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Robert Browning Biography

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Robert Browning Birth:

Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812 in Camberwell, England, UK. He was the son of Robert Browning, a clerk, artist, and scholar, and Sarah Anna Wiedemann, a pianist. Browning's mother was a Nonconformist and Evangelical. His father's library contained more than 6,000 volumes in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. His education was conducted primarily at home with tutors.

Robert Browning Death:

Robert Browning died the same day that his final volume of poetry, "Asolando," was published on December 12, 1889. Although Browning had wished to be buried next to his late wife, Elizabeth Barrett, that cometary was closed, and he was buried at Westminster Abbey.

Robert Browning Marriage:

Robert Browning first met Elizabeth Barrett in 1845, after reading her poetry and corresponding with her for some time. They were married just a year later, in 1846 against the wishes of her father. A son was born to the couple in 1849, and they named him Robert "Pen" Browning. Elizabeth died in 1861.

Robert Browning Achievements:

Browning's early works were failures, and he gained fame as a poet only after his wife died in 1861. The first work that received good reviews was his "Men and Women" in 1855, but "The Ring and the Book," which is sometimes considered Browning's greatest contribution to literature, was published in 1869. His dramatic monologues featured unforgettable characters who come to life in his poems.

Robert Browning's first work, "Pauline," was published anonymously in 1833, after his early volume of Byronic verse, "Incondita," was left unpublished.

Robert Browning Quotes:

"So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!"
- "Andrea del Sarto"

"If you get simple beauty and nought else,
You get about the best thing God invents."
- "Fra Lippo Lippi"

"A man can have but one life and one death,
One heaven, one hell."
- "In a Balcony"

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who said, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid."
- "Rabbi ben Ezra"
Although his first works--"Sordello," "Strafford," and "Bells and Pomegranates"--were considered failures, his early works were training grounds for his style and voice. In 1855, "Men and Women" appeared, dedicated to his wife, Elizabeth Barrett. In 1861, Browning published "Dramatis Personae." In 1869, he published "The Ring and the Book," which is considered his greatest work--based on a 17th-century murder trial in Rome. "The Inn Album" was published in 1875. His final work, "Asolando," was published in 1889. Browning is now famous for his dramatic monologue, with his unique rhythmic symbology and diction.

Robert Browning Lines from "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church":

"And have I not Saint Praxed’s ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscripts,
And mistresses with great smooth marbly limbs?"

"And then how I shall lie through centuries,
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,
And feel the steady candle-flame, and tast
Good strong thick stupefying incense-smoke!"

"And leave me in my church,...
That I may watch at leisure if he leers—
Old Gandolf—at me, from his onion-stone,
As still he envied me, so fair she was!"

Robert Browning Lines from "Porphyria's Lover":

"Be sure I looked up her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshiped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good; I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain."

Robert Browning Lines from "My Last Duchess":

"That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive."

"She had
A heart---how shall I say?---too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere."

"Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!"

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