Paracelsus, life's dispenser,
    Fate's commissary, idol of the schools and courts."

In 1528 we find him at Colmar, in Alsatia. He has been driven by the
priests and doctors from Basle. He had been called to the bedside of some
rich cleric who was ill; he cured him, but so speedily that his fee was
refused. Though not at all a mercenary man (for he always gave the poor
his services gratuitously) he sued the priest, but the judge refused to
interfere, and Paracelsus used strong language to him, and had to fly to
escape punishment. The closing scene of the drama is laid in a cell in the
hospital of Salzburg. It is the year 1541, his age but forty-eight, and
the divine martyr of science lies dying. Recent investigations in
contemporary records have proved that he had been attacked by the servants
of certain physicians who were his jealous enemies, and that in
consequence of a fall he sustained a fracture of the skull, which proved
fatal in a few days. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Sebastian at
Salzburg, but in 1752 his bones were removed to the porch of the church,
and a monument was erected to his memory by the archbishop. When his body
was exhumed it was discovered that his skull had been fractured during
life. Writers on magic, of whom Dr. Hartmann is one, describe _azoth_ as
being "the creative principle in Nature; the universal panacea or
spiritual life-giving air--in its lowest aspects, ozone, oxygen, etc."
Much ridicule has been cast upon Paracelsus for his belief in the
possibility of generating homunculi; but after all he may only mean that
chemistry will succeed in bridging the gulf between the living and the
not-living by the production of organic bodies from inorganic substances.
Paracelsus held that the constitution of man consists of seven principles:
(1) The elementary body; (2) The archæus (vital force); (3) The sidereal
body; (4) The animal soul; (5) The rational soul; (6) The spiritual soul;
(7) The man of the new Olympus (the personal God). Those who are familiar
with Indian philosophy will recognise this anthropology as identical with
its own. Paracelsus, in his _De Natura Rerum_, says, "The external man is
not the real man, but the real man is the soul in connection with the
Divine Spirit." We understand now what Mr. Browning means when he says
that "knowing is opening the way to let the imprisoned splendour escape."
His idea that all Nature was living, and that there is nothing which has
not a soul hidden within it--a hidden principle of life--led him to the
conclusion that, in place of the filthy concoctions and hideous messes
that were in vogue with the doctors of his time, it was possible to give
tinctures and quintessences of drugs, such as we now call active
principles,--in a word, that it is more reasonable and pleasant to take a
grain or two of quinine than a tablespoonful of timber. He set himself to
study the causes and the symptoms of disease, and sought a remedy in
common-sense methods. Mr. Browning is right when he makes him say he had a
"wolfish hunger after knowledge"; and surely there never lived a man whose
aim was to devote its fruits to the service of humanity more than his.
There are many hints in his works that he knew a great deal more than he
cared to make known. Take this example. He said: "Every peasant has seen a
magnet will attract iron. I have discovered that the magnet, besides this
visible power, has another and a concealed power." Again: "A magnet may be
prepared out of some vital substance that will attract vitality." Mesmer,
who lived nearly three hundred years after him, reaped the glory of a
discovery made, as Lessing says, by the martyred fire-philosopher who died
in Salzburg hospital. "Matter is the visible body of the invisible God,"
says Paracelsus. Matter to him was not dead. "Matter is, so to say,
coagulated vapour, and is connected with spirit by an intermediate
principle which it receives from the spirit." We cannot understand
Paracelsus and the science of his time without a little inquiry as to what
was meant by the search for the philosopher's stone, the elixir of life,
and the universal medicine. It is very difficult to discern what was
really intended by these phrases. Dr. Anna Kingsford, who paid
considerable attention to the hermetic philosophy, says: "These are but
terms to denote pure spirit and its essential correlative, a will
absolutely firm, and inaccessible alike to weakness from within and
assault from without." Another writer ingeniously tries to explain the
universal solvent as really nothing but pure water, which has the property
of more or less dissolving all the elements. His _alcahest_--as he termed
it--as far as I can make out was nothing more than a preparation of lime;
but writers of this school only desired to be understood by the initiated,
and probably the words actually used meant something quite different.
There was a reason for using an incomprehensible style for fear of the
persecutions of the Church, and these books, like the rolls in Ezekiel,
were "written within and without." Many great truths, we know, were
enshrouded in symbolic names and fanciful metaphors. It is certain that
Paracelsus, like his predecessors, sought to possess the elixir of life.
It does not appear from his writings that he thought it possible to
render the physical body immortal; but he held it to be the duty--as the
medical profession holds it still--of the physician to preserve life as
long as possible. A great deal of matter attributed to Paracelsus on this
subject is spurious, but there are some of his authentic writings which
are very curious and entertaining. He describes the process of making the
_Primum Ens Melissæ_, which after all turns out to be nothing but an
alkaline tincture of the leaves of the common British plant known as the
Balm or _Melissa officinalis_. Some very amusing stories are told of the
virtues of this concoction by Lesebure, a physician to Louis XIV., and
which speak volumes for the credulity of the doctors of those times.
Another of his great secrets was his _Primum Ens Sanguinis_. This is
extremely simple, being nothing more than the venous injection of blood
from the arm of "a healthy young person." In this we see that he
anticipated our modern operation of transfusion. His doctrine of
signatures was very curious and most absurd. He thought that "each plant
was in a sympathetic relation with the Macrocosm and consequently with the
Microcosm." "This signature," he says, "is often expressed even in the
exterior forms of things." So he prescribed the plant we call euphrasy or
"eye bright" for complaints of the eyes, because of the likeness to an eye
in the flower; small-pox was treated with mulberries because their colour
showed that they were proper for diseases of the blood. This sort of thing
still lingers in country domestic medicine. _Pulmonaria officinalis_ or
Lungwort, so called from its spotted leaves looking like diseased lungs,
has long been used for chest complaints. (See my "Paracelsus the Reformer
of Medicine" in _Browning's Message to his Time_.)

=Paracelsus.= [THE POEM, 1835.] PARACELSUS ASPIRES: BOOK I. (_Würzburg_,
1512.) Paracelsus the student is talking with his friends Festus and
Michal on the eve of his departure to seek knowledge of the deeper sort,
that cannot be learned from books,--in the great world of men. It is a
time to arouse young men. The dark night of ignorance yields to the rising
sun of learning, for the art of printing and the glories of the Revival of
Learning have liberated the minds of men. Authority no longer suffices:
the men of Germany will see for themselves. So Paracelsus, pupil of the
learned Abbot Trithemius, resolves to forsake the monastery cell and the
ancient books, and go out to seek for himself knowledge in the byways of
the world. His friends are timid. They mistrust his method; they call him
proud and too self-confident, advise him to stick to the beaten ways of
learning, nor venture into the tangled forests and pathless deserts which
God has evidently closed against man's rash intrusion. Paracelsus, on the
contrary, feels that he has a great commission from God: he dare not
subdue the vast longings which fill his soul. God's command is laid upon
him, and he must answer to His will. Festus objects that a man must not
presume to serve God save in the appointed channels. God looks to means as
well as ends, and Paracelsus ought not to scorn the ordinary means of
learning. The impatient student suggests that his fierce energy, his
striving instinct, the irresistible force which works within him, are
proofs that he possesses a God-given strength never imparted in vain. He
will abjure the idle arts of magic. New hopes animate him, new light dawns
upon him: he is set apart for a great work. "Then," replies his friend,
"pursue it in an approved retreat; turn not aside from the famed spots
where Learning dwells. Rome and Athens shall teach you; leave seas and
deserts to their desolation." Paracelsus declares his aspiration to be no
less than a passionate yearning to comprehend the works of God, God
Himself, all God's intercourse with the human mind. He goes to prove his
soul. God, who guides the bird in his trackless way, will guide him: he
will arrive in God's good time. His friends think that all this may be but
self-delusion; at least, he is selfish to attempt this work alone. Festus
declares that were he elect for such a task he would encircle himself with
the love of his fellows, and not cut himself off from human weal; for
there is nothing so monstrous in the world as a being not knowing what
love is. Michal, the tender woman friend, urges him to cast his hopes
away--warns him that he is too proud. He will find what he seeks, but will
perish so! Paracelsus protests that he does not lightly give up either the
pleasures of life or the love they praise. Truth, he says, is within
ourselves; knowing consists in opening a way where the splendour
imprisoned within the soul may escape. It comes not from outward things.
He offers, therefore, no defiance to God in desiring to know. Humanity may
beat the angels; yet, if once man rises to his true stature, Festus
believes, and so does Michal, that Paracelsus will succeed. He plunges
for the pearl; they wait his rise.

PARACELSUS ATTAINS: BOOK II. The scene is laid in a Greek conjuror's house
at Constantinople, 1521. Paracelsus is mentally taking stock of his
attainments--what gained, what lost. He has made discoveries, but the
produce of his toil is fragmentary--a confused mass of fact and fancy. He
can keep on the stretch no longer: he will learn by magic what he has
failed to learn by labour. His overwrought brain demands rest; even in
failure he will have rest. True, he had hoped for attainment once, but
that is past. His heart was human once. He had loving friends in Würzburg;
but love has gone, and his life's one idea has absorbed him, to obtain at
all costs his reward in the lump. God may take pleasure in confounding
such pride. He may have been fighting sleep off for death's sake. Is his
mind stricken? He believes that God would warn him before He struck. And
now from within he hears a voice. It is that of Aprile, the spirit of a
departed poet, who has aspired to love beauty only. As Paracelsus has
sought knowledge alone, Aprile would love infinitely all forms of art and
all the delights of Nature. Paracelsus demands he should do obeisance to
him, the Knower. Aprile refuses to acknowledge the kingship of one who
knows nothing of the loveliness of life. Paracelsus now sees the error
into which both have fallen. He has excluded love, as Aprile has excluded
knowledge. They are two halves of one dissevered world. Paracelsus,
learning now wherein lies his defect, feels that he has attained.

PARACELSUS: BOOK III. At Basle, 1526. Paracelsus meets his friend Festus,
who has come to the famous university town to see the wondrous physician,
whom they call "life's dispenser, idol of the courts and schools." He has
heard him lecture from his Professor's chair; has seen the benches
thronged with eager students; has gathered from their approving murmurs
full corroboration of his hopes: his pupils worship him. Paracelsus admits
his outward success, but confides to his friend that he is indeed most
miserable at heart. The hopes which fed his youth have not been realised.
He aspired to know God: he has attained--a professorship at Basle! He has
wrought certain cures by means of drugs whose uses he has discovered; he
has a pile of diplomas and licences; he has received (what he values most)
a generous acknowledgment of his merit from Erasmus; and he has a crowded
class-room, and, in place of his high aims, there have sprung up in his
soul like fungi at the roots of a noble tree, a host of petty, vile
delights. As for his eager following, mere novelty and ignorant amazement,
coupled with innate dulness and the opposition to the regular system of
the schools, will account for it. Seeing all this, and feeling that the
work to which he has addressed himself is too hard for him, he has sunk in
his own esteem, fallen from his ambition, and has become brutal,
half-stupid and half-mad. He feels that he precedes his age in his
contempt and scorn for all who worked before him on the same path. He has
in public burned the books of Aetius, Oribasius, Galen, Rhasis, Serapion,
Avicenna, and Averroes.

PARACELSUS ASPIRES. BOOK IV. The scene is at Colmar, in Alsatia, at an
inn, 1528. Yet once more Paracelsus aspires. He has sent for his friend
Festus to tell him that he is exposed to the world as a quack, that he is
cast off by those who erstwhile worshipped him, and denounced by those
whom he has served. He has saved the life of a church dignitary, who not
only refused afterwards to pay his fee, but made Basle impossible for him.
His pupils grew tired of him when he attempted to teach them and gave up
amusing them. The faculty drew off from him when their old methods were
interfered with; and so he turned his back on the university. And once
more the philosopher has started on his travels, seeking to know with all
the enthusiasm of his youth--with the old aims, but not by the same means.
No longer the lean ascetic, debarring his soul of her rightful pleasures;
but embracing all the joys of life, and combining pleasure with knowledge.
This is to be his new method. His appetites, he must own, are
degraded--his joys impure. Festus warns him that the base pleasures which
have superseded his nobler aims will never content him. Paracelsus
declares he lives to enjoy all he can and to know all he can. He has cast
off his remorseless care, is hardened in his fault; and as he sings the
song of--

            "The men who proudly clung
    To their first fault, and perished in their pride,"

his friend Festus, alarmed at this impiety, urges him to renounce the
past, to wait death's summons amid holy sights, and return with him to
Einsiedeln. Paracelsus declares this to be impossible: his baser life
forbids; a sneering devil is within him; he is weary; the wine-cup, in
which he has long tried to drown his disappointment, fails him now; he can
hardly sink deeper. Festus attempts to comfort and advise: he too has felt
sorrow: sweet Michal is dead. This rouses Paracelsus to endeavour on his
part to comfort Festus by declaring his faith in the soul's immortality.

PARACELSUS ATTAINS. BOOK V. In a cell in the hospital of Salzburg, in
1541, Paracelsus lies dying. His faithful friend is by his side, watching
through the weary night; and as he watches the patient, he prays for the
tortured champion of man. He has sinned, but surely he has sought God's
praise. Had God granted him success, it must have been to His honour. Say
he erred, God fashioned him and knew how he was made. Festus could have
sat quietly at the feet of God. He could never have erred in this great
way. God is not made like us. It will be like Him to save him! Now
Paracelsus awakes; his failing strength struggles like the flame of an
expiring taper. At first, in half-delirious phrases, he tells of the
hissing and contempt which struck at his heart at Basle--the measureless
scorn heaped on him, as they called him quack and cheat and liar. And now
he cries that human love is gone; he dreams of Aprile; he calls on God for
one hour of strength to set his heart on Him and love. And then, with a
clearer consciousness, he recognises Festus, who tells him that God will
take him to His breast, and on earth splendour shall rest upon his name
for ever,--the name of the master-mind, the thinker, the explorer. He
sings of the gliding Mayne they knew so well; and the simple words loose
the dying man's heart, for he knows he is dying, and his varied life
drifts by him. There is time yet to speak; but he will rise and speak
standing, as becomes a teacher of men. He has sinned, he feels his need
for mercy, and he can trust God. It was meant to be with him as had fallen
out. His fevered thirst for knowledge was born in him. He has learned so
much of God: His joy in creation; His intentions with regard to man. His
final work the product of the world's remotest ages; its æons of
preparation; the love mingling with everything that tended towards the
highest work of creation; the progress which is the law of life. The
tendency to God he can descry even in man's present imperfection. He sees
now where his error lay: how he overlooked the good in man; how he had
failed to note the good in evil, and to detect the love beneath the mask
of hate; how he had denied the half-reasons, the faint aspirings, the
struggles for truth; the littleness in man, despite his errors; the upward
tendency in all his weakness. All this he knew not, and he failed. Yet if
he

                          "Stoop
    Into a dark, tremendous sea of cloud,
    It is but for a time."

He "shall emerge one day." And so he sinks to rest. And this is Browning's
_Paracelsus_.

It is in _Paracelsus_ (the work that posterity will probably estimate as
Browning's greatest) that we must look for the strongest proof of his
sympathy with man's desire to know and bend the forces of Nature to his
service. To some students this magnificent work will appear only the
string of pearls and precious stones that some of us consider _Sordello_
to be. To others it is a drama illustrating the contending forces of love
and knowledge; others, again, find in it only an elaborate discussion on
the Aristotelian and Platonic systems of philosophy. It is none of these
alone: rather, if a single sentence could describe it, it is the Epic of
the Healer, not of the hero who stole from heaven a jealously-guarded
fire, but of him who won from heaven what was waiting for a worthy
recipient to take and help us to. In so far as _Paracelsus_ came short, it
was deficiency of love that hindered him; of his striving after knowledge,
and what he won for man, the epic tells in words and music that, to me at
least, have no equal in the whole range of literature. It is most
remarkable that long before the scientific men of our time had given
Paracelsus credit for the noble work he did for mankind, and the lasting
boon many of his discoveries conferred upon the race, Mr. Browning, in
this wonderful poem, recognised both his labours and their results at
their true value, and raising his reputation at this late hour from the
infamy with which his enemies and biographers had covered it, set him in
his proper place amongst the heroes and martyrs of science. We owe the
poet a debt of gratitude for this rehabilitation. No man could have
written this transcendent poem who had less than Browning's power of
thrusting aside the accidents and accretions of a character, and getting
at the naked germ from which springs the life of the real man. That no
follower of medicine, no chemist, no disciple of science, did this for
Paracelsus is, in the splendid light of Mr. Browning's research and
penetration, a remarkable instance of the fact that the unjust verdicts of
a time and a class need to be reversed in a clearer atmosphere, and in
freedom from class prejudices not often accorded to contemporary
biographers. A poet alone could never have done us this service; and a
single attentive perusal of this work is enough to show that the intimate
blending of the scientific with the poetic faculty could alone have
effected the restoration. How lovingly the poet has taken this
world-benefactor's remains from the ditch into which his profession had
cast them, and laid them in his own beautiful sepulchre, gemmed,
chiselled, and arabesqued by all the lovely imagery of his fancy, no
reader of Browning's _Paracelsus_ needs to be told.

[For a complete study of the life and work of Paracelsus, and Mr.
Browning's poem thereon, see the chapter "Paracelsus, the Reformer of
Medicine," in my _Browning's Message to his Time_ (Sonnenschein).]

NOTES TO BOOK I.--_Würzburg_ is one of the most ancient and historically
important towns of Germany. Its bishops were made dukes of Franconia in
1120. Its university was founded in 1582. _Trithemius_ of Spanheim was
abbot of Würzburg, and was a great astrologer and alchemist. _Einsiedeln_,
in Canton Schwyz, Switzerland, is a noted place of pilgrimage on the
Alpbach, thirty miles from Zurich, under the Herrenberg, with an abbey
founded in 861, containing a black statue of the Virgin. Immense
quantities of missals, rosaries, etc., are produced there. Zwingle was a
priest here 1515-19; and not far from the town is the house where
Paracelsus was born. Population now about 7650. _Gier-eagle_: supposed to
be a small vulture (Lev. xi. 18). _Black arts_: Black magic == sorcery, as
opposed to white magic == science. _The Stagirite_: Aristotle, who was
born at Stagira, in Macedon.

NOTES TO BOOK II.--_Constantinople_, the city of the East where many
astrologers practised their art. "_A Turk verse along a scimitar_": the
Arabs use verses of the Koran in the decoration of their walls, pottery,
arms, etc. The Alhambra at Granada is profusely decorated in this way. The
Arabic, Persian, and Turkish letters lend themselves admirably to
ornamental purposes. _Arch-genethliac_: a _genethliac_ is a calculator of
nativities--an astrologer.

NOTES TO BOOK III.--_Pansies_: if these flowers were, as is said,
favourites with Paracelsus, the choice was appropriate. _Pensées_ for "the
thinker, the explorer," and "heartsease" for the anxious and overworked
man. _Rhasis_, or _Rhazes_, was a distinguished physician of Bagdad
(925-6). _Basil_ == Basel, Basle. _Œcolampadius_, a Reformer of Basle,
friend of Erasmus. _Castellanus_ was Pierre Duchatel, a French prelate.
When at Basle, Erasmus procured him employment as a corrector of the press
with Frobenius. He was bishop of Tulle in 1539, of Maçon in 1544, and in
1551 of Orleans. He was a tolerant man in an intolerant age. _Munsterus_,
a Christian Socialist, connected with the Peasants' War; executed 1525.
_Frobenius_, the friend of Erasmus, cured by Paracelsus. He was a famous
printer at Basle. _Rear mice_: probably a device in the arms on the gate.
_Lachen_, a village of 1200 inhabitants, on the margin of the lake of
Zurich. The holy hermit Meinrad, the founder of Einsiedeln, originally
lived on the top of the Etzel, near here. "_Cross-grained devil in my
sword_": the long sword of Paracelsus is famous:--

    "Bumbastus kept a devil's bird
    Shut in the pummel of his sword,
    That taught him all the cunning pranks
    Of past and future mountebanks."
                          (HUDIBRAS, Part II., Cant. 3.)

Naudæus (in his "History of Magic") observes of this familiar spirit,
"that though the alchymists maintain that it was the secret of the
philosopher's stone, yet it were more rational to believe that, if there
was anything in it, it was certainly two or three doses of his laudanum,
which he never went without, because he did strange things with it, and
used it as a medicine to cure almost all diseases." "_Sudary of the
Virgin_": a handkerchief, a relic of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
_Suffumigation_, a medical fumigation, such as was used by Hippocrates.
_Erasmus_ was born at Rotterdam in 1466. The home of his old age was
Basel, to which place he was attracted by the fame of the printing press
of Frobenius. Here he made the acquaintance of Zwingle and Holbein, and
other men full of the desire for learning. "_Ape at the bed's foot_":
patients who suffer from delirium frequently see apes, rats, cats, and
other animals and figures, mocking them at the foot of the bed. "_Spain's
cork-groves_": cork is the bark of the cork-oak (_Quercus suber_). It
grows in Spain, and is most abundant in Catalonia and Valencia.
"_Præclare! Optime!_" == Bravo! well done! "_I precede my age_": it has
only recently been discovered how much our modern science owes to the
labours and researches of Paracelsus. _Aëtius_ was an Arian doctor, who
was very skilful in medical disputation. He died at Constantinople in 367.
_Oribasius_ was the court physician of Julian the Apostate (326-403).
_Galen_ was a great anatomist and a physiological physician. _Rhasis_ (see
note, p. 324). _Serapion_, an Alexandrian physician, "a great name in
antiquity." _Avicenna_, an Arabian philosopher and physician, born about
A.D. 980, who presented to his countrymen the doctrines of Galen blended
with those of Aristotle. _Averröes_, an Arabian philosopher and physician,
born at Cordova in 1126, the interpreter of the Aristotelian philosophy to
the Mohammedans. _Zuinglius_ == Zwingle the Reformer, of Zurich.
_Carolstadius_, or _Carlstadt_, one of the first Reformers. He was
professor of divinity at Wittemberg, and early joined Luther in the new
religion. He became the leader of the fanatical sect of iconoclasts at
Wittemberg, and excited them to excesses. He was banished, and died at
Basle in 1541. _Suabia_, the name of an ancient duchy in the south-west
part of Germany. _Oporinus_: lived two years in close intimacy with
Paracelsus as his secretary, and has been suspected of defaming his
memory. "_Sic itur ad astra_": such is the way to immortality.
_Liechtenfels_, a canon who was cured by Paracelsus when he was in danger
of death, and refused afterwards to pay the stipulated fee.

NOTES TO BOOK IV.--"_Quid multa?_" why say more? _Cassia_, an inferior
kind of cinnamon. "_Sandal-buds_": the sandal is a low tree, like a
privet, and has a great fragrance. "_Stripes of labdanum_" or _ladanum_: a
fragrant, resinous exudation from the plants _Cystus creticus_ and _Cystus
ladaniferus_. _Aloes_: the fragrant resin of the _agalloch_ or _lign-aloe_
of Scripture. _Nard_ == spikenard; very fragrant. "_Sweetness from
Egyptian shroud_": the faint odour from the spices used to embalm the
mummy. "_Fiat experientia corpore vili_," or _fiat experimentum in corpore
vili_: Let the experiment be made on a body of no value (a hospital
patient, _e.g._!)

NOTES TO BOOK V.--_Salzburg_: the beautifully situated old city of
Austria, eighty-seven miles S.E. of Munich. "_Jove and the Titans_": the
Titans were the sons of Saturn, who made war against Jupiter; and though
they were of gigantic size, they were subdued. _Phæton_, the son of
Phœbus and Clymene, who requested his father to give him leave to drive
his chariot. The rash youth was unable to bear the light and heat, and
dropped the reins. To prevent a general conflagration Jupiter struck him
with thunder, and he dropped into the river Eridanus. _Galen of Pergamos_:
an eminent physician of the time of Trajan. _Persic Zoroaster_ "was one of
the greatest teachers of the East, the founder of what was the national
religion of the Perso-Iranian people from the time of the Achæmenidæ to
the close of the Sassanian period." He founded the wisdom of the Magi. The
_Zend-Avesta_ is the great Zoroastrian bible. "_Thus he dwells in all_,"
etc., down to "_Man begins anew a tendency to God_," is a faithful
representation of the teaching of the Kabbalah (see _Encyc. Brit._, vol.
xiii., p. 812, last ed.): "The whole universe, however, was incomplete,
and did not receive its finishing stroke till man was formed, who is the
acme of the creation and the microcosm. 'Man is both the import and the
highest degree of creation, for which reason he was formed on the sixth
day. As soon as man was created everything was complete, including the
upper and nether worlds, for everything is comprised in man. He unites in
himself all forms'" (_Zohar_, iii., 48).

=Parleyings with Certain People of Importance in their Day.= To wit:
Bernard de Mandeville, Daniel Bartoli, Christopher Smart, George Bubb
Dodington, Francis Furini, Gerard de Lairesse, and Charles Avison.
Introduced by A Dialogue between Apollo and the Fates; concluded by
Another between John Fust and his Friends. The title-page stands thus, and
the following dedication is on the next page: "In Memoriam J. Milsand.
Obiit iv. Sept. MDCCCLXXXVI. _Absens absentem auditque videtque._"
Published 1887. M. Milsand was a well-known French critic, and was an
early admirer of Mr. Browning's works. _Sordello_ was dedicated to M.
Milsand in its revised edition. The _Parleyings_ volume is dealt with in a
lucid and sympathetic manner in Mr. Nettleship's _Essays and Thoughts_.

=Parting at Morning.= See MEETING AT NIGHT, to which this poem is the
sequel.

=Patriot, The.= AN OLD STORY. (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Romances_, 1863;
_Dramatic Romances_, 1868.) A patriot who has been the people's idol, and
now, having fallen from his pedestal, is on his way to execution. A year
ago that very day they would have given him the sun from their skies had
he asked it in that city whose air was a mist of joy bells. He strove his
hardest to pluck down that sun to give them, and to-day the year is run
out, and he goes bound, with bleeding forehead from the pelting stones, to
the shambles. But God will repay, and he feels safe with that. It has been
thought that this poem refers to Arnold of Brescia. Mr. Browning
contradicted this.

=Paul Desforges Maillard.= (_Two Poets of Croisic._) He is the second of
the Poets, René Gentilhomme being the first. He competed for a prize at
the French Academy, and was unsuccessful. The poem tells how he made his
name known through his sister's influence.

=Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession= (1832). The first work of the poet,
and his embryonic work, because it contains in their rudiments all the
peculiarities and powers of his genius. He wrote nothing which was not the
legitimate development of the forces which we see in this inchoate work.
It is nebulous, but it is a nebula which has within itself the
potentiality of worlds of thought. Misty and vague as it everywhere seems,
it is influenced by laws which will concentrate its thought into stars and
planets, such as _Paracelsus_, and the _Ring and the Book_. It is
autobiographical, and admits us into the laboratory of the writer's
thought; it is marvellously consistent with the latest utterances of the
poet on the subjects nearest to his heart. High thoughts, which through
the years of a long life will live in royal splendour in his brain, are
born here in travail, as regal things are wont to be. It was a boy's
work,--the poet was only twenty years old when he wrote it,--but a
competent critic could have detected evidence that in the anonymous author
of _Pauline_ a psychological poet had arisen, one who determined to probe
to their depths the mysteries of the human soul. From Mr. Gosse's article
in _The Century Magazine_ we learn that the young poet had produced a
quantity of verses while a mere child, and had planned a number of
soul-studies of a similar character to _Pauline_. He published the poem
anonymously in 1833, when he was twenty years old. It was reprinted in
1867, with the following note: "The first piece in the series (_Pauline_)
I acknowledge and retain with extreme repugnance, indeed purely of
necessity; for not long ago I inspected one, and am certified of the
existence of other transcripts, intended sooner or later to be published
abroad: by forestalling these I can at least correct some misprints (no
syllable is changed), and introduce a boyish work by an exculpatory word.
The thing was my earliest attempt at 'poetry, always dramatic in
principle, and so many utterances of so many imaginary persons, not mine,'
which I have written since according to a scheme less extravagant and
scale less impracticable than were ventured upon in this crude preliminary
sketch--a sketch that, on reviewal, appears not altogether wide of some
hint of the characteristic features of that particular _dramatis persona_
it would fain have reproduced; good draughtsmanship, however, and right
handling were far beyond the artist at that time." With the "good
draughtsmanship" and "right handling" of the work we need not concern
ourselves; what is of paramount importance is the fact that in _Pauline_
we have "the god, though in the germ." If the mature artist was ashamed of
his puerile performance, his disciples have always loved and admired it,
and his deeper students have delighted to trace in its pages the nuclei of
principles which have in his maturer works dowered the world with a
priceless treasure. The poem is a fragment of a confession from a young
man to a young woman whom he loves. It concerns Pauline very little, but
is the revelation of the man as a study of the poet's own naked soul. It
is not a confession of deeds, but of moods and mental attitudes. He who
could unpack his own heart so completely would be likely to reveal the
innermost recesses of the characters with which he should deal in the
future. It is the revelation of a soul all self-centred. A soul's
awakening, a soul in terror at its own capabilities, desires and forces
too hard to be controlled--"made up of an intensest life"--imbued with "a
principle of restlessness which would be all, have, see, know, taste, feel
all"--a soul terrified at its own vast shadow, fearing to face its own
spectres, and instinctively "building up a screen" of woman's love to be
shut in with from a brood of fancies with which he dare not wrestle. Had
he never left her side he had been spared this shame. He is sure of her
love, though ghosts of the past haunt them. He has not the love to offer
which befits her; but he has faith, and he trusts her as we trust the east
for morning light. He has communed with her, but she knew not the shame
which lurked behind his words and smiles, and she drove away despair from
him. He has fallen, is ruined; he has felt in dreams he was a fiend
chained in darkness, till, after ages had passed came a white swan to
remain with him, and it contented him. And again, he had seemed to be a
young witch who drew down a god to sing of heaven, and as he sang he
perished grinning, but murmuring "I am still a god to thee." He has
thought that his early life, his songs and wild imaginings, were the only
worthy things standing out distinct amid the fever of the after years. And
this was his (Shelley's) award. He, the Sun-treader, had drawn out from
his worshipper the one spark of love remaining in his soul, and in his
tears he praises him. He loved Shelley in his shame, and now he is
renowned he watches him as a star, as one altered and worn and full of
tears looks to heaven. He strips his mind bare, has a most clear
consciousness of self, and recognises that of all his powers an
imagination which has been an angel to him is the one which saves his soul
from utter death. He feels a need, a trust, a yearning after God, which
somehow is reconciled with a neglect of all he deemed His laws. He sees
God everywhere, yet can love nothing; has had high dreams and low aims,
and so lost himself. Then he turned to song, he gazed without fear on the
works of mighty bards, for in them he recognised thoughts his own heart
had also borne; then came the outburst of the soul's power, a key to a new
world, a sound as of angelic mutterings. He vowed himself to liberty. Men
should be gods, earth,--heaven. His soul rose to meet the new life. As one
watches for a fair girl that comes forth a withered hag, so all these
high-born fancies dwindled into nothing; faith in man, freedom, virtue,
motives, power, human loves, all vanished. They were not missed, for wit
and mockery and pleasure came in their stead. His powers grew, his soul
became as a temple; only God was gone, and a dark spirit sat in His seat,
and mocking shadows cried "Hail!" to him. He resolved to wear himself out
with joy, then to win men's praise by undying song, and the mockery
laughed out again. Then he met Pauline and knew she loved him; he looked
in his heart for a love to return, and love and faith were gone, and
selfishness wears him as a flame, and hunger for pleasure has become pain.
Then came a craving after knowledge, as a sleepless harpy. He begins now
to know what hate is. Yet with it all he has learned the great truth that
his restless longings, his all encompassing selfishness, only prove that
earth is not his sphere, because he cannot so narrow himself but he
exceeds it. Hateful as his selfishness has grown to be, he can pass from
such thoughts. Andromeda, rock-chained, awaiting the snake, causes you no
fear for her safety: God will come in thunder from the stars to save her,
so he will triumph over his decay; when the calm comes again after the
fever has subsided, he will do something equal to his conjecture. He can
project himself into all forms of Nature, live the life of plants, mount
bird-like, breathe in a fish the morning air in the sun-warm water. He
will build a thought-world; he is inspired. Pauline shall come with him to
the world of fancy through the ghostly night and sun-warmed morning; he is
concentrated, he drinks in the life of all, yet cannot be immortal for all
these struggling aims. What is this passionate hunger for the All--this
insatiable thirst for utmost pleasure? It is man's cry for the satisfying
presence of God in his soul. The alone to the Alone; nothing intervening
can give peace and rest to the spirit of man; flame-like it tends upwards
to its source. The only One, the Crucified, the Risen Christ--"Christus
Consolator" is recognised as the remedy for his sense of infinite loss;
and as he recognises the Divine love he is united with the purest earthly
soul he knows:--"Pauline, I am thine for ever." "Love me, Pauline--leave
me not." And so the hideous past shall be the past, and he will go forward
with her--

    "Feeling God loves us, and that all that errs,
    Is a strange dream which death will dissipate."

Again he will go o'er the tracts of thought, again will beauteous shapes
come to him and unknown secrets be divulged,--priest and lover as of
old--"Shelley, Sun-treader," he cries, "I believe in God, and truth,
love--I would lean on thee." Professor Johnson, in his paper on
"Conscience and Art in Browning," gives the following as the theme of the
poem:--"The Divine call and anointing of the poet, so to speak; his sin,
which consists in a self-divorce; his decline and degradation as he sinks
into the 'dim orb of self'; finally, his redemption and restoration by
Divine love, mediated to him by human love."

NOTES.--"_His award_," "_Him whom all honour_," "_Thou didst smile,
poet_," "_Sun-treader_" (lines 142, 144, 151, 1020): all these refer to
Shelley. "_A god wandering after beauty_" (line 321): Apollo seeking
Daphne. Apollo pursued Daphne, who fled from him, seeking the aid of the
gods, who changed her into a laurel. "_A giant standing vast in the
sunset_" (line 322): Atlas, one of the Titans, is referred to here.

    "_A high-crested chief
    Sailing with troops of friends to Tenedos_" (line 324):

"After the fall of Troy, many of the Greek chiefs, among them Nestor, set
sail for home, while others, at the desire of Agamemnon, remained behind
to sacrifice to Pallas. Those who set sail went to the island of Tenedos,
where they made offerings to the gods" (_Poet Lore_, vol. i., p. 244;
Homer, _Odyssey_, iii.). "_The dim clustered isles in the blue sea_" (line
321): the islands of the Ægean Sea, east of Greece.

    "_Who stood beside the naked swift-footed,
    Who bound my forehead with Proserpine's hair_" (line 334):

the _swift-footed_ was Hermes, the name of Mercury among the Greeks. He
was the messenger of the gods. He was presented by the King of Heaven with
a winged cap, called _petasus_, and with wings for his feet, called
_talaria_. _Proserpine_ was the daughter of Ceres by Jupiter. "_As Arab
birds float sleeping in the wind_" (line 479): this is considered by some
to refer to the pelican, by others to the Birds of Paradise.

                      "_The king
    Treading the purple calmly to his death_" (line 568):

Agamemnon, to whom his loved Cassandra foretells his doom in vain:--

    "Well, sire, I yield me vanquished by thy voice;
    I go, treading on purple, to my house."
                          (Potter's "Agamemnon" of _Æschylus_, 1017.)

"_The boy with his white breast_," etc. (line 574): see Potter's
"Choephoræ" of _Æschylus_, 1073: Orestes avenged his father's death by
assassinating his mother Clytemnestra and the adulterer Ægisthus.
_Andromeda_ (line 656): Andromeda was ordered to be exposed to a
sea-monster, and was tied naked to a rock; but Perseus delivered her,
changed the monster into a rock, and married her. "_The fair pale sister
went to her chill grave_" (line 963): Antigone interred by night the
remains of her brother Polynices against the orders of Creon, who
commanded her to be buried alive. She, however, killed herself before the
sentence could be executed (see "Antigone" of _Sophocles_). The long Latin
preface to _Pauline_ from the _Occult Philosophy_ of Cornelius-Agrippa is
thus englished in Mr. Cooke's _Browning Guide-Book_:--"I doubt not but the
title of our book, by its rarity, may entice very many to the perusal of
it. Among whom many of hostile opinions, with weak minds, many even
malignant and ungrateful, will assail our genius, who in their rash
ignorance, hardly before the title is before their eyes, will make a
clamour. We are forbidden to teach, to scatter abroad the seeds of
philosophy, pious ears being offended, clear-seeing minds having arisen.
I, as a counsellor, assail their consciences; but neither Apollo nor all
the Muses, nor an angel from heaven, would be able to save me from their
execrations, whom now I counsel that they may not read our books, that
they may not understand them, that they may not remember them, for they
are noxious--they are poisonous. The mouth of Acheron is in this book: it
speaks often of stones: beware, lest by these it shape the understanding.
You, also, who with fair wind shall come to the reading, if you will apply
so much of the discernment of prudence as bees in gathering honey, then
read with security. For, indeed, I believe you about to receive many
things not a little both for instruction and enjoyment. But if you find
anything that pleases you not, let it go that you may not use it, for I do
not declare these things good for you, but merely relate them. Therefore,
if any freer word may be, forgive our youth; I, who am less than a youth,
have composed this work." The preface is dated London, January 1833. V.A.
XX. is the Latin abbreviation of _Vixi annos viginti_, I was twenty years
old.

=Pearl, A, a Girl.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) According to Eastern fable there
is a great power in a pearl: if you could speak the right word, you could
call a spirit from the simple-looking stone which would make you lord of
heaven and earth. Be this as it may, the poet says if you utter the right
word, that evokes for you the love of a girl--held, perhaps, in little
esteem by the world--her soul escapes to you, and you are creation's lord!

="Periods" of Browning.= It is usual with students to divide the poet's
work into some four or five periods. Mr. Fotheringham's classification is
as good as any: he makes the periods five.--Period I., "_a time of youth
and prelude_" (1832-1840), the time of _Pauline_, _Paracelsus_, and
_Sordello_. During this time the poet was trying the nature and compass of
his theme and forming his style.--Period II., "_the time of early
manhood_" (1841-1846), the time of the dramas and early dramatic lyrics.
All the dramas except _Strafford_ belong to this time. In this period he
was studying how best to use his poetical powers.--Period III. is "_the
time of maturity_," his manhood and married life (1846-1869). Now he has
found his standpoint; he is firm, vigorous, and confident. During this
time he gave us _Christmas Eve_, _Men and Women_, _Dramatis Personæ_, and
_The Ring and the Book_.--Period IV. is "_the time of his later maturity_"
(1870-1878). Now the casuistic and argumentative element becomes more
prominent; the dramatic aspect retires into the background, the
philosophical teacher advances. "His hardest and least poetic work," it
has been said, was put forth in this period: _Hohenstiel-Schwangau_, _Red
Cotton Night-Cap Country_, etc.--Period V. (1879-1889), "_the time of the
latest works_." A period of criticism of life, as in _Ferishtah_ and the
_Parleyings_.

=Peter Ronsard.= (_The Glove._) He tells the story of Sir De Lorge, and
how he leaped amongst the lions to recover his lady's glove.

=Pheidippides.= (_Dramatic Idyls, First Series_, 1879.) Pheidippides, an
athlete, has been commissioned by the Athenian government to run a
race,--to reach Sparta for military assistance in a great crisis in Greek
history. Persia has invaded Greece: in her extremity she implores help
from the neighbouring Spartans; for two days and two nights Pheidippides
the fleet-footed youth ran over hills and along the dales, as fire runs
through stubble, and so he bounded on his way with his message. He broke
into the midst of the Spartan assembly, told his story, and prayed the
prayer of Athens; but Sparta, ever jealous and mistrustful of her great
neighbour, heard it coldly, and cast about for excuses. Then the
passionate runner cried to the gods of his country--to Pallas Athene,
protector of the city, to Apollo, to Diana--to influence the deliberations
of the council gathered to hear his message, and to say to them "Ye must!"
And no bolt fell from heaven, as they still delayed. At last they gave
their answer,--their religion forbade them to go to war while the moon was
half-orbed in the sky; her circle must be full ere they could assist;
Athens must wait in patience! The youth wasted neither word nor look on
the false and vile Spartans, but turned his face homewards, crying to the
gods of his land; rushing past the woods and streams where they had often
manifested themselves to mortals he reproached them with faithlessness and
ingratitude,--his countrymen had honoured them with sacrifice and
libation, and in their extremity they disregarded their cry for help. All
at once, as he ran by the ridge of Parnassus, there in the cool of a cleft
was seated the majestical god Pan! Grave, kindly were his eyes, his face
amused at the mortal's awe of him. "Halt, Pheidippides!" he cried; and
with his brain in a whirl the youth stood still. "Hither to me! Why pale
in my presence?" he graciously began. "How is it Athens only in Hellas
holds me aloof?" Then the god told the young man how they might trust him;
that he was to bid Athens take heart,--that when the Persians were not
only lying dead on their soil, but cast into the sea, then they were to
praise great Pan, who had fought in their ranks and made one cause with
the free and the bold Athenians. And for a pledge he gave him the fennel
he grasped in his hand. He went on to speak of reward for himself, but of
that Pheidippides would not speak; if he ran before, now he flew indeed;
he touched not the earth with his foot, the air was his road. "Praise
Pan!" he cried, as he reached Athens, "we stand no more in danger!" Then
Miltiades asked him what his own reward should be? What had the god
promised for him? "Release from the racer's toil," he said. "But he would
fight and be foremost in the field of fennel, pounding Persia to the dust;
then marry a certain maid when Athens was free, and in the coming days
tell his children how the god was awful, yet so kind." The brave youth
fought at Marathon; and when Persia was dust. "Once more run," they cried,
"Pheidippides, to Akropolis, say Athens is saved, thank Pan,--go shout!"
Then the youth flung down his shield and ran as before. "Rejoice! we
conquer!" he cried; and with joy bursting his heart he died. He had
gained the reward promised by Pan,--release from the racer's toil, no
vulgar reward in praise or in pelf,--he could desire no greater bliss.
Herodotus tells the whole story (Book VI., 94-106). Darius was desirous of
subduing those people of Greece who had refused to give him earth and
water. He sent against Eretria and Athens Datis, who was a Mede by birth,
and Artaphernes, son of Artaphernes, his own nephew; and he despatched
them with strict orders, having enslaved Athens and Eretria, to bring the
bondsmen into his presence. 102. "Having subdued Eretria, and rested a few
days, they sailed to Attica, pressing them very close, and expecting to
treat the Athenians in the same way as they had the Eretrians. Now, as
Marathon was the spot in Attica best adapted for cavalry, and nearest to
Eretria, Hippias, son of Pisistratus, conducted them there. 103. But the
Athenians, when they heard of this, also sent their forces to Marathon;
and ten generals led them, of whom the tenth was Miltiades.... 105. And
first, while the generals were yet in the city, they despatched a herald
to Sparta, one Pheidippides, an Athenian, who was a courier by profession,
one who attended to this very business. This man, then, as Pheidippides
himself said, and reported to the Athenians, Pan met near Mount
Parthenion, above Tegea; and Pan, calling out the name of Pheidippides,
bade him ask the Athenians why they paid no attention to him, who was well
inclined to the Athenians, and had often been useful to them, and would be
so hereafter. The Athenians, therefore, as their affairs were then in a
prosperous condition, believed that this was true, and erected (after
Marathon presumably), a temple to Pan beneath the Akropolis, and in
consequence of that message they propitiate Pan with yearly sacrifices and
the torch race. 106. This Pheidippides, being sent by the generals at that
time when he said Pan appeared to him, arrived in Sparta on the following
day after his departure from the city of the Athenians, and on coming in
presence of the magistrates, he said, 'Lacedæmonians, the Athenians
entreat you to assist them, and not to suffer the most ancient city among
the Greeks to fall into bondage to barbarians; for Eretria is already
reduced to slavery, and Greece has become weaker by the loss of a renowned
city,' He accordingly delivered the message according to his instructions,
and they resolved indeed to assist the Athenians; but it was out of their
power to do so immediately, as they were unwilling to violate the law;
for it was the ninth day of the current month, and they said they could
not march out on the ninth day, the moon's circle not being full. They
therefore waited for the full moon." How the Athenians won the famous
battle of Marathon, "following the Persians in their flight, cutting them
to pieces, till, reaching the shore, they called for fire and attacked the
ships," should be read also. Herodotus says the Persians lost about six
thousand four hundred men; the Athenians only one hundred and ninety-two.
Mr. Browning seems unduly severe on the Spartans, for Herodotus tells us
(120) that "two thousand of the Lacedæmonians came to Athens after the
full moon, making haste to be in time; that they arrived in Attica on the
third day after leaving Sparta. But having come too late for the battle,
they nevertheless desired to see the Medes; and having proceeded to
Marathon, they saw the slain; and afterwards, having commended the
Athenians and their achievement, they returned home."

NOTES.--Χαιρετε, νικωμεν: Rejoice! we conquer! _Zeus, the Defender_:
Jupiter was worshipped under many aspects, such as "the Lightning
Flasher," "the Thunderer," "the Flight Stayer," "the Best and Greatest,"
etc. "_Her of the aegis and spear_" == Minerva, who was represented with a
shield and spear. "_Ye of the bow and the buskin_" == Diana, who was
represented with a bow and buskined legs of a huntress. _Pan_, the
goat-god. "_Archons of Athens, topped by the tettix_" (_tettix_, a
grasshopper): the Athenians sometimes wore golden grasshoppers in their
hair as badges of honour, because these insects are supposed to spring
from the ground, and thus they showed they were sprung from the original
inhabitants of the country. _Sparta_, the capital of Laconia, also called
Lacedæmon. The distance from Athens to Sparta is from 135 to 140 miles.
The trained couriers had great physical strength and powers of endurance,
being regularly employed for such occasions as this. "_Persia bids Athens
proffer slaves'-tribute_": "Darius (B.C. 493) sent heralds into all parts
of Greece to require earth and water in his name. This was the form used
by the Persians when they exacted submission from those they were desirous
of bringing under subjection." (Rollins' _Ancient History_, vol. ii., p.
267.) _Eretria_, one of the principal cities of Eubœa, which is the
largest Island in the Ægean Sea, now called Negroponte. _Hellas_ ==
Greece. _Athené_, Minerva. _Phoibos_, an epithet of Apollo; _Artemis_,
the Greek name of Diana. _Olumpos_ == Olympus, the mountain in Greece
believed to be the seat of the gods. _Filleted victim_: sacrificial
victims were generally decked out with ribbons and wreaths, and sometimes
the cattle had their horns gilded. _Fulsome libation_--fulsome in the
sense of rich, liberal. Libations were offerings of oil or wine poured on
the ground in honour of the deity. _Parnes_: the mountain is called
Parthenion above Tegea, by Herodotus. _Ivy_: the Greeks highly esteemed
the ivy. It was consecrated to Apollo, and Bacchus had his brows and spear
decked with it; _Miltiades_, the Greek general who commanded the Athenians
at the battle of Marathon; _Marathon day_: "The victory of Marathon
preserved the liberties of Greece, and perhaps of Europe, from the
dominion of Persia; was fought in the month of September, B.C. 490"
(Wordsworth's _Greece_, p. 109). _Akropolis_, the citadel or stronghold of
Athens. _Fennel-field_: Marathon in Greek meant this; when Pan gave the
handful of fennel to the courier he gave him Μαραθρον--that is to say, the
fennel field where the battle was to be. "_Rejoice!_" χαιρετε: the first
of the two Greek words which are at the head of the poem. _Pan_ (_lit._
"the pasturer"--from the same root as the Lat. _pastor_, shepherd, and
_panis_, bread). He was the protecting deity of flocks and herds and
hunters. He was represented by the ancients with a pug nose, very hairy,
and with horns and feet of a goat. He was described as wandering about in
the woods and dales and hills, playing with the nymphs and looking after
the flocks. He was sleepy in the noonday sun, and did not like to be
disturbed; at such times, therefore, shepherds did not play their pipes.
His voice and appearance used to frighten those who saw him--so much so,
that our word "panic" is derived from his name. It is said that he won the
fight at Marathon for the Athenians by causing a "panic" amongst the
Persians. He was the god of prophecy, and there were oracles of Pan. Pan
as the Universe, the All, is a misinterpretation of his name. The Romans
identified Pan with their Faunus. [Mrs. Browning's fine poem _The Dead
Pan_ should be read in this connection.]

=Pictor Ignotus.= FLORENCE, 15--. (_Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_ in
_Bells and Pomegranates_, VII., 1845.) The subject is not historical, but
is conceived in the true spirit which animated the work of the great
religious (chiefly monastic) painters of the middle ages. The speaker
says he could have painted pictures like those of a certain youth whose
praise is in every one's mouth. He could have executed all his soul
conceived: hand and brain were pair, and all he saw he could have
committed to his canvas. Each passion written on the countenance, whether
Hope a-tiptoe for embrace, or Rapture with drooping eyes, or Confidence
lighting up the forehead, all that human faces gave him, has he saved. He
has dreamed of going forth in his pictures to pope or kaiser, to the whole
world, with flowers cast upon the car which bore the freight, through
streets re-named from the triumphal passing of his picture, to the house
where learning and genius should greet his coming; and the thought has
frightened him, and he has shrunk from the popularity as a nun shrinks
from the gaze of rough soldiery; it terrified him to think of his works
dragged forth to be bought and sold as household stuff, to have to live
with people sunk in their daily pettiness, to see their faces, listen to
their prate, and hear his work discussed. If at times he feels his work
monotonous, as he goes on filling the cloisters and eternal aisles with
the same Virgins, Babes, and Saints, with the same cold, calm, beautiful
regard, at least no merchant traffics in his heart. The sacredness of the
place where his pictures moulder and grow black will protect him from vain
tongues which would criticise and discuss his work. This poem has been
much misunderstood. Some have seen in it the bitter complaint and the wail
of half-suppressed longing of one whom fame has passed unnoticed; he has
failed to please the world, and will now retire to pursue his art in the
cloister. Nothing could be further from the poet's purpose in this work.
Others, and those the majority of critics, have found in the poem a
revelation of the true art-spirit, as though Mr. Browning had made a great
discovery in this connection. The plain fact is that this spirit of
retirement, this abhorrence of working for the praise of men, this hatred
of applause-seeking and of self-advertisement, was that which animated the
men of old Catholic times who built our cathedrals and our abbeys, and who
painted our great pictures and glorified all Europe with works of art. The
poem might fairly be considered as uttered by a Fra Angelico with
reference to Raffaele. The great monastic painters, like Angelico, painted
under the eye of God, looking upon their work as immediately inspired by
His Spirit: for God and through God, not through men and for men, was
their work done. It has been the life-work of Mr. Ruskin to point this
out. These men were not actuated by the vain advertising spirit which
animates so much of our modern work of all kinds. Humility is a virtue now
little appreciated: it was the life of these old artists' souls. Pictor
Ignotus was not jealous of the popular youth whose pictures were decked
with flowers by the people as they were borne through the streets which
were re-named in their honour. He did not want the mob's applause; he
shrank from the appreciations of the thoughtless street folk as a nun
would shrink from the compliments of a band of rough soldiery. All this
beautiful spirit is fast dying out. When a writer like Browning reminds us
that there were once, in "15--," in a place like Florence, men animated by
it, critics cry out, "What a discovery! How wonderful!" It is a discovery
like ours of gold in South Africa, where the men of old time went to Ophir
to find the precious metal.

NOTE.--Vasari says that the Borgo Allegri at Florence took its name from
the joy of the inhabitants when a Madonna by Cimabue was carried through
it in procession.

=Pied Piper of Hamelin, The.= (_Dramatic Lyrics_, 1842.) Written to amuse
little Willie Macready. The story told in the poem is one of a class of
legends dealing with the subject of cheating magicians of a promised
reward for services rendered. Verstegan, in his _Restitution of Decayed
Intelligence_ (1634), has the story on which apparently Mr. Browning's
poem is written. "A piper named Bunting undertook for a certain sum of
money to free the town of Hamelin, in Brunswick, of the rats which
infested it; but when he had drowned all the rats in the river Weser, the
townsmen refused to pay the sum agreed upon. The piper, in revenge,
collected together all the children of Hamelin, and enticed them by his
piping into a cavern in the side of the mountain Koppenberg, which
instantly closed upon them, and a hundred and thirty went down alive into
the pit (June 26th, 1284). The street through which Bunting conducted his
victims was Bungen, and from that day to this no music is ever allowed to
be played in this particular street." The same tale is told of the fiddler
of Brandenberg: the children were led to the Marienberg, which opened upon
them and swallowed them up. When Lorch was infested with ants, a hermit
led the multitudinous insects by his pipe into a lake, where they
perished. As the inhabitants refused to pay the stipulated price, he led
their pigs the same dance, and they, too, perished in the lake. Next year
a charcoal burner cleared the same place of crickets; and when the price
agreed upon was refused, he led the sheep of the inhabitants into the
lake. The third year came a plague of rats, which an old man of the
mountain piped away and destroyed. Being refused his reward, he piped the
children of Lorch into the Tannenberg. There are similar Persian and
Chinese tales. (See Dr. Brewer's _Reader's Handbook_.) Hamlin or Hamelin
is a town in the province of Hanover, Prussia. "Some trace the origin of
the legend to the 'Child Crusade,' or to an abduction of children. For a
considerable time the town dated its public documents from the event"
(_Encyc. Brit._). Julius Wolff wrote a poem on the subject (Berlin, 1876).
See S. Baring Gould's _Curious Myths of the Middle Ages_, 2nd ser., 1868;
Grimm's _Deutsche Sagen_, Berlin, 1866; and Reitzenstein's edition of
Springer's _Geschichte der Stadt Hameln_, Hameln, 1861. Some authorities
consider the story a myth of the wind.

=Pietro Comparini= (_The Ring and the Book_) was the reputed father of
Pompilia, and was murdered with his wife by Count Guido.

=Pietro of Abano.= (_Dramatic Idyls_, second series, 1880.) [THE MAN.] Dr.
Furnivall, in a note to Mr. Sharpe's excellent paper on Pietro of Abano in
the _Browning Society's Reports_, No. V., gives the following particulars
of the character from the _Nouvelle Biographie Universelle_, Paris, 1855,
i. 29-31. "Pietro of A'bano, Petrus de A'pano or Aponensis, or Petrus de
Padua, was an Italian physician and alchemist; born at Abano, near Padua,
in 1246, died about 1320. He is said to have studied Greek at
Constantinople, mathematics at Padua, and to have been made Doctor of
Medicine and Philosophy at Paris. He then returned to Padua, where he was
Professor of Medicine, and followed the Arabian physicians, especially
Averroes. He got a great reputation, and charged enormous fees. He hated
milk and cheese, and swooned at the sight of them. His enemies, jealous of
his renown and wealth, denounced him to the Inquisition as a magician.
They accused him of possessing the philosopher's stone, and of making,
with the devil's help, all money spent by him come back to his purse,
etc. His trial was begun; and had he not died naturally in time, he would
have been burnt. The Inquisitors ordered his corpse to be burnt; and as a
friend had taken that away, they had his portrait publicly burnt by the
executioner. In 1560 a Latin epitaph in his memory was put up in the
church of St. Augustine. The Duke of Urbino set his statue among those of
illustrious men; and the Senate of Padua put one on the gate of its
palace, beside those of Livy, etc. His best-known work is his _Conciliator
Differentiarum quæ inter Philosophos et Medicos versantur_ (Mantua, 1472,
and Venice, 1476, fol.); often reprinted. Other works are: 1. _De Venenis,
eorumque Remediis_, translated into French by L. Boet (Lyons, 1593, 12mo);
2. _Geomantia_ (Venice, 1505, 1556, 8vo); 3. _Expositio Problematum
Aristotelis_ (Mantua, 1475, 4to); 4. _Hippocrates de Medicorum Astrologia
Libellus_, in Greek and Latin (Venice, 1485, 4to); 5. _Astrolabium planum
in tabulis ascendens, continens qualibet hora atque minutæ æquationes
Domorum Cæli_, etc. (Venice, 1502, 4to); 6. _Dioscorides digestus
alphabetico ordine_ (Lyons, 1512, 4to); 7. _Heptameron_ (Paris, 1474,
4to); 8. _Textus Mesues noviter emendatus_, etc. (Venice, 1505, 8vo); 9.
_Decisiones physionomiæ_ (1548, 8vo); 10. _Questiones de Febribus_ (Padua,
1482); 11. _Galeni tractatus varii a Petro Paduano, latinitate donati_,
MS. in St. Mark's Library, Venice; 12. _Les Eléments pour opérer dans les
Sciences magiques_, MS. in the Arsenal Library, Paris." Murray's _Guide to
Northern Italy_ says that "Abano may be visited either from Padua or from
Monselice. Its baths have retained their celebrity from the time of the
Romans. The place is also remarkable as being the birthplace of Livy, and
also of the physician and reputed necromancer, Pietro d'Abano, in whom the
Paduans take almost equal pride. This village is about three miles from
the Euganean hills." The medicinal springs procured this place its ancient
name of _Aponon_, derived from α, privative, and πονος, pain. At Padua is
the _Palazzo della Ragione_, built by _Pietro Cozzo_ between 1172 and
1219, a vast building standing entirely upon open arches, surrounded by a
loggia. Murray says: "The history of this hall is as remarkable as its
aspect. It was built in 1306 by an Austin friar, _Frate Giovanni_, a great
traveller; and he asked no other pay for his work than the wood and tiles
of the old roof which he was to take down. The interior of the hall is
covered by strange, mystical paintings designed by Giotto according to
the instructions of _Pietro d'Abano_." Pietro d'Abano was the first
reviver of the art of medicine in Europe; and he travelled to Greece for
the purpose of learning the language of Hippocrates and Galen, and of
profiting by the stores which the Byzantine libraries yet contained. He
practised with the greatest success; and his medical works were considered
as amongst the most valuable volumes of the therapeutic library of the
middle ages. His bust is over one of the doors of the hall; the
inscription placed beneath it indignantly repudiates the magic and sorcery
ascribed to him; but the votaries of the occult sciences smiled inwardly
at this disclaimer. His treatises upon necromancy, geomancy, amulets and
conjuration, were circulated from hand to hand. When at Padua, some years
since, the Rev. John Sharpe found a stone set in the wall of the vestibule
of the Sacristy of the Church of the Eremitani, to Pietro of Abano. It
bore the following inscription:--

    PETRI APON.
    CINERES
    OB. AN. 1315
    AET. 66.

[THE POEM.] Peter was a magician. He had been of all trades, architect,
astronomer, astrologer, beside physician. Even worse than astrologer, for
men scrupled not to accuse him of having dealings with the devil. This was
the Middle Age way with men of science, and it must be confessed that the
mystical manner of their writings and the uncanny nature of some of their
doings give colour to the accusation. It was convenient, also, to accuse
Peter of diabolic arts. When he had built a tower or cured a prince, it
was an economical way of discharging the debt to accuse the old man of
wizardry. So they cursed him roundly and then rid themselves of their
liability. But Peter grinned and bore it all. He seems to have invented a
steamboat which would have whirled through the water had not the priests
broken up his evil-looking machine, and bastinadoed him beside. One night,
as he reached his lodgings, some one plucked his sleeve and asked an
interview with him. It was a young Greek, who professed great admiration
for the mage. He tells him that he has heard that the price he pays for
his potent arts is that he may not drink a drop of milk; but he has
discovered this is not to be taken literally,--it is to be considered
figuratively, as he will explain. He asks the master leave to become the
friend of mankind, and that by being himself their model. He begs,
therefore, to be taught the true magic, to learn the art of making fools
subserve the man of mind. A prince is inspired with the idea of building a
palace by an architect. The architect uses the prince as the means of
furthering his own interests--his ambition to be honoured as a great
architect. The workmen who build the mansion are animated by their desire
for wages, and so the architect uses both prince and artisan as his tools.
The young Greek wants to use men of high and low degree for similar ends.
The magician says if he were to comply with his desire he would only make
one ingrate more; he has been so often deceived this way. The Greek
replies that what he wants is the milk of human kindness. He has not been
animated by love of his species in what he has done for mankind. He has
wrought wonders, but not for love. This is the meaning of his enforced
abstinence from milk; but let him confer upon his supplicant this favour
he asks, and he will earn his love and gratitude, which will remove from
him his curse. Every step he lifts him up, by so much greater will the
reward of the benefactor be. The magician determines to comply: he will
test this man's heart. "Shuffle the cards once more," he says. Suddenly
the young man becomes aware that he has undergone a great change. He was
talking Plato to the master but a while ago; now he is surrounded by
wealth, and has many friends. A year has passed when one day, lounging at
his ease in his villa, his servant announces an old friend who desires to
speak with him. It is old Peter, who is sore beset by his enemies, who
want to burn him. He has come to the young man who owes him everything, to
beg a hiding-place and a crust. The ingrate will not for a moment listen
to his plea; he cannot think of harbouring him, as if it were to be
discovered it would compromise him. He takes the opportunity, however, to
ask for a greater favour,--he wishes to learn how to rule men and subject
them to his pleasure. Then, if he will wait awhile, he may be able to show
his gratitude. The old man turns his back and leaves the house. He is no
sooner away than the spell begins to work. Politics were the prize now. He
became a statesman and a friend of the Emperor. One day, after a council,
he was pacing his closet, when there was a knock at the door, and Peter
entered. He reminds him that ten years have passed since he refused him
the favour he demanded. He had given him a mansion, out of which he only
begged the use of a single chamber, that will no longer suffice. He now
comes to beg a stronghold where he may be safe from his enemies: grant him
this, and he will trouble the young man no more. But the latter is
concerned only with thoughts of more power for himself: he wants now to
rule the souls of men; from the temporal power he would rise to the
spiritual; he would be no less than Pope. Having then reached the highest
rung of the ladder, he promises to pay the debt he owes to the full. Once
more old Peter turns to go, and already the influence is felt. He is at
Rome, has been elected Pope, and has reached the summit of his desires.
Seated in the palace of the Lateran, one day an intruder pushes aside the
arras. It is old Peter again; he is ninety now, and does not care if they
burn him; he has lived his day. He has, however, a favour to ask: he has
written a great book, and he wants it preserved for the use of posterity.
Will the Pope see to this? The Pontiff eyes the frowsy parchment with
disgust, and when the old man kneels to kiss his foot, he spurns him.
"We're Pope,--once Pope, you can't unpope us!" In a moment the vision was
over. The three trial scenes of the Greek's life were played out: he was
himself again. The magic was dissolved; he had been tested, had been shown
the corruption of his own heart in a moment, though it seemed a lifetime
in the passing of the vision. Peter lived out his life, but he had never
yet learned love. Perhaps in another life that lesson was to come. As for
the Greek, nothing is recorded of him. The poet says he may go his way--he
is too selfish not to thrive! The moral of the story is that to win men's
love we must not merely help them, not merely fling favours at them, but
must consecrate ourselves to their service. In the loving service of, and
the self-sacrificing endeavour to benefit our fellow-men, lies the secret
of winning happiness for ourselves. It is more blessed to give than to
receive only when the giving is to man for God's sake--for the love of God
manifested by efforts on behalf of our fellow-men.

NOTES.--Verse 2, _Petrus ipse_, Peter the very same. v. 9, _True moly_: "A
fabulous herb of secret power, having a black root and white blossoms,
said by Homer to have been given by Mercury to Ulysses, as a
counter-charm against the spells of Circe" (_Webster's Dict._). v. 10,
"_Mark within my eye its iris mystic-lettered_": Letters of the alphabet
have been seen marked on the human eye as figures on a dial. Mr. Browning
said, "that there was an old superstition that, if you look into the iris
of a man's eye, you see the letters of his name or the word telling his
fate." (See _Echo_, 23rd March, 1896.) v. 14, "_Petri en pulmones_,"
Behold, the lungs of Peter! v. 15, "_Ipse dixi_," I have said. v. 16,
_Hans of Halberstadt_: a canon of Halberstadt, in Germany, who was a
magician who rode upon a devil in the shape of a black horse, and who
performed the most incredible feats. (See Browning's poem
_Transcendentalism_.) v. 19, "_De corde natus haud de mente_," born of
heart, not of mind. _Bene_: the first syllables of Benedicite; here the
charm begins to work. v. 23, _Plato on "the Fair and Good"_: Emerson, in
his essay on Plato, says: Plato taught this as "the cause which led the
Supreme Ordainer to produce and compose the universe. He was good; and he
who is good has no kind of envy. Exempt from envy, He wished that all
things should be as much as possible like Himself. Whosoever, taught by
wise men, shall admit this as the prime cause of the origin and foundation
of the world, will be in the truth. All things are for the sake of the
good, and it is the cause of everything beautiful." v. 26, _Sylla_: the
debauched Roman dictator, who gave up his command and retired to a
solitary retreat at Puteoli. v. 27, "_Hag Jezebel and her paint and
powder_": Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who "painted her face and tired her
head, and looked out at a window" (2 Kings ix. 30). _Jam satis_, already,
enough! v. 33, "_Tantalus's treasure_": Tantalus was tortured in hell by
having food and drink apparently always within his reach, but always
eluding his grasp. v. 37, "_Per Bacco_": by Bacchus,--an Italian oath. v.
38, "_Salomo si nôsset_," if Solomon had but known this! "_Teneor vix_," I
can hardly contain myself! v. 39, _hactenus_, up to this time. "_Nec ultra
plus!_" nothing further. _Spelter_, zinc. _Peason_, peas. v. 43, "_Pou
sto_," where I may stand. Archimedes said he could move the world if he
had a place to stand on. v. 46, _Lateran_: the church of St. John Lateran,
in Rome; "the mother and head of all the city and the world," as it is
called, was the principal church of Rome after the time of Constantine.
Five important councils have been held here. Adjoining it is the Lateran
Palace. "_Gained the purple_": _i.e._, the cardinalate, from the scarlet
hat, stockings, and cassock worn by cardinals. "_Bribed the Conclave_":
the meeting of the members of the Sacred College of Cardinals for the
election of a pope is called a _conclave_. "_Saw my coop ope_": the
cardinals go into conclave on the tenth day after the death of the Pope,
attended usually by only one person. No access to the conclave is
permitted. An opening is left for food to be passed in. The voting must
all be done in this assembly. Each cardinal has a boarded cell in the
Vatican assigned him by lot. Voting is carried on till some cardinal is
found who has the requisite majority of two-thirds of those who are
present. v. 47, _Tithon_: a son of Laomedon, king of Troy. He was so
beautiful that Aurora fell in love with him and carried him away. He
begged her to make him immortal, and the goddess granted the favour. As he
forgot to ask her also to preserve his youth, he became old and decrepid,
and begged to be removed from the world. As he could not die, she changed
him into a grasshopper. v. 48, "_Conciliator Differentiarum_," conciliator
of differences. "_De Speciebus Ceremonialis Magiæ_": concerning the kinds
of the ceremonial of magic. "_The Fisher's ring, or foot that boasts the
Cross_": one of the titles of the Pope is "the Fisherman," after St.
Peter. His signet is the ring of the Fisherman; the cross is worked on his
slipper. v. 49, "_Apage, Sathanas!_" begone Satan! "_Dicam verbum
Salomonis_," I command it in the name of Solomon. Peculiar significance is
attached by mystical writers to this word Sol-Om-On (the name of the sun
in three languages). _Dicite_: the closing syllables of "benedicite," so
that the visions had all taken place between _bene_--and--_dicite_. v. 50,
_Benedicite!_ a word of good omen, a blessing. "_Idmen, idmen!_" we know,
we know! v. 51, _Scientiæ Compendium_, compendium of science.
"_Admirationem incutit_": it inspires admiration. _Antipope_: an
opposition pope, of which there have been several examples in history;
they were usurpers of the popedom. v. 53, _Tiberius Cæsar_ (born 42 B.C.,
died 37 A.D.): Emperor of Rome. When at Padua he consulted the oracle of
Geryon, he drew a lot by which he was required to throw golden tali into
the fountain of Aponus for an answer to his questions; he did so, and the
highest numbers came up. The fountain is situated in the Euganean hills,
near Padua. _Oracle of Geryon_: Geryon was a mythical king in Spain who
had three bodies, or three heads. _Suetonius Tranquilius_: author of the
biographies of the first twelve Roman emperors. v. 54, _Venus_: the
highest throw with the four _tali_, or three _tesseræ_. The best cast of
the _tali_ (or foursided dice) was four different numbers; but the best
cast of the _tesseræ_ (or ordinary dice) was three sixes. The worst throw
was called _canis_--three aces in _tesseræ_, and four aces in _tali_.
(Brewer's _Handbook_.)

=Pillar at Sebzevah, A.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, II. Key-note: "Love is
better than knowledge.") Sage and pupil argue as to which is the better,
knowledge or love. The sage says that love far outweighs knowledge; it is
objected that an ass loves food, and perhaps the hand that feeds it--why
depose knowledge in favour of love? Ferishtah says that all his knowledge
only suffices to enable him to say that he loves boundlessly, endlessly.
He had knowledge when a youth, but better knowledge came as he grew older,
and pushed it aside; it has been so ever since--the gain of to-day is the
loss of to-morrow. It is, in fact, no gain at all: knowledge is not
golden, it is but lacquered ignorance. It has a prize: the process of
acquiring knowledge is the only reward. But love is victory. In love we
are sure to succeed,--there is no delusion there. A child grasps an
orange, though he fails to grasp the sun he strives to reach; he may find
his orange not worth holding, but the joy was in the shape and colour, and
these were better for him than the sun, which would have only burned his
fingers. If we can say we are loved in return for the love we bestow, this
is to hold a good juicy orange, which is better than seeking to know the
mystery of all created things: if we succeeded, it would only be to our
own hurt, as the sun would have scorched the child who cried for it. There
was a pillar in Sebzevah with a sun-dial fixed upon it. Suppose the
townsmen had refused to make use of the dial till they knew the history of
the man and his object in erecting the pillar? Better far to go to dinner
when the dial says "Noon," and ask no questions. If we love, we know
enough. Suppose in crossing the desert we are thirsty, we stoop down and
scoop up the sand, and water rises: what need have we to dig down fifty
fathoms to find the spring? The best thing we can do is to quench our
thirst with the water which is before us: we do not, under the
circumstances, require a cisternful. There is one unlovable thing, and
that is hate. If out of the sand we get nothing but sand, let us not
pretend to be finding water; let us not nickname pain as pleasure. If
knowledge were all our faculty, God must be ignored; but love gains God at
first leap. The lyric bids us not ask recognition for our love: the
deepest affection is the most silent. Words are a poor substitute for the
silence of a long gaze and the touch which reveals the soul.

NOTES.--_Mushtari_, the planet Jupiter (Persian). _Hudhud_: fabulous bird
of Solomon, according to Eastern legend: the lapwing, a well-known bird in
Asia. _Sitara_: Persian for a star.

=Pippa Passes: A Drama.= (_Bells and Pomegranates_, No. I., 1841.) Pippa
is the name of a girl employed at the silk mills at Asolo, in the
Trevisan, in Northern Italy. In the whole year she has but one holiday: it
is New Year's day, and she determines to make the most of it. She springs
out of bed as day is breaking, mapping out as she dresses herself what she
will do with Morning, Noon, Evening, and Night. She thinks of the four
persons whose lot is most to be envied in the little town, and will
imagine herself each of these in turn. But she claims that the day will be
fine and not ill-use her. There is the great, haughty Ottima, whose
husband, old Luca, sleeps in his mansion while his wife makes love; her
lover Sebald will be just as devoted, however the rain may beat on the
home. Jules, the sculptor, will wed his Phene to-day: nothing can disturb
their happiness, their sunbeams are in their own breasts. Evening may be
misty, but Luigi and his lady mother will not heed it. Monsignor will be
here from Rome to visit his brother's house: no storm will disturb his
holy peace. But for Pippa, the silkwinder, a wet day would darken her
whole next year. So her morning fancy starts her as Ottima: all the
gardens and the great storehouse are hers. But this is not the kind of
love she envies; there's better love, she knows. Her next choice shall
give no cause for the scoffer--wedded love, like that of Jules and Phene,
for example. But still improvement can be made even upon that: it is,
after all, but new love; hers should have lapped her round from the
beginning: "only parents' love can last our lives." She will be Luigi,
communing with his mother in the turret. But if we come to that, God's
love is better even than that of Monsignor the holy and beloved priest,
for to-night Pippa will in fancy have her dwelling in the palace by the
Dome.--I. MORNING. Ottima is with her paramour, the German Sebald, in the
shrub-house. They have murdered Luca, and are talking calmly of their sin,
and contrasting their present freedom with the restraint of last New
Year's day. Ottima's husband can no longer fondle her before her lover's
face. But there is the corpse to remove, and as Sebald reflects, he begins
to regret his treachery to the man who fed and sheltered him. Ottima tells
him she loves him better for the crime. They caress each other, and as
Sebald fondles Ottima the voice of Pippa singing as she passes is heard
from without: "God's in His heaven." Sebald starts, conscience-stricken;
Ottima says it is only "that ragged little girl!" At once Sebald is
disenchanted; he sees the woman in all the naked horror of her crimes; all
her grace and beauty are gone; he hates and curses her. The woman takes
the guilt all upon her own head, and prays for him, not for herself:
forgetting self, she thinks only of Sebald. "Not me--to him, O God, be
merciful!" To her guilty soul also comes the reflection, "God's in His
heaven." In self-sacrifice begins her redemption. Pippa has converted
both. While Pippa is passing to Orcana, some students from Venice are
discussing a jest they have played off on Jules. They have, by means of
sham letters which they have concocted between them and sent him as coming
from the girl he loves, induced him to believe she was a cultivated woman,
and he has been deceived into marrying her.--II. NOON. When the ceremony
is over the truth is told him. He gives his bride gold, and is preparing
to separate from her, when Pippa passes, singing "Give her but a least
excuse to love me!" Jules reasons, Here is a woman with utter need of him.
She has an awakening moral sense, a soul like his own sculptured Psyche,
waiting his word to make it bright with life--he will evoke this woman's
soul in some isle in far-off seas! He forgives her. Pippa's song has
worked the reconciliation.--III. EVENING. Luigi and his mother are
conversing in the turret on the hill above Asolo. Luigi is what has been
termed a "patriot"; he is suspected of belonging to the secret society of
the Carbonari, and is at the moment actually discussing with his mother a
plot to kill the Emperor of Austria. His mother tells him that half the
ills of Italy are feigned, that patriotism seems the easiest virtue for a
selfish man to acquire. She urges him to delay his journey to Vienna till
the morning. Endeavouring to dissuade him thus, he is on the point of
yielding, when Pippa passes, singing "No need the king should ever die!"
"Not that sort of king," says Luigi. "Such grace had kings when the world
began!" continues the passing Pippa. Luigi says, "It is God's voice
calls," and he goes away. He thereby escapes the police, who had just
arranged that if he remained at the turret over the night, he was to be
arrested at once. Pippa goes on from the turret to the Bishop's brother's
home, near the Cathedral.--IV. NIGHT. And here we are shown how little we
poor puppets know of the strings which prompt our movements. Pippa would
be Ottima, the murderess; and as she, the poor but good and happy
silkwinder, trudges on her way to make the holiday of the year, the
voluptuous murderess is purifying her wicked soul in agony. She sings in
the lightness of her heart, and a line of her morning hymn is the arrow of
God to two sinful souls. She would be the bride of Jules--the bride who
has just been detected in fraud, on the point of rejection, and who has
been redeemed by the snatch of Pippa's innocent monition. She would be the
happy Luigi, who would have failed in a purpose he deemed to be a noble
one, and would have been a prisoner in the hands of the Austrian police if
he had not been nerved by her careless eulogy of good kings. And now, as
she approaches her ideally perfect persons, the holy Monsignor is actually
engaged in taking steps for her ruin. His superintendent is explaining a
plan he has elaborated for getting rid of Pippa, who is the child of his
brother, and to whom the property he is holding rightfully belongs. The
superintendent has found an English scoundrel named Bluphocks, residing in
the locality, who will entrap the girl and take her to Rome to lead a
vicious life, which will kill her in a few years. The bishop is listening
to the tempter, when Pippa passes, singing one of her innocent little
songs, ending with the line--

    "Suddenly God took me."

This awakens the conscience of the ecclesiastic, who calls his servants to
arrest the villain. All unconscious, as night falls Pippa re-enters her
chamber. She has been in fancy the holy Monsignor, Luigi's gentle mother,
Luigi himself, Jules the sculptor's bride, and Ottima as well. Tired of
fooling, she notices that the sun has dropped into a black cloud, and as
night comes on she wonders how nearly she has approached these people of
her fancy, to do them good or evil in some slight way; and as she falls
asleep she murmurs--

    "All service ranks the same with God--
    With God, whose puppets, best and worst,
    Are we: there is no last nor first."

The drama shows us how near God is to us in conscience. "God stands
apart," as the poet says, "to give man room to work"; but in every great
crisis of our life, if we listen we may hear Him warning, threatening,
guiding, revealing. Not near to answer problems of existence, or to solve
the mystery of life: this would interfere with our development of soul;
but near to save us from the dangers that await us at every step. The
drama shows us, too, our mutual interdependence. Pippa, the silk-girl, had
a mission to convert Ottima, Sebald, Jules, and the Bishop. We look for
great things to work for us: it is ever the unseen, unfelt influences
which are the most potent. We are taught, also, that there is nothing we
do or say but may be big with good or evil consequences to many of our
fellows of whom we know nothing. People whom we have never seen, of whose
very existence we are ignorant, are affected for good or evil eternally by
our lightest words and our most thoughtless actions.

NOTES.--For an account of _Asolo_ see p. 49 of this work. Silk in large
quantities is manufactured in this part of Italy. There is no historical
foundation for any of the incidents of the poem. The song in Part II.,
which Jules and Phene hear, relates, however, to Caterina Carnaro, the
exiled Queen of Cyprus. _Possagno_: an obscure village situated amongst
the hills of Asolo, famous as the birthplace of Canova, the sculptor.
_Cicala_: a grasshopper.--I. MORNING. "_The Capuchin with his brown
hood_": the Capuchin monks are familiar to all travellers in Italy. They
are a branch of the great Franciscan Order. The habit is brown. The Order
was established by St. Francis in the thirteenth century. "Cappuccino"
means playfully "little hooded fellow." "_Campanula chalice_": the bell of
a flower, as of a Canterbury-bell. "_Bluphocks_": the name means "Blue
Fox," and is a skit on the _Edinburgh Review_, which is bound in a cover
of blue and fox. "_Et canibus nostris_," even to our dogs. _Canova,
Antonio_ (1757-1822), one of the greatest sculptors of modern times. He
was born at Passagno, near Asolo, the scene of Pippa's drama.
"_Psiche-fanciulla_": Psyche as a young girl with a butterfly, the
personification of man's immaterial part. This sculpture is considered as
the most faultless and classical of Canova's works. _Pietà_: sculpture
representing the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ on her knees.
_Malamocco_: "The Lagoon, immediately opposite to Venice, is closed by a
long shoaly island, Malamocco" (_Murray_). _Alciphron_: lived in the age
of Alexander the Great. He was a philosopher of Magnesia. _Lire_: the lira
is an Italian coin of the value of a franc (say, tenpence). _Tydeus_, a
son of Œneus, king of Colydon. He was one of the great heroes of the
Theban war.--II. NOON. _Coluthus_, a native of Lycopolis, in Egypt, who
wrote a poem on the rape of Helen of Troy. He lived probably about the
beginning of the sixth century. _Bessarion_: Cardinal Bessarion discovered
the poem of Coluthus in Lycopolis in the fifteenth century. _Odyssey_:
Homer's poem which narrates the adventures of Ulysses. _Antinous_: One of
the suitors of Penelope during the absence of Odysseus. He attempted to
seize the kingdom and was killed by Odysseus on his return. _Almaign
Kaiser_: the German Emperor. _Hippolyta_: a queen of the Amazons, who was
conquered by Hercules, and by him given in marriage to Theseus. _Numidia_:
a country of North Africa, now called Algiers. _Hipparchus_: a son of
Pisistratus, and tyrant of Athens. He was a great patron of literature.
His crimes led to his assassination by a band of conspirators, the leaders
of which were Harmodius and Aristogiton. _Archetype_: the pattern or model
of a work. _Dryad_: a wood-nymph. _Primordial_, original. _Cornaro_: Queen
of Cyprus. Venice took her kingdom from her, and compelled her to resign,
assigning her a palace at Asolo. _Ancona_: a city of central Italy, on the
shores of the Adriatic. _Intendant_, a superintendent. "_Celarent, Darii,
Ferio_": coined words used in logic. "_Bishop Beveridge_": there was a
bishop of that name; but this is a pun, and means beverage (drink).
_Zwanziger_: a twenty-kreuzer piece of money. "_Charon's wherry_": Charon
was a god of hell, who conducted souls across the river Styx.
_Lupine-seed_, in plant-lore "lupine" means wolfish, and is suggestive of
the Evil One. (_Flower-lore_, by Friend, p. 59.) _Hecate_, a goddess of
Hell, to whom offerings were made of eggs, fish, and onions. _Obolus_, a
silver coin of the Greeks, worth 8_d._ They used to put it into the mouth
of the corpse as Charon's fee. "_To pay the Stygian ferry_": the river
Styx, in the infernal regions, across which Charon conducted the souls,
and received an obolus for his fee. _Prince Metternich_ (1773-1859): a
celebrated Austrian statesman. _Panurge_: a character of Rabelais'. He was
a companion of Pantagruel's. He was an impecunious rake and dodger, a boon
companion and licentious coward. _Hertrippa_: one of Rabelais' characters
in his _Gargantua and Pantagruel_. _Carbonari_: the name of an Italian
secret society which arose in 1820. _Spielberg_: the name of a hill near
Brünn, in Moravia, on which stands the castle wherein Silvio Pellico the
patriot was confined.--III. EVENING. _Lucius Junius Brutus_, whose example
animated the Romans to rise against the tyranny of the infamous Tarquin.
_Pellicos_: Silvio Pellico was an Italian dramatist and patriot
(1788-1854). He was arrested as a member of a secret society by the
Austrian Government, and imprisoned for fifteen years in Spielberg Castle,
near Brünn. "_The Titian at Treviso_": Treviso is a town in Italy,
seventeen miles from Venice. In the cathedral of San Pietro there is a
fine Annunciation by Titian (1519). _Python_: the monster serpent slain by
Apollo near Delphi. _Breganze wine_: of Breganza, a village north of
Vicenza.--IV. NIGHT. _Benedicto benedicatur_: a form of blessing.
_Assumption Day_: the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin into
Heaven. It is kept on August 15th. _Correggio_: one of the great Italian
painters (1494-1534). _Podere_, a manor. _Cesena_: an episcopal city lying
between Bologna and Ancona. _Soldo_, a penny. "_Miserere mei, Domine_,"
"Have mercy on me, O God!" _Brenta_, a river of North Italy. _Polenta_, a
pudding of chestnut flour, etc.

=Pisgah-Sights.= (_Pacchiarotto_ volume, 1876.) 1. From a high mountain
the roughness and smoothness of the distant landscape seem to blend into a
harmonious picture, the uncouthness is hidden by the grace, the angles are
blunted into roundness, its harshness is reconciled into a beautiful
whole. If we could be taken by angelic hands and be borne a few miles
beyond the surface of the earth, all her mountains would dwindle down till
the rough, scarred and furrowed earth would become a perfect orb. A little
nearer heaven, and a little farther away from the scene of our pilgrimage
here, and evil and sorrow and pain and want will all soften down and be
lost in good and joy and blessedness. We are too close to things here to
get the right view of their proportions; a handbreadth off, and things
which are mysteries to us now will be clear as the daylight. All will be
seen as lend and borrow, good will be recognised as the brother of evil,
and joy will be seen to demand sorrow for its completion. Why man's
existence must so be mixed we cannot say; the majority only begin to see
the round orb of things as they near the end of their journey. 2. If we
could live our life over again, would we strive any longer? Would we
exercise greed and ambition, burrow for earth's treasures, soar for the
sun's rights, or not rather be content with turf and foliage--just plain
learners of life's lessons, with no attempt to teach, with no desire to
rearrange anything at all? Should we not be stationary while the march of
hurrying men defiling past us, made us complacent at our post, reflecting
that the only possibility of fearing, wondering at, or loving anything at
all, lay in our keeping, at a respectful distance from everything which
men were hurrying to seek? 3. If it be better to forget than to forgive,
so is it better than living to die, to let body slumber while soul, as
Indian sages tell, wanders at large, fretless and free, encumbered
nevermore by body's grossness, soul in sunshine and love, body under
mosses and ferns.

NOTE.--V. 2, _Deniers_, small copper French coins of insignificant value.

=Plot-Culture.= (_Ferishtah's Fancies_, 10: "God's All-Seeing Eye.") "If
all we do or think or say be marked minute by minute by the Supreme, may
not our very making prove offence to the Maker's eye and ear?" Thus argued
a disciple. The Dervish answers, "There is a limit-line rounding us,
severing us from the immensity, cutting us from the illimitable. All of us
is for the Maker; all the produce we can within the circle produce for the
Master's use is His in autumn. He wants to know nothing of the manure
which fertilises the soil--of this we are masters absolute; but we must
remember doomsday. In the lyric the singer indicates the uses of Sense as
distinguished from Soul. "Soul, travel-worn, toil-weary," is not for
love-making; for that let Sense quench Soul!

=Poetics.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) The singer says the foolish call their Love
"My rose," "My swan," or they compare her to the maid-moon blessing the
earth below. He will have none of this: he tells the rose there is no balm
like breath; bids the swan bend its neck its best,--his love's is the
whiter curve. Let the moon be the moon,--he is not afraid to place his
Love beside it. She is her human self, and no lower words will describe
her.

=Polyxena.= (_King Victor and King Charles._) The wife of King Charles:
full of resolution, and instinctively sees the right thing, and does it at
the appropriate moment. Her "noble and right woman's manliness," as Mr.
Browning calls it, enables her to counteract her husband's weakness and to
clear his mental vision. Magnanimous and loyal to all, especially to
herself and truth, she is one of the poet's finest female characters.

=Pompilia.= (_The Ring and the Book._) She was the wife of Count Guido
Franceschini, and he killed her, with her foster-parents, when she escaped
from his cruel treatment and fled to Rome with the good priest
Caponsacchi. She is Browning's noblest and most beautiful female
character. There is an excellent study of Pompilia in _Poet Lore_, vol.
i., p. 263. The keynote of her character is found in the line of the
poem--

    "I knew the right place by foot's feel;
    I took it, and tread firm there."

=Ponte dell' Angelo= (Venice) == The Angel's Bridge. (_Asolando_, 1889.)
Boverio, in his _Annals_, 1552, n. 69, relates this legend of Our Lady. It
is recorded at length in _The Glories of Mary_, by St. Alphonsus Liguori
(p. 192), a curious work which contains a great number of such stories,
which have for their moral the efficacy of prayers to Our Lady as a
protection from the devil. On one of the large canals at Venice is a house
with the figure of an angel guarding it from harm. Once upon a time (says
Father Boverio in his _Annals_) this house belonged to a lawyer, who was a
cruel oppressor of all who sought his advice; never was such an
extortionate rascal, though a devout one. On one occasion, after a
particularly lucrative week, he determined to ask some holy man to dinner,
as he could not get the memory of a widow whom he had wronged out of his
mind; so he invited the chief of the Capucins to disinfect his house by
his holy presence. The monk duly presented himself, and was informed that
a most admirable helpmate in the house was an ape, who worked for him
indefatigably. The host leaves his guest for awhile, that he may go below
to see how the dinner progresses. No sooner had the lawyer left the room
than the monk, by the instinct which saints possess for detecting the
devil under every disguise, adjures the ape to come out of his
hiding-place and show himself _in propriâ personâ_. Satan stands forth,
and explains that he is there to convey to hell the lawyer who plagued the
widows and orphans by his exactions. The monk asks how it came to pass
that he had so long delayed God's commission by acting as servant where he
should have been a minister of justice. The devil explains that the lawyer
had placed himself under the Virgin's protection by the prayers which he
never intermitted; thus the man is armed in mail, and cannot be lugged off
to hell while saying, "Save me, Madonna!" If he should discontinue that
prayer, Satan would pounce on him at once. He waits, therefore, hoping to
catch him napping. The holy man adjures him to vanish. The fiend says he
cannot leave the house without doing some damage to prove that his errand
had been fulfilled. The saint bade him make his exit through the wall, and
leave a gap in the stone for every one to see, which, having duly been
done, the monk goes downstairs to dinner with a good appetite. The host
asks what has become of the ape, whose assistance he requires, and is
terrified to see his guest wringing blood from the table napkin. It is
explained that the miracle is performed to show him how he has wrung blood
from his clients, and the host is bidden to go down on his knees and swear
to make restitution. The man consents, and absolution following, he is
forthwith taken upstairs to see the hole in the wall left by the devil
exorcised by his saintship. The lawyer fears that Satan may use the
aperture of exit for an entry to his dwelling at a future time, when the
Capucin bids him erect the figure of an angel and place it by the
aperture, which holy sign will frighten the fiend away. And this is why
the house by the bridge has the angel on the escutcheon, and why the
bridge itself is called the Angel's Bridge, though Mr. Browning thinks the
Devil's Bridge would have been as good a name for it.

=Pope, The.= (_The Ring and the Book._) The final appeal in the
Franceschini murder case being to the Pope, he has to decide the fate of
the Count. He reviews the whole case in the tenth book, and gives his
decision for the execution of the murderers. Browning's old men are some
of his greatest creations, and _The Pope_ is perhaps the finest of such
conceptions. There is an excellent essay on _The Pope_ in _Poet Lore_, vol
i., p. 309, by Professor Shackford.

=Pope, The, and the Net.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) It is generally supposed
that this poem refers to Pope Sixtus V. Mr. Browning possibly obtained the
idea from Leti's well-known biography of the Pope, which is full of
fables. Dr. Furnivall, however, thinks that Mr. Browning invented the
story. It is said that the character of Sixtus V. suits the poem better
than any other. The pope in question--Felice Peretti--was born in 1521, of
poor parents, but the story of his having been a swineherd in his youth
seems to be mere legend. The _Encyclopædia Britannica_ (9th edition) says
he was created cardinal in 1570, when he lived in strict retirement;
affecting, it is said, to be in a precarious state of health. According to
the usual story, which is probably at least exaggerated, this
dissimulation greatly contributed to his unexpected elevation to the
papacy on the next vacancy (April 24th, 1585). "Sixtus V. left the
reputation of a zealous and austere pope--with the pernicious qualities
inseparable from such a character in his age--of a stern and terrible, but
just and magnanimous temporal magistrate, of a great sovereign in an age
of great sovereigns, of a man always aiming at the highest things, and
whose great faults were but the exaggerations of great virtues." The best
view of his character is that given by Ranke. Mr. Browning makes his Pope
to be the son of a fisherman, who, on his elevation to the cardinalate,
kept his fisher-father's net in his palace-hall on a coat-of-arms, as
token of his humility. When, however, he became Pope, the net was removed
because it had caught the fish.

=Popularity.= (_Men and Women_, vol. ii., 1855.) This poem is a tribute to
Keats. Shelley and Keats soon displaced Pope and Byron from the mind of
the youthful poet who gave us _Pauline_: it is not difficult to trace in
that first work of Browning's the influence of both. When, as a boy, he
made acquaintance with the then little-known works of Keats, we can guess,
even if biographers had not told us, how the author of _Endymion_ and _The
Eve of St. Agnes_ would charm the young poet's soul. "Remember," he says
here, "one man saw you, knew you, and named a star!" Then he fancies him
as a fisherman on Tyrian seas, plundering the ocean of her purple dye:
kings' houses shall be made glorious and their persons beautiful with the
product of the coloured conchs. Then he sees merchants bottling the
extract and selling it to the world. They eat turtle and drink claret,
but who fished up the murex? How does he live? What mean food had John
Keats all his struggling life? He taught men to paint their ideas in
glowing word-tints and images luxuriant. These men gorge, while the man
who ransacked the ocean of thought and the world of fancy is left to
starve.

NOTES.--Verse 6, _Tyrian shells_: the genera Murex and Purpura have a
gland called the "adrectal gland, which secretes a colourless liquid,
which turns purple upon exposure to the atmosphere, and was used by the
ancients as a dye" (_Encyc. Brit._). It was a discovery of the
Phœnicians, and was known to the Greeks in the Homeric age. The juice
collected from the shells was placed in salt, and heated in metal vessels;
then the wool or silk was dyed in it. Tyrian purple wool in Cæsar's time
cost £43 10_s._ a pound. Purple robes were used from very early times as a
mark of dignity. Tyre was a very ancient city of Phœnicia, with great
harbours and very splendid buildings. _Astarte_: the Venus of the Greeks
and Romans, a powerful Syrian divinity. She had a great temple at
Hieropolis, in Syria, with three hundred priests. v. 12, _Hobbs, Nobbs,
Stokes, and Nokes_: fancy names, of course--meaning the men who profit by
other men's labours. They bottle and sell the precious things for which
the brave fisherman risks his life and spends his days and nights, after
all receiving but a miserable fraction of the gain. v. 13, _Murex_: the
genus of molluscs from which the Tyrian purple dye was obtained. It was of
the class GASTROPODA, order AZYGOBRANCHIA, sub-order _Siphonochlamyda_,
*_Rachiglossa_, family _Muricidæ_. _Purpura_ also was used (hence
_purple_), of the same sub-order--family _Buccinidæ_. "_What porridge had
John Keats?_" John Keats, the poet, was born Oct. 29th, 1795, and died of
consumption in Rome, Feb. 23rd, 1821, when only twenty-six years old. His
_Ode to a Nightingale_ will serve to immortalise him, even if he had
written nothing else. After this his best poems are his _Endymion_,
_Hyperion_, and the _Eve of St. Agnes_. His straitened circumstances and
his ill-health made him hysterical and fretful; but though he was
certainly cruelly used by his reviewers, it is only a ridiculous legend
that he was killed by an article against him in the _Quarterly Review_.
Bitter reviews of our books do not introduce to our lungs the microbes of
tuberculosis.

=Porphyria's Lover.= (Published first in Mr. Fox's _Monthly Repository_ in
1836, over the signature "Z." Reprinted as II. "Madhouse Cells," in
_Dramatic Lyrics, Bells and Pomegranates_, 1842.) In the midst of a storm
at night, to a man sitting alone by a burnt-out fire in his room, enters
the woman whom he loves, but of whose love he has never been sure in
return. She glides in, shuts out the storm, kneels by the dull grate and
makes a cheerful blaze, takes off her dripping cloak, lets down her damp
hair, sits by his side, speaks to him, puts her arm around him, rests his
cheek on her bosom, and murmuring that she loves him, gives herself to him
for ever. At last, then, he knows it; his heart swells with joyful
surprise, he realises the tremendous wealth of which he is thus suddenly
possessed; and lest change should ever come, lest the wealth should ever
be squandered, the possession ever be lost, he will kill her that moment:
and so, as she reposes there, he winds her beautiful long hair in a cord
thrice round her little throat, and she is strangled--painlessly, he
knows, but his unalterably, because dead. And God, he says, has watched
them as they sat the night through, and He has not said a word! This poem
was Browning's first monologue.

=Potter's Wheel, The.= The figure of the potter's wheel in _Rabbi Ben
Ezra_ is taken from Isaiah lxiv. 8, Jeremiah xviii. 2-6, and Romans ix.
20, 21. See a similar use of the figure in Quarles' _Emblems_ (Book III.,
Emblem 5).

=Pretty Woman, A.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Dramatic Lyrics_, 1868.) Here
is a beautiful woman--simply a beauty, nothing more. What, then, is not
that enough? Why cannot we let her just adorn the world like a beautiful
flower? Why do we demand more of her than to gladden us with her charms?
So the craftsman makes a rose of gold petals with rubies in its cup, all
his fine things merely effacing the rose which grew in the garden. The
best way to grace a rose is to leave it; not gather it, smell it, kiss it,
wear it, and then throw it away. Leave the pretty woman just to beautify
the world,--it needs it!

=Prince Berthold.= (_Colombe's Birthday._) He claims, by right, the duchy
which is held by Colombe.

=Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society= (1871). Prince
Hohenstiel-Schwangau represents the Emperor Napoleon III.
Hohenstiel-Schwangau represents France. The name is formed from that of
one of the Bavarian royal castles called Hohen-Schwangau. Visitors to the
Ober-Ammergau Passion Play will remember the beautiful and luxurious
castles which the mad king built and furnished in so costly a manner in
the midst of the picturesque scenery of the Bavarian Alps. The poem deals
with the subjective processes which Browning supposed animated Napoleon
III. in his character as Saviour of Society. _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_
is not precisely a soul-portrait of the Emperor Napoleon III. Mr. Browning
does not draw portraits--he analyses characters. He has therefore used the
Emperor as a model is used by an artist. The artist does not simply paint
the model's portrait, he uses him for a higher purpose of art. Mrs.
Browning was greatly interested in Louis Napoleon, enthusiastically
entered into the spirit of his ambitions, and considered him as "the
Saviour of Society." She loved Italy so passionately that the destroyer of
the power of Austria over the land which she loved could not fail to win
her admiration; and this, probably, was the chief reason of her esteem for
him. Her poem _Napoleon III. in Italy_ should be read in this connection;
each verse ends "Emperor Evermore." She says:--

    "We meet thee, O Napoleon, at this height
    At last, and find thee great enough to praise.
    Receive the poet's chrism, which smells beyond
    The priest's, and pass thy ways!
    An English poet warns thee to maintain
    God's word, not England's;--let His truth be true,
    And all men liars! with His truth respond
    To all men's lie."

She goes on to call him "Sublime Deliverer," and praises him for that "he
came to deliver Italy."

[THE MAN.] For some of my younger readers, who may not be familiar with
the career of the late Emperor of France, it may be necessary to remind
them of the following facts in his history. He was born at Paris on April
20th, 1808. The revolution of 1830, which dethroned the Bourbons, first
launched Louis Napoleon on his eventful career. With his elder brother he
joined the Italian bands who were in revolt against the pope. This revolt
was suppressed by Austrian soldiers. The law banishing the Bonapartes
exiled him on his return to Paris, and he came to England at the age of
twenty-three. In a few weeks he went to Switzerland, and wrote an essay on
that country. Returning to France, he was arrested and sent to America by
Louis Philippe in 1836. He returned to Switzerland next year, but shortly
after left for England again, living this time in Carlton Terrace. In 1840
he made his descent upon France; his party were shot or imprisoned, Louis
being condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the castle of Ham, on the
Somme. He escaped after six years, and once more went to London, living at
10, King Street, St. James's. When Louis Philippe died, in 1848, Louis
went to France and offered himself to the provisional government. He was
ordered to withdraw from France, which he did. In April 1848 he acted as a
special constable in London at the time of the Chartist disturbances. Soon
after, he was elected in France to the Assembly, in three departments. In
December 1848 he was elected president of the Republic by above five
million votes. On the 2nd December, 1851, he executed the _coup d'état_,
and soon after was made Emperor by the votes of nearly eight million
persons. For eighteen years Louis Napoleon was sovereign of France. He
married Eugénie de Montigo, Countess of Teba, Jan. 30th, 1853. On the 4th
June was fought the battle of Magenta, for the liberation of Italy; and he
entered Milan the next morning in company with Victor Emmanuel. He met the
Emperor of Austria at Villafranca on July 11th, and the preliminaries of
peace were arranged. He was hurried into the war with Germany by the
clerical party at court in 1870, his advisers seeing no hope for the
permanence of his dynasty but in a successful war. At the defeat of Sedan
he was made prisoner, with ninety thousand men. He was incarcerated at
Wilhelmshöhe, near Cassel, from which he subsequently retired to England.
He lived with the Empress at Chislehurst, dying there on Jan. 9th, 1873.

[THE POEM.] The Prince is talking with Lais, an adventuress, in a room
near Leicester Square. He is explaining that he has not been actuated in
his past life by any desire to make anything new, but merely to conserve
things, and carry on what he found ready for him: thus he has been a
conserver, a saviour of society. He has lived to please himself, though he
recognises God and considers himself as His instrument. God is not to
every one the same; to the woman of the town with whom he is conversing,
He is the Providence that helps her to pay her way. God is to all men just
what they conceive him to be: a shopkeeper's God and a king's God
differ,--it is just as they conceive Him. For his own part he has tried on
a large scale to please himself; but he has an eye to another world also,
so he must carry out God's wishes so far as he understands them,--he must
preserve what he found established. He thinks himself a great man because
a great conservator of order. There have been changes by God's acts, but
he has held it his object in life to find out the good already existing,
and preserve it. It is only the inspired man who can change society from
round to square; he is himself only the man of the moment; if he succeeds,
the inspired man will be the first to recognise the value of his work. He
will touch nothing unless reverently; he has no higher hope than to
reconcile good with hardly-quite-as-good; he will not risk a whiff of his
cigar for Fourier and Comte, and all that ends in smoke. He thinks it best
to be contented with what is bad but might be worse. For twenty years he
has held the balance straight, and so has done good service to humanity;
he has not trodden the world into a paste, that he might roll it out flat
and smooth; it has been no part of his task to mend God's mistakes. All
else but what a man feels is nothing, and the thing on which he
congratulates himself as a ruler of men is that everything he knows,
feels, or can conceive, he can make his own. He thinks that God made all
things for him, and himself for Him. To learn how to set foot decidedly on
some one path to heaven makes it worth while to handle things tenderly; we
might mend them, but also we might mar them; meanwhile they help on so
far, and therefore his end is to save society. He has no novelties to
offer, he creates nothing, has no desire to renew the age,--his task is to
cooperate, not to chop and change. All the good we know comes from order;
he will not interfere with evil, because good is brought about by its
means. When a chemist wants a white substance, and knows that the dye can
be obtained from black ingredients, what a fool he would be if he were to
insist that these also should be white! The Prince does not disapprove
this bad world, and has no faith in a perfectly good one here. Is there
any question as to the wisdom of saving society? Did he work aright with
the powers appointed him for this end? On reviewing his work he finds more
hope than discouragement: what he found he left, what was tottering he
kept stable. It is God's part to work great changes. He discovered that a
solitary great man was worth the world. It was his work to tend the
cornfield, to feed the myriads of hungry men who sought for daily bread
and nothing more. Was he to turn aside from that to play at horticulture,
look after the cornflowers and rear the poppies? "I am Liberty,
Philanthropy, Enlightenment, Patriotism," cried each: "flaunt my flag
alone!" He objected, "What about the myriads who have no flag at all?" If
he had to choose between faith and freedom, aristocracy and democracy, or
effecting the freedom of an oppressed nation, he would ask, "How many
years on an average do men live in the world?" "Some score," he is told.
To this he replies, if he had a hundred years to live he might concentrate
his energies on some great cause. But he has a cause, a flag and a faith:
it is Italy. There was a time when he was voice and nothing more, but only
like his censors; then he was full of great aims. Has he failed in promise
or performance? He thinks in neither; he found that men wanted merely to
be allowed to live, and so he consulted for his kind that have the eyes to
see, the mouths to eat, the hands to work. Nature told him to care for
himself alone in the conduct of his mind; he was to think as if man had
never thought before, and act as if all creation watched him. Nature has
evolved her man from the jelly-fish through various stages, till he has
reached the headship of creation. He, too, the Prince, has been evolved,
and can sympathise with all classes of men. Men in the main have little
wants, not large; it was his duty to help the least wants first: if only
he could live a hundred years instead of the average twenty, he could
experiment at ease. Men want meat; they can't chew Kant's _Critique of
Pure Reason_ in exchange. Obstacles, he has discovered, are good for
mankind; medicines are impeded in their action, and so are state remedies;
it is not possible always to effect precisely what is intended, neither
would it be always best in the long run. He illustrates this by a story of
an artist's trick he saw in Rome once. An artist had covered up the sons
and serpents of a Laocoön group, leaving only the central figure, with
nothing to show the purpose of his gesture; then a crowd was called to
give their opinion of the gesture of the figure. Every one thought it
showed a man yawning, except one man, who said "I think the gesture
strives against some obstacle we cannot see." Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau
would like this far-sighted individual to write his history: he would be
able to tell the world how he who was so misunderstood has tried to be a
man. And here, he says, ends his autobiography. He will now give some idea
to his companion (Lais, a not unsuitable auditor for his apologia) of what
he might have been if his visions had become realities. Had his story been
told by an historian of the Thiers-Hugo sort, he might have appeared thus.
The nation chose the Assembly first to serve her, chose the President
afterward chiefly to see that her servants did good service; when the time
came that the head servant must vacate his place, and it was patent that
his fellow-servants were all knaves or fools, seeing that everybody was
working to serve his own purposes, that they were only waiting for the
president's term of office to expire, to see their own longings crowned,
he appealed to the Assembly, showed how his fellow-servants had been
plotting and scheming while he alone had been faithful to the nation which
had trusted him, and suggested that he should be made "master for the
moment." Let him be entrusted with the utmost power they could confer upon
him, he would use it faithfully. And the nation answered, with a shout,--

    "The trusty one! no tricksters any more!"

Up to the time when his term of office as president must expire he had let
things go their own way, knowing all, seeing everything, but letting
things develop. Not that this was unsuspected by his enemies: they guessed
that he was meditating some stroke of state; they saw through him, as he
through them, and were on their guard. He was re-elected, and there was
uprising. "The knaves and fools, each trickster with his dupe," dropped
their masks, unfurled their flags, and brandished their weapons. Then fell
his fist on the head of craft and greed and impudence; the fancy patriot,
and the night hawk prowling for his prey, all alike were reduced to order
and obedience. Of course it was demurred that he was too prodigal of life
and liberty, too swift, too thorough; and Sagacity complained that he had
let things go on unnoticed till severe measures had been required: he
should have frustrated villainy in the egg; so for want of the by-blow had
to come the butcher's work. To all this he replies that his oath had
restrained him; he had rather appealed to the people for the commission to
act as he had done. And then began his sway; and his motto had been,
Govern for the many first, think of the poor mean multitude, all mouths
and eyes primarily, and then proceed to help the few, the better favoured.
His aim had been to try to equalise things a little, and this by way of
reverence. He did his work with might and main, and not a touch of fear,
but with confidence in God who comes before and after; irresolute as he
was at first, now that the cankers of society were laid bare before him,
he wrenched them out without a touch of indecision. And so, when the
Republic, violating its own highest principle, bade Hohenstiel-Schwangau
(really France) fasten in the throat of a neighbour (Italy), and deprive
her of liberty, in this he saw an infamy triumphant; and when he came into
power, he saw, too, that it demanded his interference. Sagacity said, "Let
the wrong stand over,--he was not to blame for the wrong, it was there
before his time." But he was prompt to act. Out came the canker, root and
branch, with much abuse for him from friend and foe. Sagacity said he had
been precipitate, rash, and rude, though in the right: he should have
blown a trumpet-blast to let the wrong-doers know they must set their
house in order. He replies that he would have broken another generation's
heart by the respite to the iniquity. And so the war came. "But France,"
said Sagacity, "had ever been a fighter, and would continue to be so till
the weary world interfered." Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau recognises this,
and says war for war's sake is damnable. He will prevent the growth of
this madness. This, however, does not imply that there shall be no war at
all, when the wickedness he denounces comes from the neighbour. He will
deliver Italy from the rule of Austria, smite her oppressor hip and thigh
till he leaves her free from the Adriatic to the Alps. Sagacity suggests
that this should not be all for nought: "there ought to be some honorarium
paid--Savoy and Nice, for example." But the Prince says "No; let there be
war for the hate of war." So Italy was free. But there were other points
noteworthy and commendable in the man's career: he was resolute, fearless,
and true, and by his rule the world had proof a point was gained. He had
shown he was the fittest man to rule; chance of birth and dice-throw had
been outdone here. Sagacity often advised him to confirm the advance, and
bade him wed the pick of the world; if he married a queen, he might tell
the world that the old enthroned decrepitudes acknowledged that their
knell had sounded, and that they were making peace with the new order. Or
let him have a free wife for his free state. Sagacity desires to prop up
the lie that the son derives his genius from the sire, but God does not
work like this. He drops His seed of heavenly flame where He wills on
earth; the rock all naked and unprepared is as likely to receive it as the
accumulated store of faculties:

    "The great Gardener grafts the excellence
    On wildings where He will."

He tells the story of the manner in which the succession of priests was
maintained at an old Roman temple. Each priest obtained his predecessor's
office by springing from ambush and slaying him,--his initiative rite was
simply murder under a religious sanction; so he says it is, and ever shall
be with genius and its priesthood in the world, the new power slays the
old. Thus did the Prince refute Sagacity, always whispering in his ear
that Fortune alternates with Providence, and he must not reckon on a happy
hit occurring twice. But he will trust nothing to right divine and luck of
the pillow; rulers should be selected by supremacy of brains; a blunder
may ensue; it cannot be worse than the rule of the legitimate blockhead.
By this time poor Lais has gone to sleep (little wonder!). The Prince
leaves off imagining what the historian of the Thiers-Hugo school might
have written, of the life he might have led, and the things he might have
done. All this was in cloud-land. In the inner chamber of the soul the
silent truth fights the battle out with the lie, truth which unarmed pits
herself against the armoury of the tongue. We must use words though; and
somehow--as even do the best rifled cannon--words will deflect the shot.

NOTES.--_Œdipus_, son of Laius, king of Thebes, and Jocasta. He was
exposed to the persecutions of Juno from his birth. He murdered his father
and committed incest with his mother. _Riddle of the Sphinx_: Œdipus
solved the riddle of the Sphinx, a terrible monster which devoured all
those who attempted its solution and failed. The enigma was this: "What
animal in the morning walks upon four feet, at noon upon two, and in the
evening upon three?" Œdipus said: "Man, in the morning of his life,
goes on all fours; when grown to manhood, he walks erect; and in old age,
the evening of life, supports himself with a stick." "_Home's stilts_":
the spirit-rapper, D. D. Home, is here referred to. (See, for Mr.
Browning's opinion of Spiritualism, his poem _Mr. Sludge the Medium_.
Sludge is really Home.) _Corinth_, an ancient city of Greece, celebrated
for its wealth and the luxury of its inhabitants. _Thebes_: the Sphinx
resorted to the neighbourhood of this city. It was the capital of
Bœotia, and one of the most ancient cities of Greece. _Laïs_, a
celebrated courtesan who lived at Corinth, and ridiculed the philosophers.
_Thrace_, an extensive country between the Ægean, Euxine and Danube.
_Residenz_ (Ger.): the residence of a prince and count. _Pradier
Magdalen_: the statue of St. Mary Magdalen by James Pradier, in the
Louvre. Pradier was born at Geneva in 1790, and died in Paris 1852. He was
a brilliant and popular sculptor. His chief works are the Son of Niobe,
Atalanta, Psyche, Sappho (all in the Louvre), a bas-relief on the
triumphal arch of the Carousel, the figures of Fame on the Arc de
l'Etoile, and Rousseau's statue at Geneva. _Fourier_: Charles Fourier was
a Frenchman who recommended the reorganisation of society into small
communities, living in common. _Comte, Auguste_: the author of the
Positive Philosophy, the key to which is "the Law of the Three
States'--that is to say, there are three different ways in which the human
mind explains phenomena, each way succeeding the other. These three stages
are the Theological, the Metaphysical, and the Positive. The Positive
stage is that in which the relation is established between the given fact
and some more general fact. "_But, God, what a Geometer art Thou!_" This
is Plato's. Browning uses the same idea in _Easter Day_ (see the notes to
that poem). _Hercules_, substituting his shoulder for that of Atlas: Atlas
was one of the Titans, and was fabled to support the world on his
shoulders. Hercules was said to have eased for some time the labours of
Atlas by taking upon his shoulders the weight of the heavens. _Œta_, a
mountain range in the south of Thessaly. _Proudhon_ was a revolutionary
writer (1809-65). His answer to the question, "Qu'est ce-que la
Propriété?" is famous: "La Propriété, c'est le vol," he replied. His
greatest work was the "_Système des Contradictions économiques, ou
Philosophie de la Misère_." His violent utterances led to his imprisonment
for three years. _Great Nation_: to the French their country is "La Grande
Nation." _Leicester Square_: all the foreign refugees in England gravitate
towards Leicester Square. _Cayenne_: the capital of French Guiana, and a
penal settlement for political offenders. It is anything but "cool," the
temperature throughout the year being from 76° to 88° Fahr. It is
fever-stricken, and very unhealthy generally. _Xerxes and the Plane-tree_:
Xerxes going from Phrygia into Lydia, observed a plane-tree, which on
account of its beauty, he presented with golden ornaments. (_Herodotus_
vii. 31.) _Kant_: Emmanuel Kant, author of the _Critique of Pure Reason_
(1724-1804). He was the greatest philosopher of the eighteenth century.
This celebrated work of Kant's penetrated to all the leading universities,
and its author was hailed by some as a second Messiah. The falls of
_Terni_, on the route from Perugia to Orte, in Central Italy, have few
rivals in Europe in point of beauty and volume of water. They are the
celebrated falls of the Velino (which here empties itself into the Nera)
called the Cascate delle Marmore, and are about 650 feet in height.
_Laocoön_, a Trojan, priest of Apollo, who was killed at the altar by two
serpents. The famous group of sculpture called by this name is in the
Vatican Museum, in the _Cortile del Belvedere_. According to Pliny, it was
executed by three Rhodians, and was placed in the palace of Titus. It was
discovered in 1506, and was termed by Michael Angelo a marvel of art.
_Thiers, Louis Adolphe_ (1797-1877), "liberator of the territory," as
France calls him. He wrote the _History of the French Revolution_. _Victor
Hugo_, born 1802, a famous politician and novelist of France, was exiled
by Louis Napoleon after the _coup d'état_. He fulminated against the
Emperor from Jersey his book _Napoleon the Little_. He was detested almost
fanatically by Napoleon III. "_Brennus in the Capitol_": Brennus was a
leader of the Gauls, and conqueror at the Allia, a small river eleven
miles north of Rome, on the banks of which the Gauls inflicted a terrible
defeat on the Romans on July 16th, B.C. 390. After this defeat the Romans,
terrified by this sudden invasion, fled into the Capitol and left the
whole city in the possession of the enemy. The Gauls climbed the Tarpeian
rock in the night, and the Capitol would have been taken if the Romans had
not been alarmed by the cackling of some geese near the doors, when they
attacked and defeated the Gauls. _Salvatore_, == Salvator Rosa, a renowned
painter of the Neapolitan school. _Clitumnus_, a river of Italy, the
waters of which, when drunk, were said to render oxen white. _Nemi_: the
lake of Nemi, in the Alban mountains, near Rome, was anciently called the
_Lacus Nemorensis_, and sometimes the Mirror of Diana, from its extreme
beauty. Remains have been discovered of a temple to that goddess in the
neighbourhood, and from her sacred grove, or _nemus_, the present name is
derived.

="Prize Poems."= Dining one day last year at Trinity College, Cambridge,
with that enthusiastic young Browning scholar, Mr. E. H. Blakeney (himself
a poet of great promise), we discussed the question of the comparative
popularity of Browning's shorter poems, and it was decided that he should
ask the editor of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ to put it to the vote in his
columns. A prize was offered for the list of fifty poems which came
nearest to the standard list obtained by collating the lists of all the
competitors. The fifty "prize poems" selected by the _plébiscite_ as
Browning's best, arranged in the order of the votes they severally
received, were the following:--

     1. How they brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.

     2. Evelyn Hope.

     3. Abt Vogler.
        Saul.

     5. Rabbi Ben Ezra.

     6. The Lost Leader.

     7. The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

     8. Prospice.

     9. Hervé Riel.

    10. Andrea del Sarto.

    11. The Last Ride Together.

    12. A Grammarian's Funeral.

    13. Home Thoughts from Abroad.

    14. The Boy and the Angel.

    15. Epilogue to Asolando.

    16. By the Fireside.
        Fra Lippo Lippi.

    18. Caliban upon Setebos.

    19. One Word More.

    20. Any Wife to Any Husband.

    21. An Epistle of Karshish.

    22. Incident of the French Camp.

    23. The Guardian Angel.

    24. Love among the Ruins.

    25. Apparent Failure.
        A Forgiveness.

    27. A Death in the Desert.
        A Woman's Last Word.

    29. Count Gismond.

    30. In a Gondola.

    31. The Patriot.

    32. A Toccata of Galuppi's.

    33. My Last Duchess.

    34. The Worst of It.
        Truth and Art.

    36. The Statue and the Bust.

    37. The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church.

    38. Cristina.

    39. Clive.

    40. Confessions.

    41. Two in the Campagna.

    42. Summum Bonum.

    43. After.

    44. Holy Cross Day.
        The Italian in England.

    46. Up at a Villa.

    47. Before.

    48. James Lee's Wife.
        Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister.

    50. Old Pictures in Florence.

=Prologue to Dramatic Idyls.= (_Second Series._) When we are suffering
from bodily illness, doctors often disagree as to the diagnosis of our
complaint. We go from specialist to specialist, and each physician
declares that we are suffering from that disorder which he makes his
special study: the brain doctor says it is all brain trouble; the heart
man, the liver and lung specialists, are all pretty certain to diagnose
their own favourite malady. And so even the wisest are ignorant of man's
body. But when we come to soul, there is no difficulty at all: they pounce
on our malady in a trice. They can see the body, and cannot tell what is
the matter with it; the soul, which they cannot see, presents no
difficulties whatever to their wise heads! Mr. Sharp, in his paper on
_Dramatic Idyls_ II., says this Epilogue is the key to the leading idea of
each poem in the volume. _Echetlos_ deals with patriotic action. We think
Miltiades and Themistocles true patriots, but history shows that they only
served their own turn. _Clive_ dreaded death less than a lie, yet
committed suicide: was this due to courage or fear? _Mulyekeh_ loved his
mare, but sacrificed her to his pride. _Pietro of Abano_ did benevolent
actions, yet had no love in his heart. _Doctor ----_ did good actions from
a motive of hate. _Pan and Luna_: this poem deals with an act of love from
opposite extremes--Pan gross and brutal, Luna pure and modest; yet she
does not spurn Pan. This was not due to want of modesty, but to the power
of love, and Pan was not actuated by brute passion. _The Epilogue_ is to
oppose the idea that poets sing spontaneously about anything. Browning
says his rocks are hard and forbidding, yet they hold, like Alpine crags,
pine seeds of truth.

=Prologue to Ferishtah's Fancies.= This is intended to describe the
peculiar construction of the volume of poems. The poet tells his readers
how ortolans are eaten in Italy: the birds are stuck on a skewer, some
dozen or more, each having interposed between himself and his neighbour on
the spit a bit of toast and a strong sage leaf; and the eater is intended
to bite through crust, seasoning, and bird altogether, so the lusciousness
is curbed and the full flavour of the delicacy is obtained. The poem, we
are told, is dished up on the same principle. We have sense, sight and
song here, and all is arranged to suit our digestion. We have the fancy or
fable, then a dialogue, and a melodious lyric to conclude; so, in the
twelve poems, we may see twelve ortolans, with their accompanying toast
and sage leaf.

NOTES.--_Ortolans_ (_Emberiza hortulana_): the garden bunting, a native of
Continental Europe and Western Asia. It is very much like the
yellowhammer. They are netted, and fed in a darkened room with oats and
other grain. They soon become very fat, and are then killed for the table;
the birds are much prized by gourmands. _Gressoney_, a village in the
valley of the Aosta. _Val d'Aosta_, valley of the Aosta, in northern
Piedmont.

=Prologue to Pacchiarotto.= The poet is imprisoned on a long summer day
with his feet on a grass plot and his eyes on a red brick wall. True, the
wall is clothed with a luxuriant creeper through which the bricks laugh,
and the robe of green pulsates with life, beautifying the barrier. He
reflects that wall upon wall divide us from the subtle thing that is
spirit: though cloistered here in the body-barrier, he will hope hard, and
send his soul forth to the congenial spirit beyond the ring of neighbours
which, like a fence of brick and stone, divides him from his love.

=Prospice= == "Look forward" (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864) was written in the
autumn following Mrs. Browning's death. St. Paul speaks of those "who
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage": the
author of _Prospice_ and the Epilogue to _Asolando_ was not of this class.
Few men have written as nobly as he on the awful "minute of night," and
its fight with the "Arch Fear." Estimating it at its fullest import, as
only a great imaginative mind can do, he is in face of "the black minute"
and "the power of the night"--the Mr. Greatheart of the pilgrims to the
dark river. Nothing grander has been written on the subject than the poems
we have named. In the short poem _Prospice_ is concentrated the strength
of a great soul and the courage of one who is prepared for the worst, with
eyes unbandaged. As an example of the poet's power nothing can be finer.
The dramatic intensity of the opening lines--the fog, the mist, the snow,
and the blasts which indicate the journey's end, "the post of the foe"--is
unsurpassed even by Shakespeare himself. It is a defiance of death, a
challenge to battle.

=Protus.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Romances_, 1863; _Dramatic Romances_,
1868.) There is no historical foundation for the poem. In the declining
years of the Roman Empire such rapid transitions of power were not
uncommon. A baby Emperor Protus is described in some ancient work as
absorbing the interest of the whole empire: queens ministered at his
cradle. The world rose in war till he was presented at a balcony to pacify
it. Greek sculptors and great artists strove to impress his graces on
their work, his subjects learned to love the letters of his name; and on
the same page of the history it was recorded how the same year a
blacksmith's bastard, by name John the Pannonian, arose and took the crown
and wore it for six years, till his sons poisoned him. What became of the
young Emperor Protus was then but mere hearsay: perhaps he was permitted
to escape; he may have become a tutor at some foreign court, or, as others
say, he may have died in Thrace a monk. "Take what I say," wrote the
annotator, "at its worth."

=Puccio.= (_Luria._) The officer in the Florentine army who was superseded
by the Moorish leader Luria.



=Queen, The.= (_In a Balcony._) The middle-aged woman who, though married,
falls in love with Norbert, the lover of Constance. She prepares to
divorce her husband and marry her officer. When, however, she discovers
the truth about the young lovers, she is the prey of jealousy and offended
dignity, and the drama closes with ominous prospects for the unfortunate
couple.

=Queen Worship.= Under this title were originally published two poems: i.,
_Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli_; and ii., _Cristina_.

=Quietism.= See MOLINISTS.



=Rabbi Ben Ezra.= (_Dramatis Personæ_, 1864.) The character is historical.
The _Encyclopædia Britannica_ gives the name as Abenezra, or Ibn Ezra, the
full name being Abraham Ben Meir Ben Ezra; he was also called Abenare or
Evenare. "He was one of the most eminent of the Jewish literati of the
Middle Ages. He was born at Toledo about 1090, left Spain for Rome about
1140, resided afterwards at Mantua in 1145, at Rhodes in 1155 and 1166, in
England in 1159, and died probably in 1168. He was distinguished as a
philosopher, astronomer, physician, and poet; but especially as a
grammarian and commentator. The works by which he is best known form a
series of _Commentaries_ on the books of the Old Testament, which have
nearly all been printed in the great Rabbinic Bibles of Bomberg (1525-26),
Buxtorf (1618-19), and Frankfurter (1724-27). Abenezra's commentaries are
acknowledged to be of very great value. He was the first who raised
biblical exegesis to the rank of a science, interpreting the text
according to its literal sense, and illustrating it from cognate
languages. His style is elegant, but is so concise as to be sometimes
obscure; and he occasionally indulges in epigram. In addition to the
commentaries, he wrote several treatises on astronomy or astrology, and a
number of grammatical works." He appears to have possessed extraordinary
natural talents; to these he added "indefatigable ardour and industry in
the pursuit of knowledge, and he enjoyed besides, in his youth, the
advantage of the best teachers, among whom was the Karaite, Japhet Hallevi
or Levita, to whom he is believed to have owed his taste for etymological
and grammatical investigation, and his preference for the literal to the
allegorical and cabalistic interpretation of Scripture. He was afterwards
married to Levita's daughter." He did not consider his life a fortunate
one as men look upon life. "I strive to grow rich," he said; "but the
stars are against me. If I sold shrouds, none would die. If candles were
my wares the sun would not set till the day of my death." The cause of his
leaving Spain was an outbreak against the Jews. Hitherto, he said of
himself, he had been "as a withered leaf; I roved far away from my native
land, from Spain, and went to Rome with a troubled soul." He seems to have
written no books until after his exile, and then he actively engaged in
literary work. The most complete catalogue of his works is contained in
Furst's _Bibliotheca Judaica_ (Leipzig, 1849). "Maimonides, his great
contemporary, esteemed his writings so highly for learning, judgment, and
elegance, that he recommended his son to make them for some time the
exclusive object of his study. By Jewish scholars he is preferred, as a
commentator, even to Raschi in point of judiciousness and good sense; and
in the judgment of Richard Simon, confirmed by De Rossi, he is the most
successful of all the rabbinical commentators in the grammatical and
literal interpretation of the Scriptures" (_Imp. Dict. Biog._). According
to Rabbi Ben Ezra, man's life is to be viewed as a whole. God's plan in
our creation has arranged for youth and age, and no view of life is
consistent with it which ignores the work of either. Man is not a bird or
a beast, to find joy solely in feasting; care and doubt are the life
stimuli of his soul: the Divine spark within us is nearer to God than are
the recipients of His inferior gifts. So our rebuffs, our stings to urge
us on, our strivings, are the measure of our ultimate success: aspiration,
not achievement, divides us from the brute. The body is intended to
subserve the highest aims of the soul: it will do so if we live and learn.
The flesh is pleasant, and can help soul as that helps the body. Youth
must seek its heritage in age; in the repose of age he is to take measures
for his last adventure. This he can do with prospect of success
proportionate to his use of the past. Wait death without fear, as you
awaited age. Sentence will not be passed on mere "work" done: our
purposes, thoughts, fancies, all that the coarse methods of human
estimates failed to appreciate, these will be put in the diamond scales of
God and credited to us. God is the Potter; we are clay, receiving our
shape and form and ornament by every turn of the wheel and faintest touch
of the Master's hand. The uses of a cup are not estimated by its foot or
by its stem; but by the bowl which presses the Master's lips to slake the
Divine thirst. We cannot see the meaning of the wheel and the touches of
the potter's hand and instrument; we know this, and this only,--our times
are in His hand who has planned a perfect cup.--I am indebted to Mr. A. J.
Campbell for the following notes, the result of his researches in
endeavouring to trace the real Rabbi Ibn Ezra in the poem _Rabbi Ben
Ezra_. His fellow-religionists say of the Rabbi that he was "a man of
strongly marked individuality and independence of thought, keen in
controversy, yet genial withal; and it is in words such as these that the
final estimate of his own people is given. 'He was the wonder of his
contemporaries and of those who came after him ... profoundly versed in
every branch of knowledge, with unfailing judgment, a man of sharp tongue
and keen wit' (Dr. J. M. Jost, _Geschichte des Judenthums_, 2nd Abth., p.
419). And again: 'This man possessed an immense erudition; but his
masterly spirit is far more to be wondered at than the mass of knowledge
he acquired' (Id., _Geschichte des Israeliten_, 6{te} Theil, p. 162)." Mr.
Campbell thinks that the distinctive features of the Rabbi of the poem
were drawn by Mr. Browning from the writings of the real Rabbi, and that
the philosophy which he puts into the mouth of Rabbi Ben Ezra was actually
that of Rabbi Ibn Ezra. "It was no worldly success that gave peace to his
age; but he had won a spiritual calm, no longer troubled by the doubts
that at one time or another must come to all who think. 'While this
remarkable man was roving about from east to west and from north to south,
his mind remained firm in the principles he had once for all accepted as
true.... His advocacy of freedom of thought and research, his views
concerning angels, concerning the immortality of the soul, are the same in
the earlier commentaries ... as with [those] which were written later; the
same in his grammatical works as in his theological discourses'" (Dr. M.
Friedlander, _Essays on Ibn Ezra_, Preface and p. 139). "Our times are in
His hand," says Browning's Rabbi; so, too, Ibn Ezra, in a poem quoted by
Dr. Michael Sachs (_Die Religiose Poesie der Juden in Spanien_, p.
117)--"In deiner Hand liegt mein Geschichte." Says Dr. Friedlander, "He
had very little money, and very much wit, and was a born foe to all
superficiality. So he had spent his youth in preparing himself for his
future career by collecting and storing up materials, in cultivating the
garden of his mind so that it might at a later period produce the choicest
and most precious fruits" (Ibn Ezra's _Comment., Isaiah_, Introduction by
Dr. Friedlander). Mr. Campbell says that the keynote of Ibn Ezra's
teaching is that the essential life of man is the life of the soul. "Man
has the sole privilege of becoming superior to the beast and the fowl,
according to the words 'He teacheth him to raise himself above the cattle
of the earth'" (Ibn Ezra, _Comment., Job_ xxxv. 11). "He ascribes to man's
soul a triple nature, or three faculties roughly corresponding to the
division of St. Paul of man into body, soul and spirit. The soul of man,
he holds, can exist with or without the body, and did, in fact, pre-exist"
(Friedlander, _Essays on Ibn Ezra_, pp. 27-8). This is Browning's theory
in verse 27. In Browning's poem the Rabbi describes man's life as the
_lone_ way of the soul (verse 8). Ibn Ezra, in his _Commentary, Psalm_
xxii. 22, says, "The soul of man is called lonely because it is separated
during its union with the body from the universal soul, into which it is
again received when it departs from its earthly companion." When Rabbi Ben
Ezra, in Mr. Browning's poem, speaks of the body at its best projecting
the soul on its way (verse 8), he is uttering the thought of Ibn Ezra, who
says, "It is well known that, as long as the bodily desires are strong,
the soul is weak and powerless against them, because they are supported by
the body and all its powers: hence those who only think of eating and
drinking will never be wise. By the alliance of the intellect with the
animal soul [sensibility, the higher quality of the body] the desires [the
lower quality or appetite of the body] are subordinated, and the eyes of
the soul are opened a little, so as to comprehend the knowledge of
material bodies; but the soul is not yet prepared for pure knowledge, on
account of the animal soul which seeks dominion and produces all kinds of
passion; therefore, after the victory gained with the support of the
animal soul over the desires, it is necessary that the soul should devote
itself to wisdom, and seek its support for the subjection of the passions,
in order to remain under the sole control of knowledge" (Ibn Ezra,
_Comment., Eccl._ vii. 3). Mr. Campbell has shown how much Mr. Browning
has assimilated Ibn Ezra's philosophy in many other points in the poem.
(For an extended explanation of the poem see my _Browning's Message to his
Time_, pp. 157-72.)

=Rawdon Brown.= "Mr. Rawdon Brown, an Englishman of culture, well known to
visitors in Venice, died in that city in the summer of 1883. He went to
Venice for a short visit, with a definite object in view, and ended by
staying forty years. During one of his rare runs to England, I met him at
Ruskin's at Denmark Hill, somewhere about 1860. He englished, abstracted,
and calendared for our Record Office, a large number of the reports of the
Venetian Ambassadors in England in the days of Elizabeth, etc. His love
for Venice was so great, that some one invented about him the story which
Browning told in the following sonnet, which was printed by Browning's
permission, and that of Mrs. Bronson--at whose request it was written--in
the _Century Magazine_ 'Bric-à-Brac' for February 1884" (Dr. Furnivall in
_Browning Society's Papers_, vol. i., p. 132*).

    "Tutti ga i so gusti, e mi go i mii."--_Venetian Saying._
    (_Tr._ Everybody follows his taste, and I follow mine.)

    Sighed Rawdon Brown: "Yes, I'm departing, Toni!
    I needs must, just this once before I die,
    Revisit England: _Anglus_ Brown am I,
    Although my heart's Venetian. Yes, old crony--
    Venice and London--London's 'Death the bony'
    Compared with Life--that's Venice! What a sky,
    A sea, this morning! One last look! Good-bye.
    Cà Pesaro! No, lion--I'm a coney
      To weep--I'm dazzled; 'tis that sun I view
        Rippling the--the--_Cospetto_, Toni! Down
          With carpet-bag, and off with valise-straps!
      _Bella Venezia, non ti lascio più!_"
      Nor did Brown ever leave her: well, perhaps
    Browning, next week, may find himself quite Brown!

    _Nov. 28th, 1883._      ROBERT BROWNING.

=Reason and Fancy.= The discussion between Reason and Fancy is in _La
Saisiaz_.

=Red Cotton Night-cap Country, or Turf and Towers= (1873). This may be
termed a pathological poem, a study of suicidal mania and religious
insanity in a young man of dissipated habits whose "mind" was scarcely
worthy of the poet's analysis. The title given to the work was so bestowed
in consequence of Mr. Browning having met Miss Thackeray in a part of
Normandy which she jokingly christened "White Cotton Night-cap Country,"
on account of its sleepiness. Mr. Browning having heard the tragedy which
his story tells, said "Red Cotton Night-cap Country" would be the more
appropriate term. The alternative title, "Turf and Towers," is much more
likely to have been suggested by the scenery of the place than by the more
fanciful reasons which have sometimes been imagined for it. The scene of
the story is in the department of Calvados, close to the city of Caen. The
whole country is very interesting, from its historical associations and
architectural remains, and the scenery is exceedingly beautiful. M. de
Caumont, the distinguished archæologist of Caen, enumerates nearly seventy
specimens of the Norman architecture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries
existing in it. Battlemented walls furnished with towers, picturesque
chateaux, old churches and tall spires in a landscape of luxuriant
pastures and grey and purple hills, justified the title "Turf and Towers,"
even apart from the particular circumstances connected with the story. Mr.
Browning visited St. Aubin's in 1872, and was interested in the singular
history of the family which owned Clairvaux, a restored priory in the
locality. Léonce Miranda, the son and heir of a wealthy Paris jeweller,
led a dissipated life in his times of leisure, but industriously pursued
his calling in strictly business hours. After devoting his attentions to a
number of light-o'-loves, he one day fell in love with an adventuress, one
Clara Mulhausen, who succeeded in securing him in her toils. As she was
already married, the connection was of a nature to be carried on in
seclusion, and the jeweller accordingly left a manager in charge of his
business, retiring with the woman to Clairvaux, where his father had
already purchased property. For five years the couple lived together in
what was considered to be happiness. Then Miranda was suddenly called to
Paris to account to his mother for his extravagance: he had spent large
sums in building operations, having amongst other things erected a
Belvedere (a sort of tower above the roof built for viewing the scenery).
He so felt the reproaches of his mother that he attempted to commit
suicide by throwing himself into the Seine. He was saved, however, and
having been restored by Clara's nursing, was convalescent when he was
again urgently summoned to his mother, only to find her dead. He was told
that his conduct was responsible for his mother's death; and his
relatives, careless of the consequences to a mind so unhinged as
Miranda's, spared him none of their upbraidings. All this had the
anticipated effect: he gave up the bulk of his property to his relatives,
reserving only enough for his decent support and that of Clara. When the
day arrived for the legal arrangements to be completed, he was found in a
room reading and burning in the fire a number of letters. He had
afterwards, so it was discovered, placed a number of the papers in a bag
and held it in the fire till his hands were destroyed, at the same time
crying, "Burn, burn and purify my past." If anything more than what had
already happened were necessary to prove the man's insanity, the fact that
he inflicted this terrible injury upon himself was sufficient evidence on
the point. He declared that he was working out his salvation, and had to
be dragged from the room protesting that the sacrifice was incomplete: "I
must have more hands to burn!" He lay in a fevered condition for three
months, raving against the temptress. When he was sufficiently restored to
health he took her back to his heart, saying however, "Her sex is changed:
this is my brother--he will tend me now." He disposed of the jeweller's
shop to his relatives, and went back to Clairvaux with the woman. At this
point Mr. Browning brings the would-be suicide under the influence of
religion; the man devoted his substance liberally to the poor, and made
many gifts to the Church: it was "ask and have" with this kind Miranda,
who was striving to save his soul by acts of charity. It happened that
there was a pilgrimage chapel of _La Déliverande_ near Clairvaux, called
in the poem, rather oddly, "The Ravissante." The Norman sailors and
peasants have resorted to this place of devotion for the last eight
hundred years. Murray says: "It is a small Norman edifice. The statue of
the Virgin, which now commands the veneration of the faithful, was
resuscitated in the reign of Henry I. from the ruins of a previous chapel
destroyed by the Northmen, through the agency of a lamb constantly
grubbing up the earth over the spot where it lay. Such is the tenor of the
legend. The reputation of the image for performing miracles, especially in
behalf of sailors, has been maintained from that time to the present." Of
course Miranda paid many visits to Our Lady's shrine; many prayers had
been heard and answered there,--why should not La Déliverande help him?
One splendid day in spring he mounts the stairs of his view-tower, and, as
the poet imagines, addresses the Virgin in exalted phrase. He declares
that he burned his hands off because she had prompted, "Purchase now by
pain pleasure hereafter in the world to come." He had lightened his purse
even if his soul still retained forbidden treasure, and "Where is the
reward?" He reproaches Our Lady that she has done nothing to help him. She
is Queen of Angels: will she suspend for him the law of gravity if he
casts himself from the tower? He tells her it will restore religion to
France, to the world, if this miracle is worked. He sees Our Lady smile
assent: he will trust himself. He springs from the balustrade, and lies
stone dead on the turf the next moment. "Mad!" exclaimed a gardener who
saw him fall. "No! Sane," says Mr. Browning. "He put faith to the proof.
He believed in Christianity for its miracles, not for its moral influence
on the heart of man; better test such faith at once--'kill or cure.'" By a
later will Miranda had bequeathed all his property to the Church,
reserving sufficient for the support of Clara. Of course the relatives
interfered, with the idea of securing the property for themselves. This
led to a trial, which was decided in the lady's favour, and she was
châtelaine of Clairvaux where Browning saw her in 1872. The real names of
the persons and places are not given in the poem, and there is no good
purpose to be served by giving a key to them.

NOTES.--[The pages are those of the first edition of the Poem.] Page 2,
"_Un-Murrayed_": unfrequented by tourists who carry Murray's or Bædeker's
guide-books. p. 4, _Saint-Rambert_ == St. Aubin, a pretty bathing-place in
Calvados, Normandy; _Joyous-Gard_: the estate given by King Arthur to Sir
Launcelot of the Lake for defending Guinevere. p. 6, _Rome's Corso_: the
principal modern thoroughfare of Rome is the Corso. p. 18, _Guarnerius_,
Andreas, and his son Giuseppe, early Italian violin makers; _Straduarius_,
Antonio: a famous violin maker of Cremona (1649-1737). p. 19, _Corelli_
(1653-1713): a celebrated violin player and composer; _cushat-dove_ ==
the ring-dove or wood-pigeon; _giga_ == _gigg_: a jig, a dance;
_Saraband_: a grave Spanish dance in triple time. p. 23, "_Quod semel,
semper, et ubique_": what was once, and is always and everywhere. This
would seem to be intended for the celebrated rule of St. Vincent of Lerins
as to the Catholic Faith--"Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ad omnibus
creditum est. Hoc est etenim vere proprieque catholicum" (_Comm._, c.
3)--that is to say, the Catholic doctrine is that which has been believed
in all places, at all times, and by all the faithful. p. 24,
_Rahab-thread_: see Joshua ii. 18. p. 25, _Octroi_: a tax levied at the
gate of Continental cities on food, etc., brought within the walls. p. 29,
_The Conqueror's country_: Normandy, the native country of William the
Conqueror. p. 30, _Lourdes_ and _La Salette_: celebrated places of
pilgrimage in France. p. 37, _Abaris_: a priest of Apollo; he rode through
the air, invisible, on a golden arrow, curing diseases and giving oracles.
p. 42, _Madrilene_, of Madrid. p. 73, _Father Secchi_: the great Jesuit
astronomer of Rome. p. 83, _Acromia_: in anatomy, the outer extremities of
the shoulder-blades. p. 84, _Sganarelle_: the hero of Molière's comedy _Le
Mariage Forcé_. A man aged about fifty-four proposes to marry a
fashionable young woman, but he has certain scruples which, however, are
allayed by the cudgel of the lady's brother. p. 87, _Caen_: an ancient and
celebrated city of Normandy. p. 88, "_Inveni ovem [meam] quæ perierat_":
"I have found my sheep which was lost" (St. Luke xv. 6). p. 108, _Favonian
breeze_: the west wind, favourable to vegetation; _Auster_: an unhealthy
wind, the same as the Sirocco. p. 140, _L'Ingegno_, Andrea Luigi. p. 141,
_Boileau_: the great French poet, born at Paris 1636; _Louis Quatorze_:
Louis XIV., king of France; _Pierre Corneille_: the great dramatic poet
(1606-84), born at Rouen. p. 177, "_Religio Medici_": a doctor's religion;
the title of the celebrated book of Sir Thomas Browne, a devout Christian
writer; the new religion of the hyper-scientific school of doctors is mere
materialism. p. 193, _Rouher_, Eugene: French politician (1814-84);
_Œcumenical Assemblage at Rome_: a general or universal council of the
bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. p. 202, _fons et origo_: the fount
and origin. p. 203, "_On Christmas morn--three Masses_": the first is the
midnight mass, the second at break of day, the third is the Christmas
morning mass. p. 204, _Cistercian monk_: of an Order established at
Citeaux, in France, by Robert, abbot of Moleme. The Order is very severe;
but its rule is similar to that of the Benedictines; _Capucin_: a monk of
the Order of St. Francis; _Benedict_: St. Benedict, "the most illustrious
name in the history of Western monasticism": he was born at Nursia, in
Umbria, about the year 480; _Scholastica_: St. Scholastica was the sister
of St. Benedict: she established a convent near Monte Cassino. p. 210,
_Star of Sea_: Stella Maris, one of the titles of Our Lady, because _mare_
means "the sea" in Latin. p. 229, _Commines_ (more correctly Comines):
Philippe de Comines (1445-1509), called "the father of modern history."
Hallam says that his _Memoirs_ "almost make an epoch in modern history."
p. 234, "_Queen of Angels_": one of the titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
p. 235, "_Legations to the Pope_": ambassadors or envoys to the Pope of
Rome. p. 238, _Alacoque_: the Ven. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who founded the
devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in France; "_Renan burns his book_":
Ernest Renan, born 1823, the famous French philologist and historian,
author of the Rationalistic _Life of Jesus_, which of course he did not
burn! "_Veuillot burns Renan_": Louis Veuillot (1813-83), a celebrated
French writer of the Ultramontane school, who would gladly have suppressed
Renan if he had had the opportunity; "_The Universe_": the famous Catholic
journal edited by Veuillot. p. 245, _Lignum vitæ_: Guaiacum wood, used in
rheumatism, etc.; _grains of Paradise_: an aromatic drug with carminative
properties, like ginger. p. 268, "_Painted Peacock_": the butterfly whose
scientific name is the _Vanessa io_; _Brimstone-wing_: the species of
butterfly so called from its bright yellow colour. Its scientific name is
the _Rhodocera Rhamna_.

=Religious Belief of Browning.= There was little or no dogmatism in
Browning's religious faith. He was at least a Theist. "He believed in
Soul, and was very sure of God." Whether the orthodox would consider him a
Christian in the sense of the old churches is a matter we cannot discuss
here; in the widest sense, however, he has given abundant evidence that he
was a Christian. Those who maintain him to be a believer in the Divinity
of Christ ground their opinion on such poems as _A Death in the Desert_
and _The Epistle of Karshish_--which, nevertheless, it is objected, are
merely dramatic utterances, and cannot fairly be held to set forth the
poet's own convictions; to such an opponent I should be content to point
to the following letter, published just after the poet's death in _The
Nonconformist_, and reprinted in the Transactions of the Browning Society.
It was written by Browning in 1876 to a lady, who, believing herself to be
dying, wrote to thank him for the help she had derived from his poems,
mentioning particularly _Rabbi Ben Ezra_ and _Abt Vogler_, and giving
expression to the deep satisfaction of her mind that one so highly gifted
with genius should hold, as Browning held, to the great truths of our
religion, and to a belief in the glorious unfolding and crowning of life
in the world beyond the grave:--"_19, Warwick Crescent, W., May 11th,
1876._ Dear Friend,--It would ill become me to waste a word on my own
feelings, except inasmuch as they can be common to us both in such a
situation as you described yours to be--and which, by sympathy, I can make
mine by the anticipation of a few years at most. It is a great thing--the
greatest--that a human being should have passed the probation of life, and
sum up its experience in a witness to the power and love of God. I dare
congratulate you. All the help I can offer, in my poor degree, is the
assurance that I see ever more reason to hold by the same hope--and that,
by no means in ignorance of what has been advanced to the contrary; and
for your sake I would wish it to be true that I had so much of 'genius' as
to permit the testimony of an especially privileged insight to come in aid
of the ordinary argument. For I know I myself have been aware of the
communication of something more subtle than a ratiocinative process, when
the convictions of 'genius' have thrilled my soul to its depth, as when
Napoleon, shutting up the New Testament, said of Christ--'Do you know that
I am an understander of men? Well, He was no man!' ('Savez-vous que je me
connais en hommes? Eh bien, celui-là ne fut pas un homme.') Or as when
Charles Lamb, in a gay fancy with some friends as to how he and they would
feel if the greatest of the dead were to appear suddenly in flesh and
blood once more--on the final suggestion, 'And if Christ entered this
room?' changed his manner at once, and stuttered out--as his manner was
when moved, 'You see--if Shakespeare entered, we should all rise; if _He_
appeared, we must kneel.' Or, not to multiply instances, as when Dante
wrote what I will transcribe from my wife's Testament--wherein I recorded
it fourteen years ago--'Thus I believe, thus I affirm, thus I am certain
it is, that from this life I shall pass to another better, there, where
that lady lives, of whom my soul was enamoured.' Dear Friend, I may have
wearied you in spite of your good will. God bless you, sustain, and
receive you! Reciprocate this blessing with yours affectionately, ROBERT
BROWNING." The Agnostic school is indefatigable in endeavouring to secure
Browning as a great representative of their "know-nothingism," whatever
that may be. They might as reasonably claim Robert Browning on the side of
Agnosticism as John Henry Newman on the side of Atheism, which also
certain wiseacres in their crass hebetude or vain affectation have
pretended to do.

=Religious Poems.= (1) More or less expressions of the poet's own faith
are "La Saisiaz," "Christmas Eve and Easter Day," "The Epistle of
Karshish," "Rabbi Ben Ezra," "The Pope" (in _The Ring and the Book_), and
"Prospice." (2) Dramatic utterances concerning religion may be found in
"Caliban upon Setebos," "A Death in the Desert," "Saul," and "Johannes
Agricola," amongst many others.

=Renan= (Epilogue to _Dramatis Personæ_). The "second speaker" in the
Epilogue is described as Renan. Joseph Ernest Renan, philologist, member
of the Institute of France, was born Feb. 27th, 1823. He is best known by
his _Life of Jesus_.

=Rephan= (_Asolando_, 1889). "Suggested," as the poet says in a note
prefixed to the poem, "by a very early recollection of a pure story by the
noble woman and imaginative writer, Jane Taylor, of Norwich."[3] It will
assist the reader to understand the poem if I give an outline of the story
which lived so long in Browning's memory and suggested these verses.
"Rephan" is the star mentioned in Jane Taylor's beautiful story "How it
Strikes a Stranger," contained in the first volume of her work entitled
_The Contributions of Q. Q._ Mrs. Oliphant, in her _Literary History of
the Nineteenth Century_, vol. ii., p. 351, thus describes "How it Strikes
a Stranger." "A little epilogue in which the supposed impression made upon
the mind of an angel whose curiosity has tempted him, even at the cost of
sharing their mortality, to descend among men, is the theme, recurs to our
mind from the recollections of youth with considerable force." In one of
the most ancient and magnificent cities of the East there appeared, in a
remote period of antiquity, a stranger of extraordinary aspect. He had no
knowledge of the language of the country, and was ignorant of its customs.
One day, when residing with one of the nobles of the city, after having
been taught the language of the people and having learned something of
their modes of thought, he was seen to be gazing with fixed attention upon
a certain star in the heavens. He explained that this was his home: he was
lately an inhabitant of that tranquil planet, from whence a vain curiosity
had tempted him to wander. When the first idea of death was explained to
him, he was but slightly moved; but when he was informed that the
happiness or misery of the immortal life depended upon a man's conduct in
the present stage of existence, he was deeply moved, and demanded that he
should be at once minutely instructed in all that was necessary to prepare
himself for death. He lost all interest in wealth and pleasures, and
astonished his friends by his absorption in the thoughts which concerned
another life. Soon, people treated him with contempt, and even enmity; but
this did not annoy him,--he was always kind and compassionate to those
about him. To every invitation to do anything inconsistent with his real
interests, his one answer was, "I am to die! I am to die!" As we might
expect, Mr. Browning takes this simple and beautiful story, and imbues it
with his own philosophy till he has made it his own. In the poem the
wanderer from the star (Rephan), in compliance with the request of his
friends, gives some account of the manner of his life before his human
existence began upon our planet. In the land he has left--his native
realm--all is at most, nowhere deficiency or excess; on this planet we but
guess at a mean. In "Rephan" there is no want; whatever should be, _is_.
There is no growth, for that is change; nothing begins and nothing ends;
it fell short in nothing at first, no change was required to mend
anything. The stranger explains that, to convey his thoughts, he has to
use our language: his own no one who heard him could understand. In
"Rephan" better and worse could not be contrasted; all was perfection.
Blessing and cursing were alike impossible. There are neither springs nor
winters. Time brings no hope and no fear: as is to-day so shall to-morrow
be. All were happy, all serene. None were better than he: that would have
proved that he lacked somewhat; none worse, for he was faultless. How came
it that his perfection grew irksome? How was it his desire arose to
become a mortal on our earth? How did soul's quietude burst into
discontent? How long had he stagnated there, where weak and strong, wise
and foolish, right and wrong are merged in a neutral Best? He could not
say, neither could he tell how the passion arose in his breast. He knew
not how he came to learn love by hate, to aspire yet never reach, to
suffer that one whom he loved might be happy, to wing knowledge for
ignorance. He tells his hearers that they fear, they agonise and die, and
he asks them have they no assurance that after this earth-life wrong will
prove right? Do they not expect that making shall be mending in the sphere
to which their yearnings tend? And so when in his pregnant breast the
yearnings grew, a voice said to him: "Wouldst thou strive, not rest? burn
and not smoulder? win by contest; no longer be content with wealth, which
is but death? Then you have outlived "Rephan," you are beyond this sphere.
There is a higher plane for you. Thy place now is Earth!" It is the old
Browning story, the true mark of his highest teaching: the necessity of
evil to evoke the highest good, the need of struggle for development, of
contest for strength and victory. Simple, good Jane Taylor would not
recognise her pretty fable as it comes from Browning's alembic in the form
of _Rephan_.

=Respectability.= (_Men and Women_, 1855; _Lyrics_, 1863; _Dramatic
Lyrics_, 1868.) The world will let us do just what we like, provided only
we take out its licence; import what we like, only we must pay the customs
duty; bring into the place what we please, only we must not omit the
_octroi_. Defy or evade these, and the stamp of respectability being
withheld, we lose caste. Everything depends on the Government stamp which
the officers chalk-mark on our baggage. By conforming we gain the guinea
stamp, but run a risk of losing the gold itself. The world proscribes not
love, allows the caress, provided only we buy of it our gloves. What the
world fears is our contempt for its licence. It is, however, exceedingly
placable, and is quite ready to license anything if we pay it the fee and
do it the homage. At the Institute, for example, Guizot, hating
Montalembert (as Liberalism hates Ultramontanism in theory), will receive
him with courtesy, not to say affection. "We are passing the lamps: put
your best foot foremost!"

=Return of the Druses, The.= A TRAGEDY. (_Bells and Pomegranates_, IV.,
1843.) [THE HISTORICAL FACTS.] The Syrian Druses occupy the mountainous
region of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. They are found also in the
Auranitis and in Palestine proper, to the north-west of the Sea of
Tiberias. Crypto-Druses--Druses not by race, but by religion--are believed
to dwell in Egypt, near Cairo. It is said that the Syrian Druses number
over eighty thousand warriors. They covet no proselytes, and are an
exceedingly mysterious, uncommunicative people, though they keep on good
terms, as far as possible, with their Christian and Mahometan neighbours.
They respect the religion of others, but never disclose the secrets of
their own. Of their origin very little has with certainty been
ascertained. They do not accept the name of Druses, and regard the term as
insulting. They call themselves "disciples of Hamsa," who was their
Messiah, who came to them in the tenth century from the Land of the word
of God. Next in rank to Hamsa are the four throne-angels. One of these was
the missionary Bohaeddin. Mr. Browning probably refers to him under the
name of Bahumid the Renovator. Moktana Bohaeddin committed the Word to
writing and intrusted it to a few initiates. They speak Arabic; but the
Druses are not considered by ethnologists to belong to the Semitic family.
They have a tradition that they belonged originally to China. Whatever may
have been the origin of this people, it is evident that they are now a
very mixed race, as their religion also is compounded of Judaism,
Christianity, and Mahometanism. Mackenzie says: "They have a regular order
of priesthood, and a kind of hierarchy. There is a regular system of
passwords and signs." It is certain that there are to be found in their
religion traces of Gnosticism and Magianism. One theory of their origin,
to which the poet refers in the drama, is to the effect that the Druses
are the descendants of a crusader, Count Dreux, who left Godfrey de
Bouillon's army to settle in the Lebanon. "The rise and progress of the
religion which gives unity to the race," according to the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_, 9th edition, vol. vii., p. 484, "can be stated with
considerable precision. As a system of thought it may be traced back in
some of its leading principles to the Shiite sect of the Batenians, or
Batiniya, whose main doctrine was that every outer has its inner, and
every passage in the Koran an allegorical sense; and to the Karamatians,
or Karamita, who pushed this method to its furthest limits; as a creed it
is somewhat more recent. In the year 386 A.H. (996 A.D.) Hakim Biamrillahi
(_i.e._, he who judges by the command of God), the sixth of the Fatimite
caliphs, began to reign; and during the next twenty-five years he indulged
in a tyranny at once so terrible and so fantastic, that little doubt can
be entertained of his insanity. As madmen sometimes do, he believed that
he held direct intercourse with the Deity, or even that he was an
incarnation of the Divine intelligence; and in 407 A.H., or 1016 A.D., his
claims were made known in the mosque at Cairo, and supported by the
testimony of Ismael Darazi.[4] The people showed such bitter hostility to
the new gospel that Darazi was compelled to seek safety in flight; but
even in absence he was faithful to his god, and succeeded in winning over
the ignorant inhabitants of Lebanon. According to Druse authority this
great conversion took place in the year 410 A.H. Meanwhile, the endeavours
of the caliph to get his divinity acknowledged by the people of Cairo
continued. The advocacy of Hasan ben Haidara Fergani was without avail;
but in 408 A.H. the new religion found a more successful apostle in the
person of Hamze ben Ali ben Ahmed, a Persian mystic, feltmaker by trade,
who became Hakim's vizier, gave form and substance to his creed, and by
his ingenious adaptation of its various dogmas to the prejudices of
existing sects, finally enlisted an extensive body of adherents. In 411
the caliph was assassinated by contrivance of his sister Sitt Almulk; but
it was given out by Hamze that he had only withdrawn for a season, and his
followers were encouraged to look forward with confidence to his
triumphant return. Darazi, who had acted independently in his apostolate,
was branded by Hamze as a heretic; and thus, by a curious anomaly, he is
actually held in detestation by the very sect which probably bears his
name. The propagation of the faith, in accordance with Hamze's initiation,
was undertaken by Ismael ben Muhammed _Temins_, Muhammed ben _Wahab_,
Abulkhair _Selama_, ben Abdalwahab ben Samurri, and Moktana Bohaeddin, the
last of whom was known by his writings from Constantinople to the borders
of India. In two letters addressed to the Emperor Constantine VIII. and
Michael the Paphlagonian, he endeavours to prove that the Christian
Messiah reappeared in the person of Hamze (or Hasam)." The Druses call
themselves Unitarians or Muahhidin, and believe in the absolute unity of
God. He is the essence of life, and although incomprehensible and
invisible, is to be known through occasional manifestations in human form.
Like the Hindus, they hold that he was incarnated more than once on earth.
Hamsa was the _precursor_ of the last manifestation to be (the tenth
_avatar_), not the inheritor of Hakem, who is yet to come. Hamsa was the
personification of the "universal wisdom." Bohaeddin, in his writings,
calls him the Messiah. They hold ideas on transmigration which are
Pythagorean and cabalistic. They have seven great commandments, which are
imparted equally to all the initiated. These would seem to be incorrectly
given by most of the encyclopædias. Professor A. L. Rawson, of New York,
who is an initiate into the mysteries of the religion of the Druses, gives
the following as the actual tenets of the faith. (They are termed the
seven "tablets").--1. The unity of God, or the infinite oneness of Deity;
2. The essential excellence of truth; 3. The law of toleration as to all
men and women in opinion; 4. Respect for all men and women as to character
and conduct; 5. Entire submission to God's decrees as to fate; 6. Chastity
of body and mind and soul; 7. Mutual help under all conditions. The Druses
believe that all other religions were merely intended to prepare the way
for their own, and that allegorically it may be discovered in the Jewish
and Christian Scriptures. They treat with the utmost reverence what are
called the Four Books on Mount Lebanon. These are the Pentateuch, the
Psalms, the Gospels, and the Koran. All are bound to keep the seven
commandments of Hamsa above mentioned. [THE DRAMA.] Mr. Browning's drama
does not appear to be founded upon any historical facts. The time occupied
by the tragedy is one day. Djabal is an initiated Druse, a son of the last
Emir, who, when his family was massacred in the island which is the scene
of the drama, had made his escape to Europe. He has resolved to return to
this islet of the southern Sporades, colonised by the Lebanon Druses and
garrisoned by the Knights Hospitallers of Rhodes. He has felt within him a
Divine call to liberate his country and restore them to the land from
which they are exiled. He dwells upon the wrongs which the people have
suffered at the hands of their oppressors, and in his passionate love for
his country, and a desire to gratify his revenge for the slaughter of his
kindred, has determined to become their liberator. The tragedy opens with
the deliberations of the Druse initiates, who are expecting the
manifestation of the Hakeem, the incarnation of the vanished Khalif who is
to free their people, and who is believed by them to have appeared in the
person of Djabal, now returned to the oppressed tribe. The island is
governed by a prefect appointed by the Knights of Rhodes in Europe. This
prefect has used his authority in a cruel and oppressive manner. Djabal
has taken upon himself the redemption of his people, and during his stay
in Europe has made a firm friend of a young nobleman, Lois de Dreux, who
is about to join the Order of the Knights of Rhodes. His period of
probation is to be passed in the island, and for this purpose he has
accompanied Djabal on his return. Djabal has secretly resolved that upon
his return to his people the cruel prefect, who has almost extirpated the
sheikhs, shall be slain. He has secured also the alliance of the
Venetians, who have promised that a fleet of their ships shall be prepared
to transport the Druses to their home in the Lebanon, and shall be in
readiness to receive them when the murder of the prefect shall have
liberated his countrymen. The complicated part of the story now begins.
Anael is a Druse maiden whose devotion to her nation is the strongest
passion of her soul, and who has vowed to wed no one but the man who has
delivered her people from the tyranny which oppresses them. That he may
win her heart Djabal has declared himself to be the Hakeem, who has become
incarnate for the salvation of the Druse nation. He has declared himself
to be the long hoped and prayed for divinity, and offered himself to the
people in that character. His plan has perfectly succeeded. Anael and her
tribe believe that Djabal is the real Hakeem, and that he will liberate
the people, show himself as Divine, and exalt her with himself when the
work is perfected. He has decreed the death of the tyrant, and Anael knows
this. To Anael, Djabal is her God as well as her lover; yet she cannot
worship him as Divine. "'Oh, why is it,' she asks,

    'I cannot kneel to you?
    Never seem you--shall I speak the truth?--
    Never a God to me!
    'Tis the man's hand,
    Eye, voice!'"

Djabal has deceived himself into a half belief in the sanctity of his
mission; but as the day approaches when he is to fulfil his promises his
heart fails him, and he loses faith in himself. He struggles with his own
heart, and endeavours to be true to himself and people; but he has gone
too far, the circumstances in which he is placed are too strong for him,
and he is driven forward on the course on which he has entered. He now
resolves to solve the difficulty by flight. He will make his escape, but
before he does so will kill the prefect with his own hands. He is on his
way to the tyrant's chamber when he meets Anael, and learns from her that
she has slain the prefect. He now tells her everything. At first she
declines to believe in his falseness; but when a conviction of the truth
is forced upon her she refuses to drive him from her heart. The Divine
nature of Djabal has been in a sense an obstacle to her love in his
character as Hakeem. He has seemed too remote for her merely human
affection, and she has never deemed herself worthy to be associated with
him in his exaltation. In her determination to kill the tyrant, and in the
accomplishment of that act of patriotism, she has been actuated
principally by her desire to elevate herself to his level, so that she
might have a principal share in the liberation of her nation. They now
discover that the murder need not have been committed. Lois de Dreux, the
young nobleman who has accompanied Djabal from Europe, has fallen in love
with Anael also; and though prohibited by the rules of the Order of
knighthood of which he is a postulant, to entangle himself with women, he
has aspired to win her love. Lois has represented to the chapter of the
Order the cruelties inflicted by their prefect on the people, and has
succeeded in obtaining an order for his removal. The young Frankish knight
has been elevated by the Order to the position occupied by the deposed
governor, so that the liberation of the Druses is now close at hand. Anael
urges Djabal to confess his deception and own his imposition to his
people. This he refuses to do. She cannot forgive him. When she finds him
false and cowardly she takes upon herself to denounce him to the European
rulers of the island. Djabal is brought to trial. His accuser is Anael,
who is closely veiled till the appropriate moment, when the veil drops,
and he is confronted by his lover. His life hangs upon her words. He urges
her to speak them; but this she cannot do. Djabal is now man, and man
only: he is not separated from her by his Divine nature. She could hardly
hope to be one with him in his glory: she can at least be united with him
in his degradation and disgrace. All her love for him rises within her,
and she hails him "Hakeem!" and falls dead at his feet. The human heart
has proved victorious, and the man has conquered the god. Djabal,
committing the care of the Druses to his friend Lois, and bidding him
guard his people home again and win their blessing for the deed, stabs
himself as he bends over the body of the faithful Anael. As he dies the
Venetians enter the place and plant the Lion of St. Mark. Djabal's last
cry mingles with their shouts, "On to the mountain! At the mountain,
Druses!"

NOTES--Act i., _Rhodian cross_: that of the Knights of St. John (see
below). _Osman_, who founded the Ottoman empire in Asia. _White-cross
knights_: the Knights Hospitallers. They wore a white cross of eight
points on a black ground. From 1278 till 1289, when engaged on military
duties, they wore a plain straight white cross on a red ground.
_Patriarch_: in Eastern churches a dignitary superior to an archbishop, as
the Patriarch of Constantinople, Alexandria, etc. _Nuncio_: an ambassador
from the Pope to an emperor or king. _Hospitallers_: an order of knights
who built a hospital at Jerusalem, in A.D. 1042, for pilgrims. They were
called _Knights of St. John_, and after the removal of the order to Malta
_Knights of Malta_. _Candia_: the ancient Crete. It was sold to the
Venetians in 1194. _Rhodes_: an island of the Mediterranean. "_pro fide_":
for the faith. "_Bouillon's war_": the crusade of Godfrey de
Bouillon.--Act ii., "_sweet cane_": Acorus calamus. It grows in the Levant
and in this country; is very aromatic, having a smell when trodden on like
incense. Miss Pratt says it has been used from time immemorial for
strewing the floors of Norwich Cathedral. _Lilith_: Adam's first wife (see
note to ADAM, LILITH and EVE, and art. LILITH). "_incense from a
mage-king's tomb_": students of occult science say that sweet odours have
been known to issue from the tombs of magicians, and lamps have been found
burning therein when broken open. _khandjar_: an Eastern weapon.--Act.
iii., _The venerable chapter_: the meeting of an order or community.
_Bezants_: gold coins of Byzantium. "_Red-cross rivals of the Temple_":
the order of the "Knights Templars" (see notes to _The Heretics'
Tragedy_). They wore a red cross of eight points.--Act iv., _Tiar_: a
tiara.--Act v., _Biamrallah_: Hakem Biamr Allah, sixth Fatimite Caliph of
Egypt. _Fatemite_, or _Fatimite_: named from Fatima, the daughter of
Mohammed and wife of Ali, from whom the founder of the dynasty of
Fatimites professed to have sprung. "_Romaioi, Ioudaioite kai proselutoi_"
(_Gr._, Acts ii. 10, 11): "Strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes."

=Reverie.= (_Asolando_, 1889.) In Mr. Browning's last volume, published in
London as he lay dying in Venice, the two closing poems seem strangely and
nobly intended to gather into a focus his whole philosophy of life, and
give to the world, in two of his most exquisite poems, his fullest and
clearest expressions of the faith of his heart and the quintessence of his
teaching. Had the poet known they were the last lines he should write, had
he foreseen that these were the last accents of his message, it is
impossible to imagine that he could have risen higher than he has done in
_Reverie_ and the "Epilogue." The purport of _Reverie_ is to reconcile the
ideas of Power and Love--to reconcile by proving them indeed to be one.
"Power is Love." When power is no longer limited, then is the reign of
love. As Mr. Browning says in _Paracelsus_, "with much power always much
more love." That "The All-Great" is "The All-Loving too," is the teaching
of Christianity. That power, in its perfection, must _necessarily_ be
love, is a point in Mr. Browning's philosophical system arrived at
independently of dogma. It is the monistic conception of the forces that
mould life, as opposed to the dualistic conception. The Power everywhere
visible in the universe, pervading everything, in all things from the atom
to the sun, making man feel his utter helplessness and insignificance,
requires no further demonstration. We are assured that Power is dominant.
Our only difficulty is about Love. In face of the evil in the world, the
inequalities in life, the dominance of evil, can we say with truth that
the All-Powerful is the All-Loving too? Browning in _Reverie_ says that
truth comes before us here "fitful and half guessed, half seen, grasped
at, not gained, held fast." Notwithstanding this defect, a single page of
the world's wide book, properly deciphered, explains the whole. We must
try the clod ere we test the star; know all our earth elements ere we
apply the spectroscope to Mars. It is true that good struggles but evil
reigns; yet earth's good is proved good and incontrovertibly worth
loving, and evil can be nothing but a cloud stretched across good's
orb--no orb itself. There is no doubt whatever about the infinity of the
power. There is equally no doubt about the value of the good so far as it
goes. Let power "but enlarge good's strait confine," and perfection stands
revealed. "Let on Power devolve Good's right to co-equal reign!" What is
wanted is some law which abolishes everywhere that which thwarts good. And
the poet avows his confidence that somewhen Good will praise God unisonous
with Power.

=Richard, Count of St. Bonifacio= (father and son). (_Sordello._) Guelfs.
In a secret chamber in his palace Palma and Sordello hold earnest
conference with each other in the first book of the poem.

=Ring and the Book, The.= In twelve books. Published in four volumes, each
consisting of three books, from 1868 to 1869.

BOOK I.--When a Roman jeweller makes a ring, he mingles his pure gold with
a certain amount of alloy, so as to enable it to bear file and hammer;
but, the ring having been fashioned, the alloy is dissolved out with acid,
and the ring in all its purity and beauty of pure gold remains perfect. So
much for the Ring. For the Book it happened thus:--Mr. Browning was one
day wandering about the Square of St. Lorenzo, in Florence, which on that
occasion was crammed with booths where odd things of all sorts were for
sale; and in one of them he purchased for eightpence an old square yellow
book, part print, part manuscript, with this summary of its contents:--

              "A Roman murder case;
          Position of the entire criminal cause
          Of Guido Franceschini, nobleman,
      With certain Four the cut-throats in his pay.
    Tried, all five, and found guilty and put to death
        By heading or hanging as befitted ranks,
          At Rome, on February Twenty-Two,
      Since our Salvation Sixteen Ninety-Eight:
          Wherein it is disputed if, and when,
    Husbands may kill adulterous wives, yet 'scape
              The customary forfeit."

As before the ring was fashioned the pure gold lay in the ingot, so the
pure virgin truth of the murder case lay in this book; but it was not in a
presentable form and such as a poet could use. As the jeweller adds a
little alloy to permit the artistic working of the Ring, so the poet must
mix his poetic fancy with the simple legal evidence contained in the Book,
and in this manner work up the history for popular edification. And thus
we have _The Ring and the Book_. The simple, hard, legal documents opened
the story thus. The accuser and the accused said, in the persons of their
advocates, as follows:--The Public Prosecutor demands the punishment of
Count Guido Franceschini and his accomplices, for the murder of his wife.
Then the Patron of the Poor--the counsel acting on behalf of the
accused--protests that Count Guido ought rather to be rewarded, with his
four conscientious friends, as sustainers of law and society. It is true,
he says, that he killed his wife, but he did it laudably. Then the case
was postponed. It was argued that the woman slaughtered was a saint and
martyr. More postponement. Then it was argued that she was a miracle of
lust and impudence. More witnesses, precedents, and authorities called and
quoted on both sides:

    "Thus wrangled, brangled, jangled they a month,"--

only on paper--all the pleadings were in print. The Court pronounced Count
Guido guilty, his murdered wife Pompilia pure in thought, word and deed;
and signed sentence of death against the whole five accused. But Guido's
counsel had a reserve shot. The Count, as was the frequent custom in those
days, was in one of the minor orders of the priesthood, and claimed
clerical privilege. Appeal was therefore made to the Pope. Roman society
began to talk, the quality took the husband's part, the Pope was
benevolent and unwilling to take life: Guido stood a chance of getting
off. But the Pope was shrewd and conscientious; and having mastered the
whole matter, said, "Cut off Guido's head to-morrow, and hang up his
mates." And it was so done. Thus much was untempered gold, as discovered
in the little old book. But we want to know more of the matter, and in
four volumes (of the original edition) Mr. Browning satisfies us. Who was
the handsome young priest, Canon Caponsacchi, who carried off the wife?
Who were the old couple, the Comparini, Pietro and his spouse, who, on a
Christmas night in a lonely villa, were murdered with Pompilia? Mr.
Browning has ferreted it out for us mixed his fancy with the facts to
bring them home to us the better. He has been to Arezzo, the Count's
city--the wife's "trap and cage and torture place." He stopped at
Castelnuovo, where husband and wife and priest for first and last time met
face to face. He passed on to Rome the goal, to the home of Pompilia's
foster-parents. He conjures up the vision of the dreadful night when Guido
and his wolves cried to the escaped wife, "Open to Caponsacchi!" and the
door was opened, showing the mother of the two-weeks'-old babe and her
parents the Comparini. He ponders all the story in his soul in Italy, and
in London when he returns home; till the ideas take clear shape in his
mind, and the whole story lives again in his brain, and he can reproduce
for us the facts as they must have occurred. Count Guido Franceschini was
descended of an ancient though poor family. He was

    "A beak-nosed, bushy-bearded, black-haired lord,
    Lean, pallid, low of stature, yet robust,
    Fifty years old."

He married Pompilia Comparini--young, good, beautiful--at Rome, where she
was born; and brought her to his home at Arezzo, where they lived
miserable lives. That she might find peace, the wife had run away, in
company of the priest Giuseppe Caponsacchi, to her parents at Rome; and
the husband had followed with four accomplices, and catching her in a
villa on a Christmas night with her parents (putative parents really), had
killed the three; the wife being seventeen years old, and the Comparini,
husband and wife, seventy. There was Pompilia's infant, Guido's firstborn
son, but he had previously put it in a place of safety.

NOTES.--Line 7, _Castellani_: a celebrated Roman jeweller (Piazza di Trevi
86), who executes admirable imitations from Greek, Etruscan, and Byzantine
models. _Chiusi_: a very ancient Etruscan city, full of antiquities and
famous for its tombs. l. 27, _rondure_, a round. l. 45, _Baccio
Bandinelli_, a sculptor of Florence (1497-1559). l. 47, "_John of the
Black Bands_": Father of Cosimo I., Giovanni delle Bande Neri. l. 48,
_Riccardi_: the palace of one of the great families of Florence. l. 49,
_San Lorenzo_, the great church so named in Florence. l. 77,
_Spicilegium_, a collection made from the best writers. l. 114, "_Casa
Guidi, by Felice Church_": this was the residence of the Brownings at
Florence when he bought the little book. l. 223, _Justinian_, Emperor of
the East A.D. 527. His name is immortalised by his code of laws; _Baldo_,
an eminent professor of the civil law, and also of canon law, born in
1327; _Bartolo_ of Perugia, a professor of civil law, under whom Baldo
studied; _Dolabella_, the name of a Roman family; _Theodoric_, king of the
Ostrogoths (_c._ A.D. 454-526); _Ælian_, a writer on natural history in
the time of Adrian. l. 263, _Presbyter, Primæ tonsuræ, Subdiaconus,
Sacerdos_: these are some of the different steps to the priesthood in the
Roman Church--that is to say, First tonsure, subdeacon, deacon, priest. l.
284, _Ghetto_, the Jewish quarter in Rome. l. 300, _Pope Innocent XII._
was _Antonio Pignatelli_. He reigned from 1691 to 1700. He introduced many
reforms into the Church, and, after a holy and self-abnegating life, died
on September 27th, 1700; _Jansenists_, followers of Jansen, who taught
Calvinism in the Catholic Church; _Molinists_, followers of Molinos, who
taught Arminianism in the Catholic Church; _Nepotism_, favouritism to
relations. l. 435, _temporality_: the material interests of the Catholic
Church. l. 490, "_gold snow Jove rained on Rhodes_": as the Rhodians were
the first who offered sacrifices to Minerva, Jupiter rewarded them by
covering the island with a golden cloud, from which he sent showers of
treasures on the people. l. 495, _Datura_: the thorn apple--stramonium. l.
496, _lamp-fly_ == a fire-fly. l. 868, _Æacus_, son of Jupiter; on account
of his just government made judge in the lower regions with Minos and
Rhadamanthus. l. 898, "_Bernini's Triton fountain_:" in the great square
of the Barberini Palace, the Tritons blowing the water from a conch-shell.
l. 1028, "_chrism and consecrative work_": Chrism is the oil used in
ordination, etc., in the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches. l. 1030,
_lutanist_, one who plays on the lute. l. 1128, "_Procurator of the
Poor_": a proctor, an attorney who acts on behalf of the poor. l. 1161,
_Fisc_, a king's solicitor, an attorney-general. l. 1209, _clavicinist_,
one who plays on the clavichord. l. 1212, _rondo_ == rondeau, a species of
lively melody with a recurring refrain; _suite_, a connected series of
musical compositions. l. 1214, _Corelli, Arcangelo_, Italian musical
composer; _Haendel_, Handel the musician. l. 1311, "_Brotherhood of
Death_": the Confraternity of the Misericordia, or Brothers of Mercy, who
prepare criminals for death and attend funerals as an act of charity. l.
1328, _Mannai_, a sort of guillotine.--This seems a fitting place in which
to insert the following note, which serves to explain the origin of the
great poem:--

In _The Christian Register_ of Boston for Jan. 19th, 1888, there is an
article entitled "An Eagle Feather," by the Rev. John W. Chadwick, of
Brooklyn. This clergyman visited Mr. Browning and asked him, "And how
about the book of _The Ring and the Book_? Had he made up that, too, or
was there really such a book? There was indeed; and would we like to see
it? There was little doubt of that; and it was produced, and the story of
his buying it for 'eightpence English just' was told, but need not be
retold here, for in _The Ring and the Book_ it is set down with literal
truth. The appearance and character of the book, moreover, are exactly
what the poem represents. It is part print, part manuscript, ending with
two epistolary accounts, if I remember rightly, of Guido's execution,
written by the lawyers in the case. It was an astonishing 'find,' and it
is passing strange that a book compiled so carefully should have been
brought to such a low estate. Mr. Browning did not seem at all inclined to
toss it in the air and catch it, as he does in verse. He handled it very
carefully, and with evident affection. I asked him if it did not make him
very happy to have created such a woman as Pompilia; and he said, 'I
assure you that I found her just as she speaks and acts in my poem, in
that old book.' There was that in his tone that made it evident
Caponsacchi had a rival lover without blame. Of the old pope of the poem,
too, he spoke with real affection. He told us how he had found a medal of
him in a London antiquary's shop, had left it meaning to come back for it;
came back, and found that it had gone. But the shopman told him Lady
Houghton (Mrs. Richard Monckton Milnes) had taken it. 'You will lend it to
me,' said Mr. Browning to her, 'in case I want it some time to be copied
for an illustration?' She preferred giving it to him; had most likely
intended doing so when she bought it. It was in a pretty little box, and
had a benignant expression, exactly suited to the character of the good
pope in the poem. As a further proof that all is grist that comes to some
folks' mills, there was a picture of the miserable Count Guido
Franceschini on his execution day, which some one had come upon in a
London printshop and sent to Mr. Browning."

Mr. Browning having told the incidents of the story in all their principal
details, might, in the ordinary way, have considered this sufficient. He
has reserved nothing till the last, and in the usual way would have
destroyed the interest of his remaining volumes had he been a mere
story-teller. His purpose, however, was different. He will now take the
principal actors in the tragedy, and separately and at length let them
give their account of it in their own language and according to their own
view of the case. He will, moreover, give his readers the opposing views
of the two halves into which the Roman populace have been divided on the
murders. He will introduce us to the Pope considering the course of action
he is called upon to pursue as supreme judge of the matter; and the very
lawyers, who are preparing their briefs and getting up their speeches,
will also have their say. We shall thus have this many-sided subject put
before us in every possible way; and we shall be enabled to follow the
windings of the human mind on such a subject as though we were centred in
the breast, in turn, of each of the actors in the dreadful drama. We have,
therefore, in

    Book I., The dry facts of the case in brief;

    Book II., HALF ROME (the view of those antagonistic to the wife);

    Book III., THE OTHER HALF ROME (representing the opinion of those who
    take her part);

    Book IV., TERTIUM QUID (a third party, neither wholly on one side nor
    the other);

    Book V., COUNT GUIDO FRANCESCHINI (his own defence);

    Book VI., GIUSEPPE CAPONSACCHI (the Canon's explanation);

    Book VII., POMPILIA (her story, as she told it on her deathbed to the
    nuns);

    Book VIII., DOMINUS HYACINTHUS DE ARCHANGELIS (Count Guido's counsel
    and his speech for the defence);

    Book IX., JURIS DOCTOR JOHANNES-BAPTISTA BOTTINIUS (the Public
    Prosecutor's speech);

    Book X., THE POPE (who in this book reviews the whole case, and gives
    his decision in Guido's appeal to him);

    Book XI., GUIDO (his last interview in prison with his spiritual
    advisers);

    Book XII., THE BOOK AND THE RING (the conclusion of the whole matter).

BOOK II., HALF ROME.--A great crowd had assembled at the church of St.
Lorenzo-in-Lucina, hard by the Corso, to view the bodies of the murdered
Comparini exposed to view before the altar. It was at this very church
where Pompilia was baptised, brought by her pretended mother, who had
purchased her to palm off on her husband in his dotage, and so cheat the
heirs. To this very altar-step whereon the bodies lie did Violante, twelve
years after, bring Pompilia to marry the Count clandestinely. It is four
years since the marriage, and from dawn till dusk the multitude has
crowded into the church, coming and going, pushing their way, and taking
their turn to see the victims and talk over the tragedy. We have the story
told by a partisan of the husband, who does not think he was so
prodigiously to blame, he says. The Comparini (the wife's reputed parents)
were of the modest middle class, born in that quarter of Rome, and
citizens of good repute, childless and wealthy; possessed of house and
land in Rome, and a suburban villa. But Pietro craved an heir, and
seventeen years ago Violante announced that, spite of her age, an heir
would soon be forthcoming. By a trick, Pompilia, the infant, was produced
at the appropriate time--whereat Pietro rejoiced, poor fool! As Violante
had caught one fish, she must try again, and find a husband for the girl.
Count Guido was head of an old noble house, but not over-rich. He had come
up to Rome to better his fortune, was friend and follower of a certain
cardinal, and had a brother a priest, Paolo. Looking out for some petty
post or other, he waited thirty years, till, as he was growing grey, he
thought it time to go and be wise at home. At this moment Violante threw
her bait, Pompilia. She thought it a great catch to find a noble husband
for the child and the shelter of a palace for herself in her old age; and
so old Pietro's daughter became Guido Franceschini's lady-wife. Pietro was
not consulted till all was over, when he pretended to be very indignant.
All went to Arezzo to enjoy the luxury of lord-and-lady-ship. They were
soon undeceived. They discovered that they had exchanged their comfortable
bourgeois home for a sepulchral old mansion, the street's disgrace, to
pick garbage from a pewter plate and drink vinegar from a common mug. They
sighed for their old home, their daily feast of good food and their
festivals of better. Robbed, starved and frozen, they declared they would
have justice. Guido's old lady-mother, Beatrice, was a dragon; Guido's
brother, Girolamo, a bad licentious man. Four months of this purgatory was
sufficient. Pietro made his complaints all over the town; Violante
exposed the penurious housekeeping to every willing ear. Bidding Arezzo
rot, they departed for home. Once more at Rome, Violante thought of
availing herself of the Jubilee and making a full confession and
restitution. She told the truth about Pompilia: how she had been purchased
by her several months before birth from a disreputable laundry-woman,
partly to please her husband, partly to defraud the rightful heirs. Was
this due to contrition or revenge? Prove Pompilia not their child, there
was no dowry to pay according to agreement. Guido would then be the biter
bit. Guido took the view that all this was done to cheat him. He
protested, and being left alone with his wife, revenged his wrongs on her.
The case came before the Roman courts. Guido being absent, the Abate, his
clerical brother, had to take his part. The courts refused to intervene.
Appeals and counter-appeals followed. Pompilia's shame and her parents'
disgrace were published to the world; and so it went on. Pompilia, left
alone with her old husband, looked outside for life; and lo! Caponsacchi
appeared--a priest, Apollos turned Apollo. He threw comfits to her at the
theatre, at carnival time--no great harm--but he was, moreover, always
hanging about the street where Guido's palace was. Pompilia observed him
from her window. People began to talk, the husband to open his eyes.
Things went on, till one April morning Guido awoke to find his wife flown.
He had been drugged, he said. Caponsacchi, the handsome young priest, had
brought a carriage for her: they had gone by the Roman road eight hours
since. Guido started in pursuit, coming up with the fugitives just as they
were in sight of Rome. Caponsacchi met the husband unabashed: "I
interposed to save your wife from death, yourself from shame." Fingering
his sword, he offered fight, or to stand on his defence at Rome. The
police came up and secured the priest, and they went upstairs to arouse
the wife. She overwhelmed her husband with invective, turning to her side
even the very _sbirri_. "Take us to Rome," both prisoners demanded. Love
letters and verses were produced, and husband and wife fought out their
case before the lawyers. The accused declared that the letters were not
written by them. The court found much to blame, but little to punish. The
priest was sentenced to three years' exile at Civita Vecchia; the wife
must go into a convent for a while. Guido was not satisfied: he claimed a
divorce. Pompilia did the same. On account of her health a little liberty
was allowed her, and she left the convent to reside with her pretended
parents at their villa. Here she gave birth to a child. Guido was furious
when he heard all this, and went to Rome to the villa with four
confederates, pretending to be Caponsacchi. The door was opened, when he
rushed in with his braves and killed them all; and so the two Comparini
are lying in the church, and Pompilia is in the hospital dying of her
wounds.

NOTES.--Line 84, _Guido Reni_, a painter of the Bolognese school,
1574-1642. The Crucifixion referred to is above the high altar. l. 126,
"_Molino's doctrine_": a form of Quietism. l. 300, "_tacked to the
Church's tail_": it was the custom in this age for gentlemen who desired
the protection of the Church for their own purposes to take one of the
minor orders, without any intention of going into the diaconate or
priesthood. Count Guido was thus, in a sense, under the Church's
protection. l. 490, "_novercal type_": pertaining to a step-mother;
_cater-cousin_, or _quater-cousin_: a cousin within the first four degrees
of kindred; _sib_: a blood relation (A.-S., _sibb_, alliance). l. 537,
_Papal Jubilee_: this is observed every twenty-fifth year. ll. 892-3,
"_ears plugged_," etc.: a good description of the effects of a strong dose
of opium. l. 907, _osteria_: Italian name of an inn. l. 1044, _Sbirri_:
Papal police. l. 1159, "_Apage_": away! begone! l. 1198, "_Convertites_":
nuns who devote themselves to the rescue of fallen women. l. 1221, "_as
Ovid a like sufferer_": Ovid was banished by Augustus to Tomus, on the
Euxine Sea, either for some amour or imprudence; _Pontus_: a kingdom of
Asia Minor, bounded on the north by the Euxine Sea. l. 1244, "_Pontifex
Maximus whipped vestals once_": the high priest severely scourged the
vestal virgins if they let the sacred fire go out. l. 1250,
"_Caponsacchi_": in English "Head i' the Sack": this family is mentioned
in Dante's _Paradise_, xvi.; in his time they lived at Florence, in the
Mercato Vecchio, having removed from Fiesole; _Fiesole_, an ancient town
near Florence. l. 1270, "_Canidian hate_": Canidia was a Neapolitan,
beloved by Horace. When she deserted him he held her up to contempt as an
old sorceress (Horace, _Epodes_, v. and xvii.). See Notes to "White
Witchcraft." l. 1342, "_domus pro carcere_": a house for a prison. l.
1375, "_hoard i' the heart o' the toad_": Fenton says, "There is to be
found in the heads of old and great toads a stone they call borax or
stelon, which, being used as rings, give forewarning against venom." See
also Brewer's _Phrase and Fable_, art. "Toads." l. 1487, "_male-Grissel_":
Griselda was the patient lady in Chaucer's _Clerk of Oxenford's Tale_. She
came forth victoriously from the repeated trials of her maternal and
conjugal affections. l. 1495, "_Rolando-stroke_": Roland, the hero of
Roncesvalles. His trusty sword was called Durandal:--

    "Nor plated shield, nor tempered casque defends,
    When Durindana's trenchant edge descends."
                          (ORLANDO FURIOSO, bk. x.)

l. 1496, _clavicle_: the collar-bone.

BOOK III., THE OTHER HALF ROME.--Little Pompilia lies dying in the
hospital, stabbed through and through again. She had prayed that she might
live long enough for confession and absolution. "Never before successful
in a prayer," this had been answered. She has overplus of life to speak
and right herself from first to last, to pardon her husband and make
arrangements for the welfare of her child. The lawyers came and took her
depositions; the priests, also, to shrive her soul. The other half Rome
make excuses for Pietro and Violante. Their lives wanted completion in a
child: Violante's fault was not an unnatural one. Her husband was
acquiescent--natural too. Violante's confession was but right and proper;
and if she wronged an heir, who was he? As for the wooing, it was all done
by the Count: a wife was necessary alike for himself, his mother, and his
palace; and so he dazzled the child Pompilia with a vision of greatness.
The crowd said she might become a lady, but the bargain was but a poor one
at best. Pompilia, aged thirteen years and five months, was secretly
married to the Count one dim December day. Pietro was told when it was too
late, and had to surrender all his property in favour of Guido, who was to
support his wife's belongings. Four months' insolence and penury they had
to endure at Arezzo, and then Pietro went back to beg help from his Roman
friends, who laughed and said things had turned out just as they expected.
Violante went to God, told her sin, and reaped the Jubilee's benefit.
Restitution, however, said the Church, must be made: the sin must be
published and amends forthcoming. Pompilia's husband must be told that his
contract was null and void. Pietro's heart leaped for joy at the prospect
of recovering all his surrendered estate. Guido naturally pronounced the
whole tale "one long lie"--lying for robbery and revenge--and threw
himself on the courts. The courts held the child to be a changeling.
Pietro's renunciation they made null: he was no party to the cheat; but
Guido is to retain the dowry! More proceedings naturally followed this
strange decision. Then the Count forms the diabolical plan to drive his
girl-wife, by his cruelty, into the sin which will enable him to be rid of
her without parting with her money. Guido concocts a pencilled letter to
his brother the Abate, which he makes his wife trace over with ink, he
guiding her hand because she could not write, wherein she states--not
knowing a word she pens--that the Comparini advised her, before they left
Arezzo, to find a paramour, carry off what spoil she could, and then burn
the house down. The Abate took care to scatter this information all over
Rome. At Arezzo Guido set himself to make his wife's life there
intolerable, at the same time setting a trap into which she could not
avoid falling. The Other Half Rome thinks it probable that the priest
Caponsacchi pitied and loved Pompilia, who wept and looked out of window
all day long; for there were passionate letters (prayers, rather),
addressed to him by the suffering wife; though it is true she avers she
never wrote a letter in her life, still she abjured him, in the name of
God, to help her to escape to Rome. If not love, this was love's
simulation, and calculated to deceive the Canon. Pompilia, however,
protested that she had never even learned to write or read; nor had she
ever spoken to the priest till the evening when she implored him to assist
her to escape. On the other hand, the priest admitted having received the
letters purporting to come from Pompilia. He did write to her: as she
could not read she burned the letters--never bade him come to her, yet
accepted him when Heaven seemed to send him. When Guido's cruelty first
sprang on Pompilia, she had appealed to the secular Governor and the
Archbishop; but both were friends of Guido, and both refused to interfere
between husband and wife, so she went to confess to a simple friar, told
him how suicide had tempted her, begged him to write to her pretended
parents to come and save her. He promised; but by nightfall was more
discreet, and withdrew from the dangerous business. So the woman, thus
hard-beset, looked out to see if God would help, and saw Caponsacchi;
called him to her--she at her window, he in the street below--and at
nightfall fled with him for Rome. The world sees nothing but the simple
fact of the flight. The implicated persons protest that the course they
took, though strange, was justified for life and honour's sake. Absorbed
in the sense of the blessedness of the flight, she had said little to her
preserver through the long night. As daybreak came they reached an inn: he
whispered, "Next stage, Rome!" Prostrate with fatigue, she could go no
farther; stayed to rest at the osteria, fell asleep, and awoke with Count
Guido once more standing betwixt heaven and her soul--awoke to find her
room full of roaring men, her preserver a prisoner. Then she sprang up,
seized the sword which hung at the Count's side, and would have slain him,
but men interposed. The priest avers that the flight had no pretext but to
get Pompilia free: how should it be otherwise? If they were guilty, as
Guido would have the world believe, what need to fly? or, if they must,
why halt with Rome in sight? He vindicates Pompilia's fame. Guido's tale
was to the effect that he and his whole household had been drugged by the
wife, which gave the fugitives time to get thus far on their way. He
expected easy execution probably; thought he would find his wife cowering
under her shame. When she turned upon him, and would have slain him he had
to invent another story; produce love letters from a woman who could not
write, replies from the priest, who could happily defend his character and
prove the forgery. Then the story of the investigation before the courts
was told: how Pompilia owned she caught at the sole hand stretched out to
snatch her from hell; how Caponsacchi proudly declared that as man, and
much more as priest, he was bound to help weak innocence; how he exposed
the trap set by Guido for them both; how he had never touched her lip, nor
she his hand, from first to last, nor spoken a word the Virgin might not
hear. Then they discussed the decision of the court--the sentence, the
relegation of the priest, the seclusion of the wife in the convent at
Guido's expense. They discussed the five months' peace which Pompilia
passed with the nuns, the application made by the sisters on behalf of
Pompilia's waning health, and her residence with Pietro and his wife at
their villa. They tell of the determination of Guido, after the birth of
his child, to avail himself of the propitious minute and rid himself of
his wife and her putative parents, that the child remaining might inherit
all and repair his losses. The sympathisers with Pompilia dwelt on the
fact that, while the bells were chiming good-will on earth and peace to
man, the dreadful five stole by back slums and blind cuts to the villa,
asking admission in Caponsacchi's name. Then follow the murders. Violante
was stabbed first, Pietro next; and then came Pompilia's turn. It was told
how the murderers escaped, till at Baccano they were overtaken and cast
red-handed into prison.

NOTES.--Line 59, _Maratta_: Carlo Maratti was the most celebrated of the
later Roman painters of the seventeenth century. He was born 1625. The
great number of his pictures of the Virgin procured him the name of "Carlo
delle Madonne." l. 95, "_That doctrine of the Philosophic Sin_":
"Philosophical Sin," is a breach of the dignity of man's rational nature.
Theological Sin offends against the Supreme Reason. (See Rickaby's _Moral
Philosophy_, p. 119.) l. 385, "_Hesperian ball, ordained for Hercules to
taste and pluck_": the golden apples of the Hesperides plucked by
Hercules, were probably oranges. l. 439, _Danae_, the daughter of
Acrisius, and mother of Perseus by Jupiter. l. 555, "_The Holy Year_": the
Jubilee at Rome, first instituted by Boniface VIII., elected Pope 1294.
The Jubilee occurs every twenty-five years, and is a time of special
indulgences. l. 556, "_Bound to rid sinners of sin_": no indulgence
forgives sin, nor gives permission to commit sin; but it is "the
remission, through the merits of Jesus Christ, of the whole or part of the
debt of temporal punishment due to a sin, the guilt and everlasting
punishment of which sin has, through the merits of Jesus Christ, been
already forgiven in the Sacrament of penance" (_Catholic Belief_, by J.
Bruno, D.D., p. 183). l. 567. "_The great door, new-broken for the
nonce_": according to the special ritual, the Pope, at the commencement of
the Jubilee year goes in solemn procession to a particular walled-up door
(the Porta Aurea, or golden door of St. Peter's), and knocks three times,
using the words of Psalm cxviii. 19, "Open to me the gates of
righteousness." The doors are then opened and sprinkled with holy water,
and the Pope passes through. When the Jubilee closes, the special doorway
is again built up, with appropriate solemnities (_Encyc. Brit._). l. 572,
"_Poor repugnant Penitentiary_": a penitentiary is an "officer in some
cathedrals, vested with power from the bishop to absolve in cases reserved
to him. The Pope has a _grand penitentiary_, who is a Cardinal, and is
chief of the other _penitentiaries_" (_Webster's Dict._). That this
particular ecclesiastic was "repugnant" is a gratuitous assumption of the
poet: he probably took as much interest in his business as any other
clergyman takes in his. 1413, _Civita_, Civita Vecchia, a seaport near
Rome. 1445, "_Hundred Merry Tales_": the tales or novels of Franco
Sacchetti. 1450, _Vulcan_, the god of fire and furnaces, son of Jupiter
and Juno.

BOOK IV., TERTIUM QUID.--"A third something," siding neither wholly with
Guido nor with his victim, attempts to arrive at a judicial conclusion
apportioning in a superior manner blame now on one side now on the other,
and, by granting on each side something, endeavours to reconcile opposing
views, and from the contending forces produce something like order. The
speaker is addressing personages of importance, and his phrase is courtly
and polite. He refers with a sort of contempt to this "episode in
burgess-life." His account of the business is as follows:--This Pietro and
Violante, living in Rome in a style good enough for their betters, indulge
themselves with luxury till they get into debt and creditors begin to
press. Driven to seek the papal charity reserved for respectable paupers,
they become pensioners of the Vatican, and Violante casts about for means
to restore the fortunes of her household. Certain funds only want an heir
to take, which heir Violante takes measures to supply by the aid of a
needy washerwoman who ekes out her honest trade by a vile one, and who for
a price will sell, in six months' time, the child of her shame, meantime
pocketing the earnest money and promising secrecy. Violante returns
flushed with success, and reaches vespers in time to sing _Magnificat_.
Then home to Pietro, to whom is delicately confided the enrapturing but
puzzling news that at last an heir will be born to him. In due time the
infant is put in evidence, and Francesca Vittoria Pompilia is baptised;
and so "lies to God, lies to man," lies every way. The heirs are robbed,
foiled of the due succession. When twelve years have passed, the scheming
Violante has next to arrange a good match for her daughter, with her
savings and her heritage. This, with all Rome to choose from, may be
proudly done, and then _Nunc Dimittis_ may be sung. Miserably poor as
Count Guido was, the family was old enough to afford the drawback. The
Church helped the second son, Paolo, and made a canon of him--even took
Guido under its protection so far as one of the minor orders went. A
cardinal gave him some inferior post, but afterwards dispensed with his
services. What was to be done? Youth had gone, age was coming on. His
brother advised him to look out for a rich wife, told him of Pompilia, and
offered his assistance in the suit. The burgess family's one want being an
aristocratic husband for their girl Violante, eagerly accepted the Count,
and they got the marriage done. Pietro had to make the best of things. Who
was fool, who knave, it was difficult to decide: perchance neither or
both. Guido gives the wealth he had not got, and the Comparini the child
not honestly theirs--each cheated the other. It turned out that one party
saw the cheat of the other first, and kept its own concealed. Which sinned
more was a nice point. The finer vengeance which became old blood was
Guido's, the victim was the hard-beset Pompilia, the hero of the piece
Caponsacchi. "Out by me!" he cried. "Here my hand holds you life out!"
Whereupon Pompilia clasped the saving hand. Then as to the love letters,
Guido protests his wife can write. How could he, granting him skill to
drive the wife into the gallant's arms, bring the gallant to play his part
so well--a man to whom he had never spoken in his life?

NOTES.--Line 31, "_Trecentos inseris: ohe, jam satis est! Huc apelle!_"
(Horace, _Sat._ i. 5): "Here, bring to, _ye dogs_, you are stowing in
hundreds; hold, now _sure_ there is enough." (Smart's trans.). l. 54,
"_basset-table_: basset was a game at cards invented by a Venetian noble;
it was introduced into France in 1674. l. 147, "_posts off to vespers,
missal beneath arm_": a rather absurd line; a missal is a mass-book, and
does not contain the vesper services; mass is always said in the morning.
l. 437, "_notum tonsoribus_," the common gossip--(Pr.); _tonsor_, a
barber; _zecchines_: sequins, Venetian coins worth from 9_s._ 2_d._ to
9_s._ 6_d._ l. 731, _devils-dung_: assafœtida, an evil-smelling drug.
l. 761, "_cross buttock_": a blow across the back; _quarter staff_: a long
stout staff used as a weapon of offence or defence. l. 834, "_Hophni and
the ark_": "And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni
and Phinehas, were slain" (I Sam. iv., II etc.). "_Correggio and Ledas_":
Correggio's picture of "Leda and the Swan," in the Berlin Museum. l. 1054,
"_cui profuerint!_" Whom they might profit! l. 1069, "_acquetta_" == Aqua
Tofana, a poisonous liquid much used in Italy in the seventeenth century
by women who wished to get rid of their husbands or their rivals. l.
1131, _Rota_: a superior Papal court l. 1144, _Paphos_: a city of Cyprus
where Venus was worshipped. l. 1322, _Vicegerent_: an officer deputed by a
superior to take his place. l. 1408, _Patrizj_: the captain of the police
who arrested the criminals. l. 1577, "_fons et origo malorum_": fount and
origin of the evils.

BOOK V., COUNT GUIDO FRANCESCHINI.--We are now introduced to the persons
of the drama themselves; and first to the Count, who is on his defence
before the court for the murder. He has just been put to the torture, and
with bones all loosened by the rack is cringing and trembling before the
arbiters of life and death. He confesses that he killed his wife and the
Comparini, who called themselves her father and mother to ruin him. What
he has now to do is to put the right interpretation on his deed. He
reminds the court that he comes of an ancient family, descended from a
Guido who was Homager to the Empire. His family had become poor as St.
Francis or our Lord. He had cast about for some means to restore the
fallen fortunes of his house, and sought advice of his fellows how this
might be done. He had thoughts of a soldier's life; but they said that, as
eldest son and heir, his post was hard by the hearth and altar. He should
"try the Church, and contend against the heretic Molinists, and so gain
promotion," said one; but others said this would not do--"he must marry,
that his line might continue; let him make his brothers priests, and seek
his own fortune in the great world of Rome." And so to Rome he came.
Humbly, he pleads, he has helped the Church: he has disposed of his
property that he might have means to bribe his way to favour at Rome; for
the better protection of his person and the advancement of his fortunes,
he has taken three or four of the minor orders of the Church, which commit
to nothing, yet help to flavour the layman's meat. Thus for the Church. On
the world's side he danced, and gamed, and quitted himself like a
courtier. At this time he was only sixteen, and was willing to wait for
fortune. He waited thirty years, hung about the haunts of cardinals and
the Pope, and made friends wherever he could. One day he grew tired of
waiting any longer; he was hard upon middle life; he must, he saw, be
content to live and die only a nobleman; and so, as his mother was growing
old, his sisters well wedded away, and both his brothers in the Church, he
resolved to leave Rome, return to Arezzo, and be content. He was like a
gamester who has played and lost all. The owners of the tables do not like
a man to leave the place penniless. "Let him leave the door handsomely,"
they say; and so his brother Paul whispered in his ear, told him to take
courage and a wife--at least, go back home with a dowry. Paul's advice was
weighty, and he listened to him; and before the week was out the clever
priest found Pietro and Violante, who had just the daughter, and just the
dowry with her, for his brother. "She is young, pretty, and rich," he
said; "you are noble, classic, choice." "Done!" said Guido. All the priest
proposed he accepted, and the girl was bought and sold--a chattel. "Where
was the wrong step?" he asks the court: "if all his honour of birth, his
style and state, went for nothing, then society and the law had no reward
nor punishment to give. The social fabric falls like a card-house. He
thought he had dealt fairly; the others found fault, and wanted their
money back, just as the judge, disappointed with a picture for which he
had given a great price, wanted his cash returned. Perhaps, also, the
judge grew tired of the cupids. When he had purchased his wife he expected
wifeliness; just as when, having bought twig and timber, he had bought the
song of the nightingale too. Pompilia broke her pact; refused from the
first to unite with him in body or in soul. More than this, she published
the fact to all the world: said she had discovered he was devil and no
man, and set all the town laughing at his meanness and his misery; said he
had plundered and cast out her parents; and that she was fain to call on
the stones of the street to save her, not only from himself, but the
satyr-love of his own brother, the young priest. Was it any marvel that
his resentment grew apace? Yet he was not a man of ice: women might have
reached the odd corners of his heart, and found some remnants of love
there. Pompilia was no dove of Venus either, but a hawk he had purchased
at a hawk's price. He does not presume to teach the court what marriage
means: it was composed of priests who had eschewed the marriage state with
Paul; but the court knew how monks were dealt with who became refractory.
If he were over-harsh in bringing his wife to due obedience it was her own
fault; she should have cured him by patience and the lore of love. When
the Comparini had returned to Rome, they boasted how they had cheated him
who cheated them; boasted that Pompilia, his wife, was a bye-blow bastard
of a nameless strumpet, palmed off upon him as the daughter with the
dowry. Dowry? It was the dust of the street. Under these circumstances
Pompilia's duty was no doubtful one: she ought to have recoiled from them
with horror. She had been their spoil and prey from first to last, and had
aided him in maintaining her cause and making it his own. He admits the
trick of the false letter: it was his, and not hers; yet he protests that
Pompilia, from window, at church and theatre, launched looks forth and let
looks reply to Caponsacchi. And so, in his struggles to extricate his name
and fame, this gad-fly must be stinging him in the face. Pricked with
shame, plagued with his wife and her parents, what was he to do? Ever was
Caponsacchi gazing at his windows. Was he to play at desperate doings with
a wooden sword, or shorten his wife's finger by a third, for listening to
a serenade? He did nothing of that sort: he only called her a terrible
name; and the effect was, when he awoke next morning he found a crowd in
his room, fire in his throat, wife gone, and his coffers ransacked. The
servants had been drugged too. His wife had eloped with Caponsacchi. He
discovered that all the town was laughing at the comedy. They told him how
the priest had come at daybreak, while all the household slept; how the
wife had led the way out of doors on to the gate where, at the inn, a
carriage waited, and took the two to the gate San Spirito, on the Roman
road. He told the court how he had set out alone on horseback, floundered
through two days and nights, and so at last came up with the fugitives at
an inn, saw his wife and her gallant together waiting to start again for
Rome. "Does the court suggest," he asks, "that that was, if ever, the time
for vengeance?" But he was content with calling in the law to help. He
pleads guilty to cowardice: he might have killed them then; but cowardice
was no crime. He urges that he had been brought up at the feet of law, and
so had slain them not. He had searched the chamber where they passed the
night, and found love-laden letters with such words on: "Come here, go
there, wait, we are saved, we are lost"; even to details of the sleeping
potion which was to drug his wine. The fugitives declared they had not
written these; they were forged, they said. Then he tells how he had
appealed in vain to the courts. The most he gained was that the priest was
relegated to Civita for three years, and Pompilia was sent to a
sisterhood. He reminds the court of its severity in cases of heresy and
the like, and of its mildness in a case like his. Advice was given to him
how to proceed with fresh trials from time to time, and he tried to play
the man and bear his trouble as best he might; and then one day he learned
that Pompilia's durance was at an end,--she was transferred to her
parents' house. He reflected then how the Comparini had beaten him at
every point: they gained all; he lost all, even to the wife, the lure; had
caught the fish and found the bait entire. And now another letter from
Rome, with the news that he is a father; his wife has borne a son and
heir,--the reason plain why she left the convent. Then he rose up like
fire; his troubles were but just beginning: the child he had longed for
was stolen too, and scorn and contempt would be heaped on him full
measure. He told the story to his servants, who all declared they would
avenge their master's wrongs. He picked out four resolute youngsters, and
off they went to Rome. They reached the city on Christmas-eve, as the
festive bells rang for the "Feast of the Babe." This arrested him; he
dropped the dagger. "Where is His promised peace?" he asked. Nine days he
waited thus, praying against temptation, while the vision of the Holy
Infant was before him. Soon this faded in a mist, and the Cross stood
plain, and he cried, "Some end must be!" He reached the house where
Pompilia lived; he knocked, asked admittance for "Caponsacchi," and the
door was opened. Had Pompilia even then fronted him in the doorway in her
weakness, had even Pietro opened, he had paused; but it was the hag, the
mother who had wrought the mischief, who appeared. Then he told the court
how the impulse to kill her had seized him, and how, having begun, he had
made an end. He was mad, blind, and stamped on all. He told the court how
the officers of justice had come upon him twenty miles off, when he was
sleeping soundly as a child; and wherefore not? He was his own self again.
His soul safe from serpents, he could sleep. He protests he has but done
God's bidding, and health has returned and sanity of soul. He declares
that he stands acquitted in the sight of God. If his wife and her lover
were innocent, why did the court punish them? Their punishment was
inadequate, and as soon as their backs were turned the evil began to grow
again. He demands the court should right him now; thank and praise him for
having done what they should have done themselves. He has doubled the
blow they had essayed to strike. He urges them to protect their own
defender. He was law's mere executant, and he demands his life, his
liberty, good name, and civic rights again. He is for God; the game must
not be lost to the devil. He has work to do: his wife may live and need
his care; his brother to bring back to the old routine; his infant son to
rear--and when to him he tells his story, he will say how for God's law he
had dared and done.

NOTES.--"_Vigil torment_": this torment is referred to in the speech of
Dominus Hyacinthus, line 329 _et seq._, as "the Vigiliarum." Line 149,
_Francis_: St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Franciscans;
_Dominic_: St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Dominicans: "_Guido, once
homager to the Empire_": _i.e._, he held lands of the Emperor by "homage."
l. 207, "_suum cuique_": let each have his own; _omoplat_: shoulder-blade.
l. 285, "_utrique sic paratus_": so prepared either way. l. 401, "_sors, a
right Vergilian dip_": scholars used to open their Vergil at random for
guidance, as people nowadays open their Bible to see what text will turn
up. l. 542, _baioc_ == bajocco: a Roman copper coin worth three farthings.
l. 559, _Plautus_: a famous comic poet of Rome, who died 184 B.C.;
_Terence_: a celebrated writer of comedies, a native of Carthage; he died
159 B.C. l. 560, "_Ser Franco's Merry Tales_": Sacchetti's novels and
tales, somewhat in the manner of Boccaccio (1335-1400). l. 627,
_Caligula_: Emperor of Rome, who delighted in the miseries of mankind, and
amused himself by putting innocent persons to death. He was murdered A.D.
41. l. 672, _Thyrsis_: a young Arcadian shepherd (Vergil, _Ecl._ vii. 2);
_Neæra_: a country maid, in Vergil. l. 811, _Locusta_: a vile woman,
skilled in preparing poisons; who helped Nero to poison Britannicus. l.
850, _Bilboa_: a flexible-bladed rapier from Bilboa. l. 922, "_stans pede
in uno_," standing on one foot. l. 1137, _spirit and succubus_: evil
spirit, demon, or phantom. l. 1209, _Catullus_: a learned but wanton poet.
l. 1264, _Helen and Paris_: Paris, the son of Priam, king of Troy, who
eloped with Helen, the wife of Menelaus, carried her to Troy, and so
occasioned the war between the Greeks and Trojans. l. 1356, _Ovid's art_:
(of love). l. 1358, "_more than his Summa_": the "_Summa Theologiæ_," the
famous work of St. Thomas Aquinas, from which every priest of the Roman
Church has to study his theology. l. 1359, _Corinna_: a celebrated woman
of Tanagra, who seven times obtained a poetical prize when Pindar was her
rival. l. 1365, _merum sal_, pure salt. l. 1549, "_Quis est pro Domino?_"
"Who is on the Lord's side?" l. 1737, _acquetta_: euphemism for the
acquatofana, a deadly liquid, colourless poison. l. 1760, "_ad judices
meos_," to my judges. l. 1780, _Justinian's Pandects_: the digest of Roman
jurists, made by order of Justinian in the sixth century. l. 2009,
_soldier bee_: a bee which fights for the protection of the hive, and
sacrifices his life in the act of using his sting. l. 2010, _exenterate_:
to disembowel. l. 2333, _Tozzi_: physician to the Pope. He succeeded
Malpighi. l. 2339, _Albano_: Guido was right; Albano succeeded Innocent
XII. as Pope in 1700.

BOOK VI., GIUSEPPE CAPONSACCHI.--The court now hears the story of
Caponsacchi: he has been sent for to repeat the evidence which he gave on
a former occasion, and to counsel the court in this extremity. It was six
months ago, he says, that in the very place where he now stands, he told
the facts, at which they decorously laughed, the stifled titter that so
plainly meant "We have been young too,--come, there's greater guilt!" Now
they are grave enough,--they stare aghast; as for himself, in this sudden
smoke from hell he hardly knows if he understands anything aright. He asks
why are they surprised at the ending of a deed whose beginning they had
seen? He had his grasp on Guido's throat; they had interfered, they saw no
peril, wanted no priest's intrusion; he had given place to law, left
Pompilia to them,--and there and thus she lies! What do they want with
him? he asks: is it that they understand at last it was consistent with
his priesthood to endeavour to save Pompilia? It was well they had even
thus l