Biography of Robert Browning
The son of Robert Browning, a Bank of England clerk, and Sarah Anna Wiedemann, of Scottish-German descent, Browning received little formal education. His learning was gleaned mainly from his Father's library at home in Camberwell, South London, where he learnt something, with his Father's help, of Latin and Greek and also read Shelly, Byron and Keats. Though he attended lectures at the University of London in 1828, Browning left after only one session.
Apart from a visit to St Petersburg in 1834 and two visits to Italy in 1838 and 1844, Browning lived with his parents in London until his marriage of 1846. It was during this period that most of the plays and the earlier poems were written and, excepting Strafford, published at his family's expense.
After the secretly held marriage to Elizabeth Barrett in 1846, Browning and wife travelled to Italy where they were, apart from brief holidays in France and England, to spend most of their married life together. In 1849 the couple had a son, Robert 'Pen' Browning, and it was Elizabeth who, during this time, was most productive. After her death in 1861, Browning returned to England with his son, where he achieved popular acclaim for his Dramatis Personae and The Ring and the Book.
He spent the remainder of his life, excepting holidays in France, Scotland, Italy and Switzerland, in London where he wrote a number of dramatic poems, the two series of Dramatic Idylls (1879,1880) and poems on primarily classical subjects: Balaustion's Adventure (1871) and Aristophone's Apology (1875).
He died in Venice whilst holidaying in 1889 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.
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Robert Browning Poems
My Last Duchess
That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Fr Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands
A Woman's Last Word
Let's contend no more, Love, Strive nor weep: All be as before, Love, ---Only sleep!
Life In A Love
Escape me? Never--- Beloved! While I am I, and you are you,
All, that I know Of a certain star Is, it can throw
A Pretty Woman
That fawn-skin-dappled hair of hers, And the blue eye Dear and dewy, And that infantine fresh air of hers!
The Laboratory-Ancien Régime
I. Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly, May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely, As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy---
It was roses, roses, all the way, With myrtle mixed in my path like mad: The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
Women And Roses
I dream of a red-rose tree. And which of its roses three Is the dearest rose to me?
Take the cloak from his face, and at first Let the corpse do its worst! How he lies in his rights of a man!
The rain set early in to-night, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake:
Of the million or two, more or less, I rule and possess, One man, for some cause undefined, Was least to my mind.
A Lovers' Quarrel
Oh, what a dawn of day! How the March sun feels like May! All is blue again After last night's rain,
Another Way Of Love
June was not over Though past the fall, And the best of her roses Had yet to blow,
A Light Woman
So far as our story approaches the end, Which do you pity the most of us three?--- My friend, or the mistress of my friend With her wanton eyes, or me?
The Lost Leader
Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a riband to stick in his coat---
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
Lost all the others she lets us devote;
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!